University of Louisville: Professor Reprimanded for Criticizing University’s Handling of Music Award


University of Louisville

Search all Cases

Case Overview

On May 8, 2023, the University of Louisville issued a verbal warning to Professor Krysztof Wolek for criticizing the university’s handling of an annual music award in an email to fellow faculty. The dean of UL’s school of music had requested faculty “kindly refrain” from discussing the award’s structure, rules, and procedures. UL charged Wolek with engaging in “[u]nprofessional, disrespectful, hostile, harassing, intimidating, or discriminating conduct,” and “[c]onduct that severely disrupts the work environment.” FIRE wrote UL on August 10, explaining it could neither use a prior restraint to chill speech, nor enforce overly broad policies to punish speech on the grounds it is “unprofessional,” “disrespectful,” or any other vague term. UL declined to respond substantively, citing employee-privacy concerns despite FIRE including a signed privacy waiver authorizing UL to discuss the case.