To protect free speech, LRB-2994 will eliminate the judicially created qualified immunity shield for campus administrators and ensure that university administrators who violate free speech rights of students are held responsible for those violations.
When state government actors, including campus administrators, deprive someone of their constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech, they can be held civilly liable under federal law 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Unfortunately, through the years, the Supreme Court has created judicial doctrine that state government employees are immune from these lawsuits in a wide variety of situations.
This court-created doctrine of qualified immunity shields bad government officials from accountability, even when it is clear a person’s constitutional rights have been violated. This bill makes needed changes to the current law by eliminating immunity for campus administrators from liability for violations of individual expressive rights under the Wisconsin Constitution.