Area Students Push Against Prejudice On Campus

April 9, 2015

By Solvejg Wastvedt at WSKG News

On the Ithaca College campus, Kyle James has a pretty sweet office. His view overlooks the quad, where he can see students crossing back and forth between classes. James says lately, there have been some disruptions to life on campus.

“This actually started in 2011 with an exploratory committee about bias on the Ithaca College campus,” he says. “From that they found that microaggressions were a big problem.”

Microaggressions: small, hurtful words or actions that aren’t big enough to be labeled harassment but are usually tied to some kind of prejudice like racism, sexism or homophobia.

James says it’s students and professors making the comments. “I had a professor, for example, who made a joke about Jewish people,” he says. “It was a very off-color joke, and kind of got a lot of nervous laughs.”

James and the SGA say this has to stop. Their plan: make an online system where students can report microaggressions. They introduced a bill to that effect in student government last month.

The new system would be anonymous, but SGA would look for patterns in the offenses. No punishments are attached to the system. But if one professor, for example, had a lot of reported microaggressions, James says SGA might approach the professor to talk about it...