Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire.
On Thursday, law enforcement officials in New Hanover County, North Carolina, confirmed that they found the body of Mike S. Adams, a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, conservative columnist and Daily Wire contributor, in his Windsong Road home after receiving a wellness check call. No cause of death has been given and an investigation is underway.
Adams' tragic death at 55 years old was first reported by Wilmington's WECT
, which notes that it occurred just a month after Adams reached an agreement with UNCW to retire in August for a settlement of $504,702.76 for lost salary and lost retirement benefits. The settlement was reached amid an activist campaign to get the professor fired sparked by a tweet in which he compared the North Carolina governor's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to slavery.
The university issued a statement Thursday night responding to the tragic news. "It is with sadness that we share the news that the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office is conducting a death investigation involving Dr. Mike Adams, professor of criminology. Please keep his friends and loved ones in your thoughts,"
UNCW's Office of University Relations said in a statement on behalf of the Division of Academic Affairs, as reported by WECT.
The settlement between Adams and the university followed a meeting between Chancellor Jose Sartarelli and Adams over response to some of his recent social media comments, which including a petition to "remove Mike Adams from UNCW
" that garnered over 27,000 signatures.
Adams, who is openly pro-life and pro-free speech, has come under fire from the Left in the past. The most recent campaign against Adams was sparked by his May 29 tweet comparing lockdown measures to slavery. "This evening, I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!"
he wrote. Critics claimed the post was racially insensitive. Adams defended
the post, however, stressing that it was not about race but about the overreach of the state.
Adams' last piece contributed to The Daily Wire highlighted one of his primary focuses as a columnist: civil liberties
. In the opinion piece, published April 9, Adams condemned what he described as the "blatant viewpoint discrimination" by some state and local officials, particularly in the apparent targeting of churches, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's "stringent overreach" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adams earned both fans and enemies over his unflinching, openly conservative perspectives, particularly on the issues of abortion and free speech. As detailed in his biography on Townhall.com
, where Adams published opinion pieces for years, Adams and Alliance Defending Freedom won a landmark First Amendment case in 2011 against UNCW that "held that professors publishing columns and giving speeches have the full protection of the First Amendment when discussing matters of public concern."
The ruling allows for professors to include such activities in their official review, tenure, or promotion materials and forbids the university from viewpoint discrimination.