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College Biology Professor Terminated For Teaching The Existence Of Biological Sex

SAN ANTONIO, TX - On June 20, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas on behalf of Dr. Johnson Varkey, a former adjunct professor. The letter demands his reinstatement to his position after he was fired for teaching standard principles about human biology and reproduction.

Keisha Russell, Counsel for First Liberty Institute, stated that Dr. Varkey was fired by St. Philips despite teaching basic and widely accepted biology for over 20 years. Russel says that Dr. Varkey has received positive performance evaluations for two decades, instructing science that is based on facts and widely accepted. She claims his termination stems from a disagreement between cultural elites and certain ideas, resulting in the school no longer supporting professors who teach them. Which she says led to Dr. Varkey's constitutional and statutory rights being violated by the college when he was terminated. 

The demand is for his immediate reinstatement.


Dr. Varkey has taught Human Anatomy and Physiology to over 1,500 students as an adjunct professor since 2003. Dr. Varkey worked as a biology professor at St. Philip's College for twenty years. He received feedback from students that was generally positive and he did not receive any disciplinary action during his tenure.

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In November 2022, some students allegedly walked out of Dr. Varkey's class after he stated that sex was determined by chromosomes X and Y, based on his study of human biology.  During the two decades of teaching these fundamental scientific concepts, there were reportedly no complaints from any other students.  

On January 27, 2023, Dr. Varkey was sent a Notice of Discipline and Termination of Employment and Contract letter. The school reportedly cited "numerous complaints" about his religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric, and misogynistic banter. The letter also reportedly stated that his teaching went beyond academic freedom with his personal opinions, which were found to be offensive to many individuals in the classroom. According to First Liberty, Dr. Varkey taught using a curriculum that was approved by the school and based on scientific principles. However, the college has alleged that his teaching had religious undertones.

According to Dr. Varkey's attorneys, the termination of Dr. Varkey by St. Philip's College was a violation of several statutory provisions, including the Free Speech Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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