Michigan Lawsuit Targets “Bias Response Team” That Threatens Free Speech

George Orwell may have had policies like those at the University of Michigan in mind when he wrote of “Thought Police” in his dystopian novel 1984. The university’s “bias response teams” have been busy reporting on speech considered “hateful” or “hurtful” and threatening academic careers on the altar of Political Correctness. But now, UM will have to defend its anti-First-Amendment policies in court.

The organization Speech First has filed for an injunction against UM President Mark Schlissel, declaring that he and the university have “created an elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress and punish speech other students deem ‘demeaning,’ ‘bothersome,’ or ‘hurtful.’”

From the complaint: “The University’s disciplinary code prohibits ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying’ and further increases the potential penalties if such actions were motivated by ‘bias.’ All of those concepts, as the University interprets and applies them, can capture staggering amounts of protected speech and expression.”

In 2016, after the election of Donald Trump, Schlissel told a gathering of upset students who voted for Hillary that they had rejected hate. “Ninety percent of you rejected the kind of hate and fractiousness and the longing for some sort of idealized version of a non-existent yesterday,” Schlissel told the group. By implying that 10 percent voted for “hate and fractiousness,” isn’t Schlissel being “hateful” and “hurtful” to a minority group?

Founded by free-speech advocate Nicole Neily, Speech First is an organization concerned with not only responding to violations of the First Amendment on campuses, but aggressively fighting policies that encourage those violations. The organization looks to smash the speech-code culture that has developed on America’s college campuses. And the organization has their work cut out for them.

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