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Free Speech Group Files Lawsuit Against Indiana University Over ‘Bias Response Team’

Court Judge
Hammer (TFP file photo)

Indiana University is violating students’ First and 14th Amendment rights with its “far-reaching” biased reporting policy, a civil rights group claims.

Speech First filed a federal lawsuit against Indiana University on Wednesday, arguing that the school is violating students’ rights by implementing a speech policy that is “designed solely to deter, discourage, and otherwise harass” students. prevent’ to express unfavorable views about the political and political world. social issues of our time.”

According to the policy, students can report others for “any conduct, speech, or expression, motivated in whole or in part by bias or prejudice, intended to intimidate, humiliate, mock, degrade, marginalize, or threaten individuals or groups” about some aspect of life. their identity, such as race or gender identity, according to the Indiana University website.

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After a report is filed, the bias response team can create a “response plan,” refer students to campus resources or “engage in conversation” with the person who was reported, according to the university’s website.

Indiana University’s website claims that its bias reporting system “does not infringe on free speech and academic freedom” and points out that the bias response team itself cannot impose disciplinary measures. However, the bias response team may recommend that students accused of bias be hit with formal or informal sanctions, according to the lawsuit.

“Indiana taxpayers should be outraged that their hard-earned dollars are funding a tyrannical government that has taken a page from the playbook of history’s most oppressive regimes,” Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, said of the case. “IU’s Bias Response Team encourages students to report anonymously on their peers if they even question the prevailing dogma.”

Speech First states that the university’s anti-bias policy is so broad that it could apply to “something as simple as asking why the Biden administration added ‘gender identity’ as a protected class under Title IX” or “claiming that uncontrolled illegal immigration lead to an increase in crime,” said a press release.

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“Speech First members who attend the university are suffering concrete injuries as a direct result of the university’s unconstitutional policies and actions,” the lawsuit said. “These students want to engage in speeches that fall under the university’s policy against bias incidents, but they credibly fear that the expression of their deeply held views will be viewed as ‘biased,’ ‘marginalizing,’ ‘demeaning.’ intimidating’ and the like,” it continues.

Similar bias reporting systems have been subject to legal scrutiny before. For example, Montclair State University, a public institution in New Jersey, agreed to disband its “Bias Education Response Taskforce” after being sued by Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit Christian legal advocacy group, Campus Reform reported. Montclair’s bias team sought to penalize speech determined to be “motivated by bias or prejudice.”

Speech First also challenged bias response teams at the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and the University of Central Florida, ultimately closing all three institutions, the lawsuit said.

Indiana University did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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First published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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