Frank LoMonte Co-Authors Article on First Amendment Protections for Public University Professors
Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was the co-author of “Don’t Expect Professors to Get Fired When They Say Something You Don’t Like” published in The Conversation on May 7.
In the article, LoMonte and co-author David Jadon, a student at the UF Levin College of Law, discuss the workplace and the First Amendment. They focus on how government agencies – including states that run many universities and community colleges – cannot restrict the content of citizens’ speech, or punish them after the fact for what they say. When a private employer, including a private college, fires someone over a social media post, there’s no constitutional violation. However, the First Amendment may apply more forcefully when the speaker is a college instructor at a public institution.
According to LoMonte and Jadon, in higher education, academic freedom is a cherished value and college educators are given the latitude to explore provocative ideas in the classroom or on social media, even unorthodox ones.
“If the marketplace greets the next professorial online rant with a yawn and a click of the ’unfollow’ button, then the message will fail to find an audience – and the market will have spoken,” they said.