Bias Incident Response Team

The University of Mississippi

Free Speech

Understanding Free Speech and Bias

Free Speech:

  • The freedom of speech protects all citizens from punishment or other outcomes as a result of the legal use of free speech.
  • Because BIRT is not a disciplinary arm, BIRT addresses legal bias speech as an opportunity for education.
  • In instances where bias speech breaches the legal use of free speech or the student code of conduct, BIRT will work with the Judicial Council or UPD on coordinating educational intervention or restorative justice as needed.

Bias Speech:

  • Bias Speech is any speech directed at a person because of their protected status, e.g. race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender expression, veteran or ability status that displays some level of prejudice or chauvinism.
  • Bias Speech can range from slight, or passing comments to more malicious hate speech, such as the use of racial slurs or targeted epithets.
  • Bias Speech is protected under free speech unless it is used as slander, libel, to incite violence, or as a credible threat.