University of Houston, Speech First Group

From October 2012 to June 2022
University of Houston (Public college or university)
Houston, TX, United States

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Not Clear
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


The University of Houston entered a settlement with litigation firm, Speech First regarding its anti-discrimination policy. The firm argued on behalf of three conservative students that the policy was overly broad and violated students’ First Amendment rights.

The policy defined unlawful harassment as “humiliating, abusive, or threatening conduct or behavior that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group” or conduct that created a hostile living or working environment or interfered with an individual’s academic or work performance.

It also stated “[m]inor verbal and nonverbal slights, snubs, annoyances, insults, or isolated incidents including, but not limited to microaggressions,” would be considered harassment if the actions occurred repeatedly and targeted a particular group of people based on their race, sex or gender or other status that keeps them protected from discrimination.

As part of the settlement, the University will have to pay $30,000 in attorney’s fees and must keep in place an amended anti-discrimination policy.