Law 101 Faculty: Avoiding Lawsuits

In an environment where the boundaries of academic freedom are continually tested, how can faculty members effectively manage their responsibilities (such as service, research, and teaching) while avoiding legal pitfalls that could result in litigation?

These situations often leave faculty members advocating for themselves and their peers, defending the relevance of assignments, curriculum, recommended readings, and more that may be challenged. Additionally, faculty must balance maintaining classroom control and ensuring the institution is not exposed to potential liability when addressing controversial readings, technology restrictions, accommodation requests, and similar issues.

This workshop is designed to equip faculty members, graduate teaching assistants, and adjuncts with the knowledge to understand various legal concerns and avoid legal pitfalls. This workshop can also cover a variety of other legal challenges in the classroom.

Institutions can select from the following topics, including:

  • Recent court decisions that apply to college faculty
  • Faculty implications of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Students’ speech rights in class
  • Faculty religious freedom rights
  • Types of assignments that may expose faculty members to legal challenges
  • Defensible policies for the use/restriction of cell phones and laptops during class

Learning Outcomes

  • After this workshop, attendees will be able to:
  • Understand their various reporting obligations and identify institution policies.
  • Recognize signs of retaliation and censorship.
  • Develop classroom policies aligned with best practices.

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