The University of Houston created a “non-discrimination” policy in which it claimed a right to punish any student for verbal or nonverbal slights, snubs, annoyances, so-called microaggressions, etc. Three politically conservative students filed a lawsuit against the school on the grounds that the policy violated the First Amendment’s freedom of speech.
The students, represented by Speech First, called the policy so broad as to ban protected speech. According to the lawsuit, the students believed anything they said about topics like racial preferences, abortion, illegal migration, or “transgender” athletes would violate the policy. Their opinions on these topics no doubt are the opposite of what leftist administrators and professors think.
A court granted the students’ request for a preliminary injunction last month. Speech First announced (PDF) that the University of Houston has amended their policy and will pay $30,000 in attorneys’ fees.
“Universities across the country should be put on notice that overbroad policies designed to chill student speech will not be tolerated,” Executive Director Cherise Trump said. “Every institution of higher learning should protect freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and the open exchange of ideas, not muzzle students with speech codes that disregard federal guidelines and the U.S. Constitution.”
From the Washington Times:
In a statement emailed to The Washington Times on Friday, the school said it had reached “an amicable agreement with the plaintiff and now considers this matter resolved.”
“As a result of our discussions, a revised anti-discrimination policy has been adopted. The UH System remains committed to protecting the constitutional rights of our students and employees,” the statement reads.
Friday’s settlement announcement marks the latest victory for Speech First, which has filed similar lawsuits across the country.
Photo credit: Corey Seeman (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved
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