University of Michigan’s Bias Response Team?
What do you think is the job of a Bias Response Team? Well according to the University of Michigan their Bias Response Team was created for:
Creating and maintaining a respectful and welcoming environment for all to live, learn, work and thrive is a priority at the University of Michigan (U-M). A group of professional staff, the Bias Response Team (BRT), focuses on the response and management of bias incidents. Bias incident reports by U-M students, faculty and staff are addressed by the Bias Response Team. The Bias Response Team is committed to providing support for those who have been targets of or impacted by a bias incident. The BRT works to ensure that appropriate university resources and expertise are consulted and utilized as incidents impacting the community occur.
This Bias Response Team is made up of representatives from the:
- Dean of Students Office (DOS)
- Office for Institutional Equity (OIE)
- Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI)
- Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS)
- Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA)
- Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR)
- University Housing, Diversity and Inclusion
What does the University of Michigan want you to report:
Bias comes in many forms. It can be a hurtful action based on who someone is as a person. The most important indication of bias is your own feelings. If you feel like you may have experienced something that is wrong and would like to discuss the incident
According to “your own feelings”, really. That sounds a bit vague to me.
According to their website, U of M feels that a bias incident is conduct that:
discriminates, stereotypes, excludes, harasses or harms anyone in our community based on their identity, including race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion.
A Washington D.C. group called Speech First, has filed a lawsuit last Tuesday against U of M in the U.S. District Court's Eastern District against UM. This group states that they combat restrictions on free speech and other civil rights at colleges and universities.
According to their website the group believes free speech is being attacked all over the United States on college campuses by implementing "free speech zones. They also believe these campuses are giving opponents of speech they do not like or agree with a "heckler's veto," and the use of civility requirements to create "safe spaces." Speech Frist states that they want to defend speech of all kinds - "left, right, popular, unpopular”.
Their lawsuit claims:
A student who voices a controversial or unpopular opinion - or who seeks to use humor, parody, or satire when discussing sensitive topics - could face severe punishment…Many students will inevitably choose not to speak - or to speak less forcefully about controversial topics - rather than face the risk of disciplinary proceedings and punishment if another student takes offense at their words and files a complaint alleging violations of the Statement's ban on 'bullying,' 'harassment,' and 'bias-motivated misconduct
The lawsuit said University of Michigan’s Bias Response Team has received 150 reports of alleged expressions of bias since April 2017. These incidents includes posters, fliers, social media, whiteboards, verbal comments and classroom behavior.
I am surprised that only 150 reports of bias were submitted, especially at U of M and the culture they create. Maybe the students are not falling for this “safe space” attitude and culture U or M pushes.
If you were to be found guilty the punishment for offenders could range from required training sessions to expulsion according to the lawsuit.
This is starting to sound Orwellian to me. One person’s free speech is another person’s hate speech.