Universities who violate the U.S. Constitution almost always lose in Court

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
March 11, 2020

Legislation to ensure free speech on college campuses in Mississippi will not only protect the rights of every student, it will also save taxpayers the costs of attorney fees.

Healy v. James, U.S. Supreme Court (1972). … “State colleges and universities are not enclaves immune from the sweep of the First Amendment.The precedents of this Court leave no room for the view that, because of the acknowledged need for order, First Amendment protections should apply with less force on college campuses than in the community at large.” 

Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, U.S. Supreme Court (2000) … “When a university requires its students to pay fees to support the extracurricular speech of other students, all in the interest of open discussion, it may not prefer some viewpoints to others.”

Sweezy v. New Hampshire, U.S. Supreme Court (1957) … “The essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident. ... Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.”

Papish v. Board of Curators of University of Missouri, U.S. Supreme Court (1973) … “We think Healy makes it clear that the mere dissemination of ideas—no matter how offensive to good taste—on a state university campus may not be shut off in the name alone of “conventions of decency.”

Widmar v. Vincent, U.S. Supreme Court (1981) … “With respect to persons entitled to be there, our cases leave no doubt that the First Amendment rights of speech and association extend to the campuses of state universities.”

Dambrot v. Central Michigan University, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (1995) … “Because the CMU discriminatory harassment policy is overbroad and void for vagueness and because it is not a valid prohibition against fighting words, the CMU discriminatory harassment policy violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

DeJohn v. Temple University, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (2008) … “The Policy punishes not only speech that actually causes disruption, but also speech that merely intends to do so: by its terms, it covers speech `which has the purpose or effect of' interfering with educational performance or creating a hostile environment. This ignores Tinker's requirement that a school must reasonably believe that speech will cause actual, material disruption before prohibiting it."

Barnes v. Zaccari, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2015) … “Qualified immunity offers complete protection for government officials sued in their individual capacities as long as their conduct violates no clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. … To defeat qualified immunity on a motion for summary judgment, Barnes must show that, when the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to him, Zaccari violated a constitutional right.” … In this case, the president of the university agreed to a personal $900,000 settlement because there is no “immunity” to violate the U.S. Constitution.

Koala v. Khosla, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (2019) … “We are sensitive to the challenges facing educational institutions seeking to steer a difficult course between free expression and civil discourse. Nevertheless, we are equally mindful of that fact that, in the university setting, “the State acts against a backdrop and tradition of thought and experiment that is at the center of our intellectual and philosophic tradition.” Rosenberger, 515 U.S. at 835. We conclude that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar plaintiffs’ suit.”


magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram