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FIRE statement on University of Florida decision to prevent professors from testifying in voting rights lawsuit

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FIRE is deeply concerned by a report in The New York Times that the University of Florida has barred three professors from participating as witnesses in a voting rights lawsuit against the state of Florida.

FIRE has said it before, and we’ll say it again: The profound civic importance of fair trials requires the ability of fact and expert witnesses to come forward to testify truthfully without fear that their government employer might retaliate against them. Public university faculty are no exception. We call on UF to reverse course immediately. 

UF should be aware that Plymouth State University’s ill-considered decision to punish faculty who had testified in a trial ultimately cost the state of New Hampshire’s taxpayers $350,000. FIRE warned Plymouth State then, and we’re warning UF now: If you pick a fight with the First Amendment, you will lose.

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