January 24, 2023

I THINK PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE USED TO KNOW THIS. USED TO. Schools Should Think Twice Before Punishing Faculty for Their Speech: A North Carolina institution may soon learn a valuable lesson.

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.

They start with the assumption that they’re above the law. The six-figure damage awards discussed here are a good corrective, but it may take seven- or eight-figure damages to really drive the point home. And with all the mandatory legal trainings that are inflicted on faculty — Title IX, Title VI, FERPA, etc., etc. — maybe we need mandatory free speech trainings for administrators. But follow the link for the latest example of administrators clueless thuggishness.

Related: Free speech is dying at MIT, survey shows: Why this matters even for those without a personal stake in this particular university. Well, our ruling class in general opposes free speech, because it espouses ideas and policies that can’t possibly survive open criticism and debate.

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