The University of Florida barred three faculty members from testifying for plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state's controversial voting-restrictions law, arguing that their statements could create "a conflict of interest to the executive branch," reports The Washington Post.
“As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests,” school officials said.
However, according to the Post, barring professors from being expert witnesses in public trials is highly unusual, and lawyers representing the academics are arguing that it's an infringement of free speech and academic freedom. One of the lawyers, Paul Donnelly, said that the academics plan to legally challenge the university if it doesn't change its stance.
In a statement to the Post, the university denied violating the First Amendment.