In both public and private institutions, the freedom of speech of university faculty, staff and students should be respected. As our namesake, Justice Louis D. Brandeis, once explained, "If there is a time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring). Under the First Amendment, additional protections apply in public institutions. At the same time, administrators should be cautious of selective, opportunistic, or pretextual invocations of this right. Similarly, administrators must acknowledge that the First Amendment does not relieve them of their obligation to ensure that their students receive equal educational opportunity under federal civil rights law. This section, now in development, will provide best practices in the protection of the freedom of speech at public post-secondary educational institutions, as well as related documentation.
University of California
University of California President Mark Yudof, under fire for allegedly tolerating an atmosphere hostile to Jewish students on some UC campuses, issued a strong March 2012 statement condemning anti-Israel activists for attempting to disrupt and shut-down pro-Israel event at the University of California at Davis.
U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided guidance on the relationship between the First Amendment and federal civil rights law as they apply to federally funded educational institutions.
Adam S. Feuerstein Adam S. Feuerstein is a Principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law. His practice encompasses a broad range of transactional and tax planning matters.