This article is a piece of opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff.
While this letter was being aired in The Eagle, we received news that the investigation into one of the students involved in this case had been dropped. We are publishing the letter, however, as the case raises important questions about how the harassment policy and the AU’s commitment to protecting free expression relate to each other. We hope the AU administration will clarify the underlying questions about AU policies on such matters and encourage community members to communicate their views on these important issues.
– Lara Schwartz and Thomas Merrill
July 6, 2022
We, the teachers under the signature, are writing to express concern about a ongoing investigation of eight students of the Washington College of Law.
According to information available to the public about to talk and to notice the Office of Equity and Title IX sent to students, students are investigated for political speech protected by American University policies on expression and dissent, and that will protect speech in the First Amendment if the AU is a public institution.
Investigating students for political arguments violates students ’rights under our policies and puts at risk the mission of a university. It is a matter of instantaneous; Community members need reassurance that expressing political disagreement – which is their right under our policies and central to a university’s mission – will not expose them to an investigation.
If some unprotected conduct not seen in the public record or notice has occurred, the American University must clarify that the conduct is being investigated.
We request that the University immediately conclude this investigation and reaffirm its commitment to protect the freedom of expression of its community members.
Lara Schwartz SPA/Government
David Lublin, Department of Government
Alan G. Isaac, Economics
Joe Young, School of Public Affairs and School of International Service
Robert A. Blecker, Economics/CAS
Gregg Ivers, Department of Government/SPA
Amos Golan Economics
Jon D. Wisman, Economics
Unice Lieberman Government/SPA
Elizabeth Suhay, Government Department/SPA
Gabriel Mathy, Department of Economics
Tony Ahrens, Department of Psychology
John Willoughby, Professor, Department of Economics
Scott Parker – CAS/Psychology (Professor Emeritus)
Andrew Ballard, Assistant Professor, Department of Government
Adrienne LeBas, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs
Mr. Borden Flanagan, Government Department
David Barker, Government
Andrew R. Flores / Government – SPA
Elizabeth Anderson Worden, Associate Professor, SOE
Christopher Utter, Department of Government, University of America
Garret Martin, SIS
Thomas Merrill, Government/SPA