U Of M Safer For Free Speech After DOJ Sides With Watchdog Group

The Department of Justice has sided with Speech First, an organization that works to protect free speech on campus, causing the University of Michigan to adjust their unfair speech codes.

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest and, in a press release, they said:

 The United States’ Statement of Interest argues that the University of Michigan’s Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which prohibits “harassment,” “bullying,” and “bias,” is unconstitutional because it offers no clear, objective definitions of the violations. Instead, the Statement refers students to a wide array of “examples of various interpretations that exist for the terms,” many of which depend on a listener’s subjective reaction to speech.

The United States also argues that the University’s Bias Response Policy chills protected speech through its Bias Response Team. The Bias Response Team, which consists of University administrators and law enforcement officers, has the authority to subject students to discipline and sanction. It encourages students to report any suspected instances of bias, advising them: “[t]he most important indication of bias is your own feelings.” According to the plaintiff, the Bias Response Team has responded to more than 150 alleged incidents of bias in the last year.

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