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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.

 

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Pushback: University of Houston forced to allow free speech to settle lawsuit by conservatives

University of Houston: reluctantly forced to recognize the First Amendment

Bring a gun to a knife fight: When in December 2021, the University of Houston changed its anti-discrimination policy, broadening the definition so widely that almost anything anyone said could be defined as harassment, three conservative students obtained the help of the first amendment organization Speech First and sued. From their lawsuit [pdf]:

The Policy’s “[e]xamples of harassment” make clear that the Policy covers protected speech. Examples of harassment “include but are not limited to: epithets or slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts, denigrating jokes and display or circulation (including through email or virtual platforms) of written or graphic material in the learning, living, or working environment.”

Under the Policy, even “[m]inor verbal and nonverbal slights, snubs, annoyances, insults, or isolated incidents including, but not limited to microaggressions,” can constitute harassment if “such incidents keep happening over time and are targeting a Protected Class.” The Policy warns that “academic freedom and freedom of expression will not excuse behavior that constitutes a violation of the law or this Policy.” [emphasis mine]

In other words, according to the highlighted quote, the university’s anti-discrimination policy attempted to overide the First Amendment to the Constitution.

This absurd illegal position of course could not stand, and the school’s administrators, who by the way were named in the lawsuit, quickly settled the case on June 10, 2022, rewriting the anti-discrimination policy to actually — my heart be still! — allow for free speech.

Under the settlement, reached June 10, the university’s policy no longer defines harassment as creating an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.”

The policy as now written [pdf] focuses almost entirely on actions that actually cause harm to an individual, such as the loss of a job or promotion or educational opportunity.

Even with this victory, the policy has many potential loopholes for those that want to use it to silence others.
For example, the policy still forbids slurs and insults, which are also protected speech under the First Amendment. However, the policy also makes it clear that the larger context of any complaint will be reviewed before any action is taken.

Harassment from both a subjective and objective perspective. In determining whether Discrimination or Harassment has occurred, the university will examine the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of incidents, as well as the relationships of the individuals involved, and apply the appropriate standard according to the applicable complaint resolution procedures.

These rules should discourage abuse, though it will certainly not eliminate it, especially if the school’s administrators are in sympathy with the abusers and want to silence opposing speech.

Nonetheless, the quick settlement of this case in favor of the conservative students indicates that the university realized it was in violation of the law, and thus liable for any actions it took based on its illegal oppressive anti-discrimination policy.

The settlement also proves once again that if freedom-loving individuals have the courage to fight, they will win. More people need to do the same.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

10 comments

  • Jerry Greenwood

    Universities such as this one have law departments. Within those departments are highly qualified Constitutional law professors. It would be a simple matter to run their ‘decrees’ past one of them for vetting. “Hey Bill, could you look this over real quick and tell me if you see any potential issues?”

    Of course we all know that was the last thing on their mind.

  • Col Beausabre

    Are the students allowed to confront their accusers (no anonymous accusations) in an open proceeding? Are they allowed to have legal council present? If not it is a sham.

  • Bob Wilson

    The university is funded by the taxpayers in a state that is dominated by Republicans. Why is it that the attorney general and governor of Texas, both Republicans, did not step in and fire the administration? If they are protected by civil service, at least the legislature could cut their funding like the legislature did in Idaho. The Idaho university administration bigots all a sudden saw the light.

  • Bob Wilson: You touch upon a subject I’ve written about repeatedly in these blacklist columns. The state legislatures are generally cowards. The most they will do is pass an empty law banning CRT or such denial of free speech, but they never actually attack the budgets of these corrupt colleges, as Idaho did (the exception that proves the rule). The result is that the misbehavior goes on, and the institutions get even more corrupt.

    The only real solution to this is to turn off the faucet. These colleges should no longer be funded. Period. Shut them down. Replace them with new institutions. Clean house.

    And it must be done without mercy or timidity.

  • pzatchok

    I love that all encompassing ‘micro-regressions’.

  • Cotour

    All related:

    BEING THERE (Share, be generous)

    Joe Biden *IS* Chauncey Gardner. https://youtu.be/PL3fY67ldR0 1: 47 min

    If you were ever under the delusion from the beginning of the Biden administration that Joe, or Kammala for that matter, was anything more than just a facade, a front for the now radical Leftist Democrat party machine, be deluded no more. The radical Leftist Democrats are about to become very dangerous and violent going into the midterm elections where they will be severely rebuffed by the electorate.

    You are about to see the most extreme actions by the radical Left Democrats in the political warfare that Americans fight every day.

    (If you are unfamiliar with exactly who Chauncey Gardner is: https://youtu.be/YgGvd1UPZ88 2 min.)

    Got vote?

    https://ecp.yusercontent.com/mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fth.bing.com%2Fth%2Fid%2FOIP.ReycIImuTfUqWMZjUN6h2AHaEm%3Fw%3D277%26h%3D180%26c%3D7%26r%3D0%26o%3D5%26dpr%3D1.25%26pid%3D1.7&t=1656077878&ymreqid=dc7face7-d905-7706-2f2c-5a031601b100&sig=ID8xmIdxEebtekKmYw_9Jg–~D

  • Andi

    Minor edit just before third quote: “will be reviewed”

  • Andi. Thank you. Fixed.

  • Cotour

    How do we fight political warfare in America?

    LAWYERS, COURTS AND MONEY!

    “A college student will receive a massive settlement from his school after it tried to silence him from speaking about his faith, according to a Wednesday press release from Alliance Defending Freedom.

    Georgia Gwinnett College settled with Chike Uzuegbunam for $80,000 six years after the lawsuit was first filed, which alleged that the school repeatedly denied him the right to speak about his Christian faith to other students, the press release said.

    https://dailycaller.com/2022/06/24/christian-student-silenced-school-georgia-massive-payday/

  • Col Beausabre asked:

    “Are the students allowed to confront their accusers (no anonymous accusations) in an open proceeding? Are they allowed to have legal council present?”

    ‘Allowed’? What the freak, Col? An American would not even consider ‘permission’. It’s your birthright. Be large and in charge; take the initiative.

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