Context: ABC news has published: University of Florida Prohibits Professors from Testifying
The University of Florida is a State College (not a private college) and has indicated the University is a "state actor":
“UF will deny its employees’ requests to engage in outside activities when it determines the activities are adverse to its interests. As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests," according to an email from an assistant vice president at the university to McDonald that was filed with the court documents.
The University contends:
In its statement, the University of Florida said the decision not to let the professors perform outside paid work wasn’t denying them their First Amendment rights or academic freedom.
If indeed the University is an extension of the state of Florida, let us assume that criminal prosecution is off the table and that professors face some form of University administrative penalty (in all likeliness being fired, demotion, or similar pressure).
In the absence of all the details: Assume that there is no contractual employment constraint that professors have signed that would support the University's reasoning.
In responses, please keep in mind IANAL.
From the professor's viewpoint: What law is violated or what right is abridged?
From the university's standpoint: What law are they invoking to selectively prevent professors from testifying?
Do the states (not just Florida) have the authority to silence citizens in court settings?
Is there a standard, which the University must meet in order to establish the claim that: Testimony challenging voting restriction rights is “adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution."?
Although the said 3 professors are paid as subject matter experts, assume that they are willing to testify without compensation.
Kaya3 noted and I sensed:
"As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests" - this seems to take the position that suing the state cannot advance the state's interests, i.e. that the state always accurately encodes its own interests in its own legislation. I wonder if the author of this statement consulted any political science experts.
I would think that a clever attorney could make a similar argument that it is in the interest of the state that any and all arguments regarding voting rights are heard in a court of law.