Students’ Speech Chilled at the University of Texas

Written in 1903, the University of Texas fight song’s opening lyrics are “The Eyes of Texas are upon you/All the livelong day.” Unfortunately, for many on campus, the sentiments expressed are more than just a catchy tune—it’s a frightening reality.

Thanks to four policies that the school maintains—a verbal harassment ban, an Acceptable Use Policy governing internet & digital use, a Residence Hall Manual, and a “Campus Climate Response Team”—the eyes of the University of Texas really are on students, keeping tabs on their speech all the time, everywhere.

First: UT’s ban on “verbal harassment.” Contained in the school’s Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities, the ban prohibits speech that is “offensive”—which may include “insults, epithets, ridicule, [and] personal attacks.”

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