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The First Amendment's Protection of Expressive Activity in the University Classroom: A Constitutional Myth

76 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2010  

Katheryn D. Katz

Albany Law School

Date Written: 1983

Abstract

The term “academic freedom” creates the impression that university classrooms provide professors a higher order and greater quantum of first amendment protection than other workplaces. But that impression does not comport with reality. Current constitutional doctrine does not support any super protected status for classroom utterances. Instead, classroom speech enjoys less protection than ordinary speech. While the First Amendment has certainly crafted the contours of academic freedom, another concept is clearly at work as well: tenure.

This article argues that, beyond the protections of the First Amendment, lies the protection of tenure. That free speech will be protected for tenured faculty more so than for others. This article not only examines the issues of tenure, but other nonsubstantive considerations in First Amendment jurisprudence, such as state action. Indeed, it will be shown that the greatest protections for faculty lie in these “extraconstitutional” mechanisms.

Keywords: Academic Freedom, Tenure

Suggested Citation

Katz, Katheryn D., The First Amendment's Protection of Expressive Activity in the University Classroom: A Constitutional Myth (1983). UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 16 , p. 857, 1983; Albany Law School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1639023

Katheryn D. Katz (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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