The PJ Tatler

At This College, 'Hurtful Statements' Are Now Reportable to Authorities

I wonder if any college level literature courses teach George Orwell’s 1984 anymore. They evidently don’t teach it at the University of Colorado-Boulder, judging by a new campaign launched by the school to urge students to report the names of those responsible for any “bias-motivated incident” via an online form.

The Campus Fix:

The “Bias Incident Reporting” effort aims to “address the impact of demeaning and hurtful statements as well as acts of intolerance directed towards protected classes,” CU Boulder’s website states.

Examples of bias, according to a corresponding poster campaign highlighting the reporting system, include calling people names or making fun of their culture.

“This in no way is meant to curtail free speech,” campus spokesman Ryan Huff told The College Fix in an email. “We support the First Amendment and want our students to challenge one another in academic ways. We don’t support, however, the use of racial slurs and other demeaning bias-motivated acts.”

Students who perceive or witness “bias-motivated incidents” are asked to report them immediately by filing a “student of concern” report.

Is Mr. Huff a lunatic? Of course the policy is meant to “curtail free speech.” It’s truly frightening that so many people in positions of power have no clue what “free speech” actually means, and think they aren’t squelching it when they threaten people with being reported for saying anything anyone doesn’t much care for.

The reporting effort is designed to “ensure timely and appropriate responses to incidents that appear to be bias-motivated involving University of Colorado students,” the university’s website states. Bias reports are not treated as confidential, it adds.

The diversity commission of CU Boulder’s student government launched the Bias Motivated Incident poster campaign in late April, marked by a slew of posters hung up around campus.

One poster reads, “Go back to Africa, you don’t belong here.” Another says, “Your mom must be the janitor ‘cause that’s the only job for dirty Mexicans.” The student 2883D8F300000578-0-image-a-51_1431235643381government claims both statements, along with others used on various posters, originated from real incidents of bias that have occurred on campus.

“The purpose behind the campaign is two-fold,” student government officials stated on their Facebook page. “One of the objectives is to encourage and inform students to report bias motivated incidents on our campus and the surrounding community. The other purpose of this campaign is to highlight the fact that indeed BMI’s [Bias-Motivated Incidents] happen here on our very own campus and that we are not immune to acts of racism, sexism and overall discrimination toward people’s identities.”

It will be like walking on egg shells on that campus. You can well imagine activists claiming racism, sexism, homophobia and the like against people who disagree with them politically. Conservatives will probably have to wear specially colored armbands as a trigger warning for sensitive liberals who can’t abide anyone disagreeing with them.

This is an open invitation to students to deny others their free speech rights. And the threat of being reported is just as chilling as any policy that proscribes certain kinds of speech.

There has been pushback by some, but the campaign is going forward. While the school claims they’re not going to do anything with the names of offenders, what does this sound like to you?

Chancellor DeStefano maintains that those behind the campaign only “want to track the frequency of violent and non-violent BMI’s to be able to respond to victims with support, as well as gain an accurate sense of the disruptive actions and attitudes that affect our campus climate so that we can refine strategies to improve that climate.”

Magnolia Landa-Posas, director of diversity and inclusion for the CU Student Government, told the Daily Camera the students hope that by encouraging more reporting, they can gather more data and roll out an “action-oriented” campaign as early as next fall.

“Refine strategies to improve the climate.” “Roll out an ‘action-oriented’ plan.” If they weren’t going to do anything with offenders, why get their names and other personal information in the first place?

No doubt the offending students will be forced to attend some kind of anti-bias education camp or something in order to become sensitized to their wrongheadedness.