Virginia Tech has drafted new anti-bias policies to curb harassment and discrimination on campus. However, a conservative free speech group is attempting to derail these efforts, arguing that enforcing these rules will be detrimental to right-leaning students.
Speech First, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the school in April on behalf of three students. The group is now seeking a preliminary injunction from Judge Michael Urbanski to delay the implementation of policies until there is a ruling on the suit.
The free speech organization alleges that, though it seems Virginia Tech is attempting to create a safer space for its students, these rules will only serve to stifle the expression of conservative students, as reported by The Roanoke Times.
Urbanski stated that he will issue a ruling soon after hearing arguments in the case.
Speech First, Inc. Lawsuit
Speech First, Inc. filed suit at the US District Court claiming that the views of concerned students on the Black Lives Matter movement, same-sex marriage, abortion, and transgender issues go against the majority and are in danger of being silenced.
They allege that anti-bias policies presented at Virginia Tech were vague, as they forbid “telling unwelcome jokes about someone’s identity” and sharing “religious beliefs on someone who finds it unwelcome.”
Attorney Michael Connolly argued that school officials created an elaborate web of policies that will put conservative students on the defensive at all times, afraid to speak their minds.
However, Virginia Tech reiterated that it has already adjusted certain parts of the policies and will only prohibit employees from using speech for partisan or political purposes. With Counsel to the Attorney General, Jessica Samuels, the school has asked Urbanski to disregard the injunction request.