Protect Their Employment and Your Institution
Faculty and staff are often approached by students seeking their help to pressure the administration, trustees, and others through direct action. Students seek their guidance on planning sit-ins, pickets, protests of speakers, campaigns to alter investment strategies, and other activism, placing faculty and staff in direct opposition to the institution. Faculty and staff may also feel drawn to engage directly in the activism itself as a way of supporting students or voicing their own concerns. The circumstances often involve strong passions.
When is providing such guidance or engaging in direct action by faculty and staff protected expression?
What is out of the reach of institutional sanctioning, and when may the institution take disciplinary action, including suspension or termination of employment?
Where exactly is the “line that cannot be crossed” without triggering consequences?
Our expert presenter – Allen W. Groves, Senior Vice President & Chief Student Experience Officer at Syracuse University – goes beyond a narrow discussion of freedom of speech to examine the broader context of faculty and staff engagement in student activism. We look at variance outcomes based on the differing positions held by faculty and staff, as well as potential risks posed by alleged defamation, trespass, and other potential legal claims arising from faculty and staff direct action. Recent examples in the higher education setting will be used as case studies to bring clarity to the subject and offer clearer guidance on where the metaphorical line should be drawn.
Gain improved understanding of the scope of rights afforded to college and university employees who directly advise or encourage students to engage in activism, and the limits on such action. Help your colleagues support students, while also maintaining appropriate limits on certain forms of direct engagement, so they can protect themselves and the institution from legal action and headline news.
Crucial, actionable takeaways will be provided to help faculty and staff:
- Provide guidance and support to students while still protecting themselves and the institution.
- Improve their understanding of the opportunities and limits of engaging in direct action with students against the institution or other parties – understand what constitutes protected expression by faculty and staff when engaging in direct activism against the institution or other parties and where such protection ends.
- Utilize a roadmap of when actions taken in support of student activism may place their employment at risk or otherwise expose them to negative consequences – explore the legal risks to faculty and staff beyond adverse employment action.
Crucial, actionable takeaways will be provided to help institutional leaders:
- Improve their understanding of when faculty and staff are within their legal rights to engage with students in direct action – know when faculty and staff’s protected expression is out of reach of sanction by the institution and when the institution may take disciplinary action, including suspension or termination of employment.
- Dissect recent high-profile situations – gain clarity around the different approaches taken by courts based upon the employee’s role as tenured faculty, adjunct/contract faculty, and staff, as well as incidents in which faculty and staff have experienced adverse employment action taken by the institution resulting from their conduct related to student activism.
- Explore alternatives to adverse employment action when faculty and staff are reported to have engaged in misconduct related to student activism.
Allen Groves serves Syracuse University as Senior Vice President for the Student Experience, the chief student affairs officer of the University.
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Included When You Purchase
- 60-minute online session with a carefully selected expert
- Unlimited access to view webinar recording on demand
- Materials for your team (handouts, discussion questions, etc.)
- Certificate of completion for each participant
- Weekly newsletter – What's Working on Campus
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