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RICHMOND, VA (AP) – A federal appeals court has revived a North Carolina professor’s lawsuit claiming university officials violated his free-speech rights in denying him a promotion.

A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that columns written by Michael Adams focused on matters of public concern and were entitled to First Amendment protection.

Adams, who describes himself a conservative Christian, included the writings in his application for promotion from associate professor to full professor of criminal justice at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He was denied the promotion.

The appeals court said a judge erred in ruling that the inclusion of Adams’ columns with the application converted them to government speech that is not entitled to First Amendment protection.

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