Academic Freedom and Institutional Matters

Energy & Environment Legal Institute v. Arizona Board of Regents, No. C2013-4963, (Arizona Superior Court, Pima County , March 24, 2015)

A recent court decision from Arizona validated the AAUP’s continuing support for the academic freedom rights of faculty members engaged in research by finding, as the AAUP argued in its amicus brief, that records requests for faculty research materials could be rejected because of the chilling effects of such disclosures. The case arose from a public records request involving University of Arizona faculty members engaged in climate research submitted by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, a legal foundation seeking to “put false science on trial.” The AAUP submitted an amicus brief raising “the significant chilling effects that will result from forcing scholars and institutions to disclose collegial academic communications and internal deliberative materials .” The court ruled that the university could withhold the records, accepting as the primary reason that producing the documents “would have a chilling effect on the ability and likelihood of professors and scientists engaging in frank exchanges of ideas and information .”

Pacific Lutheran Univ. & SEIU, Local 925, 361 N.L.R.B. No. 157 (N.L.R.B. Dec. 16, 2014)

In this case the National Labor Relations Board published a significant decision expanding the organizing rights of private-sector faculty members. The Board modified the standards used to determine two important issues affecting the ability of faculty members at private-sector higher education institutions to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act: first, whether certain institutions and their faculty members are exempted from coverage of the Act due to their religious activities; and second, whether certain faculty members are managers, who are excluded from protection of the Act. In addressing this second issue, the Board specifically highlighted, as AAUP had in its amicus brief submitted in the case, the increasing corporatization of the university.

Northwestern University and College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), Case No. 13-RC-121359 (2014)

The AAUP filed an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that graduate assistants at private sector institutions should be considered employees with collective bargaining rights. In its amicus brief, the AAUP argued that the board should overrule the test of employee status applied in Brown to graduate assistants, but did not take a position as to whether the unionization of college football players was appropriate.

The American Tradition Institute v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia & Michael Mann, 287 Va. 330 (Va. April 17, 2014)

In this case the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a professor’s climate research records were exempt from disclosure as academic research records, as AAUP argued in an amicus brief submitted to the Court.  The Court explained that the exclusion of University research records from disclosure was intended to prevent “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.” While the decision was limited to a Virginia statute, it provided a strong rationale for the defense of academic records from disclosure.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 134 S. Ct. 1623 (2014)

In this case the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that had found unconstitutional provisions of an amendment to the Michigan Constitution banning affirmative action affecting Michigan's public higher education institutions.  The Court noted that the question was ". . . not the permissibility of race-conscious admissions policies under the Constitution but whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions." The Court held that because there was no specific injury, voters had the right to determine whether race-based preferences should be permitted by state entities and therefore the amendment banning affirmative action was constitutional. The Court made clear, however, that this ruling does not change the principle outlined in Fisher v. University of Texas that, "the consideration of race in admissions is permissible, provided that certain conditions are met."

Demers v. Austin, 746 F.3d 402 (9th Cir. Wash. Jan. 29, 2014)

In this important decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced the First Amendment protections for academic speech by faculty members.  Adopting an approach advanced in AAUP’s amicus brief, the court emphasized the seminal importance of academic speech. Accordingly, the court concluded that the Garcetti analysis did not apply to "speech related to scholarship or teaching,” and therefore the First Amendment could protect this speech even when undertaken "pursuant to the official duties" of a teacher and professor.

Kant v. Lexington Theological Seminary, No. 2912-SC-000502-DG, 2014 Ky. LEXIS 160 (Ky. April 17, 2014).

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently issued two decisions strongly affirming the rights of tenured faculty members at religious institutions and echoing arguments made by AAUP in an amicus brief filed with the court.  In two companion cases the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that religious institutions are generally bound by tenure contracts, including faculty handbooks, and that faculty members may sue if these contracts are breached, even in some instances in which the faculty member is a minister.

Nassar v. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 570 U.S. ____, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013).

In this case the Supreme Court limited the standard of proof in retaliation cases under Title VII (the nation’s primary anti-discrimination law) to the narrower “but for” causation standard.  While this ruling benefits employers and was contrary to the position argued by the AAUP in an amicus brief it is a relatively modest change in the burden of proof in such cases.

Fisher v. University of Texas, 570 US ___, 133 S. Ct. 2411 (2013).

In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court generally upheld the constitutionally of affirmative action plans as implemented under the Court’s previous decisions. The Court generally reaffirmed its prior holdings that found that diversity in educational institutions was a compelling state interest that could necessitate the use of an affirmative action program.  However, the Court returned the case to the appeals court finding that the lower court had applied the wrong standard of proof in determining whether the affirmative action plan was necessary to attain the goal of diversity.

New York University v. GSOC/UAW, N.L.R.B. Case No.: 02-RC-023481; Polytechnic Institute of New York University v. International Union, United Automobile Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), N.L.R.B. Case No.: 29-RC-012054 (2012)

These cases addressed whether graduate student assistants are employees who have collective bargaining rights under the National Labor Relations Act. AAUP co-signed an amicus brief and argued that the Board should overrule Brown University and return to its prior determination that graduate student assistants are statutory employees. While the case was pending, the union and NYU resolved their disputes and NYU agreed to hold a union election (which the union overwhelmingly won). Therefore, the union withdrew the election petition and the Board declined to rule on the case. The question of whether graduate students are employees is an issue in other cases in which AAUP has submitted amicus briefs.

Point Park University v. Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communication Workers of America Local 38061, AFL-CIO, CLC, N.L.R.B. Case No.: 06-RC-012276 (Private Institute Faculty Organizing).

In May 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invited briefs from interested parties on the question of whether university faculty members seeking to be represented by a union are employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act or are excluded managers. The AAUP is of the position that faculty are not managers, and submitted an amicus brief urging the NLRB to develop a legal definition of employee status “in a manner that accurately reflects employment relationships in universities and colleges and that respects the rights of college and university employees to exercise their rights to organize and engage in collective bargaining."

Cambridge University Press v. Patton, 769 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. Ga. 2014)

On October 17, 2014, The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals expounded upon the test used to determine the “fair use” exception to copyright protection. The district court initially held that faculty members’ use of certain electronic course reserves and electronic course sites to make excerpts from academic books available to students at Georgia State University (GSU) was “fair use.”  AAUP submitted an amicus brief  to the Circuit Court urging it to affirm the district court’s ruling and to clarify that a “transformative use” analysis may also be used to determine “fair use.” The Circuit Court reversed the district court’s decision, agreeing with much of the district court’s fair use analysis, but not with how it applied that analysis: “The District Court did err by giving each of the four fair use factors [purpose of the new use, the nature of the original work, the amount of the work being used, and the impact on the new use on the market for the original work] equal weight, and by treating the four factors mechanistically. The District Court should have undertaken a holistic analysis which carefully balanced the four factors.”

Kincaid v. Gibson, 236 F.3d 342 (6th Cir. 2001)

Plaintiffs sued, alleging a violation of their   First Amendment rights when college administrators banned the distribution of a student-created college yearbook based on its cover and contents.

Columbia Union College v. Clarke, 988 F. Supp. 897 (D. Md. 1997); Columbia Union College v. Oliver, 254 F.3d 496 (4th Cir. 2001)

This case involved state funding for religious institutions, and the use of academic freedom as a standard to determine whether an institution is so pervasively sectarian as to be ineligible for state funding.

Junger v. Daley, 209 F.3d 481 (6th Cir. 2000)

Professor Junger, who teaches a course called  "Computers and the Law” at Case Western Reserve University,  sued the U.S. Department of Commerce, challenging regulations that prohibit him from posting to his website various encryption programs that he wrote to show his students how computers work.

Urofsky v. Gilmore, 216 F.3d 401 (4th Cir. 2000)

Several Virginia public college and university  professors challenged a law that restricted the ability of state employees to access sexually explicit material on state-owned or state-leased computers, alleging that the law interferes with their academic freedom to research and teach.

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Bd. Of Education, 551 U.S. 701 (2007)

These two cases, being decided jointly, address the issue of whether local school districts can make decisions based on race as a method of ensuring racial diversity, and avoiding segregation, in public schools .

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, 544 U.S. 167 (2005)

Roderick Jackson, a high school basketball coach sued the board of education alleging that it retaliated against him in violation of Title IX, after he complained about sex discrimination in the high school's athletic program.   The issue before the Court is whether Title IX of the Education Amendments, which prohibits discrimination in federally assisted education programs and activities, provides for a retaliation cause of action.

Lewis v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 2191 (2010)

The petitioners, unsuccessful applicants for firefighter positions, filed suit alleging that the City of Chicago’s practice of selecting only applicants who scored 89 or above on a written examination had a disparate impact on African-Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Point Park Univ. v. NLRB, 457 F.3d 42 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

Point Park University challenged an election by faculty members to be represented by the Communications Workers of America. The university incorrectly claimed that full-time faculty members were managerial employees and therefore ineligible for union representation.

Schrier v. University of Colorado, 427 F.3d 1253 (10th Cir. 2005)

Dr. Robert Schrier, a tenured faculty member, alleged that university employees terminated his chairmanship in retaliation for his public speech about the financial feasibility of moving a health sciences center. The district court opined that Dr. Schrier's status as a university professor did not entitled him to rights distinctive from those of any other public employees. 

Association of Christian Schools International, et al. v. Roman Stearns, et al., 362 Fed. Appx. 640 (9th Cir. 2010)

The  plaintiffs argued that  the University of California’s admission process ,which evaluated high school courses to ensure they were college preparatory, violated their First Amendment rights. The AAUP’s amicus brief urges the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s decision that the University of California’s admission process is constitutional and emphasizes that faculty involvement in the university’s admissions process is crucial to academic freedom.  

Branham v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 689 F.3d 558 (6th Cir. 2012).

Tenured law professor Lynn Branham was terminated from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law (“Cooley”) and subsequently sued the law school in federal court on claims of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.  

AAUP filed a motion and amicus brief in support of Branham’s petition which was authored by AAUP Committee A member Matt Finkin.

Capeheart v. Terrell, 695 F.3d 681 (7th Cir. 2012)

Professor Capeheart sued Northeastern Illinois University after the provost disregarded a faculty vote electing Capeheart chair of the Justice Studies Department.

Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, 555 U.S. 271 (2009)

Petitioner Vicky Crawford reported that her manager made sexually explicit remarks and gestures towards her; she was later terminated.  At issue was whether Title VII protections against retaliation extended to an employee who spoke out about discrimination not on her own initiative, but in answering questions during an employer's internal investigation.

Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. et al., 131 S. Ct. 2188 (2011)

Petitioner Stanford University sued respondent Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. The research company responded by arguing it co-owned a patent based on a professor inventor's assignment, so the university lacked standing. This complex case has evolved into a broader battle over the patent rights of faculty members to their inventive work. 

Cameron v. Arizona Board of Regents, 2011 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1129 (2011), petition for review denied, 2012 Ariz. LEXIS 220 (2012).

This case concerns Theresa Cameron, a tenured professor at Arizona State University. She was terminated after she was accused of and admitted to plagiarizing syllabi of other faculty in her own syllabi. Dr. Cameron filed suit, asking that she undergo a post-tenure review rather than termination. The AAUP filed an amicus brief in support of her petition for review, arguing that the punishment of termination was grossly disproportionate to the actions that Dr. Cameron took.

Adams v. University of North Carolina–Wilmington, 640 F.3d 550 (4th Cir. 2011)

Tenured Professor Michael Adams sued the University of North Carolina-Wilmington after he was denied a promotion, alleging this denial was retaliation for his political speech and his speech criticizing the school.  The AAUP, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit supporting Professor Adams.

Sussex Commons Associates, LLC v. Rutgers, 416 N.J. Super. 537 (App.Div. 2010)

Asking the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey court to protect the records of the law clinic, the AAUP’s joint amicus brief argued that requiring the clinic’s records to be released publicly would impinge on the academic freedom rights of Rutgers faculty and students as well as the First Amendment rights of citizens to access and use law clinics.  

Cuccinelli v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 283 Va. 420 (2010)

In a 2012 decision the Virginia Supreme Court rejected attempts by then Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to compel disclosure of university research records.  Cuccinelli who publicly opposes the theory of global warming, used his position to formally request emails and other documents relating to former faculty member and climatologist Michael Mann from the University of Virginia (UVA) arguing that he had authority to subpoena these records pursuant to the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA).  The Supreme Court of Virginia held that state universities, as agencies of the Commonwealth, do not constitute a “person” under the FATA and therefore Cuccinelli had no authority to require release of the records and his appeal was rendered moot. (In another related case, the Virginia Supreme Court rejected a request for these records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.)

Ward Churchill v. University of Colorado at Boulder, 293 P.3d16 (61. App. 2010) aff'd 285 P.3d 986 (Col. 2012)

In a jury trial in the Colorado District Court in Denver, a jury found that Churchill’s protected speech – his controversial writings about September 11 – was a substantial or motivating factor for the Board of Regents’ decision to discharge him from his tenured position. The district judge overturned the jury’s verdict and ruled in favor of the Regents as a matter of law.  On February 18, 2010, the AAUP joined the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship in filing an amicus brief in support of the appeal by Professor Ward Churchill to the Colorado State Court of Appeals. 

Hong v. Grant, 403 Fed.Appx. 236 (9th Cir. 2010)

Juan Hong, a tenured professor at University of California-Irvine, criticized a number of decisions about hiring, promotions, and staffing at the school of engineering and was later denied a merit raise.  The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed a federal district court decision that rejected a faculty member’s First Amendment retaliation claim against his administration by applying Garcetti in a university context

Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, 555 U.S. 246 (2009)

The petitioners alleged an inadequate response by an elementary school to student-on-student sexual harassment, raising both Section 1983 and Title IX claims.  The United States Supreme Court  determined whether a student who brings a lawsuit for sexual harassment under Title IX can also bring a constitutional claim for denial of equal protection under the federal statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983 

Edwin Otero-Burgos v. Inter-American University, 558 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2009)

Professor Otero-Burgos was dismissed in 2002 from Inter-American University, a private institution in Puerto Rico, in what he believed was a violation of his academic freedom.

ASA, AAUP, AAADC, BCPR, and Habib v. Secretaries of Homeland Security and State, 588 F. Supp. 2d 166 (D. Mass. 2008)

The AAUP joined several other organizations in filing suit against Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary of State, challenging the American consul in South Africa's denial of Professor Habib’s application for a non-immigrant visa on the ground he “engaged in terrorism” and thus was ineligible for a visa.

John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008 )

The plaintiffs, an internet service provider and others challenged the constitutionality of National Security Letters and their accompanying “gag orders.”  

Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, 553 U.S. 591 (2008)

Petitioner Anup Engquist, a former employee of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, angered her supervisor by reporting his abusive behavior to superiors.  The supervisor retaliated by arranging a restructure within the Department that resulted in Engquist’s discharge.

Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, 554 U.S. 84 (2008)

Former employees sued Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, alleging that the employer's method of reducing its workforce disparately impacted the employees based on their ages. The employer had its managers rate the employees based on performance, flexibility, and critical skills, with the statistically improbable result that 30 of the 31 employees who were laid off were at least 40 years of age.  

Saxe v. Board of Trustees of Metropolitan State College of Denver, 179 P.3d 67 (Colo. Ct. App. 2007)

In 2003, the Board of Trustees at Metropolitan State College of Denver attempted to adopt a new faculty handbook that unilaterally modify certain tenure provisions, potentially “eviscerating the meaning of tenure in the academic community.” 

ACLU v. NSA, 493 F.3d 644 (6th Cir. 2007 )

Following 9/11, the  National Security Agency (NSA) undisputedly eavesdropped without warrants international telephone and e-mail communications in which at least one of the parties was “reasonably” suspected of al Qaeda ties.  Prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who frequently communicate by phone and e-mail with people in the Middle East filed suit, argued that the NSA wiretapping program violates their First Amendment rights by impairing their ability to obtain information from sources abroad, conduct scholarship, and engage in advocacy. 

Burt v. Rumsfeld, 322 F. Supp. 2d 189 (D. Conn. 2004); Burt v. Gates, 502 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2007)

Professor Rubenfeld and members of Yale Law School faculty sued the Department of Defense on First Amendment and Fifth Amendment grounds; they argued that the Department was wrong in applying the Solomon Amendment against the university because of the law school's nondiscrimination policy. 

AAUP Amicus Briefs

In accord with the AAUP’s principles and litigation priorities, our legal office files amicus briefs in cases involving academic freedom, tenure, discrimination, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and intellectual property issues, among other things. In rare circumstances the AAUP participates as a party in cases involving academic freedom, First Amendment rights, and national security.See also Amicus Briefs Archives (1999-2004).

Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006)

The United States Supreme Court ruled that a public employee does not receive First Amendment protection when speech is made pursuant to his or her official duties.  The AAUP and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression submitted a brief that opposed the official duties standard, but also made a separate claim cautioning the troubling implications for academic speech at public institutions. Fortunately, the Court refrained from applying their analysis to academic speech, noting that “there is some argument that expression related to academic scholarship or classroom instruction implicates additional constitutional interests that are not fully accounted for by this Court’s customary employee-speech jurisprudence.”

AAUP, AAR, PEN Center, & Ramadan v. Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, 463 F. Supp. 2d 400 (S.D.N.Y. 2006 )

The AAUP, American Academy of Religion, and PEN American Center filed an action against the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, challenging the exclusion Professor Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States to accept speaking invitations extended by the AAUP and other scholarly organizations.

Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47 (2006)

An association of law schools and law faculties alleged that the Solomon Amendment, which tied federal funding for institutions of higher education with giving military recruiters access equal to that provided to other recruiters, infringed its members' First Amendment freedoms of speech and association.  The Solomon Amendment placed schools in the unwanted position of either violating their own policies regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or risking millions of dollars in federal funding. 

ACLU, AAUP, & Pen American Center v. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Central Intelligence Agency ,)

On November 10, 2005, the AAUP joined the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN American Center as plaintiffs seeking the prompt release of records under a Freedom of Information Act request from the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency.  

Pittsburg State University/Kansas NEA v. Kansas Board of Regents, PSU and PERB, 280 Kan. 408 (Kan. 2005)

This case involves a challenge by the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) to the Kansas Board of Regents’ proposed policy giving ownership of faculty intellectual property to the universities at which they work. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that intellectual property rights are not simply assumed to be work-for-hire belonging to the university and can be a subject of collective bargaining.

Smith v. City of Jackson, 544 U.S. 228 (2005)

A group of older police officers, filed suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act("ADEA")  claiming that they were adversely affected by a pay raise because of their age. The issue before the Court was whether employees can sue employers under the ADEA for actions or policies that have a disparate impact on employees over the age of 40.

Crue v. Aiken, 204 F. Supp. 2d 1130 (C.D. Ill. 2002); Crue v. Aiken, 370 F.3d 668 (7th Cir. 2004 )

This case involves a challenge by faculty and students at the University of Illinois-Champaign to the administration's policy prohibiting them from communicating with prospective student athletes.

Smith v. University of Washington Law School, 392 F.3d 367 (9th Cir. 2004)

A white female student sued the University of Washington, claiming she was denied entry to the University of Washington Law School while less qualified minority applicants were admitted over her.

Axson-Flynn v. Johnson, 356 F.3d 1277 (10th Cir. 2004)

Christina Axson-Flynn, a former student  at the University of Utah, sued her university theater department professors for violating her First Amendment rights by requiring  students perform in-class plays that Axson-Flynn found religiously objectionable.

Burbank v. Rumsfeld, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17509 (E.D. Pa. 2004)

 The University of Pennsylvania  Law School promulgated an anti-discrimination policy that limited its services to employers who did not discriminate based on sexual orientation. After the Air Force stated that the policy did not comply with the Solomon Amendment and threatened the school's federal funding, the school decided not to enforce the policy against military recruiters. The court held that the law school had standing to assert violations of the First Amendment rights.

Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) and; Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003)

In these  two seminal cases, white students brought class-action challenges to affirmative action policies and practices in the admissions processes of the undergraduate and law schools of the University of Michigan.

Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721 (2003)

This case raises the legal issue of whether states are immune under the Eleventh Amendment from suits by individuals for monetary damages under the "family leave" provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick family member.

Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Case No. 4-RC-20353 (Nov. 21, 2002)

The University of Pennsylvania administration contended that the unionization of graduate students who are employees violates institutional academic freedom.

Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Case No. 2-RC-22358 (Feb. 11, 2002 ); Brown University, Case No. 1-RC-21368 (Nov. 16, 2001)

In these two cases, also known as the “teaching assistants” cases, Columbia University and Brown University administrations contended that unionization by graduate assistants violated the academic freedom of institutions.

Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356 (2001)

Here, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed whether the "sovereign immunity" clause of the Eleventh Amendment prohibits public employees, including faculty members, from suing public institutions, including colleges and universities, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Adams v. Florida Power Corporation, 255 F.3d 1322 (11th Cir. 2001)

Former employees of a utility company challenged a corporate reorganization in which more than 70 percent of the employees terminated were at least 40 years old. This case addressed whether the disparate impact method can be applied an age discrimination case under the ADEA.

Linnemeir v. Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 155 F. Supp. 2d 1044 (N.D. Ind. 2001); Linnemeir v. Board of Trustees of Purdue University, 260 F.3d 757 (7th Cir. 2001)

This case involved efforts by some taxpayers and Indiana state legislators to compel Indiana University-Purdue University to halt the campus production of a controversial play, which the plaintiffs alleged is an "undisguised attack on Christianity and the Founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ."

Johnson v. Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, 106 F. Supp. 2d 1362 (S.D. Ga. 2000)

Three rejected white female applicants for admission to the University of Georgia sued the state seeking admission and damages based on violations of the Civil Rights Act.

Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, 528 U.S. 62 (2000)

Consolidating three cases, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed whether the "sovereign immunity" clause of the Eleventh Amendment prohibits public employees, including faculty members, from suing public institutions, including colleges and universities, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) for damages .

Anderson v. State University of New York at New Paltz, 169 F.3d 117 (2d Cir. 1999 )

Dr. Janice Anderson sued the State University of New York alleging a number of claims, including violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.

McEnroy v. St. Meinrad Sch. of Theol., 713 N.E.2d 334 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)

This case involved the dismissal of a tenured faculty member from the Saint Meinrad School of Theology who signed an open letter to the Pope, asking that continued discussion be permitted concerning the question of ordaining women to the priesthood.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference v. Supreme Court of Louisiana, 61 F. Supp. 2d 499 (E.D. La. 1999); SCLC v. Supreme Court, 252 F.3d 781, 786 (5th Cir. 2001

The Louisiana Supreme Court amended a rule that imposed limits on the types of clients law school clinics may represent.  A number of plaintiffs, including professors and students, challenged this rule, alleging, in part, that it violated the academic freedom of professors to teach and students to learn.