Perry v. Sindermann

408 U.S. 593 (1972)


A teacher, Sindermann (P) had been employed by the Texas State College system for 10 years on year-to-year contracts. The college had no formal tenure system. P was elected president of the Texas Junior College Teachers Association. In this capacity, he left his teaching duties on several occasions to testify before committees of the Texas Legislature, and he became involved in public disagreements with the policies of the college's Board of Regents. In particular, he aligned himself with a group advocating the elevation of the college to four-year status -- a change opposed by the Regents. And, on one occasion, a newspaper advertisement appeared over his name that was highly critical of the Regents. The board then voted not to offer a new one-year contract to P for the next year. No hearing or statements of reason were supplied. The Regents issued a press release setting forth allegations of the respondent's insubordination. But they provided him no official statement of the reasons for the nonrenewal of his contract. And they allowed him no opportunity for a hearing to challenge the basis of the nonrenewal. P sued under 42. U.S.C. section 1983; retaliation for exercising his first amendment rights. The district court granted summary judgment to the board, the court of appeals reversed and remanded for a trial on the merits.