“Perhaps because Speech First itself has no connection with the University, however, the picture it paints of the University and its policies is a false caricature,” the statement reads.
University President Mark Schlissel explains the U-M has been mischaracterized inasmuch as not only has the University’s vibrant atmosphere been entirely overlooked and misrepresented, but the role of the Bias Response Team has also been completely misunderstood by the plaintiff.
“Free speech is obviously incredibly important to the University,” Schlissel said. “Actually, we can’t be a research university without putting a high value on free speech. You can’t learn unless people are free to express their opinions whether or not other people find them harmful, insulting, annoying, disagreeable — it’s critically important — so our policies don’t impede free speech.”
In response to the lawsuit, the University has streamlined the definitions of “bullying” and “harassment” in the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Initially, the Statement included multiple definitions, with dictionary definitions alongside Michigan law definitions. However, on Monday the University eliminated the dictionary definitions.
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