Loyola University New Orleans: Professor Repeatedly Investigated, Sanctioned for Protected Speech


Loyola University New Orleans

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Case Overview


In June 2020, Loyola University New Orleans students circulated a petition demanding the university punish professor Walter Block, accusing him of holding “racist and sexist” beliefs. The university initially refused to punish Block. However, throughout 2021 and 2022, Loyola investigated, sanctioned, and required Block to complete a diversity training course in response to in-class comments, including his use of the word “Oriental,” his teaching of the “marital asymmetry hypothesis” as an explanation for the gender wage gap, and his reference to slave owners in a discussion about authoritarianism. On October 31, 2022, FIRE wrote Loyola urging it to drop its investigations and sanctions against Block, as all of his comments are pedagogically relevant and protected by the university’s academic freedom commitments. On November 14, Loyola responded its actions were in accordance with state and federal law. FIRE reiterated our concerns in a December 20 follow-up letter, but our efforts were again rebuffed.