Victory for academic freedom: 4th Circuit says professor’s speeches, columns protected by First Amendment

ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND NEWS RELEASE
April 6, 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT ADF MEDIA RELATIONS:  (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

Victory for academic freedom: 4th Circuit says professor’s speeches, columns protected by First Amendment

Decision against UNC-Wilmington sets significant precedent protecting professors who express their views on religious, political topics

RICHMOND, Va. — A University of North Carolina–Wilmington professor’s speeches and columns are fully protected by the First Amendment, according to a published decision handed down Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.  Alliance Defense Fund attorneys contended that criminology professor Mike Adams was denied a promotion unconstitutionally because university officials were hostile to the religious and political views he espoused in his columns and speeches.

A lower court had said that Adams’ speeches and columns on matters of public concern were not protected by the First Amendment and instead constituted “official” speech as part of his job duties.  The 4th Circuit disagreed, finding that Adams’ columns and speeches constituted protected, private speech and that university officials could be held personally liable for damages should Adams ultimately prevail in the case.

Case Name:  Adams v. The Trustees of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington

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