“Not Just A Nice Job Perk”: Academic Freedom as a First Amendment Right

Chris Demaske

Abstract


Much as journalist argue that they have a “right to know,” scholars at public
universities lay claim to their “right to academic freedom.” In both cases, these
“rights” carry little weight constitutionally. But, just how much protection is
actually afforded to academics through the First Amendment? This article
addresses this question in light of the convergence of two elements—the corporatization
of public universities and the ruling in the 2006 U.S. Supreme
Court case Garcetti v. Ceballos (which heavily suggests that public employee
speech does not qualify for the same level of First Amendment protection as
private citizen speech). Finally, this article proposes a solution to the current
crises, a solution that includes creating a constitutionally protected category of
speech for academic inquiry at state colleges and universities.


Keywords


AAUP; academic freedom; First Amendment; speech; university; law; Constitution

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