United States District Court, D. Colorado
PHILIP A. BRIMMER United States District Judge
This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 16] filed by defendants Lesley Di Mare and the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System. This case arises out of an email sent by plaintiff Timothy McGettigan, a sociology professor at Colorado State University - Pueblo (“CSU-P”) and CSU-P President Di Mare’s ensuing limitation of plaintiff’s university email and computer access. Docket No. 1 at 1, 3, ¶¶ 1, 7. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff’s federal claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
In December 2013, Colorado State University System Chancellor Michael Martin announced a budget shortfall for 2015. Id. at 4, ¶ 10. After CSU-P President Di Mare announced a plan to address the budget shortfall that could eliminate up to fifty CSU-P positions, Professor McGettigan sent a series of mass emails in December 2013 and January 2014 to members of the CSU-P community expressing his opposition to the CSU-P plan. Id., ¶¶ 10, 12. Chancellor Martin announced that he would visit CSU-P on January 17, 2014 to hold a public meeting to discuss the budget and termination plan. Id., ¶ 14.
On December 23, 2013, Professor McGettigan sent an email to faculty, staff, and students challenging CSU-P’s determination that there was a budget shortfall and arguing that the termination plan would be detrimental to CSU-P students. Id. at 5, ¶ 16. On December 23, 2013, Professor McGettigan also circulated to faculty members a report from an independent analyst concluding that termination of staff was not necessary to resolve the budget shortfall. Id., ¶ 17. Professor McGettigan encouraged students to attend Chancellor Martin’s January 17, 2014 meeting. Id., ¶ 15.
On January 14, 2014, Professor McGettigan sent an email to all students regarding comments made by Chancellor Martin at a January 6, 2014 meeting about the termination plan. Id. at 5-6, ¶ 18. Professor McGettigan summarized the meeting as follows:
According to Chancellor Martin, here’s what CSU-Pueblo must do to dig itself out of the ugly mess it’s in and achieve its grandest and most glorious aspirations:
1. Quit wasting money on CSU-Pueblo students. They are losers who live in a worthless corner of Colorado.
2. Divert money that would otherwise be wasted on CSU-Pueblo students to Chancellor Martin’s brainchild, CSU-Denver.
3. Subsidize higher education for wealthier, more populous and (let’s face it) altogether superior students in Denver.
4. Since CSU-Pueblo students are going to fail anyway, they won’t really miss out on the educational opportunities that their brainier CSU System administrators are stealing from them. Anyway, CSU-Pueblo-types are going to be much happier working for minimum wage at McDonald’s than in professions that (let’s face it) would overtax their limited mental faculties.
So there it is. The future in a nutshell. Chancellor Martin is committed to transferring educational resources that would be wasted on CSU-Pueblo students to create more and better educational opportunities for rich kids who can (let’s face it) make better use of them.
Id. at 6, ¶ 18.
The next day, on January 15, 2014, Professor McGettigan sent an email encouraging faculty, staff, and friends of CSU-P to gather at the university’s central fountain on January 17, 2014, demonstrate against the termination decision, and call for a “no confidence” vote in Chancellor Martin. Id., ¶ 19.
The next day, on January 16, 2014, Professor McGettigan sent an email to “members of the university community” notifying them of a lunch hour protest that same day against the termination plan and reminding them of the January 17, 2014 demonstration. Id. at 7, ¶ 20.
On January 17, 2014, Professor McGettigan sent an email to members of the CSU-P community titled “Children of Ludlow.” In that message, he drew an analogy between Chancellor Martin’s termination decision and the actions of the militia and camp guards who massacred striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado in 1914. Id., ¶ 21. Professor McGettigan’s email states in part:
The hitmen massacred those people. Coldly and methodically, the hitmen turned their guns on women and children. The hitmen riddled the little tent village in Ludlow with bullets, and then they set that village alight. Amidst the screams of helpless, defenseless souls, the hitmen stood back and watched in satisfaction as the hopes and dreams of southern Coloradoans went up in smoke.
Today, the people of southern Colorado are still struggling to get their own little piece of the American Dream. They aren’t looking for handouts or special treatment. They just want to make a decent living and give their kids a chance at a brighter future.
In recompense for this unpardonable sin, CSU Chancellor Michael Martin has assembled a hit list. Today, Michael Martin is traveling to CSU-Pueblo to terminate the 50 people who are on his hit list. In his own way, Michael Martin is putting a gun to the head of those 50 hard-working people while he also throws a ...