The University of Tennessee has offered a job back to former tenured Professor Anming Hu, reports the Knox News.
The university fired Hu after he went on trial on accusations of hiding his ties to a university in China from NASA which funded his research.
Prosecutors, however, failed to win a conviction after his trial ended in a hung jury, reports Inside Higher Education. U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan then ruled that no rational jury would convict Hu and acquitted him of all counts.
Pressure had been growing for Hu to get his job back.
“The faculty would much prefer in situations like that the university would have the faculty member’s back,” said Louis J. Gross, the Faculty Senate president to Inside Higher Ed. “Judge Varlan’s statement was pretty darn clear that there was nothing here at all that should have led to anything like this trial.”
In July, the Asian American Scholar Forum wrote a letter to the University to demand reinstatement. It also called for back pay and full benefits.
“All universities, yours and ours, believe that a university is a truth-seeking place to uphold the principles of non-discriminition, justice, and academic freedom. Any delay in reinstating Prof. Hu’s tenure position would undermine the principles that we all hold so dear,” the group wrote.
According to the Knox News, Hu’s attorney has previously said the professor would be open to returning to the University of Tennessee and wants his job back.
Hu held the position of associate professor in UT Knoxville’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. The Department of Justice made him the first professor to go to trial under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s controversial China Initiative launched under the Trump administration.
Asian American civil rights group had accused the DOJ of racial profiling Hu.
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