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Free Speech Group Mounts Legal Challenge to U. Illinois Over Bias Response Team

Free Speech Group Mounts Legal Challenge to U. Illinois Over Bias Response Team

“filed the lawsuit on behalf of a number of anonymous students who believe the university’s bias reporting system amounts to official surveillance of their expression on campus”

This is great news. Bias response teams are an Orwellian concept as they tend to serve only one side. Guess which.

The College Fix reports:

Appeals court hears request to force University of Illinois to suspend its bias response team

A group challenging the constitutionality of the University of Illinois’ bias response system received its first hearing before the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Thursday.

The hearing addressed a preliminary injunction motion filed by Speech First, a nationwide free speech advocacy organization, seeking to order the University of Illinois to immediately suspend its Bias Assessment Response Team program.

Speech First filed the lawsuit on behalf of a number of anonymous students who believe the university’s bias reporting system amounts to official surveillance of their expression on campus and that the university takes coercive action against students named in reports.

What’s more, under the program campus community members may anonymously report statements by individuals whether they take place in a private conversation or in a classroom environment.

Sitting on the three-judge panel hearing the motion were Michael Brennan, Amy St. Eve and Michael Scudder. All three judges were appointed by President Donald Trump.

During the hearing, Speech First attorney Michael Connelly argued that the bias response team at the University of Illinois, on which a member of campus law enforcement sits, is no different than the system recently challenged at the University of Michigan.

In September of last year, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals approved Speech First’s request for a preliminary injunction against Michigan, suggesting Michigan’s speech code and bias response team violated students’ First Amendment rights.

In response to this ruling, Michigan settled with Speech First, dismantling its bias team and replacing it with a “Campus Climate Support” program that does not contact the subjects of complaints, only reporting parties.

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Comments

(reworded from Reinhard Heydrich)

It is natural that people do not want to be involved with us (the Bias Response Team) too much. There is no problem down to the smallest egotistical longing which the [Bias Tesponse Team] cannot solve. Regarded in this way we are, if a joke is permitted, looked upon as a cross between a general maid and the dustbin of the [Diversity Center].

“…Michigan settled with Speech First, dismantling its bias team and replacing it with a “Campus Climate Support” program that does not contact the subjects of complaints, only reporting parties.”
Seems like Michigan moved in the constitutional direction. There is no right to not be offended. A person offended by free speech needs the counseling, not the speaker.

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