The last quarter century has witnessed an enormous expansion in the law's presence on America's campuses. Whether one is engaged in campus disputes, planning to avoid future disputes, or charting an institution's policies and priorities, law has become an indispensable component of decision making. Questions of educational policy have increasingly become converted into legal questions as well. The last twenty-five years have seen courts called upon to resolve thorny issues of academic discipline with respect to student misconduct, academic dishonesty, and unsatisfactory academic performance. Some institutions have been sued for failing to desegregate their student bodies and faculties, while others have been sued for implementing programs designed to correct racial imbalances in student bodies and faculties. Faculty members have challenged institutional decisions regarding the denial of tenure as well as its termination. Researchers have asserted that they possess an academic freedom privilege exempting them from having to disclose the results of their scholarship in courtroom settings, while other faculty members have claimed that academic freedom protects them from having to testify with respect to such matters as tenure decisions. Institutional authority to regulate student organizations has been challenged. Colleges and universities have been held liable for breaches of campus security resulting in injury or death to students. Outsiders have sued institutions to gain access to the campus. Student-athletes injured during practice or competition have sought to apply workers' compensation law against institutions. Students and others have sought to apply federal non-discrimination laws to the campus, while some institutions have sought to limit the reach of these laws. Retirement programs at a number of institutions have been challenged on grounds that they discriminated on the basis of sex. Faculties have sought to apply federal collective bargaining law to their employment relationships, while institutions have asserted that such law is inconsistent with the academic model of governance. Institutions themselves have challenged state decisions on chartering and licensure, as well as decisions of accrediting agencies. In this explosion of litigation, apparently no icon has been safe: Institutions have taken to the courts to sue the leading athletic association over television broadcast rights for football games.
William A. Kaplin, Law on the Campus 1960–1985: Years of Growth and Challenge, 12 J.C. & U.L. 269 (1985).