Levin v. Harleston
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
966 F.2d 85 (1992)
Levin (plaintiff) was a tenured professor at The City College of The City University of New York (CUNY). Levin published three different articles that contained degrading comments about African Americans. During the spring of 1990, Levin was assigned to teach Philosophy 101 over objections by Sherwin, the CUNY Dean of Humanities (defendant). Though there had been no complaints from students that Levin had treated any students unfairly based on race, Sherwin created an alternative section of Philosophy 101 and notified students of their ability to transfer to the alternative section if they desired. In addition, Harleston (defendant), the President of CUNY, announced at a press conference during the 1990 spring semester that an Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Rights and Responsibilities had been formed to investigate whether Levin’s views could affect his ability to teach. Levin subsequently declined invitations to speak at events due to his fear of being terminated from CUNY. The Ad Hoc Committee recommended no disciplinary action against Levin, determining that no professor should be subject to discipline based on speech made outside of the classroom. Levin filed a lawsuit alleging that his First Amendment rights had been violated. The district court ruled in favor of Levin, and Harleston and Sherwin appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Van Graafeiland, J.)
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