June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Engineering and Public Policy
26.797.1 - 26.797.10
Freedom of Speech in AcademiaRecently, there have been a number of landmark legal cases that deal with freedom of speech oncollege campuses. Engineering professors have played prominent roles in several of these court cases.It appears likely that the United States Supreme Court at some future date will be asked to weigh in onthis matter.This paper will highlight a number of recent significant court cases that attempt to define the limits on aprofessor’s speech. The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not protect a publicemployee from retaliation when the employee speech is “pursuant to his official duties”. Theapplication of this definition to university professors that may have official service assignments (such asfaculty senate) is the open question.The paper cannot with absolute certainly define the limits on a professor’s speech, as that is a matter forthe courts to determine. All faculty should be cognizant of the basic legal standards presented in thispaper. For instance every faculty member should clearly understand the Supreme Court’s five-step testto determine if the speech is protected under the First Amendment.Several of the significant court cases occurred at the university where the author is currently employed.The author also has some personal experience with matters of protected speech in the classroom.
Ellis, M., & Wabrek, R. M. (2015, June), Freedom of Speech in Academia Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24134
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