The case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2006, established that a public employee’s job related communications are not protected by the First Amendment. The Court also held that an employer has the right to impose disciplinary sanctions against that employee based on those job related communications. Although the Court specifically did not address how its decision would affect public university professors in the future, Garcetti has already alarmed academicians who believe in the concept of academic freedom. College professors, especially those who teach in research institutions, are now concerned that the Garcetti decision poses a serious threat to academic freedom. In academia, the perceived threat is that in the future, cases similar to Garcetti will lead to public university professors losing their First Amendment protection, and thus be subject to discipline for their on the job speech. This note will look at the factual dispute leading to the Court’s decision, as well as the dissent. It will also look at how the issues of job status, citizenship, and controversial speech are connected with academic freedom. This note will also look at a glaring potential problem regarding the issue of equal protection, and finally comes to the confident conclusion that academic freedom will ultimately prevail.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ruijiaoli/61/