Colorado State University – Pueblo: Professor’s Email Access Blocked After Message Protesting Layoffs

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Colorado State University – Pueblo

On January 17, 2014, Colorado State University-Pueblo Professor Tim McGettigan emailed all students and faculty, criticizing the administration’s plans to terminate up to 50 positions at the school. McGettigan’s email evoked the Ludlow Massacre, a 1914 attack on striking miners and their families that resulted in numerous deaths. That same day, administrators accused McGettigan of violating a policy that prohibits using email “to intimidate, threaten, or harass other individuals,” and deactivated his email account without warning. CSU-Pueblo defended its actions by citing safety concerns, referring to shootings that occurred at other schools. FIRE wrote a letter to President Lesley Di Mare, explaining that McGettigan’s email was protected speech and did not come close to constituting legally unprotected threats, intimidation, or harassment. McGettigan’s email access has been partially restored, but he remains unable to use university mass email lists.