Are students’ anonymous evaluations of teachers protected under the Constitution?

    College students will be back on campus in no time, and before they know it, it’ll be time once again to evaluate their professors.

    The anonymous process allows students to submit reports on their teachers’ effectiveness throughout the semester — based, of course, on the students’ opinions.
    But a case in Florida has the folks at the National Constitution Center taking a closer look at student and teacher rights when it comes to evaluations.

    A Santa Fe College professor who felt his contract was not renewed because of a poor student evaluation wants to know who wrote the report so he can challenge it. But wait, aren’t those things supposed to be anonymous?

    Alas, the law is not clear cut. The latest ruling sided with the professor on the grounds that the evaluation is not an academic reflection of the student, but the college has the option to appeal.

    What do you think? Should professor evaluations be more transparent, or does that infringe on students’ whistle-blowing capabilities?

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.