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UT-Austin to terminate Campus Climate Response Team in response to Speech First lawsuit

Samantha Greyson
Daily Texan

Excerpt: UT-Austin agreed to dismantle their Campus Climate Response Team Tuesday as part of a lawsuit settlement that claimed the team violated students’ free speech, according to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Speech First, a campus free speech advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the University in 2018 on behalf of its UT members for “regulating students’ free speech,” according to their website. The district court dismissed the case in June 2019, but the lawsuit was revived in October by the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the lawsuit, Speech First said they took action to prohibit the University from “‘taking any actions to investigate, threaten, or punish students for violations of the (allegedly unconstitutional policies)’ and from ‘using the CCRT to investigate, threaten or punish students … (including informal punishments) for ‘bias incidents’ or ‘campus climate incidents.’’” The Campus Climate Response Team or CCRT allows students to report incidents of bias, including derogatory graffiti, verbal harassment and hostile classroom environments, according to its website.