DOJ excoriates University of Michigan’s ‘bias response team,’ says free speech is ‘under attack’

The University of Michigan’s sweeping “bias response policy” violates the First Amendment by punishing students for offenses as minor as hurting their classmates’ “feelings,” the Justice Department said Monday in a statement of interest filed in federal court.

The filing — the DOJ’s fourth since September in an ongoing campus free-speech case — strongly suggests that the Trump administration is preparing for an eventual Supreme Court showdown that could set the limits on public universites’ so-called bias prevention policies.

In the statement of interest filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the DOJ wrote that “free speech has come under attack on campuses across the country,” including at schools like the University of Michigan that regularly receive tens of millions of dollars in federal funds.

The filing then excoriates the University of Michigan’s “overbroad, vague, and subjective” bias response policy — which comes complete with a fast-acting “Bias Response Team” (BRT) — that the DOJ paints as an Orwellian betrayal of First Amendment principles.

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