Free-speech group Speech First sued Virginia Tech University in federal court Thursday alleging the university's policies stifle students' expression of right-wing views on campus.
The lawsuit names as defendants VTU President Tim Sands, members of the university's Board of Visitors and several other VTU officials.
"Through this elaborate disciplinary apparatus, administrators at Virginia Tech have intimidated students into silence, refraining altogether from expressing comments or viewpoints that might be perceived as controversial or offensive," Speech First president Nicole Neily said in a statement provided to Fox News.
The suit’s causes of action alleges that four specific university policies violate free speech. The policies under attack are the school’s discriminatory harassment policy, its bias-related incidents policy, computer use, and restriction on flyers as a means of communication on campus.
Virginia Tech’s published policies state that a student violates the school’s anti-harassment policies by mistreating someone on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation, making fun of someone's disability, telling unwelcome jokes about someone's identity, putting down people who are older, pregnant, or foreign nationals, or urging religious beliefs on someone who finds it unwelcome, reports the Washington Examiner.
Students are prohibited from using university computer software for commercial or partisan political purposes and are not allowed to send emails advocating products or for a political candidate.
Fox News previously reported on Speech First's lawsuit with the University of Illinois in May 2019 in which it alleged virtually the same issues as those in VTU case. The University of Illinois settled that prior case this year prior to a deadline for Supreme Court review.
The VTU Dean’s office frames the bias incident reporting as a way to eliminate fear, coercion and harassment, reported Fox News.
"Virginia Tech is committed to providing an environment of work, study and leisure/recreation for students, faculty and staff that is free from all forms of harassment, intimidation, fear, coercion and exploitation," the Dean’s office reports, according to Fox News.
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