- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2007

DENVER — Anson Rohr is known as an outspoken critic of global terrorism. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be enough to get a person fired.

But Mr. Rohr says that’s what happened after he hung an anti-terrorism poster at his work space, urged a religion professor to present a balanced view of Islam and generally made no secret of his conservative views at Front Range Community College.

After he was fired last year from his job as an administrative assistant, Mr. Rohr sued college officials for violating his free-speech rights. Last week, he agreed to accept an undisclosed financial settlement.

In return, Mr. Rohr, 50, is prohibited from working again at the Westminster, Colo., college. Although he misses the flexible schedule and paycheck, he said, saying goodbye won’t be a problem.

“It was pretty awful to work there because of the radical-left bent,” said Mr. Rohr. “I was the token conservative.”

Front Range Vice President Andrew Dorsey declined to respond, saying he was unable to comment on personnel matters.

Mr. Rohr, who was employed at the college for five years, has a long history of conservative dissent.

He wrote letters to the campus newsletters responding to left-wing articles. He criticized an anti-war presentation at the college. He sent an e-mail to a religion professor asking for information about a course on Islam after hearing that the course presented an unbalanced view.

The last straw, however, was his decision to hang a poster at his desk depicting a scene from the school massacre at Beslan, Russia, where Muslim terrorists killed 334 students and adults in 2004. The print showed a man carrying a dead child.

A faculty member, Julie Voss, saw the poster and wrote an e-mail to administrators asking for its removal, saying she was “deeply offended,” according to court documents.

Dean of Instruction Therese Brown called Mr. Rohr and ordered him to remove the picture, but he refused, citing his First Amendment rights. He also argued that other college employees were permitted to display signs with political messages.

Mr. Rohr cited a bumper sticker with the slogan “Bush Lied, People Died” on one administrator’s office door. One hallway near Ms. Voss’ office had graphic pictures of Vietnam War victims, Holocaust survivors and Civil War carnage, he said.

Mr. Rohr, who had regularly received positive job reviews, said he hung up on the dean after she continued to berate him. She denied the accusation in court documents.

He was placed on administrative leave later that day and fired upon his return the next month. In his letter of termination, administrators said he was guilty of insubordination for hanging up on Ms. Brown.

Mr. Rohr has called the whole incident “a big setup.” He said he was prohibited from revealing the amount of the financial settlement, but said he was “satisfied” with the outcome.

“I was happy with the results,” he said. “As soon as I get my check, I’m going to e-mail them and say, ‘Maybe next time, you’ll think about the First Amendment first.’ ”

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