The California Community Colleges Board of Governors recently issued a pervasive set of guidelines that force faculty to embrace an “anti-racist” ideology, in clear violation of fundamental First Amendment rights.
Participation in the state’s all-encompassing political program is now required “to teach, work, or lead within California’s community colleges,” complete with explicit demands by the state to engage in professional practices that embrace this ideology.
A newly amended lawsuit filed by the Institute for Free Speech on behalf of Bakersfield College history professor Daymon Johnson asks a federal court to declare the rules unconstitutional.
Professor Johnson, a full-time Professor of History, has also been subject to unconstitutional, repressive rules and practices enforced by school administrators. These rules prevent faculty from exercising basic rights to free speech and academic freedom. Administrators investigate and punish faculty who criticize or question their preferred views, including state-mandated, administration-approved “anti-racism” ideology.
These administrators have sent an unmistakable message: anyone who dares commit wrongthink against the state-approved ideology—or who challenges other faculty who promote that ideology—can have their careers sidetracked or ruined. The administration will punish dissent, whether in the form of publishing op-eds, public debate, media interviews, or online comments with which the administration disagrees.
The lawsuit asks that administrators be enjoined from investigating or disciplining Professor Johnson for offering his viewpoints and seeks to prevent officials from demanding that faculty advance and teach the state’s official DEIA (“diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility”) ideology.