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speech first

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan filed a response Friday to a lawsuit claiming its policies hinder free speech.

The lawsuit was filed in May by First Amendment watchdog group Speech First -- the first lawsuit the group has filed since its formation earlier this year. It calls out the university’s definitions of bullying and harassment for being too broad, as well as the school’s Bias Response Team, which they say could make students hesitant to share controversial opinions.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A group suing the University of Michigan in a free speech case is now getting support from the Trump administration.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in Speech First, Inc., v. Schlissel Monday.

At issue is U of M’s disciplinary codes that prohibit “harassment” and “bullying.” The suit claims the policy is “vague,” limiting students' freedom of speech on campus.

A university spokesman says the lawsuit is painting a “false portrait of speech” on campus by “seriously” misstating university policy.