Higher Education | Academic Freedom

As a part of its First Amendment practice, the firm has in recent years represented a variety of higher education clients – administration/Board, faculty and students – in matters involving issues of academic freedom: constitutional, common law and/or contractual.

The firm has represented faculty in disputes or potential disputes with administration or other faculty. Such matters have included concerns over faculty and faculty committee protections and prerogatives, alleged defamations among faculty members and administration, and also concerns over tenure and termination.

The firm has represented students (individuals and in one case a student-run campus radio station) in connection with threatened disciplinary actions involving alleged plagiarism or other violations of campus rules and also in cases representing threats to academic freedom.

The firm has also represented administration and Board in connection with challenges to academic freedom, and censorship controversies, on campus.

A decade ago the firm was asked to counsel a leading private liberal arts college in the Northeast during the course of a campus dispute involving a controversial outside speaker. Later that year the firm made a presentation on the principles of academic freedom at a special meeting of the college Board of Trustees. In 2016, the firm prepared an update to its prior written report, reviewing recent academic freedom developments. The two reports were consolidated into a single book, which was presented to the new President of the college.

See also Notable Developments/Higher Education/Academic Freedom for recent firm activities in this area