Kirstein to Speak at Northeastern Illinois University Academic Freedom Teach-in: Loretta Capeheart Case

Update: AAUP Files Amicus Brief in Capeheart Appeal 

Professor Loretta Capeheart sued Northeastern Illinois University for discrimination and retaliation for opposing the lack of minority faculty, for opposing the Central Intelligence Agency from recruiting on campus and supporting strike-action by the faculty union. Dr Capeheart is tenured in Justice Studies but was not allowed to serve as chair despite her election to the post. She claimed various salary and merit awards were denied also as other instances of retaliation. This is a link to her complaint that was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, a state court. Unfortunately it was recently dismissed in an outlandish and IMMORAL summary judgment by Federal District Judge Blanche M. Manning-a judge refused to allow it to proceed to trial. Judges are using Garcetti to persecute Americans who dare criticise employers in the course of their duties at public universities. This is a disgraceful destruction of the Constitution and judges are gratuitously using Garcedtti v. Ceballos to silence professors in the US. RESIST ILLEGITIMATE AUTHORITY. Such is justice in a nation determined to silence courageous, progressive faculty who seek to challenge the reactionary, assault on critical thinking that so defines America in the age of ideological conformity.

Time Tuesday, April 26 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Location Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), LWH 1002
5500 N St. Louis Ave
Chicago, IL

Created By Shaun Harkin,
Dana Cloud,

More The Committee for Academic Justice invites you to a forum on:

Free Speech Under Fire: From WIsconsin to NEIU Tuesday, April 26, 7PM
NEIU, LWH 1002
Contact for more information and to support the event.
Setback in Signal Academic Freedom Tied to Nationwide Targeting of Activist Professors; Teach-in Scheduled for April 26 at NEIU

In 2007, Loretta Capeheart, a professor of Justice Studies at Northeastern Illinois University, was denied elected appointment to the position of Chair of her department. It became clear that the NEIU administration had targeted Capeheart for her outspokenness for workers’ rights, against the Iraq war, and for increased representation of minority scholars at NEIU. Capeheart sued NEIU officials for violating of her constitutional right to free speech and retaliation against her. Despite the backing of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), her case was dismissed in US District court in last fall. Citing the increasingly notorious Garcetti v. Ceballos case proscribing professors’ rights to free expression, the judge claimed that Capeheart’s activities and speech against the war and her defense of activist students were part of her faculty duties.

Capeheart’s case is at the heart of a nationwide crisis of academic freedom. In this moment of heightened activism on and off campuses across the country,activist students and professors are increasingly at risk. The pressure put on critical researchers and teachers (such as that launched by Glenn Beck against Frances Fox Piven) in right-wing media creates a climate for persecution. Pundits like Beck and David Horowitz have met with some success in whipping up hysteria about academic “indoctrination” and establishing a definition of academic freedom as neutrality. This argument warrants targeting area studies and progressive centers (for example, women’s and gender studies, African-American studies, and so on) on our campuses for deep cuts in the current fiscal crisis. FBI raids on academics like Florida State Professor Samin Anghaie, and Sarah Smith, who was subpoenaed for the “crime” of traveling to Israel and Palestine, constitute another dimension of this attack.

On April 14, however, the 4th Circuit Court dealt a blow to Garcetti in the case of North Carolina criminal justice studies professor Mike Adams in overruling an earlier decision that denied his First Amendment Rights. This victory indicates that now is the time to build the fight to defend all academics facing legal repression and FBI harassment!

On Tuesday, April 26, The Committee for Academic Justice at Northeastern Illinois University is hosting a panel discussion, “Free Speech Under Fire: From Wisconsin to NEIU” from 7 to 9 p.m. at LWH 1002 5500 N St. Louis Ave, Chicago, IL.
Organizers hope that this event will launch an ongoing effort to bring attention to all assaults on academic freedom and the connections among them.
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