Today in Capeheart v. Terrell (2013 IL App (1st) 122517), an Appellate Court of Illinois overturned a state court’s previous ruling that NEIU (Northeastern Illinois University) officials were protected by Illinois’ anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law against a defamation suit by NEIU professor Loretta Capeheart. The appellate ruling reinstates Capeheart’s lawsuit, and means she is no longer liable for NEIU officials’ legal costs.
More than four months after Northeastern Illinois University shut down the student-run radio station WZRD and banned the students from broadcasting, the lockout continues. On November 6, acting director of Student Leadership Development Veronica Rodriguez wrote a memo announcing her decision about the fate of WZRD. Rodriguez declared that WZRD could be restored to an active club on December 1, but only if the organization accepted a long last of mandatory changes approved by the administration, changes that the WZRD students indicate they will not accept.
A critical legal case affecting the academic freedom of professors will be argued on Thursday, December 8 before the 7th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Loretta Capeheart is a professor of Justice Studies at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) who alleges that the administration retaliated against her for defending the rights of students protesting on campus. A federal district court dismissed her case in a summary judgment, invoking the Supreme Court’s infamous Garcetti v Ceballos ruling to argue that public colleges can punish professors for statements related to their official duties. The AAUP has filed an amicus brief arguing against the court’s ruling.
Oral arguments on behalf of the AAUP’s amicus brief will be held before the 7th Circuit on Thursday December 8 at 9:30 am, at the federal courthouse in Chicago, 219 S. Dearborn, 27th floor. Capeheart and supporters will be gathering at 9am in front of the courthouse.