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Syracuse U. Warns Students May be Punished for not Acting to Confront ‘Bias Motivated’ Speech

Syracuse U. Warns Students May be Punished for not Acting to Confront ‘Bias Motivated’ Speech

“The University also revised the code to make clear when bystanders and accomplices can be held accountable.”

In this case, it looks as though rather than being the speech police themselves, the school wants all of the students to become speech police. It’s a terrible idea.

Professor Jonathan Turley writes:

Syracuse University Warns Students That They May Be Punished For Not Acting To Confront “Bias Motivated” Speech or Conduct

The law has always drawn a line between malfeasance and nonfeasance in considering unlawful acts, but Syracuse University is about to eradicate any real distinction in newly proposed rules by Professor Keith Alford, the university first diversity an inclusion officer. Under the new rules, students would be punished for simply witnessing “bias-motivated” incidents and “acts of hate.” The change was demanded by the #NotAgainSU which demanded expulsion for “individuals who witnessed the event or were present, but did not take part.”

Alford sent an email warning that students:

“The Code of Student Conduct has been revised, based on your input, to state that violations of the code that are bias-motivated—including conduct motivated by racism—will be punished more severely. The University also revised the code to make clear when bystanders and accomplices can be held accountable. The code will be prepared and distributed for students to sign in the fall.”

It does not go as far as the student group demanded in requiring expulsion, the rule also does not clearly state how silence or inaction will be judged in any given circumstance. It appears left up to the investigators. That uncertainty will prompt many to guarantee compliance by speaking or acting to avoid even the chance that they might be subjected to a highly damaging bias charge. The school also warned that new cameras were being installed in “first-floor lounges,” “public areas,” and within residency hall elevators. Thus, any student who failed to immediately act would be observed and presumably at risk of being investigated or charged under the new rule.


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FIRE needs to preemptively take this on right now. The school needs be defunded of all public funds and taken to court for their speech suppression.

Government-mandated “Forced speech” is prohibited by the First Amendment. Hypotheically, if a BSU leader makes a speech denouncing “toxic whiteness” and the audience does not intervene, will they be held accountable by Syracuse University?

Just tell a few PoC that all the cameras are there to cut down on theft and they will be gone in an instant. We have a PoC city council person who is trying to prevent grocery stores from uing facial recognition cameras to block known shoplifters because, in her words, “this will affect PoC more.” Well, tell them to stop stealing then. Sheeeeesh!

When a student commits a hate crime hoax and others know about it, can they be charged?

Who decides which speech is “bias motivated” and which is not? Bias against bias is still bias!

Yet another naked social litmus test to get nonconformers to out themselves as enemies of Progress™.

There can only be one result from this. Students will report ANYTHING that they can construe as possibly being bias related, even if they don’t think it is, in order to avoid being tagged as inadequately anti-racist.

False reports will go way up, which is fine with the kinds of people who promulgate rules like this since a) they just want to create fear and b) they fantasize that they, themselves, will not be affected.

I think the following description is a good summary of what Syracuse U. intends to do:

“… spying on the population, primarily through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.”

They are following an effective precedent. This is a description of Stasi, the East German Secret Police.

Antifundamentalist | August 17, 2020 at 11:58 am

This basically makes witnessing unapproved opinions grounds for disciplinary action. This is what fascism looks like.

The Friendly Grizzly | August 18, 2020 at 10:37 am

How about reporting teachers for causing hostile classroom environments?