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Monday, September 2, 2019

Bias Response Teams: Policing Campus Speech

     About 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. operate so-called Bias Response Teams. Students on these campuses, roughly 2.8 million of them, are subject to internal investigation if accused of hate or biased behavior against certain classifications of people. Pursuant to Skidmore College, anti-bias protection involves "acts of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation based on race, color, ethnicity, economic background, age, physical and mental health ability, sexual orientation, sex, gender or identity or expression, marital status, veterans status, or religious practice."

     On campuses where bias enforcement operates, students accused of hate or bigotry can be brought before a tribunal made up of fellow students, campus law enforcement, members of the faculty, and college and university administrators. Students found guilty by a bias response panel can be required to submit to sensitivity indoctrination or be expelled from the institution. The vast majority of students charged with bigotry, bias, and hate are white males.

     Bias Response Teams have been known to interpret off-hand insults, Internet comments, and even offensive graffiti as "acts" of bigotry, bias, and hate. Critics of these programs believe these shock troops of political thought stifle and punish free speech. Moreover, these arbiters of proper thought and behavior create classes of protected students that discriminates against students who do not share the protected identifies.

     Over the past few years, several colleges and universities, threatened by lawsuits and the wrath of critics who consider the idea of controlling speech and thought fascist and unAmerican, have disbanded their anti-bias operations. 

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