Law Professor Who Spoke at DC Rally Retires From Chapman University

January 12, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021

Law professor John Eastman has retired from his position at Orange County’s Chapman University, following a faculty uproar after he spoke at the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., that resulted in protesters entering the U.S. Capitol.

Faculty members at the Southern California university released a letter calling for the administration to fire Eastman after he spoke at the event while standing next to Rudy Giuliani, a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team. During his speech, the law professor discussed election fraud and asked Vice President Mike Pence to object to the certification of Electoral College votes.

On Jan. 13, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa announced that Eastman had retired.

“After discussions over the course of the last week, Dr. John Eastman and Chapman University have reached an agreement pursuant to which he will retire from Chapman, effective immediately,” Struppa said in a statement.

“Dr. Eastman’s departure closes this challenging chapter for Chapman and provides the most immediate and certain path forward for both the Chapman community and Dr. Eastman.”

According to Struppa’s statement, the university and Eastman agreed to move forward without taking any legal actions against the other party.

On Jan. 8, 166 faculty members at the university had released a public letter asking the school’s officials to fire Eastman.

“Free speech is sacred, and tenured academics like Eastman have the privilege of speaking their mind without fear of repercussion. But Eastman abused that freedom,” the letter states.

“Participation in a riot that incited violence against the U.S. government and the death of a police officer, puts matters into a different realm and should disqualify him from the privilege of teaching law to our students and strip him of the honor of an endowed chair.”

The letter added that “when speech shades over into violence and insurrection, it is no longer permissible.”

“Eastman spouted lies about ‘secret folders’ to fire up an angry crowd and stood next to Rudy Giuliani who called for ‘trial by combat.’ These conspiratorial claims of a stolen election were the basis of the insurrection, and he was identified on television as a faculty member of our university,” the letter states.

The letter adds that a lack of action in punishing Eastman will damage Chapman’s future research by associating the university with extremism and fake news.

Mark Axelrod, an English professor at the university who signed the letter, told The Epoch Times he disagreed with Eastman’s decision to speak, but said it was his prerogative.

“I find Eastman’s decision rather distasteful, but whatever the consequences of his decision, it was his choice,” Axelrod said.

He said he thought the university should stick to its policy when considering its response.

“If he followed policy, it shouldn’t be any different than Congress following policy,” Axelrod said. “As for Chapman, one [professor] neither makes a faculty nor a university.”

Chapman President Struppa earlier released two memos about the issue, saying Jan. 9 that university rules prohibit him from firing Eastman unless he is found guilty in court or disbarred.

“The Manual does not allow me to decide on my own that any faculty is a criminal or that they should be disbarred and therefore fired, which is what I am being asked to do,” Struppa wrote.

“The reason for these clauses is not to make life difficult for administrators: rather it is to protect all of our community through a fair process.”

Eastman’s colleagues and other members of the Chapman community have spoken out against the professor previously.

When Eastman filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in December asking that millions of votes be nullified in the presidential election, a statement signed by 159 faculty members referred to his brief as a “disgraceful attack on American democracy.”

A Change.org petition asking that he be fired was started in August, after he wrote a Newsweek article questioning whether then-Sen. Kamala Harris was eligible to be vice president because her parents were not natural-born citizens at the time of her birth. The petition has more than 1,900 signatures to date.

Eastman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis