Slochower v. Board of Higher Education of New York City (1956) stands for the legal proposition that laws pertaining to public employees, including faculty members at public colleges and universities, cannot inferentially treat employees’ assertions of Fifth Amendment privilege not to speak for fear of self-incrimination as automatically equivalent to legal wrongdoing.
Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (2006) concerned a constitutional challenge to the Solomon Amendment, a modification in a federal statute that required the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to deny funding to institutions of higher education that refused to give military representatives access and assistance for recruiting purposes.
In Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (1995), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the actions of university officials in denying funding to help pay for the publishing costs of Wide Awake: A Christian Perspective at the University of Virginia constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
In Roemer v. Board of Public Works of Maryland (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a program from Maryland that made public funds available to religiously affiliated institutions of higher education.
In Regents of the University of Michigan v. Ewing (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court faced the issue of whether university officials acted arbitrarily in violation of a student’s substantive due process rights when a faculty board dismissed him from a program without granting him an opportunity to retake a medical board examination that he failed.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) was a landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court first addressed the merits of a claim on affirmative action, also identified by critics as race-conscious admissions policies or reverse discrimination (the term used in the plaintiff’s complaint), an extremely controversial topic with regard to admissions programs in higher education.
At issue in Perry v. Sindermann (1972) was whether the Fourteenth Amendment required college officials to provide procedural due process when they choose not to renew the contract of a faculty member who lacked tenure.
Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri (1973) was the first case from the U.S. Supreme Court to address student press on campus.
National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University (1980) stands out as perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court’s most significant ruling on whether faculty members may organize and bargain collectively with officials representing their private colleges and universities.
In National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) v. Tarkanian (1988), the U.S. Supreme Court held that threatened NCAA sanctions against the head basketball coach of a public university did not constitute state action, even though the university was a member of the NCAA, and thus the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s
actions did not violate the coach’s civil rights.