Free speech on campus

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Photo Credit: Ericka Suarez | Daily Texan Staff

“Political correctness is being ended at the University of Texas at Austin.”

That’s what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted in response to the United States District Court ruling to disband the Campus Climate Response Team here at UT. 

The Campus Climate Response Team, made up of University officials and professors, was created to help students report incidents of bias that are specifically motivated by a person or group’s identity.

In late 2018, Speech First, a campus free speech advocacy group, filed a suit against University policies on nondiscrimination, claiming that said policies were restrictive and violated students’ First Amendment rights to free speech. 

Although the primary goal of the Climate Response Team was to create a “more inclusive and welcoming university community by connecting individuals to the appropriate resources when bias incidents occur,” Speech First argued that UT had “created an elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress, punish, and deter speech that other students deem ‘offensive,’ ‘biased,’ ‘uncivil,’ or ‘rude.’”

In this forum, we hear from both sides of the debate. 

Contributor Emmanuel Ramirez argues that the Climate Response Team hindered students’ right to free speech because there were no “set-in-stone” guidelines about what constituted discrimination or hostility.

Forum editors Daisy Kielty and Maria Sailale argue that UT needs to assist its students in reporting incidents of hate and provide them with the necessary support, just like many other universities across the country. 

As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at thedailytexanforum@gmail.com.