University of California Seeks to Create ‘Right’ to Be ‘Free From Acts and Expressions of Intolerance’

Just months after the University of California was criticized for its “recognizing microaggressions” handout, the University of California Board of Regents will be considering a policy to make the university system “free from acts and expressions of intolerance.”

Eugene Volokh of the Washington Post reports the UC Regents Committee on Education Policy will be meeting to discuss a “statement of principles against intolerance.”

The background for the proposed policy reads, “The Regents are strongly committed to a University community that upholds the core principles of respect, inclusion, academic freedom, and the free and open exchange of ideas. Accordingly, as discussed at the July Regents meeting, a statement reflecting these principles has been developed and is outlined below for discussion.”

The policy reiterates, “The University of California is committed to protecting its bedrock values of respect, inclusion, and academic freedom. Free expression and the open exchange of ideas – principles enshrined in our national and state Constitutions – are part of the University’s fiber.”

“So, too, is tolerance, and University of California students, faculty, and staff must respect the dignity of each person within the UC community,” the policy continues.

Therefore, the policy states, “Everyone in the University community has the right to study, teach, conduct research, and work free from acts and expressions of intolerance”:

“Intolerance has no place at the University of California. We define intolerance as unwelcome conduct motivated by discrimination against, or hatred toward, other individuals or groups. It may take the form of acts of violence or intimidation, threats, harassment, hate speech, derogatory language reflecting stereotypes or prejudice, or inflammatory or derogatory use of culturally recognized symbols of hate, prejudice, or discrimination.

Everyone in the University community has the right to study, teach, conduct research, and work free from acts and expressions of intolerance. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of intolerant behavior and treat them as opportunities to reinforce the University’s Principles Against Intolerance.”

Despite claiming, “Everyone in the University community has the right to study, teach, conduct research, and work free from acts and expressions of intolerance,” the policy insists, the statement “does not apply to the free exchange of ideas in keeping with the principles of academic freedom and free speech”:

“This statement of principles applies to attacks on individuals or groups and does not apply to the free exchange of ideas in keeping with the principles of academic freedom and free speech. This statement shall not be interpreted to prohibit conduct that is related to the course content, teaching methods, scholarship, or public commentary of an individual faculty member or the educational, political, artistic, or literary expression of students in classrooms and public forums that is protected by academic freedom or free speech principles. The statement is intended to reflect the principles of the Regents of the University of California and shall not be used as the basis to discipline students, faculty, or staff.”

The policy provides a “non-exhaustive list” of examples of “behaviors that do not reflect the University’s values of inclusion and tolerance.” The “non-exhaustive list” includes:

  • “Vandalism and graffiti reflecting culturally recognized symbols of hate or prejudice. These include depictions of swastikas, nooses, and other symbols intended to intimidate, threaten, mock and/or harass individuals or groups.
  •  Questioning a student’s fitness for a leadership role or whether the student should be a member of the campus community on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • Depicting or articulating a view of ethnic or racial groups as less ambitious, less hardworking or talented, or more threatening than other groups.
  • Depicting or articulating a view of people with disabilities (both visible and invisible) as incapable.”

The “principles against intolerance” proposal will be discussed on Sept. 17 at the UC Irvine campus.

RTP
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