Calautti v. Shanahan

From March 2016 to August 2019
Indiana University (Public college or university)
Bloomington, IN, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Peter Calautti

    Peter Calautti was a PhD student in cinema studies at Indiana University’s Media School.


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Social media
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Peter Calautti was a PhD student in cinema studies at Indiana University’s Media School. In March 2016, Calautti was mentioned in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education in which he was identified as a supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump. In April, he published an essay on’s “First Person” page in which he identified himself as a Trump supporter. On May 20, 2016, James Shanahan, then Dean of the Media School, received what purported to be “snippets” of postings Calautti had allegedly made on social media. These snippets were purportedly threats against the person who purported to have sent the posts to Shanahan, Mohammed Bagha, a citizen of Saudi Arabia.

On August 15, Calautti was told that he was under investigation, and on August 22 he was notified that he was accused of threatening an individual by social media posting. Calautti’s alleged actions were investigated by Indiana University’s Office of Student Ethics, which determined that Calautti was responsible for the alleged conduct, and voted to him give him a one-year, deferred suspension. On October 5, 2016, Shanahan notified Calautti that he was being terminated from his position as a Student Academic Associate, which was a de facto expulsion from the Media School. After mediation and a review by Indiana University’s Student Academic Associate Board of Review, the Review Board Members voted unanimously to uphold Shanahan’s decision to terminate Calautti.

On January 13, 2018, Calautti filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleging § 1983 violations of Calautti’s First Amendment and due process rights by various university administrators. On August 7, 2019, the Court entered final judgment in favor of the defendants on the grounds that all claims against the administrators were barred by qualified or sovereign immunity.