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New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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Research Misconduct & Conflict of Interest; Research; First Amendment & Free Speech; Constitutional Issues

Tracy v. Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees (S.D. Fla. Dec. 15, 2016)

A former professor at Florida Atlantic University was terminated after he made controversial comments in his personal blog. FAU claimed that it fired Plaintiff for refusing to comply with its conflict of interest policy. The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint as it applied to the individual FAU employees in their official capacities for being duplicative of the claims against FAU. Upon finding that no clearly established law existed to indicate that FAU’s conflict of interest policy or form requirement were clearly unconstitutional, the Court concluded that the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity in that regard. However, in light of the Complaint’s lack of clarity on whether Plaintiff’s blog posts discussed a matter of public concern, whether Plaintiff was fired for his speech, whether FAU’s rationale for his termination was pretextual, and whether Plaintiff’s interest in his exercise of speech outweighed FAU’s interest in suppressing that speech; the Court afforded Plaintiff one final opportunity to amend his pleading in order to address these deficiencies. 

12/19/2016
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