Expect Respect: Frequently Asked Questions 13-14

Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech School: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Statement Rating: Red

Relevant excerpt

What are some examples of bias-related incidents?

Depending on the totality of the circumstances, writing a racial epithet in erasable marker on someone’s dry-erase board, making fun of another person because of his or her language or accent, or making insulting comments about someone’s traditional manner of dress or geographic origin are hypothetical examples of a bias-related incident.

How will the University respond when it learns of hate crimes or bias-related incidents?

The University is committed to act responsibly when it learns of incidents motivated by hate or bias. Such occurrences, if they constitute a criminal act such as assault or property damage, should be reported to the police and will be fully investigated. Other acts of intolerance may violate University policies or community standards. In those instances we will pursue a range of remedies that may include disciplinary action as well as community education and dialogue. When you report a bias incident, University staff will help you determine the possible next steps, explain the relevant processes, and offer counseling and support or refer you to other offices that may provide support.

Can individuals who engage in hateful speech be arrested or disciplined by the University?

It depends. The University takes seriously its responsibility to appropriately balance its core values of protecting individual freedoms (e.g., freedom of speech, artistic expression, freedom of association, academic freedom) and ensuring equal and fair treatment of all. These values may sometimes be in conflict. Various University offices are responsible for determining whether hateful speech violates the University’s non-discrimination and unlawful harassment policies. In so doing, the University is always mindful that academia is a unique place where the exchange of ideas, robust debate and artistic expression are critical to the University’s teaching and research missions.

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