Hong v. Grant

516 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (2007)

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Hong v. Grant

United States District for the Central District of California
516 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (2007)

Facts

Juan Hong (plaintiff) was a professor in the biomedical engineering program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), a state university. Hong regularly participated in the review process for professors and applicants, writing several letters of dissent because he disagreed with decisions being made. Hong also complained about the university’s decision to rely on lecturers for certain classes as opposed to full-time professors. One particular disagreement involved the decision to offer employment to a candidate prior to full faculty approval, which, according to Hong, violated the faculty’s right to self-governance in the professorial community. Hong submitted an application for a merit increase, despite acknowledging in his application that he had no success in attracting research grants and had little participation in peer-reviewed publications. Hong’s application was denied by the faculty. In its decision, the faculty noted that Hong’s research involvement was not at the level needed to advance to full professor. Hong filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Regents of UCI, along with Stanley Grant and several other UCI administrators (defendants), alleging that UCI violated his First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public concern. UCI administrators filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that Hong’s speech was not protected.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carney, J.)

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