John Eastman, CU Boulder’s conservative scholar, has courses canceled due to low enrollment

Citing low enrollment, the University of Colorado Boulder this week canceled the spring courses that were to have been taught by visiting conservative scholar John Eastman, who drew calls for his dismissal after speaking at the Trump rally that preceded the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Since then, the New York Times has reported Eastman was in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump the day before the Capitol riot, arguing to Vice President Mike Pence that Pence had the power to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Eastman’s two spring semester classes were canceled Monday, said Andrew Sorensen, a CU Boulder spokesperson.

Two students were enrolled in one of Eastman’s courses and six had signed up for the other, according to the university. The College of Arts & Sciences typically requires 15 students for an undergraduate class, Sorensen said.

Eastman, who taught “American Political Thought” and “Foundations of Western Civilization” in the fall, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Students who were enrolled will be provided alternative classes that will meet their degree needs, Sorensen said.

Eastman has been condemned by CU Boulder leadership twice since his position began this fall as the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.

Eastman, a Chapman University professor, spoke at the Trump rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, spreading false allegations of election fraud, before the many of the rallygoers marched to the U.S. Capitol and violently stormed the building.

A day after the mob, CU Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano released a statement saying Eastman embarrassed the university, but that he would not fire the professor because of his right to free speech.

“His continued advocacy of conspiracy theories is repugnant, and he will bear the shame for his role in undermining confidence in the rule of law,” DiStefano wrote. “I will not violate the law by removing a visiting professor from a position that he will occupy at most for only a few more months, as his contract will expire in May.”

Eastman told the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder that he believed DiStefano’s statement was defamatory and false.

“Saying that I have ‘contributed nothing of value to support the ideals of either the Benson Center or CU Boulder’ is preposterous, as I have provided an alternative voice on campus, well rooted in the law, just as I was asked to do — both with my own public lecture in October as well as the significant speaker series that I was ask to organize,” he told the Camera.

When asked for comment Wednesday about the New York Times’ account of Eastman’s meeting with Trump and Pence, DiStefano referred to his previous statement.

CU President Mark Kennedy had not addressed Eastman’s actions before Wednesday, but said he was “horrified and heartbroken by last week’s events at the Capitol.”

“Professor Eastman has his First Amendment rights, yet undermining the people’s confidence in a fair election without providing evidence does a grave harm to our nation,” Kennedy said in a statement to The Denver Post. “I fully support Chancellor DiStefano’s handling of Eastman’s relationship with the campus.”

During the fall semester, DiStefano condemned Eastman for an essay the professor wrote in Newsweek questioning whether Vice President-elect Kamala Harris esd eligible to serve as vice president because her parents were born outside the United States.

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