This course will treat selected topics in law and higher education. A recurring issue throughout the course will be the extent to which legal doctrines should be modified, if at all, in light of the arguably unique characteristics of colleges and universities. The course should therefore be valuable not just for students with a particular interest in law and higher education; it should also provide an opportunity for detailed study of various aspects of free speech, due process, employment law, and employment discrimination.
The course will begin with a thorough examination of academic freedom and tenure, focusing on the relationships between these concepts and the constitutional doctrines of free speech and due process. The role of contract law in protecting academic freedom and tenure in private universities will also be studied. The course will then explore the application of laws prohibiting employment discrimination, especially Title VII, to colleges and universities. These topics will provide the background for investigating claims of "institutional" academic freedom.
Important judicial decisions will constitute the majority of the course reading, but a significant number of scholarly articles and appellate court briefs will also be assigned.