The real campus speech problem must be solved in the courts

Much ink has been spilled over the past few months debating whether or not there’s a free-speech “crisis” on campuses. But focusing on the number of speech-related flare-ups doesn’t capture the full scope of what’s really taking place at America’s colleges and universities — because the real threat to speech on campus is far more insidious.

On today’s college campuses, students are discouraged from expressing unconventional opinions outside the political mainstream through a combination of direct and indirect policies. Students regularly censor themselves from expressing opinions out of an abundance of caution; they fear reprisal — and with good cause.

That’s why Speech First, a membership association dedicated to protecting college students’ right to free speech, filed suit against the University of Michigan last week, on behalf of three of its members enrolled at the school. In Speech First v. Schlissel et. al, the organization has asked the court to declare that the school’s speech code and bias response team violate students’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments — and on Friday, asked for a preliminary injunction barring the school from enforcing these policies while the case works its way through the legal system.

To read the whole op-ed by Speech First president Nicki Neily, click here.

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