Professor Manoj Mate comments on UCI employee accused of posting racist photos

The Daily Pilot, February 5, 2014


A UC Irvine employee accused of posting anti-Semitic and anti-black photos online has been reassigned to a job that will minimize his contact with students, according to a campus officials.

Because he is a full-time employee at UCI, firing Vazquez over a personal posting online is more complicated than determining whether it’s offensive or racist, said Manoj Mate, an assistant professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, who teaches and researches in constitutional, election, and international and comparative law.

“If a public employee is exercising their first amendment right to free speech as a private citizen on a matter of public concern, the question is whether that speech is likely to cause disruption or interfere with the university’s ability to operate and function efficiently,” Mate said.

“This goes to the heart of the First Amendment and the scope of protections for public employees.”

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