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Syracuse University Says Avoiding Others, Telling Jokes Are Bias Incidents and Should Be Reported

Thursday, January 12, 2017 15:49
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SyracuseSyracuse University wants student to combat hate and report bias incidents to the administration when they encounter them on campus. Given how broadly the university defines bias, it’s surprising that students have time for anything else.

According to Syracuse, bias involves “telling jokes,” “excluding or avoiding others,” using the phrase “no homo” (does anyone even say that anymore?), making comments on social media, and a dozen other things.

Bias means treating someone negatively because of their age, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability status, political affiliation, or social affiliation. This last one, social affiliation, presumably casts the net wide enough to include anything. (Are you against frat bros and not afraid to say it? Congratulations, you have engaged in bias against a social group.)

Of course, Syracuse’s website doesn’t even specify that bias needs to include negative behavior at all. The following things qualify:

  • Making comments on social media about someone’s disability, ethnicity, race, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliations/beliefs
  • Writing on a white board about someone’s disability, ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliations/beliefs

Even if they’re positive comments! You could write “congratulations on coming out!” on someone’s Facebook wall and technically be guilty of “making comments on social media about someone’s sexual orientation,” couldn’t you?

Over at The College Fix, Jennifer Kabbany points out the absurdity of suggesting that “avoiding others” is necessarily a malicious act. What if you’re just shy? And National Review‘s Katherine Timpf mocks the notion that using blue for boys and pink for girls is evil.

Keep in mind that the university isn’t just saying these things are bad or these things are problematic. It’s also saying report your friends, neighbors, and classmates to the administration when they do these things. It’s all-too-easy to accuse college students of being delicate snowflakes these days, but it’s not their fault that university administrators are encouraging them to see themselves as pathetic victims.


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