Under some pressure and an appellate court ruling in a Speech First suit, the University of Texas has agreed to stop limiting freedom of speech on campus.
…administrators agree to dismantle the bias-response team and amend policies that chill speech. Gone is a ban on “uncivil behaviors and language that interfere” with the “welfare, individuality or safety of other persons.” Also stricken is a definition of “verbal harassment” that prohibited “ridicule” or “personal attacks.”
Under the settlement, UT reserves the right “to devise an alternative” to its bias-response team, but “Speech First is free to challenge that alternative.”
It’s a step, but only a small one, and it’s unfortunate that Speech First agreed to settle. A court ruling would have been much more binding and over a much broader reach of jurisdiction.
Any settlement is only as good as the integrity of the parties to the settlement, and UT (and ISU and UM, two other institutions that have settled speech matters with Speech First) have already demonstrated their level of integrity by having attempted to ban free speech in the first place. The same personnel who assaulted speech, after all, are the signatories to the settlement and are still in place at those institutions. And this settlement promises more UT-provoked expensive litigation as those personnel dream up other ways to try to limit speech.
Along with this, UT’s band continues to refuse to play The Eyes of Texas over what those associated with the band are pleased to call “politically correct” reasons. Those same UT administrators are pretending to review that position.