College Ends 'Challenging Chapter' on Polarizing Prof

John Eastman will retire from Chapman after 'chaotic' speech before Jan. 6 Capitol attack
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2021 12:30 PM CST
Professor Who Spoke Before Riot Won't Return to School
John Eastman testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 16, 2017.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

John Eastman has been a thorn in the side of the Chapman University community for some time, lobbing false claims about the 2020 election, trashing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' credentials, and more, leading hundreds of faculty members and students to call for his dismissal. But Eastman's appearance in DC on Jan. 6, where he offered what the Orange County Register calls a "chaotic and false vision of election fraud" to a riled-up crowd before they stormed off to the Capitol, was a step too far: The law professor and the Southern California school have struck a deal for Eastman to head off to enjoy his golden years a little earlier than he'd planned. In a Wednesday statement, President Daniele Struppa said the school and Eastman have agreed he will retire immediately, with Struppa noting the end of a "challenging chapter."

The day after the deadly attack on the Capitol, Eastman referenced a "wonderful rally," while the New York Times reports that Eastman, a constitutional law scholar at Chapman since 1999, was at the Oval Office with President Trump on Jan. 5, pushing the false narrative that VP Mike Pence could alter the certification's outcome. Struppa, who the Los Angeles Times reports had previously rejected calls to fire Eastman, noted that the school and Chapman have agreed not to bring any legal challenges against each other. In his own statement, Eastman lays out more arguments for his election claims and blasts more than 150 campus colleagues and members of the school's board of trustees, per the Washington Post. Eastman notes they "have created such a hostile environment for me that I no longer wish to be a member of the Chapman faculty, and am therefore retiring from my position, effective immediately." (Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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