“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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