Clay Calvert is professor emeritus at the University of Florida where until January 2023 he held a joint appointment as Professor of Law at the Fredric G. Levin College of Law and as Brechner Eminent Scholar in mass communication in the College of Journalism and Communications. His research focuses on the First Amendment and media law. In 2023, his op-ed commentaries – addressing timely topics such as tenure, academic freedom and free speech on college campuses – have appeared in venues including The Hill, Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Media Appearances (2)
Shoring up protection for academic freedom in public university classrooms urgently needed
The Hill online
Academic freedom, a Washington Post opinion piece recently asserted, “is under attack across the United States.” To wit, the American Association of University Professors in January lamented “a barrage of hostile actions affecting academic freedom … in Florida’s public higher education institutions.” In Texas, a bill was filed in March “to protect academic freedom” at the Lone Star State’s public universities from potential legislative assault.
In Florida, what does ‘tenure’ actually mean? Amid the fictions, here are the facts.
Tampa Bay Times online
Professors and politicians are squaring off over tenure. Bills have cropped up nationwide in recent years seeking to impose greater state oversight of tenured professors or even eliminate tenure. The Associated Press recently reported that tenure “faced review from lawmakers or state oversight boards in at least half a dozen states,” and bills now pend in Florida, Iowa and North Dakota.
Taking the Fight Out of Fighting Words on the Doctrine’s Eightieth Anniversary: What “N” Word Litigation Today Reveals About Assumptions, Flaws and Goals of a First Amendment Principle in Disarray.Missouri Law Review
Analyzing a trio of recent rulings involving usage of the “N” word by white people directed at Black individuals, this Article explores problems with the United States Supreme Court’s fighting words doctrine on its eightieth anniversary. In the process of examining these cases and the troubles they illuminate, including the doctrine’s dubious reliance on racial and gender-based stereotypes, this Article calls for the Supreme Court to do more than merely refine its amorphous contours that lower courts now are fleshing out...
Expert Testimony by Public University Faculty: Exposing Doctrinal Deficiencies of Academic Freedom as a Legal Right and Proposing a Solution Within the Public-Employee Speech DoctrineUniversity of Miami Law Review
When the University of Florida (“UF”) prohibited three professors in 2021 from serving as expert witnesses in a lawsuit filed against the State of Florida, the decision sparked a national debate about academic freedom and free speech at public universities. The professors also sued UF in federal court in Austin v. University of Florida Board of Trustees alleging a violation of their First Amendment rights.
First Amendment Battles over Anti-Deplatforming Statutes: Examining Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo’s Relevance for Today’s Online Social Media Platform CasesNew York University Law Review Online
Florida adopted a statute in 2021 barring large social media sites from deplatforming—removing from their sites—candidates running for state and local office. Soon thereafter, Texas adopted its own anti-deplatforming statute. A trade association representing several major social media companies is now challenging the laws in federal court for violating the platforms’ First Amendment speech rights.