Federal judge recognizes free speech in academic arena

Federal judge recognizes free speech in academic arena

Federal judge recognizes free speech in academic arena

A pro-family policy specialist says a judge ruling that community colleges in California cannot force professors to be "anti-racist" is a good start.

In June, Professor Daymon Johnson from Bakersfield Community College filed a lawsuit claiming that his colleague, Matthew Garrett, was dismissed for expressing his political beliefs. 

Now, U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Baker has deemed the "anti-racist" regulations imposed on more than 54,000 California community college professors to potentially conflict with the First Amendment. There is a temporary halt on their enforcement.

"Although Defendants' aim of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in California’s system of community colleges undoubtedly is important and Defendants are entitled to encourage their employees to embrace these tenets, Plaintiff has shown a likelihood of success on the merits that the regulatory scheme Defendants have put in place to advance these interests is contrary to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech in the academic arena," the injunction reads.

"We were happy to see a judge recognize that California community colleges were telling professors, particularly conservative professors, how to think," responds California Family Council's Greg Burt.

He says the colleges are trying to enforce on all the faculty a critical race theory (CRT)-based "anti-racist worldview" that divides everybody into two groups.

Burt, Greg (California Family Council) Burt

"You're either an oppressor, or you're oppressed, and it's all determined by what race you're a part of, what gender you are, what sexual orientation you are," Burt details. "It's a very divisive policy, very controversial, and here in California, they're trying to mandate that every professor believe this and promote it in everything they teach."

So, he is pleased that this violation of free speech rights did not go unnoticed.

Also noting that these colleges are publicly supported, Burt submits that "the public ultimately should have a say in how much academic freedom colleges supported by public dollars should have."

"The only way one perspective is going to be enforced on professors is if the public just throws up their hands and gives up," he says.

He adds that conservative professors need to be able to speak against racism, not be forced to go along with the Left's racist initiatives. Otherwise, "our colleges have turned into indoctrination factories."