Critics of university's speech, bias policies win appeal in federal court

ANN ARBOR (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled against the University of Michigan in a free-speech challenge to a team that responds to bias complaints.

A judge had rejected a request for a preliminary injunction. But the appeals court told Judge Linda Parker to take another look in a 2-1 decision Monday.

Students belonging to a group called Speech First are objecting to a so-called bias response team at the University of Michigan. The team responds to conduct that discriminates, harasses or harms anyone based on identity. Critics say the team can be intimidating and quash free speech.

The university says the team offers support and has no disciplinary power. But it can refer matters to police or administrators.

Appeals court Judge David McKeague says referrals are a consequence that "objectively chills speech."

Published: Thu, Sep 26, 2019