Nonprofit files lawsuit against UIUC

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A local nonprofit filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for its impingement of free speech.

Speech First hopes to combat restrictions on free speech and other civil rights violations at colleges and universities around the country.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

The outspoken organization says UIUC creates “an elaborate investigative and enforcement regime designed to restrain, deter, suppress and punish speech concerning political and social issues of public concern” by four specific policies.

Those include the leaffleting policy for non-campus elections; the Bias Assessment Response Team (BART); university housing’s Bias Response Protocol; and the No Contact Directive.

Speech First members say programs like the last three are being used as weapons against students whose views would be considered outside the mainstream.

Nicole Neily, president and founder of Speech First, says, “As a public university, UIUC is bound to uphold the First Amendment, and these policies violate both the spirit and the letter of the law.”

The lawsuit seeks to find UIUC’s directives unconstitutional.

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