“UT agreed to disband its absurd PC police and end policies that suppress speech on campus.”
The University of Texas at Austin has changed its free speech policies in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the free speech advocacy group Speech First.
The changes have the full support of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and represent a big win for free expression.
KVUE News has details:
Report: UT agrees to dismantle Campus Climate Response Team
The University of Texas has agreed to dismantle its Campus Climate Response Team after an ongoing legal battle concerning the right to free speech on campus, according to an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal.
The UT website states the team was enacted to help students report hateful comments, prejudiced behavior or other incidents of alleged bias. Examples include derogatory graffiti, verbal harassment, hostile classroom environments or hateful written comments in regard to topics such as citizenship, race, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
This comes after nonprofit group Speech First reportedly filed a lawsuit in 2018, claiming the university “created an elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress, punish, and deter speech that other students deem ‘offensive,’ ‘biased,’ ‘uncivil,’ or ‘rude.’”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit eventually led to a settlement, in which university leaders agreed to disband the response team. However, UT still reserves the right to develop an alternative system in its wake.
Political correctness is being ended at the University of Texas at Austin.
UT agreed to disband its absurd PC police and end policies that suppress speech on campus.
This is consistent with the campus free speech law I signed last session. https://t.co/qXKot20r49
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 26, 2020
Speech First took a well deserved victory lap:
Thanks to Speech First’s lawsuit and subsequent settlement agreement filed on December 22, the University of Texas agreed to the following terms set by Speech First:
1) The school has removed the provision in its internet policy that prohibited sending “rude or harassing correspondence,” and will not reinstate it.
2) The school has revised the provisions in its Residence Hall Manual governing harassment and incivility, and will not reinstate them.
3) The school amended its definition of verbal harassment, and will not reinstate the prior definition.
4) The school has abolished its Campus Climate Reporting Team; if the University ever creates an alternative to the CCRT, Speech First is free to challenge that alternative in a new lawsuit.
This landmark victory for free expression means the University of Texas can no longer intentionally chill student speech while ignoring the guaranteed protections of the First Amendment.
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