To tweet or not to tweet: How social media policies burden student-athletes’ free speech rights

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Emily Garcia

“While students attending a public university enjoy substantially more First Amendment protections of their speech than employees of a public university, that is not to say the latter have no protections at all. Employees of a public university, or any other government employer, have a First Amendment right to speak as a private citizen on matters of public concern, so long as their speech does not interfere with their work. But, as LoMonte wrote in the Nebraska Law Review … ‘colleges have fought for decades to characterize athletes as ‘students’ rather than ‘employees’ because employee status would be economically disadvantageous.’ In any case, broad social media policies that seek to prevent behavior under difficult-to-discern circumstances are inadvisable and deter student-athletes from using their platforms to exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.” (07/13/21)