Friday, April 22, 2022
U. Central Florida “Discriminatory-Harassment Policy Likely Violates The First Amendment” Rules Federal Appeals Court
Speech First, a nonprofit membership association working to combat restrictions on free speech and other civil rights at colleges and universities across the United States, filed a lawsuit today against the University of Central Florida — Speech First v. Cartwright et al — in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Orlando Division as part of its efforts to help restore free speech and expression for American college students and reinforce the need for academic discourse in higher education.
Through the use of three policies – the University’s discriminatory harassment policy, its computer policy, and its Just Knights Response Team (JKRT), the school’s version of a bias response team – the University of Central Florida and its administrators have created a series of rules and regulations that restrain, deter, suppress, and punish speech about the political and social issues of the day.
Speech First members at UCF are unable to express themselves and voice their opinions without fear of investigation or punishment. According to the University, “discriminatory harassment” can occur virtually anywhere, at any time, by any medium. Their corresponding policy applies to incidents on campus and to off-campus incidents that have “continuing adverse effects on or create a hostile environment for students…” Once a student’s speech is reported, an investigation is launched and that student is subject to disciplinary action.
Speech First has had success challenging similar policies at other universities:
- U. Michigan Settles Lawsuit Challenging Bias Response Teams, Agrees to Changes
- Free Speech Advocacy Group Reaches Settlement With Iowa State
- UT-Austin Dropping Bias Response Teams To Settle Free Speech Lawsuit
- U. Illinois Settles Lawsuit With Free Speech Advocacy Group
And it just won a big victory against UCF in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, with a