In a new op-ed for The Huffington Post, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff addresses Ithaca College’s microaggression resolution that we reported on yesterday on The Torch. The Student Government Association resolution seeks to create an anonymous reporting system for alleged instances of microaggressions.
Torch readers might be familiar with these sorts of anonymous bias-reporting systems on college campuses. They raise troublesome legal and normative questions. But the resolution out of Ithaca College appears to take such programs to the next level. The resolution’s student government sponsor has suggested that some microaggressions could result in “harsh punishment.” She has also described the program as “record keeping but with impact.”
In his op-ed, Greg argues that this perhaps well-meaning resolution to promote tolerance and pluralism on campus will in fact do nothing of the sort:
The goal, according to the resolution, is to create “a safer, more inclusive, and diverse community for all students.” More likely, the result will be a chilling of ordinary personal interaction that stifles intellectual debate, creates a war on candor, and leaves students and faculty talking on metaphorical eggshells.
Greg sees programs like the one being pushed for by Ithaca College students as part of a broader national trend to treat “candor among individuals as a nasty mistake to be trained out of ignorant, non-professional speakers.”
As Greg argues, there seems to be a concerted effort on campus “to teach a generation how to fear freedom of speech—with no thought to the unintended consequences.”
Check out his full argument over at The Huffington Post!