St. John’s University professor sues school over 'disheartening' firing after student's racism claim

St. John’s professor sues school for ‘arbitrary and capricious’ firing over racism claims

St. John’s professor Richard Taylor and his attorney Ronald G. Russo discuss suing St. Johns University.

A former St. John’s University professor has sued the school over his “disheartening” discharge related to racism claims.

The New York Post reported that Richard Taylor, a 46-year-old Ph.D. student and adjunct history professor at the St. John’s Queen’s campus, was fired because of a misinterpreted question that was posed during a lesson involving slavery.

“At least one student filed a bias complaint last fall against Richard Taylor, 46, a Ph.D. student and adjunct history professor at the St. John’s Queens campus. The student reportedly said Taylor wanted students to justify slavery during a September lesson on the impact of globalization in the 15th and 16th centuries,” the Post reported.

The cop-turned-professor told “Fox & Friends” that there is “no proof” that he is a racist and that was not the question that he asked.

“The question that the students were asked is ‘do the positives outweigh the negatives for the meeting of the Old World and the New World?’ It was not a question about slavery,” Taylor said, adding that he was immediately removed from teaching his class without a hearing or a discussion with administrators.

A petition in support of Taylor from past students was signed by more than 500 of them, Taylor noted.

“Nobody can justify slavery and I stressed that in the class during the lesson when students objected,” he explained.

Although there were 300 complaints filed against Taylor, he said that couldn’t have been possible because there are only 29 students in his class.

Taylor’s lawyer and a graduate of St. John’s, Ronald G. Russo, said that the professor was discharged based on complaints from a group called SJU Radicals. He said only one student in Taylor’s class complained.


“How could you rely on 300 complaints from people who were not in [Taylor’s] class, who may not have been students at St. John’s. This can’t stand,” Russo said.

In a statement to Fox News on Taylor’s firing, St. John’s University stressed the need for “respect for all people” during “vigorous” classroom debates.

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