Conservative College Students Are Going After Texas State University for Speech Codes

The Washington Times reported that three conservative students at Texas State University want to see the school in federal court. They filed a lawsuit last week, alleging that the school’s speech codes violate their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Speech First, a First Amendment advocacy group that filed the lawsuit on the students’ behalf, announced (PDF) the specific allegations:

• The Discriminatory-Harassment Policy – is overbroad and can easily be applied to a wide swath of protected speech, and
• The Computer Policy – forbids students from using their student email accounts for protected political speech.

Conservative students on campus are familiar with these speech codes, created to suppress their opinions, even though colleges and universities deny it. Expressing a viewpoint a leftist doesn’t like is stifled as “harassment” or “offensive.”

“Texas State’s policies are clearly designed to deter and restrict student speech all together, with both policies working in tandem to limit free expression and the exchange of viewpoints on campus,” Speech First executive director Cherise Trump said. “Instead of promoting an environment of learning, intellectual exploration, and open discourse, Texas State has chosen the inverse.”

And that is the point. Most of the faculty at such universities are leftists. Instead of promoting a flourishing marketplace of ideas and teaching students how to think critically, they want to shut down dissent. The effect on free speech? Chilling.

“Texas State administrators have created a campus controlled by fear where students are afraid to share their opinions, engage their classmates, or even posit new ideas,” Trump said.

Speech First asked the court to declare the speech codes unconstitutional and grant an injunction against enforcement.

By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, link

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