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The Buckeye Institute Asks High Court to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

Sep 18, 2023

Columbus, OH – On Monday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Speech First v. Sands and find that Virginia Tech’s use of a ‘bias response team’ violates students’ First Amendment rights.

“Bias response teams have become ubiquitous on college campuses across the country. While ostensibly they exist to promote civility and inclusion, they are in fact a tool to silence debate and enforce conformity of thought,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator at The Buckeye Institute. “These policies are directly at odds with free inquiry and debate that is supposed to take place at our institutions of higher learning, and more importantly, as three other appellate circuits have held, they are at odds with the First Amendment.” 

Speech First—a national organization that champions free speech—challenged Virginia Tech’s bias response team procedures because they chill free speech and violate students’ First Amendment rights. Three separate federal circuit courts found bias response teams—which typically include the dean of students, campus police, and other officials empowered to make disciplinary decisions—violated students’ First Amendment rights, making the issue ripe for Supreme Court review.

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