James Tracy is becoming known more as "the Newtown conspiracy theory professor" than a professor at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches media studies. However, his day job may be in jeopardy now due to the controversy surrounding his conspiracy theories.
Tracy works for a public school, which means he is a state employee. Although he has been discussing his conspiracy theory surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on his personal blog, Memoryholeblog.com, outside of the university's imprimatur, controversy and negative attention still abound online, especially in regard to how this controversial public university professor's salary is paid by taxpayers.
Until now, Tracy has attracted the attention of the mass media, including Anderson Cooper, but not of his employer, FAU. While there has been plenty of outrage surrounding his beliefs -- including the theory that a political agenda led to a careful orchestration of the media’s narrative of the events of Sandy Hook in order to push gun control legislation -- his employer has stayed rather quiet about its now-infamous employee until Thursday.
Policymic reports that Tracy is a professor at FAU and collects a $64,650 paycheck that is paid by the taxpayers of Florida. Tracy is a conspiracy theorist, and, while his Newtown, Conn., conspiracy has gained him national attention, he also believes in conspiracies about 9/11, last year's Aurora, Colo., shooting, the Oklahoma City bombing and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.
Tracy mostly flew under the radar until he posted a series of articles detailing his Newtown conspiracy theory and the media’s portrayal of the Sandy Hook shooting. Since the first article was published on his blog, Tracy has expanded his theory, provided a timeline of the Sandy Hook events and even extended it to explain the recent Taft High School shooting.
As a state employee, Policymic believes Tracy should be held to a higher standard than a private university professor and that Tracy deserves to have his views scrutinized, saying that Tracy’s inclination “to reflexively believe the opposite of every 'official version' of every traumatic event that has occurred in recent memory is to demonstrate a deplorable penchant for relishing in a faux knowledge that places one in a tiny and supposedly enlightened minority.”
For those who agree with Policymic, it looks like there is some good news as FAU may open an investigation into Tracy's writings. The University Press, an FAU student-run magazine, reports that Tracy, a tenured professor, has told the magazine that the university has opened an investigation regarding his Sandy Hook theory and his conspiracy theory comments.
Tracy argues that his First Amendment rights protect him from such an investigation and has drawn a line in the sand regarding the matter, saying, “If they’re not going to stand up for free speech and ideas and things of the like, then I’m not too sure I want to be here, either.”
Speaking to the magazine, Tracy said, “They’re getting people calling them saying that this person shouldn’t be teaching, he’s an awful person and what have you, so I think that they have to do something.” FAU has opted not to comment on the matter or the investigation.