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Rutgers University: An Institution of Higher (Re-) Education


Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a Bias Prevention Steering Committee designed to identify instances of bias at Rutgers and to “address[] persons who perpetrate bias acts.” According to Rutgers, “bias prevention” is defined as

An organized system of monitoring, intervening in, and restoring in the aftermath of bias incidents in an environment, e.g., University or workplace. Monitoring includes the reporting of incidents when they occur. Intervention includes counseling persons victimized by bias acts as well as persons witnessing the same. Intervention also includes addressing persons who perpetrate bias acts either through systems of adjudication or reprimand. Restoration often involves educational programs that help to prevent acts from recurring. Persons in authority and leadership usually comprise bias prevention teams. Prevention must constantly be revised and updated.

Bias prevention teams? Is this sounding creepy yet? Well, it’s about to get creepier, because at Rutgers, “bias incidents” are not merely overt acts such as nasty graffiti or harassment. According to the Committee’s Bias Incident Report Form, bias incidents also include “cultural conflicts,” which the university defines as “disagreements, arguments, or controversies that developed due to the cultural differences, backgrounds and lifestyles of the disputants in the conflict”; and “inappropriate language,” which is defined as “use of words or phrases…on the part of the perpetrator(s) which may be racist, sexist, heterosexist (homophobic), etc. in origin, but have been incorporated into his/her commonly used vocabulary.” Here is the listed example of “inappropriate language”: “‘Joking’ comments (between friends, roommates, floormates).” So in other words, not only might you receive re-education for engaging in an overt act of bias, you might receive re-education for simply disagreeing or arguing with someone of another culture or background, or for telling your friends a joke that the Bias Prevention politburo deems inappropriate.

Honestly, as much as I hate speech codes, I find thought reform like this to be far more chilling. Rutgers is a public institution; an arm of the government. And simply put, the American government has no right to tell its citizens how they must think.

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