Cardozo Law Review de•novo

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College student free speech cases, particularly as applied to student online speech challenges, suffer from conflicting legal principles. This paper highlights empirically noted problems in resolving disputes between a college student’s free speech rights and a public college’s authority to maintain order and campus safety. In Part I of this paper, the authors present the established legal principles from two foundational cases addressing issues of student speech in the educational context. In Part II, the authors demonstrate how courts have used PK12 education cases and public employment cases as sources that address legal principles for college student speech cases—particularly to resolve college students’ speech challenges with an online dimension. In Part III, the authors conclude that existing legal principles, ones largely derived from the PK12 education context, are insufficient to analyze some types of student collegiate speech cases. This thesis is supported when examining several cases involving college students, especially cases dealing with college students’ online speech or expression. In resolving the legal framework problem, the authors suggest a modification of existing legal principles that accounts sufficiently for characteristics specific to the collegiate learning space.


Cardozo Law Review de·novo



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