University of Alabama: Attempt to Limit Freedom of Speech and Right to Petition


University of Alabama

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Case Overview


The Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama (UA) has threatened the First Amendment rights both of free speech and of petitioning the government for the redress of grievances by initiating an investigation into the Alabama Association of Scholars' communication with faculty members and legislators over proposed mandatory diversity training seminars in UA's College of Engineering. FIRE protested the mandatory seminars as part of a letter writing campaign after UA first implemented them, writing administrators to note that "mandatory workshops espousing a particular orthodoxy on issues of race and ethnicity would violate the moral and, indeed, constitutional obligations of a public university." FIRE continues to stress that these mandatory workshops violate faculty members freedom of conscience, and that the investigation into constitutionally protected activity create a chilling effect on free speech.