Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 7, 2019

University Pays Professors $650,000 For Trying to Shut Down Their Blog

CSUChicago Tribune editorial, Chicago State Symposium: How to Squander a Fortune:

For those who care about Chicago State University’s future, we recommend a visit to the CSU Faculty Voice blog. The online site () specializes in bracing, acerbic criticism — of former President Wayne Watson, of the university’s culture of cronyism, of bloated administrative salaries and sagging enrollment. Its slogan: “Crony $tate University: Where competent people are fired and our friends are hired.”

For years, CSU spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees trying to shut down the blog. Thin-skinned, anyone?

In 2014, blog founders and professors Robert Bionaz and Phillip Beverly sued CSU, alleging that university brass were tromping on the bloggers’ constitutional right of free expression. The profs noted that theirs is a private blog, not housed on university servers, and not run for profit.

Now comes welcome (if expensive) word that the university has agreed to pay $650,000 in damages and attorney’s fees to the two professors. That’s a resounding victory for free expression, and a warning to any college leader who seeks to muzzle critics.

No, we’re not endorsing every stance or statement on the blog. But we are endorsing the professors’ right to speak up about what they view as administrators’ corruption, incompetence or mismanagement.

Legal Education | Permalink


One might surmise that the university administration is morally and temperamentally unsuited to run an educational institution supposedly dedicated to open inquiry and freedom of speech. Isn't that what education is supposed to be about?

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Feb 7, 2019 3:51:48 AM

Somehow my mind harkens back to the numerous financially self-interested actors trying to harass, fire, or otherwise bother sundry "law schools are in crisis / a scam" professors, reporters, commenters, etc.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 7, 2019 7:09:30 AM

Was any of that "bracing, acerbic criticism" factually incorrect and therefore defamatory?

Posted by: Defamation? | Feb 7, 2019 9:21:29 AM

Important victory for academic freedom in the era of the corporatized university. For more background, I blogged about this at Eric Goldman's Technology and Marketing Law Blog a while ago:

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Feb 7, 2019 12:48:44 PM