Tennessee Tech professors lose First Amendment case against university – Tennessee Lookout

A The federal judge rejected the request as if to overturn disciplinary action against two Tennessee Tech professors Resist The couple posted leaflets on campus calling a professor a ‘racist’.

Julia Gruber, Ph.D. Cookeville University German professor and English instructor Andrew Smith has retaliated against Lori Bruce, Tennessee Tech’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, for asserting their First Amendment rights. The couple said Bruce violated the due process claims contained in the 14th Improvement.

Chief Judge Waverly Crenshaw of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ruled that Gruber and Smith had failed to prove any part of their case and granted Bruce summary judgment to dismiss the case.

According to court documents, Gruber and Smith created and posted fliers on Feb. 5, 2021, featuring Andrew Donadio, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Tennessee Tech and serving on the Putnam County Commission.

Donadio will serve as faculty advisor for the campus chapter of Turning Point USA, which will launch at Tennessee Tech in early 2021. Turning Point identifies itself as a conservative organization that “empowers citizens of all ages to stand up against extremism while protecting freedoms.” , free markets and limited government. The group publishes the “Professor Watchlist” for “.They are exposing college professors who discriminate against conservative students and promote leftist propaganda in the classroom.

But it was Donadio’s response to the Putnam County School Board on Feb. 4, 2021, that spurred Gruber and Smith into action, according to legal documents.

The school board meeting was held to appoint a committee to change the name of the middle school mascot from “Redskins”. Gruber and Donadio were found separately, and Later Gruber Donadio cheered and applauded when the board voted against the move.

After discussing the matter with Gruber, Smith created a flyer featuring Donadio’s photo and referring to him as a “racist college professor.”

The pamphlet described Turning Point as a “hate group where racist students of color, women, liberals, etc. harass, bully, intimidate, and terrorize their teachers in particular.”

It is said that: “Professor Donadio and Turning Point America. You are on our list. Your hate and hypocrisy will not be accepted at Tennessee Tech.

Gruber and Smith posted “a few” fliers around campus, prompting Donadio to file a complaint against the pair with Tennessee Tech’s human resources office.

After investigation, Bruce determined that the purpose of the flyer was to target Donadio and intimidate and intimidate the students involved in Turning Point. As discipline, Bruce informed Gruber and Smith that they would not be allowed to serve as faculty advisors to both student organizations, study abroad programs, or be eligible for non-academic faculty assignments. Neither is eligible for a raise for a year.

In their lawsuit against Bruce, Gruber and Smithversion As private citizens, not representatives of the university, and the information posted on the pamphlet is a matter of public concern, it is protected by the First Amendment.

The couple waived their right to due process, saying they were given no opportunity to respond to Donadione’s lawsuit or submit written questions.

Crenshaw disagreed, arguing in his Dec. 1 opinion that the statutory precedent does not ensure that all public employee speech affecting public affairs is protected by the First Amendment.

Crenshaw shot down allegations that Gruber and Smith were denied an opportunity to defend themselves, not only that the two were notified of the procedure for an investigation by the university’s human resources department, but Bruce described the interview. Allowing them to participate in the defense of their actions.

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