Appeals Court Limits Freedom of Virginia Faculty to Surf Web

Academe, May/June 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Appeals Court Limits Freedom of Virginia Faculty to Surf Web


THE CAUSE OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM on the Internet suffered a disturbing setback in February. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Urofsky v. Gilmore, affirmed the constitutionality of a Virginia statute prohibiting state employees-including faculty in state-supported colleges and universities-from using state-owned computers to "access, download, print, or store any information infrastructure files or services having sexually explicit content," without prior approval by the users' supervisors. This outcome reverses a lower-court ruling that found in favor of six public university professors who claimed the law violated their First Amendment right to freedom of expression in teaching and research. The AAUP filed a friend-ofthe-court brief in the case.

In the May-June 1998 issue of Academe, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Marjorie Heins of the American Civil Liberties Union's Legal Foundation, pointed out that the lower court based its rejection of Virginia's argument on the Supreme Court's decision in Reno v. ACLU. In Reno the Court found that provisions of the federal Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment. In its ruling, the Court extolled the Internet as a powerful new means for the exchange of ideas and information, holding that its free use deserves no less protection than that accorded more familiar forms of communication.

A central issue in the case challenging the Virginia law was its negative impact on a teaching strategy of Melvin Urofsky, professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. The passage of the law forced Urofsky to forgo asking his students to surf the Web for sexual material in order to assess the legitimacy of Congress's concerns when it passed the Communications Decency Act.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Appeals Court Limits Freedom of Virginia Faculty to Surf Web
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.