Department of Justice supports free speech lawsuit against U-M

The Department of Justice joined Speech First Monday in challenging free speech at the University of Michigan. In a 25-page statement of interest, the DOJ concludes the lawsuit is likely to succeed on the merits of the Bias Response Policy violating the First and 14th Amendments.

The DOJ’s statement of interest follows a May 8 lawsuit filed by Speech First, a national organization of students, citizens and alumni advocating free speech on college campuses. Speech First claims a bias response team that can mete out discipline and a vague speech code create a hazardous environment for free speech.

In an interview with Speech First President Nicole Neily in May, she said the organization is filing the injunction against the University based on three main factors.

“We have multiple members of the organization at the University,” Neily said. “The University of Michigan also has a combination of a very bad speech code that is very vague, a very active Bias Response Team that is very proud of its achievements because it keeps a log and we have numbers there, though not all were listed in the complaint. These were the three things we needed.”

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