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Once described as a quintessential marketplace of ideas by the Supreme Court of the United States, the academic marketplace has been criticized recently for institutionalizing a left-leaning ideology within its curriculum and academic discourse. As a result, national activists and organizations have been calling on state legislatures and university administrators to adopt policies and report on steps taken to encourage intellectual diversity and protect political and cultural minorities from faculty bias and academic retribution in the classroom and other university settings. But who would win a constitutional showdown between the academy and those seeking to infuse academic discourse with alternative viewpoints? Based on an analysis of the First Amendment concerns at stake in this ongoing controversy, this article concludes that university administrators should have the upper hand in such a constitutional challenge given the specific characteristics and selective nature of the academic marketplace.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in COMMUNICATION LAW AND POLICY on July 3, 2008, available online:


This is an electronic version of an article published in Whitmore, N. “First Amendment Showdown: Intellectual Diversity Mandates and the Academic Marketplace,” Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Summer 2008). The print edition of Communication Law & Policy is available online at: