The University of Oregon’s Thought Police Investigate Students for Saying Anything

By Robby Soave of Reason

What happens when members of a university community allege that they were victims of a “bias” incident? A team of administrators intervene—no matter how petty the complaint.

An annual report on the activities of University of Oregon’s Bias Response Team provides a frightening yet fascinating glimpse into the practices of these organizations, which are common on college campuses. Students, faculty, and staff who feel threatened, harassed, intimidated, triggered, microaggressed, offended, ignored, under-valued, or objectified because of their race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, disability status, mental health, religion, political affiliation, or size are encouraged to contact the BRT.

The team is composed of seven administrators, which include Oregon’s “multicultural inclusion support specialist,” LGBT director, and “Native American Retention Specialist.” The BRT’s goal is to eradicate bias on campus, making Oregon a safer place. Bias is defined as “any physical, spoken, or written act” that targets another person, even unintentionally. The team’s posters propose examples of bias incidents: statements like “Thanks, sweetie,” and “I don’t see color,” apparently qualify. (The former is patronizing, the latter is simply wrongthink, I guess.)

If you’re not sure what exactly the BRT does, its annual report includes a helpful Logic Model. Think Silicon Valley’s“Conjoined Triangles of Success”:


Actually, that’s not very helpful at all, is it? Not to fear: the report also includes summaries of all 85 of the incident reports filed last year. The BRT documented the nature of every complaint, categorized it, and recorded what response was taken. A thorough review of these summaries suggests to me that the BRT is essentially an administrative thoughtpolice that routinely intervenes in situations where one student’s constitutionally-protected speech has offended another student. The team is also not shy about referring its cases to university agencies with more robust enforcement powers.

Read the entire article at Reason



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