Lawsuit: Students at major college can get in trouble for ‘ridicule,’ ‘insults’—even ‘rude,’ ‘uncivil’ emails

The University of Texas at Austin prohibits and can punish students for a wide range of speech violations, including infractions defined as “ridicule” and “insults” — not to mention electronic communication deemed “rude” and “uncivil,” according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

Speech First — a nonprofit that combats restrictions against free speech and civil rights at the collegiate level — filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, saying UT has “created an elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress, punish, and deter speech” without adequately defining what students cannot say, which has had a chilling effect on First Amendment protections at the publicly funded college of 40,000 undergraduates.

“What’s rude to me might not be rude to you,” Speech First President Nicole Neily told TheBlaze on Friday, adding that the “discretion given to campus administrators” to make such judgments is “tremendously concerning.”

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