As an organization that supports everyone’s right to free expression, the ACLU-CT supports this bill, which would protect the freedom of expression of faculty members at public institutions of higher education in their scholarship, research, and teaching, and matters of public interest. For example, a Trinity College professor who, while speaking out in support of racial justice, posted comments and shared a hashtag and link on his personal Facebook page faced criticism for alleged violations of school policies in 2017. Though the ACLU-CT commends Trinity College’s conclusion that the professor did not violate school policies by expressing his political views on his personal social media page, it is clear that Connecticut’s higher education institutions and their faculty would benefit from a clear statewide standard on academic freedom. Although a good example of why this bill is needed, Trinity College and other private higher education institutions would not be covered by this proposed bill.
S.B. 840, An Act Concerning Academic Freedom at Public Institutions of Higher Education