Reason TV Interviews Occidental College Students About Microaggressions, Support for Free Speech

By December 9, 2015

In the wake of student protests centered on campus racism, students have issued demands—and some college faculty are eager to expand on them with a new speech-monitoring reporting system.

Occidental College, which FIRE has written about before, is now considering implementing a formal system for students to report “microaggressions” they claim to have experienced on campus. According to the draft plan, faculty recognize the “power imbalance” between themselves and students and believe a reporting system is a “substantive action” Occidental can take to meet student protesters’ demands.

Reason TV visited Occidental College to find out from students what exactly they believe a microaggression is, whether the proposed system will solve issues of alleged racism on campus, and how strong student support for free speech is generally.

Not surprisingly, most students Reason TV interviewed supported free speech in principle, but not always in practice. With respect to the proposed reporting system, too, some students seemed to agree with it in principle but were unsure of how it would work in practice. For example, when asked if creating a database full of statements that faculty and students make to each other would have negative implications for free speech, one student said, “I would say it’s good to have it in place, but to have college actions against it, it wouldn’t be beneficial to student life.” Other students had a more optimistic view and believe the reporting system will “make a safer environment” on campus.

Check out the video above for more.

Schools: Occidental College Cases: Occidental College: Faculty Council Considers Resolution Threatening the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Conscience of Whole Faculty