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Academic Freedom and Institutional Matters

President and Trustees of Bates College, No. 01-RC-284384 (NLRB; request for review granted in part Mar. 18, 2022)

On May 13, 2022, the AAUP moved to file an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to provide the AAUP’s views on a case in which a union proposed including college and university faculty members in a collective bargaining unit with staff. The AAUP’s brief explains that, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), where the union’s proposed unit is given deference: (1) bargaining units that include faculty and staff employed at institutions of higher education are not categorically barred, provided that faculty members are given a mechanism to express their desires on the issue; (2) AAUP policy statements concerning academic freedom and shared governance do not preclude faculty members from deciding to be included in a unit with staff; and (3) the exclusion of tenured and tenure-track faculty from a proposed bargaining unit comprised of contingent faculty and staff does not imply that tenure-line faculty are not employees entitled to the full protections of the NLRA.

Xi v. Haugen, No. 21-2798 (3d Cir. appeal filed Sept. 24, 2021)

On February 14, 2022, the AAUP joined an amicus brief challenging the federal government’s discriminatory targeting and surveillance of Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists and researchers—especially those of Chinese descent. The brief, authored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus and joined by seventy other organizations, provides important context about the FBI and other federal agencies’ history of engaging in racially motivated investigations and prosecutions of Asian American scientists and academics and describes the immense harm this discriminatory treatment causes individuals and Asian American communities throughout the United States.

Texas Attorney General, Opinion Request No. 0421-KP (Sept. 3, 2021)(amicus brief filed)

On September 3, 2021, the AAUP submitted a brief to the Texas attorney general arguing against a request from a state legislator for an opinion on whether teaching certain ideas about race, including critical race theory (CRT), would violate “Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, [or] Article 1, Section 3 and Section 8 of the Texas Constitution.” This request is part of a broader attack on teaching and training on the issues of racism and racial justice, manifested in proposed state laws limiting teaching on “divisive subjects” and in requests for state attorney general opinions forbidding such teaching. In advocating against the attempt to circumscribe teaching about racism, the brief focuses on Supreme Court First Amendment decisions and AAUP policy concerning the societal role of education, academic freedom, and teachers’ expertise in developing curriculum. Thus, the brief addressed the broader political themes that are behind many of these attacks on teaching and the AAUP policies applicable to these attempted infringements of academic freedom.

United Academics of Oregon State University v. Oregon State University, CA No. A174198 (Or. Ct. of App.)

On March 16, 2021, the AAUP submitted an amicus brief in the Oregon Court of Appeals explaining that “shared governance” did not protect an administration’s distribution of material violating Oregon’s union neutrality law. The appeal arose from an Oregon Employment Relations Board decision finding that Oregon State University had violated a state law requiring neutrality in union organizing drives by authoring FAQs and distributing them to faculty. The university and an amicus brief submitted in support of its case argued that the FAQs were protected by shared governance. The AAUP amicus brief explains the importance of shared governance, that it establishes a system for faculty participation in shared decision making, and that the university FAQs did not constitute shared governance.

Wade v. University of Michigan, SC: 156150 (Mich. Nov. 6, 2020)(appeal pending)

On March 1, 2021, the AAUP joined an amicus brief with Brady: United Against Gun Violence (formerly the Brady Center) and Team ENOUGH filed in the State of Michigan Supreme Court in support of an appeal affirming that the University of Michigan’s prohibition on firearms does not infringe on Second Amendment rights. The brief argues that the university’s firearm prohibition furthers its compelling and critical interest in maintaining an environment that safeguards the free speech and academic freedom interests of university faculty to research and teach controversial topics and advance the university’s core institutional objectives and the students’ ability to freely exchange ideas, engage in political or issue activism, and peacefully protest on the university campus.

Margaret DeWeese-Boyd v. Gordon College, D. Michael Lindsay, and Janel Curry, No. SJC-12988 (Mass. Sup. Ct. 2021)

In a great win for faculty at religious institutions, and consistent with the AAUP’s arguments in an amicus brief, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that plaintiff Margaret DeWeese-Boyd is not a minister of defendant Gordon College for the purposes of the First Amendment “ministerial exception” and thus she was entitled to protection by Massachusetts employment laws. The AAUP amicus brief explained why the ministerial exception, which is intended to prevent government intrusion into a religious institution’s relationship with its ministers, does not apply to the typical faculty member like DeWeese-Boyd at a religious college. The court agreed, finding that the “ministerial exception” did not apply because, while Gordon College was a religious institution, DeWeese-Boyd was not a minister based on what “DeWeese-Boyd actually did, and what she did not do” as a faculty member.

Pennsylvania v. DeVos, No. 1:20-cv-1468 (D.D.C. August 12, 2020); New York v. U.S. Dep't of Educ., 20-cv-4260, (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 9, 2020)

In two similar cases in which the AAUP joined amicus briefs, the district courts for the District of Columbia and for the Southern District of New York denied motions for preliminary injunctions seeking to delay the August 14, 2020, deadline for the implementation of Title IX regulations issued by the Trump administration. On May 19, 2020 the Trump administration issued new Title IX regulations, effective August 14, 2020, that significantly changed multiple aspects of Title IX as applied to higher education institutions, including significantly modifying the complaint investigation and hearing process, the definition of harassment, and the rights of the accused. In both cases, plaintiffs sued the administration claiming that the regulations should be invalidated, and they sought a preliminary injunction delaying the implementation of the regulations. Both courts denied the request for a preliminary injunction. The DC court explained that “although Plaintiffs have raised serious arguments about certain aspects of the Rule, they have not established a likelihood of success on their claims, nor have they established that they are likely to suffer substantial irreparable harm pending further litigation.” The courts’ decisions are not a final ruling on the underlying claims that the regulations should be invalidated, and those claims will continue to be litigated.

Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Department of Homeland Security, No. 1:20-cv-11283 (D.C. MA, July 13, 2020)(amicus brief filed)

Following a legal challenge, supported by an amicus brief in which the AAUP joined, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rescinded a directive that, during the COVID-19 crisis, foreign students engaged entirely in online study would not be allowed in the United States. In March 2020, DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issued guidance that, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, F-1 and M-1 visa holders were allowed to participate in online education while remaining in the United States. On July 6, 2020, DHS issued a new directive that rescinded this COVID-19 exemption for international students, requiring all students on F-1 visas whose university curricula are entirely online to depart the country and barring any such students currently outside the United States from entering or reentering the United States. Shortly after DHS issued the directive, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institution of Technology filed a complaint in the US District Court in Massachusetts for declaratory and injunctive relief, to prevent the directive from taking effect so that thousands of international students can continue to participate in educational opportunities in the United States, even if their course of study is online.

Dep't of Homeland Sec. v. Regents of Univ. of Cal. et. al., No. 18-587 (U.S. S.Ct. June 18, 2020)

In a case in which the AAUP joined an amicus brief, the Supreme Court allowed the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stand. The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country legally and expands access to higher education by providing eligibility for in-state tuition and state-funded grants and loans to participants. The ourt found that the Trump administration had not followed proper administrative procedure in seeking to overturn DACA, particularly the forbearance of deportation, and had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in doing so. The court noted, “Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.” While the ruling leaves open the possibility that this administration may try again to overturn DACA, this decision is a major victory for the dreamers and their supporters.

Freyd v. University of Oregon, No. 19-35428 (9th Cir. March 15, 2021)

On March 15, 2021, in a case in which the AAUP filed an amicus brief, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jennifer Freyd, finding that she had alleged sufficient facts to proceed with a suit against the University of Oregon for pay discrimination based on significant pay disparities with male faculty members. The lower court had dismissed the suit based, in part, on findings that Freyd and her male colleagues did not perform equal work, and that any disparate impact on women was justified. The AAUP’s amicus brief provides an overview of gender-based wage discrimination in academia, explains that the common core of faculty job duties of teaching, research, and service are comparable, and explains that the pay differentials were not justified. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for trial, finding that the jobs of the relevant female and male faculty could be found “comparable” for legal purposes, that the retention raises resulted in a disparate impact on women, and that the university could have avoided the disparate impact by revisiting the pay of comparable faculty when the retention raises were given.

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, et al.; R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, et al.; Altitude Express, Inc., et al. v. Zarda, Nos. 17-1618 (U.S. Jun. 15, 2020)

On June 15, 2020, in a case in which the AAUP joined an amicus brief, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, sex, religion, or national origin (“Title VII”) protects gay and transgender workers. The court held that because sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be explained as traits that someone has without referring to the sex of the person, discriminating based on those traits constituted discrimination “because of sex,” which is prohibited by Title VII. Thus, in affirming that Title VII’s broad scope, the Supreme Court extended protection of a powerful federal anti-discrimination law to those individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth (“LGBTQ”).

Duquesne University v. National Labor Relations Board, 947 F.3d 824 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

On January 28, 2020, in a case in which the AAUP filed an amicus brief, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the “DC Circuit”) issued a decision finding that adjunct faculty did not have the right to unionize at a religiously affiliated university under federal labor law. Duquesne University v. National Labor Relations Board, 947 F.3d 824 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (“Duquesne”). The core issue was whether in applying federal labor law, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to the faculty, the NLRB and the Courts would risk interfering in the religious affairs of Duquesne, thereby violating the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. The NLRB used the test it set forth in Pacific Lutheran University, 361 NLRB 1404 (2014)(“Pacific Lutheran”), and found there was no danger of unconstitutional entanglement because the faculty in question did not perform a specific role in creating or maintaining Duquesne’s religious educational environment. The amicus brief supported the NLRB test and pointed to the AAUP’s limitations clause as an example of how a comparable test has been applied in higher education. However, in a 2 to 1 decision, the DC Circuit rejected the Pacific Lutheran test, and applying a narrower bright-line test held that the NLRB did not have jurisdiction and therefore the adjunct faculty could not unionize under the NLRA.

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard Coll. (Harvard Corp.) (1st Cir. Nov. 12, 2020)

In a great win for higher education, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Harvard’s admissions process, which considers race as one factor among many when reviewing applicants, satisfies strict scrutiny by being narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling interest of diversity in its student body. The appellate decision arose from plaintiffs’ appeal of a district court judge’s decision that held that Harvard’s admissions policies do not discriminate against Asian American applicants.  The AAUP, together with forty other higher education associations, signed on to an amicus brief, ADD LINK prepared by the American Council on Education in support of the district court’s decision. The First Circuit upheld the district court and found that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions program survives strict scrutiny and does not violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harvard identified the specific, compelling goals that it achieves from diversity. The First Circuit also held, giving no deference to Harvard, that its admissions program is narrowly tailored and that it legitimately concluded that the alternatives were not workable.

Buchanan v. Alexander, No. 18-30148 (5th Cir. March 22, 2019)

On March 22, 2019, the Fifth Circuit issued a decision finding that professor Teresa Buchanan’s termination for her classroom use of profanity and discussion of sex did not violate her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. While the court acknowledged that certain classroom speech is protected by the First Amendment, the court held that Buchanan’s speech was not protected as it did not serve an academic purpose.

Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392 (2018)

On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States by a 5-4 vote rejected a challenge to President Trump’s September 2017 Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats)—referred to as the “travel ban”—restricting immigration to the United States by citizens of eight countries, most of which are predominately Muslim. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the majority relied on the national security justifications for the ruling and held that the travel ban is fully consistent with Congress’s Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in dissent, lamented that the court had “blindly” endorsed “a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward Muslims.”

John McAdams v. Marquette University, 383 Wisc. 2d 358, 914 N.W.2d 708 (2018)

In one of the best decisions on academic freedom in decades, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, citing AAUP policies and an amicus brief filed by the AAUP, ruled that Marquette University wrongly disciplined Dr. John McAdams for comments he made on his personal blog in 2014. Dr. McAdams criticized a graduate teaching instructor by name for her refusal to allow a student to debate gay rights because "everybody agrees on this." The blog was publicized in the national press, and the instructor received numerous harassing communications from third parties.  Marquette suspended Dr. McAdams, and demanded an apology as a condition of reinstatement. Relying heavily on AAUP’s standards and principles on academic freedom, as detailed in AAUP’s amicus brief, the court held that “the University breached its contract with Dr. McAdams when it suspended him for engaging in activity protected by the contract's guarantee of academic freedom."  Therefore, the court reversed and remanded this case with instructions that the lower court enter judgment in favor of Dr. McAdams and determine damages, and it ordered Marquette to immediately reinstate Dr. McAdams with unimpaired rank, tenure, compensation, and benefits.

City & Cty. of San Francisco v. Trump, 897 F. 3d 1225 (9th Cir. 2018)

The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared unconstitutional the Trump administration's executive order withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities and counties. The AAUP joined an amicus brief opposing the executive order and supporting a permanent injunction preventing its enforcement. The appeals court held that under the principle of Separation of Powers and in consideration of the Spending Clause, which vests exclusive power to Congress to impose conditions on federal grants, the executive branch may not refuse to disperse the federal grants in question without congressional authorization. Because Congress has not acted, the panel affirmed the district court’s decision finding that the Executive Order was unconstitutional. The appeals court upheld the permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the order against the city and county of San Francisco and in California, but lifted the nationwide injunction and sent the case back to the lower court for a more searching inquiry into the need for such relief.

Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S. Ct. (2018)

On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court overruled a 41 year precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) and held that it is unconstitutional to collect agency fees from un-consenting nonmembers. For over four decades the court had repeatedly found constitutional the agency-fee system under which unions could charge an agency fee to public employees represented by those unions but who don’t want to be union members. This system was applied in twenty-two states and across thousands of labor agreements covering millions of employees. The majority’s decision (written by Justice Alito) overturned this precedent on the theory that collection of agency fees from nonmembers “violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.” The court did not delay the effective date of its decision and therefore public unions and employers generally cannot collect agency fees from nonmembers after June 27, 2018. The court did recognize that certain fees could be collected from nonmembers but only if the nonmember “clearly and affirmatively consents before any money is taken from them.”

University of Southern California v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 17-1149 (D.C. Cir. March 12, 2019)

On March 12, 2019, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in this case. On December 28, 2017, the AAUP submitted an amicus brief, written primarily by AAUP General Counsel Risa Lieberwitz, to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit urging the court to uphold the NLRB’s determination that non-tenure-track faculty at USC are not managerial employees. The brief supported the legal framework established by the NLRB in Pacific Lutheran University and describes in detail the significant changes in university hierarchical and decision-making models since the US Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that faculty at Yeshiva University were managerial employees and thus ineligible to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. In its decision, the DC Circuit Court generally upheld the Pacific Lutheran University framework, but found that the board erred when it held that the “subgroup” of non-tenure-track faculty in the proposed unit must constitute a majority of a university committee to exercise managerial control.

Glass v. Paxton, 900 F. 3d 233 (5th Cir. 2018)

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a Texas law permitting the concealed carry of handguns on campus (the “campus carry law”) and a corresponding University of Texas at Austin (UT) policy prohibiting professors from banning such weapons in their classrooms. Faculty from UT filed suit and argued that the law and policy violated the First Amendment, Second Amendment, and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower court dismissed the faculty’s claims and the faculty appealed. In its amicus brief, the AAUP argued that the law and policy requiring that handguns be permitted in classrooms harms faculty as it deprives them of a core academic decision and chills their First Amendment right to academic freedom. The appeals court rejected the faculty’s claims finding that they lacked standing under the First Amendment as it deemed that the harm was not certainly impending. The court also affirmed the dismissal of the Second Amendment and Equal Protection claims.

Trump v. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project, 137 S. Ct. 2080, 198 L. Ed. 2d 643 (June 26, 2017) (No. 16-1436)(granting cert and granting stay in part), 138 S. Ct. 353, 199 L. Ed. 2d 203, (Oct. 10, 2017)(Vacating judgement as moot)

The AAUP joined with the American Council on Education and other higher education groups in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court opposing the Trump administration’s Executive Order instituting a travel ban. We argue that people from the six countries identified in the ban should not be barred or deterred from entering the United States and contributing to our colleges and universities. The brief emphasized the significant value of foreign academics and the international exchange of scholarly work, and explained that “the EO jeopardizes the vital contributions made by foreign . . . . scholars, and faculty by telling the world in the starkest terms that American colleges and universities are no longer receptive to them.” On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld a stay of the ban for travelers and refugees who have a “credible claim” of a genuine relationship with an individual or institution in the United States. In October 2017, after the travel ban expired by its own terms, the Supreme Court vacated the lower court cases as moot.

Energy & Environment Legal Institute v. Arizona Board of Regents, Case No. 2CACV-2017-0002 (Ariz. App. Ct., Second App. Div., Sept 14, 2017) (unpublished)

In this decision the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected attempts by a “free market” legal foundation to use public records requests to compel faculty members to release emails related to their climate research. In an amicus brief in support of the scientists, the AAUP had argued that Arizona statute creates an exemption to public release of records for academic research records, and that a general statutory exemption protecting records when in the best interests of the state, in particular the state’s interest in academic freedom, should have been considered. The appeals court agreed and reversed the decision of the trial court that required release of the records and returned the case to the trial court so that it could address these issues.

Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (August 23, 2016)

Echoing arguments made by the AAUP in an amicus brief,  the National Labor Relations Board held that student assistants working at private colleges and universities are statutory employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The 3–1 decision overrules a 2004 decision in Brown University, which had found that graduate assistants were not employees and therefore did not have statutory rights to unionize. In this case the AAUP filed an amicus brief with the Board arguing that extending collective bargaining rights to student employees promotes academic freedom and does not harm faculty-student mentoring relationships, and instead would reflect the reality that the student employees were performing the work of the university when fulfilling their duties. In reversing Brown, the majority said that the earlier decision “deprived an entire category of workers of the protections of the Act without a convincing justification.” The Board found that granting collective bargaining rights to student employees would not infringe on First Amendment academic freedom and, citing the AAUP amicus brief, would not seriously harm the ability of universities to function. The Board also relied on the AAUP amicus brief when it found that the duties of graduate assistants constituted work for the university and were not primarily educational.

Vergara v. California, 246 Cal. App. 4th 619, 209 Cal. Rptr. 3d 532 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., May 3, 2016)

In this case, the Court of Appeal of California issued a decision overturning a ruling by a California state court judge that found that California statutes providing tenure protections to K–12 teachers violated the equal protection provisions of the California constitution. The case arose from a challenge, funded by anti-union organizations, to five California statutes that provide primary and secondary school teachers a two-year probationary period, stipulate procedural protections for non-probationary teachers facing termination, and emphasize teacher seniority in reductions of force. The AAUP submitted an amicus brief which argued that the challenged statutes help protect teachers from retaliation, help keep good teachers in the classroom by promoting teacher longevity and discouraging teacher turnover, and allow teachers to act in students’ interests in presenting curricular material and advocating for students within the school system. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that the statutes themselves did not create equal protection violations, so they are not unconstitutional.

Fisher v. Univ. of Tex., 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016)

The US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action program in Fisher II, in which the AAUP joined an amicus brief. The brief argued that consideration of race in the admissions process is appropriate and advanced the AAUP’s longstanding view that diversity is essential not only for students but for the entire academic enterprise. In its second consideration of Fisher’s challenge to UT’s program, the Court confirmed that universities must prove that race is considered only as necessary to meet the permissible goals of affirmative action. In particular, the university must prove that “race-neutral alternatives” will not suffice to meet these goals. In Fisher II, the Court held that since UT had sufficient evidence that its “Top Ten” admissions policy based on class rank was not adequate, by itself, to meet its diversity goals, it could permissibly consider a student’s race as one factor in a broader assessment of qualifications. This opinion now enables universities to adopt affirmative action programs that meet constitutional requirements.    

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, 578 U.S. ____, (March 29, 2016)

On March 29, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a decision rejecting attempts by anti-union forces to render agency fee unconstitutional in the public sector. The AAUP filed with the American Federation of Teachers an amicus brief arguing that the payment of agency fees by non-members in collective bargaining unions to support union representation is constitutional. Ultimately the Court upheld an appellate court decision that found agency fee constitutional without addressing the substantive arguments in the case. Rather the Supreme Court decision stated in full “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” Thus, the law remains as it has for over forty years. However, since the Court was equally divided, it could revisit the issue, in this or another case, once a new justice is appointed to the Court.

Northwestern University and College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), Case No. 13-RC-121359 (August 17, 2015)

In a highly publicized case in which the AAUP filed an amicus brief, the National Labor Relations Board declined to assert jurisdiction over the Northwestern University football players’ petition seeking union representation rendering the players unable to unionize under the auspices of the NLRB. The Board, however, explicitly limited its decision to the unusual circumstances of the case, avoiding broader questions involving the unionization of graduate student assistants and others. 

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.

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)

The AAUP has filed an amicus brief (.pdf) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of Loretta Capeheart, a tenured professor at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Professor Capeheart sued NEIU after the provost disregarded a faculty vote electing Capeheart chair of the Justice Studies Department. Capeheart alleges that the provost refused to appoint her to the position in retaliation for her advocating on behalf of two students who were arrested by campus police while protesting CIA recruiters at the university’s job fair. Capeheart further claims that she was retaliated against because she made statements at a campus event, featuring the provost, blaming excessive administrative spending for budget problems that she claimed led to a low number of Latino faculty. In her lawsuit, Capeheart argues that the provost’s decision is in retaliation for this advocacy and speech and, therefore, NEIU has violated her First Amendment speech rights.

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 the 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.