A new civil liberties watchdog group has sued the University of Michigan, alleging its speech code is overly broad and unconstitutional.
Speech First, which aims to loosen the restrictions on free speech at colleges and universities nationwide, filed the lawsuit in federal court Tuesday. The nonprofit is asserting that Michigan’s definition of harassment, which is referenced in the student conduct code, is overly encompassing and forbids speech that would usually be protected.
It also considers the way the university defines “bias” to be limiting.
“A student whose speech is seen by another student as hurtful to his or her feelings may receive a knock on the door from a team of school officials threatening to refer the student for discipline unless he or she submits ‘restorative justice,’ ‘individualized education,’ or ‘unconscious bias training,’” a news release from Speech First states.
The university said Tuesday it had not been served a copy of the lawsuit and declined to comment.
Speech First is asking the court to declare the Michigan speech code unconstitutional and block the bias response system.