A former visiting math professor sued St. Joseph’s University in federal court this month for removing him from the classroom and failing to renew his contract after his anonymous tweets last February against racial-bias training and reparations for slavery.

Gregory Manco, who also lost his position there serving as a volunteer assistant baseball coach, says the university defamed him, discriminated against him on the basis of his race — he is Caucasian — and attempted to “cancel” him by suspending him and not renewing his contract, “despite his dedication and excellent performance.” The lawsuit also names a professor and former students who complained about Manco.

“It is clear that all of the defendants acted to ‘cancel’ Dr. Manco,” the lawsuit said. “In other words, defendants’ actions consisted of the social phenomenon of ‘cancel culture,’ which is widespread, has ruined lives, damaged reputations, and jeopardized the futures of individuals.”

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The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including back pay and punitive and compensatory damages. The university declined comment on the filing.

“The matter is before the court, and out of respect for the judicial process, Saint Joseph’s University will respond in that forum,” a university spokesperson said.

The tweets were made on an anonymous account not affiliated with the university. One said: “Suppose your great-great-grandfather murdered someone. The victim’s great-great-grandson knocks on your door, shows you the newspaper clipping from 1905, and demands compensation from you. Your response? Now get this racist reparation bull— out of your head for good.”

Another questions whether race and bias training “actually divides us and *worsens* race relations?”

The school received more than a dozen reports of alleged bias or discriminatory conduct in the classroom and on social media from current and former students, a university spokesperson had said. The reports spanned four years; Manco had worked at the university for 15. Manco was placed on paid administrative leave during an investigation over the social media posts, which was conducted by an independent third party, the university had said.

The university said last August that the non-renewal of Manco’s contract was not related to its investigation but based on departmental needs for visiting professors.

The decision to get rid of Manco brought backlash from six alumni who threatened to withhold possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations because of what they perceived as the school’s move toward the far left. In August, they delivered a letter to university leaders. “There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of alumni who don’t subscribe to the left’s coercive suppression of dissent, and we, as loyal alumni, will register our displeasure in a clear and unambiguous way … ,” they wrote.

A university spokesperson at the time said that out of its 73,000 living alumni, St. Joseph’s had been contacted by a handful about the Manco matter.

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Manco, a New Jersey resident and Rutgers graduate, began teaching at St. Joseph’s as an adjunct professor in 2005, according to the lawsuit. He became an assistant visiting professor in 2007, teaching about eight courses and 230 students annually, the suit said, and he served as both a paid and volunteer assistant baseball coach.

Named as a defendant in the lawsuit is the former student who initially reported Manco’s tweets, which were made under an anonymous account not affiliated with St. Joseph’s. The student earned an F from Manco in 2017, according to the lawsuit, and hadn’t complained of bias during the course or while she was at St. Joseph’s. Only in a letter to school administrators last year did she accuse him of being racist and transphobic, the suit said. The former student, at the urging of a university administrator, also encouraged others to report him, the lawsuit said.

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Another former student, who wasn’t taught by Manco, created a TikTok video with screenshots of Manco’s tweets and a link to a bias reporting form, encouraging people to “flood” the school with complaints, the lawsuit said.

St. Joseph’s said that his tweets were “of a biased or discriminatory nature” and that the university would be conducting an external investigation during which time he would be on administrative leave. The investigation ended May 12, “exonerating Dr. Manco on all counts,” the suit said, and finding that the tweets did not violate the university’s policy and that Manco had not discriminated against students in the classroom.

Yet in a public statement at the time, the university said “a definitive determination could not be made due to insufficient evidence.”

The lawsuit also took issue with that statement, calling it “malicious, defamatory, and false.”

In the lawsuit, Manco says the university failed to follow proper procedures in handling the complaint and did not live up to its commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression. He also denied claims that he mistreated students in the classroom, including a complaint that he told a narcoleptic student to sit in the back of the classroom.