University of La Verne: Tenured Law Professor Punished for Protected Expression


University of La Verne

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Case Overview


The University of La Verne placed Professor Diane Klein on unpaid leave and initiated proceedings to strip her of tenure and terminate her after another faculty member, Assistant Dean Jendayi Saada, alleged that an offhand, metaphorical comment Klein made — a remark about “assassinating” Saada while Klein’s faculty committee was discussing whether to include in its report the failures of the program Saada runs — was a threat to her life. The comment was not an unprotected true threat. After a months-long process, the College of Law Personnel Committee recommended that Klein’s tenure be involuntarily surrendered. FIRE wrote to the University of La Verne on April 10, 2020, calling on the university to reject the committee’s recommendation, and again on May 5 to express concern about procedural errors and that Klein was directed to cease all communication with the university.