Texas State University is being sued for violating students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The lawsuit, filed by a group called Speech First, alleges that Texas State University (TSU) and its officials have policies that “deter, suppress, and punish constitutionally protected speech about political and social issues of the day.”
According to Speech First’s press release, Speech First is challenging two specific policies they claim are designed to have an effect on silencing students’ speech. Speech First argues that TSU’s Discrimination and Harassment Policies are “overbroad and can easily be applied to a wide swath of protected speech.” The other is the Computer Policy which they claim “forbids students from using their student email accounts for protected political speech.”
TSU’s computer policy mandates that all students must comply with university, state, and federal policies and laws. (iStock)
TSU’s computer policy mandates that all students must comply with university, state, and federal policies and laws.
Speech First cites that the computer policy was approved on July 2022. The University approved University Policy No. 04.01.07, titled “Appropriate Use of Information Resources” to prohibit students from using computers for political purposes.
TSU prohibits students from “using Texas State’s information resources to affect the result of a local, state, or national election or to achieve any other political purpose.”
“This vague, content-based, and overbroad restriction of protected speech violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. This policy, and any policy like it, should be declared unconstitutional and enjoined.”
It goes on to say that a student’s failure to follow this policy can result in serious consequences such as suspension, restricted access to privileges, and possible “referral to legal and law enforcement agencies.”
Furthermore, Speech First is concerned that both policies inhibit students’ speech on campus because students could be subjected to disciplinary actions for broadly defined harassment.
Texas State University is being sued for violating students’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. (Photo by Natalie Cass/Getty Images)
The lawsuit raises concerns that the policies threaten political discourse among students when discussing politics in emails, engaging their classmates, and commenting in class.
Cherise Trump, Executive Director of Speech First, released a statement, saying “Texas State’s policies are clearly designed to deter and restrict student speech all together, with both policies working in tandem to limit free expression and the exchange of viewpoints on campus. Instead of promoting an environment of learning, intellectual exploration, and open discourse, Texas State has chosen the inverse.”
“Texas State administrators have created a campus controlled by fear where students are afraid to share their opinions, engage their classmates, or even posit new ideas. By violating their students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Texas State claims they’re protecting students. How can Texas State claim to protect students while violating their rights?”
Texas State University is located in San Marcos, Texas and enrolls 38,808 students. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
TSU, located in San Marcos, Texas, enrolls 38,808 students.
TSU told Fox News Digital that they do not comment on active litigation.