University of Michigan changes definitions of “bullying” and “harassing” as DOJ looks into lawsuit

The University of Michigan announced Monday that it had updated its Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities to provide narrower definitions of “bullying” and “harassment.”

This came on the same day the United States Department of Justice expressed theirinterest in a free speech lawsuit against the University of Michigan.

The lawsuit was filed in May by non-profit and First Amendment watchdog, Speech First, Inc. The suit claims the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities is an infringement of First Amendment rights, and specifically calls out the policy’s definitions of harassment and bullying for being too “vague.”

The definitions previously included several possible interpretations of the terms coming from Merriam-Webster Dictionary and other university policies.

Effective Monday, the university’s new definitions for bullying and harassment, shown below, no longer include the dictionary definitions—they’re simply drawn from Michigan’s state laws.

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