Publication Date



The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos
put further restraints on public employee speech by exempting
from First Amendment protection speech made pursuant to the
“official duties” of public employees. This limitation, if applied
to the speech of college professors, would constrain their
academic freedom of instruction and scholarship by permitting
overbearing institutional oversight. This constraint would be
detrimental not only to the employed professors, but also to
their students and the post-secondary educational system as a
whole. Courts should not apply Garcetti to academic freedom
in the post-secondary education context, and they should avoid
further limitations on professorial speech.
This Note argues that Garcetti should not be applied to
higher education faculty by reconsidering the purpose of the
university and the role that students and colleagues play in the
expressive activities of professors. While many commentators
have noted Garcetti’s potential detriment to the speaker, very
few have considered the audience’s participation in both
instruction and research. This Note accounts for the rights of
those receiving instruction from, or engaging in scholarship
with, the professor to argue that restraints on professorial
speech harm both the speaker and the audience.