Adopted by the UVA Faculty Senate, September 30, 2019
Consistent with the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and the University of Virginia Faculty Handbook that declares the faculty have the right to free speech, the University of Virginia Faculty Senate supports our colleague Dr. Jalane Schmidt (Department of Religious Studies) in her capacity as a publicly-engaged scholar. When faculty members like Dr. Schmidt use their scholarly expertise in the public arena, the University should provide administrative and legal support when needed. Because the University encourages its faculty to engage the public, it should be considered within their scope of employment, and faculty should, therefore, expect such assistance for performing their jobs if they face legal action, as is the case with Dr. Schmidt. We also note that faculty members of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who engage the public are at particular risk of retaliation. Therefore, all faculty, regardless of public perception, should expect support and assistance from the University.