Does the first amendment protect this professor?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by AustinIllini, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I am inclined to say no, but University officials are helping his argument.

    University of Illinois Repeals the First Amendment for Its Faculty

  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    The 1st Amendment says that Congress shall make no law ...

    It doesn't protect you from an employer checking your twitter.
  3. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    On one hand, I hate the idea that people can potentially be fired due to the things they say on social media in their free time. Unless someone is directly representing the company in front of the public, their stupid antics or political opinions shouldn't even be a factor as far as employers are concerned.

    But that doesn't make any attempt to curtail opinion a first amendment issue, which only limits government action in terms of free speech. That said, I'm pretty sure the University of Illinois is a public school, which means it relies on taxpayer funds at least in part to run and function. That means it falls under the purview of the state, which makes it a government function. yeah, I'm gonna tentatively say this is a violation of the guy's first amendment rights.
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    My guess is that the first amendment does protect him here. He's not going to be arrested or go to jail, which is pretty much what the first amendment offers him. There's nothing in there saying you can't be fired from your job - or having a job offer rescinded - for your behavior, including things you say in public.
  5. zin Suspended

    May 5, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Who owns the assets of the University of Illinois?

    If the State of Illinois does then I can see how it may be in violation of the First Amendment because it's an arm of the State Government, but if the university owns its own assets outright independent of government then I see no problem with the university creating its own rules.

    In this case it would be no different to a private business enforcing its own policies on what people are not allowed to say.
  6. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    I'm inclined to agree with you. At first blush, anyone can say just about any old thing they want, but, they also might get fired for it. It is a contractual matter, and, I have no way of knowing exactly how that applies here. I know when I was in school back in the previous millennium, professors tended to hold back a bit until they got tenure. Tenured professors have special status, by the University rules, not the First Amendment.

    The University officials seem to be creating their own rules of civil speech and applying them regardless of the Constitution or the professor's contract. On the face of it, it sounds outrageous. It also sounds like high school, not college.

    That said, I don't understand why this guy was appointed professor in the first place. But, that is another story, and, not the issue here IMHO.
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I don't think any regular poster - regardless of whether they have been banned - should lose their job based on comments posted here unless the issue was posting in work time.
  8. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    That is an awesome sentence.
  9. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    That’s always the biggest test for “Freedom of Speech” it’s never a problem when what is said is something you agree with, the test really comes when it’s something you virulently oppose.

    Also I would like to point out these cases mostly have a back story, which is not known to the public at large.:cool:
  10. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I read many, but not all of Salaita's tweets. He expressed strong opinions about the conflict in Gaza and Israel. I did read any tweets the crossed a line. However, he chooses to condemn violence on one side but not the other, so his tweets could be described as polemical. Frankly, he comes off as a blow-hard, which is a shame because he does raise some good points occasionally.

    In any case, this will be an interesting case in academic freedom. Technically he was not fired, but his appointment was blocked. Thus, he never officially had tenure at the university, and indeed I am not sure he can be viewed as being 'fired'. Also, his tweet page states that he is an author of six books, which rather blurs the lines between personal views and views as an academic expert. Where I work if one makes a statement as an academic expert, then the university has the right to treat that statement as being work-related rather than personal.
  11. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
    Yes, it is well known the First Amendment exists to protect unpopular speech.

    The Amendments doesn't grant us rights, but serves to limit the power of the government.
  12. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    I think it would be terrible if someone lost their job for being a member of the tea party.
  13. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    Nailed it right on the head. An employer has every right to do this.


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