4 times universities restricted free speech in 2023

Olivia Krolczyk, a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, says she received a zero on an assignment for using the term 'biological women,' which her professor said was 'transphobic.'

The legal advocacy group Speech First filed a lawsuit against Texas State University on Apr. 13, alleging that two of its policies violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Many universities pride themselves on being all-inclusive and accepting, but when free speech comes into play, they have been known to restrict what they deem ‘acceptable’ on their campuses.

Campus Reform has compiled a list of 4 times public universities have restricted free speech in 2023.

1. College student says she failed assignment for using the phrase ‘biological woman’

Olivia Krolczyk, a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, says she received a zero on an assignment for using the term “biological women,” which her professor said was “transphobic.” 

Krolczyk’s alleged experience with her professor first went viral in a TikTok video in late May.

“I got a 0% on my assignment today because I used the term ‘biological women,’ which is apparently not allowed anymore,” she said. 

2. Free speech group calls out ‘constitutional no-no,’ sues Texas State for multiple policies

A legal advocacy group is suing Texas State University over policies that allegedly have a chilling effect on conservative students’ speech. 

Speech First–the Cherise Trump-led organization fighting bias reporting systems, the “overreach“ of Title IX, and the compelled ideology of DEI–filed the lawsuit on Apr. 13. TXST’s harassment and internet use policies, the lawsuit says, infringe on students’ protected speech, violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 

3. Penn State cancels Riley Gaines event weeks after its president said the university should espouse free speech

Penn State University canceled Riley Gaines’ speech that was supposed to occur Tuesday, Oct. 10, just a month after president Neeli Bendapudi said that the school was “bound by the First Amendment.”

“I have no doubt that we will once again encounter speakers that many will consider controversial either because their views are not widely held or because a speaker espouses ideas that are actively hateful,” Bendapudi said in a video released Sept. 11. “I share the concern of those who believe the messages spread by some individuals are not only offensive, but deeply hurtful. And again, I stand in unity with those who condemn such speakers and their rhetoric.”

4. University punishes club for stating men are not women, officers must attend LGBTQ+ training session, submit DEI plan

Senior faculty at Long Island University (LIU) sent the university’s American Club chapter a letter earlier this summer demanding that it submit a DEI action plan and attend LGBT training as consequences for declaring that men are not women on social media.