A prominent Midwest university staunchly defended its unconstitutional speech policy until the Department of Justice got involved in the lawsuit against the school.
A lawsuit filed last month by the group Speech First alleged that the University of Michigan's bullying policy was unconstitutional and "un-American." But after the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case, the school stopped defending it and began revising it. Nicole Neily of Speech First says the DOJ's interest in free-speech cases is very encouraging.
"This is actually the fourth campus free-speech case that they have filed a statement of interest in, so it's really exciting they have taken a strong stand," says the group's president. "Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions has definitely made protecting students' civil rights a priority on campus."
Neily contends that the vague policy tends to chill free speech on campus even though the school contends their "Bias Response Team" has no authority to discipline supposed violators.
"I think it's very difficult to have a system in place where students can anonymously report speech of their fellow classmates and not chill student speech," she tells OneNewsNow. "What kind of message does that send? Even if a student is exonerated at the end of an investigation, it's still very scary."
According to Campus Reform, the university claims it had already been reviewing the policy before the lawsuit was filed and had installed changes before the DOJ became involved.