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  1. #1

    Default Posting Emails and Grievance Materials from a University to My Blog

    My question involves education law in the State of: Indiana


    I was hoping someone could give me guidance on an email/fair use/copyright question as it regards emails used as evidence in a grievance against a faculty member at a public University. The grievance was ignored after it was filed (I did not hear back for more than 1.5 years until I asked again to make sure it was filed) and I never found out a date for when it was really filed. I was not allowed of keep a copy of a “failed “ test for review and no one ever got back with me on taking the course elsewhere to avoid teacher bias, they just dropped the matter. A lot of the events are a he said she said sort of situation, I was not allowed a witness nor time to prepare a response as the University policy says I should have the right to (the dean and head of the program wiggled out of this by saying the meeting was not official and informal so they did not have to follow the rules). In the end, all I have is emails to and from the professor, dean, program head and vice chancellor of academic affairs as evidence. I was planning to post these online to allow other prospective students to know about problems with the program and avoid it.
    I guess my core questions are:


    1. Is there any legal reason I can't post the emails I was sent by the professor and administrators to my website to explain a grievance situation that was never resolved? I understand that the emails they sent me may be copyrighted, but do I have a fair use/implied license? I might even be able to request them via FOIA. I plan to post comments in-between quoting the emails to point out issues with their reactions.
    2. The grievance and response would be posted as well, and the core documents are over two years old. I wonder if this put it past the statute of limitations in Indiana for defamation? One of these side documents is the list of allegations they made against me (they would not provide me an electronic copy so I OCRed it) and added my responses.
    3. I wonder what my chances of receiving a SLAPP lawsuit are?

    While everything is either a statement of fact, or an opinion, I still have worries of a SLAPP defamation suit. Do I have a legal right to post the emails?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Posting Emails and Grievance Materials from a University to My Blog

    Nobody here is going to advise you to air your dirty laundry in public.

    If you want to get a sense of potential legal liability, you need to run the specifics past a lawyer.

    If you make defamatory statements today about things that happened two years ago, your act occurs today and not two years ago.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Posting Emails and Grievance Materials from a University to My Blog

    Thanks. I brought up the 2yrs since the materials were first "published" as a grievance to the university 2yrs ago. Most of the online posting would simply be quotes of items that were already published in a more limited scope. As for as defamation, I'm pretty sure I safe from a legitimate charges since it is either the truth (backed up by an email trail) or opinion (this teacher is bad and has a bias). Still, a SLAPP is possible.

    My core question is the posting of the emails, copyright, implied license and fair use of the emails.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Posting Emails and Grievance Materials from a University to My Blog

    The university has deep pockets. Unless you have a free lawyer, a SLAPP lawsuit won't get you far.

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