A new study reveals that bias response team administrators struggle to do their jobs while still respecting students’ First Amendment rights.
University of North Carolina-Charlotte professor Ryan Miller, et.al conducted interviews with 21 bias response team administrators, finding that many of them suffer difficulty “balancing free speech and the creation of an inclusive campus.”
While Miller notes that many of the subjects expressed a desire to uphold the First Amendment rights of students, the “need to balance protecting free speech with creating an inclusive campus environment” presents them with “conflicting interests.”
“I think we always are trying to strike an equitable balance between acknowledging a student’s, or offending party’s, First Amendment right of free speech, free assembly,” asserted April, one of the administrators interviewed for the study.
Jennifer, a diversity administrator at another college, voiced similar statements.
“I definitely believe in freedom of speech, but also I want to make sure that we are a safe and supportive community,” she told Miller. “I think that we can do both of those things. Hopefully, people recognize that they’re not trying to be harmful or hurtful and want to be better in the future.”
While many administrators worried about infringing upon the First Amendment, they also expressed a strong desire to root out any instances of “hate speech” or “bias” that might occur on their campus.
An administrator named Kelly, for example, suggested that when the the expression of individual rights is “reckless and irresponsible…that’s when a bias response team can be most effective.”
Jennifer also expressed concern about marginalized students who might be “triggered” by hate speech or hateful groups on campus, noting that while she can’t have hateful groups removed, she can be “proactive” about providing support “to the students that are triggered when they see these folks.”
Read the rest at CampusReform