Three years after a mass shooting claimed the lives of 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some people still believe the tragedy was a hoax — and a college professor may lose his job for saying so.
Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy launched a controversial blog in the weeks after the shooting, claiming it had been staged by Obama administration to push gun control, The Hartford Courant reports.
"I think there may very well be elements of that event that are synthetic to some degree, that are somewhat contrived," Tracey said in a 2013 interview with NBC affiliate WPTV.
Officials with the university in Boca Raton, Florida, said Wednesday that Tracy, whose blog has brought the school negative attention, could soon face termination.
"James Tracy, an associate professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, was served a Notice of Proposed Discipline — Termination by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs," the university's chief press officer Lisa Metcalf said in a statement.
Rich Hanley, associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, believes professors should have a platform on which to offer opinions, but should bolster those opinions with research.
"That's something an amateur would look at, saying, 'When in doubt, in absence of facts, you blame the media.' There are plenty of facts in this tragedy," he said. "A professor holds a particular place in society where opinions matter because their opinions are supposed to be based on studied reflection of facts."
Florida Atlantic University said Tracy will have 10 days to respond to the disciplinary proposal before final action concerning his employment will be taken.