Bias response team violated students' 1A rights, federal court unanimously rules

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Apr. 21 that the University of Central Florida's (UCF) bias response team violated students' First Amendment rights.

The Circuit court unanimously ruled 3-0 in favor of the plaintiffs.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Apr. 21 that the University of Central Florida's (UCF) bias response team violated students' First Amendment rights. 

The organization Speech First represented the three anonymous students in the lawsuit against UCF. 

The Circuit court unanimously ruled 3-0 in favor of the plaintiffs.

[RELATED: STUDY: 98% of MI students attend a university that does not respect free speech]

Judge Kevin Newsom noted in the opinion that the bias response team “objectively chills speech because its operation would cause a reasonable student to fear expressing potentially unpopular beliefs” due to the university’s harassment policies.

“This is a huge victory for every student at the University of Central Florida, as well as all students attending schools in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama,” Speech First Executive Director Cherise Trump said in an Apr. 21 press release.

[RELATED: SURVEY: 80% of students are ‘self-censoring their viewpoints’, many feel uncomfortable speaking up in class]

UCF Director of Strategic Communications Mark Schlueb told Campus Reform that UCF "is reviewing the decision of the United States Supreme Court of Appeals."

"We wholeheartedly agree universities should be a place for civil discourse and the free exchange of ideas," Schlueb stated. "We remain fully committed to encouraging differing viewpoints, free speech and free expression – and we recommit to ensuring our policies are consistent with those ideals. The university continues to work to ensure the related policies are reviewed and are consistent with our commitment.” 

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