Commentary: Schools Should Think Twice Before Punishing Faculty for Their Speech

George Leef
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Excerpt: Public educational institutions are constitutionally forbidden to retaliate against faculty members because of their speech. A professor can’t be fired, demoted, or otherwise penalized just because he or she has said something that bothers administrators.

There have been numerous cases fought on that issue, and freedom of speech always comes out on top. One might think that school officials would learn from that, but they seem strangely obtuse about the legal ramifications whenever they want to go after someone who has gotten their goat. Two such cases have recently been resolved, and a new one has just arisen here in North Carolina.