An Appeal to Defend Free Speech and Academic Freedom
Anthony Arnove, Editor, Haymarket Books
Noam Chomsky, Institute professor (emeritus), MIT
Mike Davis, Professor, UC Riverside
William Keach, Professor, Brown University
Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights
Helen C. Scott, Associate Professor, University of Vermont
Free speech and academic freedom are at stake for all in Professor Loretta Capeheart’s struggle with her employer: Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago. Loretta needs our support now.
Capeheart is a ten year tenured professor at NEIU and a respected union and community activist. NEIU administrators have systematically targeted her for years. Administrators have attempted to slander Capeheart and denied her a department chair position and earned merit increases.
These attacks resulted from Capeheart’s union activities, anti-war work, and her attempts to promote the rights of students and faculty, especially Latino/a faculty.
NEIU has used the infamous Garcetti case against Capeheart’s free speech claims. This has wide ranging implications against working people’s rights to exercise free speech. In the Garcetti case, the Supreme Court held that the limits imposed on free speech should not be applied to academic settings. Unfortunately, the lower court in Capeheart’s case did just that, ignoring the direction of the Supreme Court. Other federal courts have similarly misapplied Garcetti endangering the rights of all workers to speak. The decision of the lower court leaves workers with fewer rights. The appeal, before the 7th Circuit Court of appeals will either reject those limits or further establish them. Either way, this case could move to the Supreme Court.
NEIU President Sharon Hahs has presided over a spectacle of scandal. Just last year, she and her provost were served no confidence votes by the faculty. This year the Dean of Students committed suicide shortly after being reorganized out of his job, and two Vice Presidents have been exposed for partaking in a “double dipping” scheme.
NEIU hired the union busting law firm Franczek Radelet. The same firm is used against the Chicago Teachers Union and other workers’ rights organizations.
Join us in defending Professor Capeheart in her fight for academic freedom and free speech for all faculty and students. For more information visit the Defend Loretta Capeheart website.
Here’s how you can help:
Support the campaign financially. Loretta has spent almost $100,000, well beyond her limited means in her attempt to defend free speech. We need individual and institutional financial backing to continue this fight. You can make a donation by sending a check to Thomas D. Rosenwein, Glickman, Flesch & Rosenwein, 230 West Monroe St., Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606, memo: Loretta Capeheart Defense.
Show your solidarity by resolutions in your union, your faculty senate, or other organization through which you can gain support. Send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please circulate this appeal letter, the website and sign the petition.