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Court rules in favor of former WSU professor

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A federal appeals-court ruling has found that a Washington State University professor who circulated a controversial proposal to revamp the school’s communications department was protected by the First Amendment.

The case involves David Demers, a former WSU communications professor, who distributed a two-page pamphlet in 2007 that outlined a plan to improve WSU’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. At the time, the future of the school was being debated. Later, Demers — who now teaches at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University — sued WSU in U.S. District Court, claiming administrators retaliated against him, in part by giving him negative performance reviews.

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