Letters to the Editor: Chapman University faculty: John Eastman doesn’t belong on our campus

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's lawyer, speaks as John Eastman listens during the rally in Washington that preceded a riot.
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, speaks as John Eastman listens during the rally in Washington that preceded a riot.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

To the editor: Last month, 159 Chapman University faculty members signed a statement of outrage that law professor John Eastman was using his university credentials in a spurious lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court. At the time, we did not call for his ouster.

But his actions Wednesday that helped incite a riot against the U.S. government put matters into a different realm. They should disqualify him from the privilege of teaching law to Chapman students and strip him of the honor of an endowed chair.

Eastman spouted lies about “secret folders” to fire up an angry crowd and stood approvingly next to Rudy Giuliani as he called for “trial by combat.” These conspiratorial claims of a stolen election were the basis of the insurrection.


Free speech is sacred, and tenured academics like Eastman have the privilege of speaking their mind without fear of repercussion. But Eastman abused that freedom. Consider the 1969 Supreme Court decision in Brandenburg vs. Ohio (1969), which provides broad protection for speech except that “directed to producing or inciting imminent lawless action.”

On this basis, we call on Chapman’s faculty senate, president, provost and law school dean to promptly take action against Eastman for his role in the events of Jan. 6.

Any failure to act by the university would hurt the careers of all faculty, alumni and staff at Chapman. Our research could be associated with extremism thanks to Eastman’s actions.

More importantly, our students deserve better. Eastman’s high-profile actions over the past year cannot be characterized as ethical, productive or of distinction. Throughout the year students and faculty have called for sanctions for his actions. He does not belong on our campus.

Lisa Leitz, associate professor of sociology and peace studies
Robert Slayton, professor of history
Wylie Aitken, chairman, Board of Trustees
Jennifer Keller, trustee
Loretta Sanchez, trustee and former member of Congress

This letter was also signed by 141 other Chapman University faculty.