An Important Victory for Academic Freedom (UNC-Wilmington)
A lower court had said that Adams’ speeches and columns on matters of public concern were not protected by the First Amendment and instead constituted “official” speech as part of his job duties. The 4th Circuit disagreed, finding that Adams’ columns and speeches constituted protected, private speech and that university officials could be held personally liable for damages should Adams ultimately prevail in the case.
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David T. Beito - 4/9/2011
Well....I didn't know anything about this but it doesn't have any impact on my defense of Adams' academic freedom.
Andrew D. Todd - 4/8/2011
If you recall, one has heard of Michael S. Adams before.
Of course even Nazis are entitled to the benefit of the first amendment, but let us discard the idea that Michael S. Adams is a particularly worthy object for academic freedom. I refer specifically to his attempt to organize a purge of the Kent State historian Julio Cesar Pino, and his published statements teaching and advocating torturing Pino. I would not care to venture to what extent Adams made himself liable to a civil suit for defamation. My impression was that he was desperately trying to find a target for persecution on one of those campuses where all the professors were taking refuge in silence, and there was no overt opposition to President Bush. Adams displayed a reckless disregard for truth. Adams claims the benefit of the same law that he himself publicly despises-- when it is applied for the benefit of someone else.
Professors are expected to be gentlemen, the same as army officers. For example, I can send an unpublished manuscript to David Beito without worrying that he might take it and publish it under his own name, that is, I can assume that Beito is a gentleman. I don't think I could make such an assumption about Michael S. Adams. A man who displays lack of integrity in one way will display in in other ways. As Lord Monbodo famously said of Boswell, Michael S. Adams is "... a madman who has not the good fortune to be a gentleman."
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