Professor’s First Amendment Rights Upheld at Brooklyn College

By September 14, 2005

As FIRE announced in a press release this morning, Brooklyn College has conceded that Professor K. C. Johnson’s public criticisms of dispositions theory are constitutionally protected and has affirmed that Professor Johnson will not be subject to any investigation as a result of his expression. This is a victory for academic freedom and freedom of speech, although it is disheartening that FIRE even needed to remind a public university that its students and faculty have the right to voice their opinions on matters of public concern. The college could not defend in public what Professor Johnson’s would-be censors were doing in private and had to back down, validating one of our fundamental beliefs at FIRE: that administrators at colleges and universities cannot defend their private actions in the court of public opinion. FIRE relies on the fact that the American public at large rejects ideological coercion and censorship like that which was taking place at Brooklyn College prior to FIRE’s intervention. It is this moral support from so many Americans that makes it possible for FIRE to continue working to shine sunlight into all the corners of the academy.

Schools: Brooklyn College, City University of New York Cases: Brooklyn College: Possible Investigation of Professor’s Expression