So reports the Daily Texan. The post at issue is here. The syllabus for the course stated, "No form of dishonesty is acceptable. I will promptly and publicly fail and humiliate anyone caught lying, cheating, or stealing. That includes academic dishonesty, copyright violations, software piracy, or any other form of dishonesty." True to his word, the professor -- an untenured and apparently part-time adjunct professor -- was indeed "promptly and publicly ... humiliat[ing]" the students who he believed were cheating; the university is paraphrased as stating that the professor "was terminated for violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that prohibits the release of students' educational records without consent."
I can't speak to whether FERPA indeed applies here. But I'm inclined to say that a university wouldn't be violating academic freedom -- or, as to public universities, the First Amendment -- if it provided that a faculty member generally may not publicize embarrassing things he learns about specific named students as a result of his teaching, even including dishonest conduct by those students. Inside Higher Ed has more, including this:
Adding to the buzz has been an e-mail message sent to department chairs by someone in the administration (the provost denies knowing anything about it, and an article Wednesday in the Laredo Morning Times attributed it to deans) in which the chairs were reminded to tell faculty members that any F grades for plagiarism should be reviewed by the honors council and that professors need to always think about students' due process rights before seeking to punish them.
Several faculty members, speaking privately because they didn't want to anger administrators, said that they were taken aback by the way the university appeared to be viewing plagiarism as an issue requiring more due process for students, not more support for professors. For the university to follow the dismissal of an adjunct with this reminder, they said, left them feeling that they couldn't bring plagiarism charges. Further, many said that they believed it was a professor's right to award an F to a plagiarizer and that this should not require an honors council review.
Several e-mail messages are circulating among faculty members, expressing concern that their right to assure academic integrity is being undercut. Despite how widespread a problem plagiarism is among students, these e-mail messages say, the university is looking the other way and sending a public message to students that they are the victims when a professor takes plagiarism seriously....
Pablo Arenaz, provost at the university, said he was distressed that some faculty members are concerned about the university's commitment to academic integrity. Asked whether a professor has the right to award an F to someone caught copying, Arenaz said that was "up to interpretation."
It seems to me that if it's just "up to interpretation" whether a professor could give a student an F for cheating, then there is indeed reason to be "concerned about the university's commitment to academic integrity."