Watchdog takes UMich to court over ‘subjective’ speech code

Speech First, a national watchdog group that fights to protect free expression, is launching a legal challenge against the University of Michigan’s speech code and bias response team.

The nonprofit membership association filed its first lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Tuesday, pledging “to help restore free speech and expression to America’s universities.”

“The University of Michigan has a disciplinary code that prohibits ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying,’ and increases the penalties if such actions are motivated by ‘bias,’” the group explained in a press release. “As used, these concepts capture staggering amounts of protected speech and expression given that Michigan defines harassment as ‘unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning, or bothersome to an individual.’”

“Worse still, Michigan has created a Bias Response Team [BRT] that receives complaints of ‘bias’ and ‘bias incidents’ from offended students and is tasked with investigating and punishing those who commit offenses,” Speech First added.

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