Chapman University
John Eastman

Law professor agrees to leave Chapman University after speech to Trump supporters provokes outrage

Jan. 14, 2021
John Eastman, who spoke at a Washington D.C. rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, has retired effective immediately from the university.

John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., who last week repeated false allegations of election fraud to an angry crowd just before they stormed the U.S. Capitol, has agreed to retire.

The Orange County Register reports that Chapman President Daniele Struppa has announced that the school and Eastman have negotiated an exit.

Struppa's statement:

“After discussions over the course of the last week, Dr. John Eastman and Chapman University have reached an agreement pursuant to which he will retire from Chapman, effective immediately. Dr. Eastman’s departure closes this challenging chapter for Chapman and provides the most immediate and certain path forward for both the Chapman community and Dr. Eastman. Chapman and Dr. Eastman have agreed not to engage in legal actions of any kind, including any claim of defamation that may currently exist, as both parties move forward.”

The professor's departure comes as hundreds of students and professors at Chapman called for Eastman’s dismissal, citing a range of issues ranging from his accusations about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ qualifications for office to his legal work for President Donald Trump in which he has made false claims that the election was rigged to help President-elect Joe Biden.

Last week, while standing next to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Eastman spoke to a crowd outside the White House and described alleged election irregularities for which there is no evidence.

“They were unloading the ballots from that secret folder, matching them, matching them to the unvoted voter, and voilà, we have enough votes to barely get over the finish line,” Eastman said.

Later, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and engaged in fights with police that led to at least five deaths.

On Jan. 7, in an interview, Eastman described the march as “a wonderful rally of people that were there to express their views that what they saw on Election Day was not right.”

Eastman is on leave from Chapman while serving as a visiting professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, so his mid-year retirement won’t affect any Chapman students. Citing low enrollment, the University of Colorado Boulder recently canceled upcoming courses that Eastman was slated to teach.

Anger generated by the Jan. 6 speech was just the latest in a string of issues centered on Eastman in recent months. A one-time Republican candidate for state Attorney General, he wrote an op-ed last year in which he questioned Harris’ eligibility to serve as vice president because her parents were born outside the United States.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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