Free Speech Advocates Sue University of Texas


The University of Texas has been slapped with a lawsuit claiming its policies violate free speech on campus.


The nonprofit Speech First claims four of UT's policies to ban "verbal harassment" are too vague and could be used to target speech based on a person's viewpoint.


“We have several members who are students at UT who still worry that if they talk about issues such as the Second Amendment, abortion, due process, the Kavanaugh hearings, their opinions would be viewed as being offensive, hateful and biased,” says Speech First President Nicole Neily.


Neily says UT has given itself broad discretion to determine which speech – and whose speech – violates their policies.


It's probably going to be someone from the diversity and inclusion infrastructure, and how they view offensive or rude language might be a lot different than how I view offensive and rude language,” she says.  “How are these things adjudicated?  What is the due process? Are you able to defend yourself?  Even if you end up being vindicated, it's tremendously distracting from your studies.”


She believes UT is essentially encouraging students to report on each other.


“That's not teaching you how to be an adult,” says Neily.  “That's a bad behavior we don't want students taking up, graduating, turning 22 or 23 and going into the workforce and saying well, somebody said something rude and I'm going to tell on them to my boss.”


UT has yet to respond to the lawsuit.


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