Doe v. University of Michigan, Court Case

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It is an unfortunate fact of our constitutional system that the ideals of freedom and equality are often in conflict. The difficult and sometimes painful task of our political and legal institutions is to mediate the appropriate balance between these two competing values. Recently, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (the University), a state-chartered university, see Mich. Const. art. VIII, adopted a Policy on Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment of Students in the University Environment (the Policy) in an attempt to curb what the University’s governing Board of Regents (Regents) viewed as a rising tide of racial intolerance and harassment on campus. The Policy prohibited individuals, under the penalty of sanctions, from “stigmatizing or victimizing” individuals or groups on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap or Vietnam-era veteran status. However laudable or appropriate an effort this may have been, the Court found that the Policy swept within its scope a significant amount of “verbal conduct” or “verbal behavior” which is unquestionably protected speech under the First Amendment. Accordingly, the Court granted plaintiff *854 John Doe’s (Doe) prayer for a permanent injunction as to those parts of the Policy restricting speech activity, but denied the injunction as to the Policy’s regulation of physical conduct. The reasons follow.


Doe v. University of Michigan. 1989. 721 F.Supp. 852 (E.D. Mich. S.D. 1989).

Cite this page:

N/A. 1989. "Doe v. University of Michigan, Court Case." History of Higher Education.