Pushback: Central Florida U forced to end censorship and blacklisting

University of Central Florida: Hostile to free speech
University of Central Florida: Its hostility to free
speech had better change soon!

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In a settlement late last month [pdf] resulting from an April ruling against it by the courts, the University of Central Florida agreed to end its programs and policies designed to censor and even blacklist students who expressed opinions the university did not like.

The lawsuit [pdf] was brought by the legal organization Speech First, a student membership organization which acts to stop colleges from squelching the first amendment rights of students.

UCF officials agreed to pay $35,000 in legal fees, rewrite a harassment policy and discontinued the bias response team in a settlement with Speech First.

…The settlement “led to the elimination of UCF’s Stasi-like bias response team and ensured that the university’s policies actually consider the fundamental rights of their students,” Cherise Trump, the group’s executive director, wrote in a news release [pdf]. “Our win in the Eleventh Circuit not only set precedent in all of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, but it also guarantees that universities recognize that the law is not on their side when they want to violate their students’ rights and shut down dissenting ideas.”

The college’s bias response teams were structured to report and punish any student for…
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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.
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