Eastern Washington University: Professor Blocked on Twitter for Tweets Critical of University


Eastern Washington University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On January 31, 2023, The Spokesman-Review reported that EWU history professor Larry Cebula had been blocked by EWU’s official Twitter account, @EWUEagles,after posting tweets critical of the university. 

EWU officials admitted to blocking Cebula in the spring of 2022 after he posted tweets the school considered “defamatory,” and promised to continue blocking users whose comments run afoul of the school’s social media policy.

FIRE wrote EWU on March 9, explaining that the social media policy was unconstitutional and reminding the school of its First Amendment obligations to refrain from content and viewpoint discrimination on its official social media accounts. FIRE requested that EWU unblock all users it had previously blocked and commit to revising its unlawful policy.

On March 17, EWU President Shari McMahan responded and confirmed that it had reversed its blocking decisions and had begun the “protracted” process of revising its policy to comply with the law. President McMahan estimated that the new policy would be in place by the fall or winter of 2023, and pledged that “EWU staff will be instructed to follow the new draft policy in the interim.”