Due Process

Professor Who Faced Attempted Blackmail Over Flirty Emails Now Suing University of New Mexico For Suspending Him

An attorney for Nick Flor says calls his effective termination "unfathomable."


Nick Flor, whose one-year suspension for alleged sexual misconduct was first reported here at Reason, is now suing the University of New Mexico for mishandling the matter.

"It is just unfathomable to me that a tenured professor could have this type of suspension—it's essentially a termination—and have no hearing at all," Flor's attorney, Nicholas Hart, told The Albuquerque Journal.

Flor's trouble began in May of 2018, when "Julia," a graduate student in her thirties, introduced herself to him in the printer room of the university's Anderson School of Management. (I have changed her name to protect her privacy.) They soon began exchanging texts and emails, which gradually became flirtatious and then sexual in nature.

Flor, who is married, realized he had made a mistake and tried to desexualize their relationship. He also offered Julia a low-paid summer research position, which she declined. (At no point did Julia either work for Flor or take one of his classes.) Julia grew disappointed that he was not taking their relationship more seriously, and she threatened to publicize the more embarrassing messages. Flor thus felt he had no choice but to report the matter to the administration. But a sexual misconduct investigation deemed that he was in the wrong, not Julia. The university suspended Flor without pay for a full year.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Samantha Harris called the school's treatment of Flor "one of the most egregious cases of university malfeasance" she had ever seen. The professor did not receive a hearing, nor he was afforded any opportunity to present witnesses on his behalf.

The lawsuit, which was filed last week, seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent his suspension from going into effect until the case is resolved. A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.