Culture

University Bias Report Filed Because Someone Wrote ‘Free Speech Matters’ on a Poster

#CheckYourFreedomOfSpeech
The First Amendment is very triggering.

A bias-response incident report was filed at University of Northern Colorado because a student wrote “free speech matters” on one of the 680 “#languagematters” posters that had been placed around the school warning of the dangers of using politically incorrect words and phrases.

What’s more, because “free speech matters” is apparently such a controversial, potentially hurtful phrase, the poster that had been vandalized that filth was taken down and replaced with one that read “This was the site of a bias-related behavior,” according to reports reviewed by Heat Street.

(Personally, I can’t believe they did that — after all, who knows how many students had been triggered by having to read the words “free speech matters,” who now have to be reminded of their ordeal every time they revisit the site of the trauma?)

The incident occurred in the spring, but was first reported by Heat Street on Thursday after it obtained copies of the reports.

According to Heat Street, the original poster had stated, “When you say ‘all lives matter’ . . . You are dismissing the Black Lives Matter movement and the brutality impacting the black community.” In April, someone wrote “all lives do matter” and “free speech matters” on the poster, leading to the Bias Response Team’s action. Apparently, the poster had also been altered in March, but Heat Street states that it is “unclear from the redacted reports how the poster was altered in March.”

The replacement poster read, in full:

This was the site of a bias related behavior.

The behavior committed here is offensive and demeaning to all members of our UNC community, and we will not tolerate it. At UNC, we value the power of words and reject language and/or actions that do not align with our educational mission.

We remove vandalism, not to hide bias, but to eliminate further impact of hateful speech.

#languagematters

The poster also listed contact information for the school’s Bias Response Team, and encouraged students to use it.

#related#Among the rest of the 680 (680!) #languagematters posters around the school were one saying “Language matters because . . . Making assumptions about identity(s) minimizes the unique characteristics and lived experiences of both individuals and their communities” and ones warning against using language such as “you guys” — because “referring to everyone as guys reinforces the invisibility of other genders” — and “did you lose weight.”

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online

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