ERIC Number: ED458846
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Eleventh Amendment Immunity and Academic Freedom.
Simpson, Michael D.
NEA Higher Education Research Center Update, v5 n3 Oct 1999
This "Update" discusses the impact of the "Seminole Tribe v. State of Florida" decision on higher education. In essence, the Court in this decision rescinded the doctrine of "Eleventh Amendment immunity" and ruled that Congress has only limited power to enact laws that apply to state governmental entities, including public colleges and universities. This means that Congress may not have the constitutional power to extend some federal job protections and benefits to persons employed by public institutions of higher education. Congress doesn't have the power to give employees of public colleges and universities the right to sue their employers in federal court. However, this power is partially restored through the Fourteenth Amendment. Some court decisions related to higher education are reviewed with regard to age discrimination suits by faculty members, family and medical leave entitlement, disability discrimination, and other federal civil rights laws. In sum, the "Seminole Tribe" decision is a radical decision that fundamentally changes the balance of power between Congress and the states. When collective bargaining is permitted, higher education faculty and staff can bargain for civil rights protection and they need not be bound by the view that the state can do no wrong and that public sector employees serve at the pleasure of the sovereign state. With regard to academic freedom the courts are making a critical and dispositive distinction between faculty speech outside the classroom and speech inside the classroom. Recent court decisions suggest that there is no First Amendment protection inside the classroom. Three recent court decision show a real curtailment of the free speech rights of faculty when they are speaking in their roles as employees. (Contains 31 endnotes.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, College Faculty, Court Litigation, Freedom of Speech, Intellectual Freedom, Professional Autonomy, Teacher Rights
For full text: http://www.nea.org/he.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Education Association, Washington, DC. Higher Education Research Center.