Campus bias reports filed against vegan prof and student watching Ben Shapiro
- Campus bias report systems are facing criticism for discouraging free speech.
- In one instance, a student filed a report after he found his dorm mate watching a Ben Shapiro video.
Campus bias response systems are receiving an abundance of complaints at various universities as critics argue they silence free speech.
University bias report systems are present all across the country. Students use these services to report incidents of social bias, including issues pertaining to race, gender, and sexuality. These accountability systems are set in place to deter legitimate hate crimes and discrimination, but critics say they infringe on free speech when used to regulate expression deemed “offensive.”
In May, a female student at the University of Utah reported her professor, suggesting he assigned too many readings by male economists and used sexist language. In the student’s report, she said that although the professor “never applauded these philosophers on their sexist beliefs,” he also “never outright said they were wrong,” The College Fix reported.
"At what cost do we continue to plant the seed of sexism in the minds of individuals?" the student said in the report. "But especially in a course and college that is already deemed to be a ‘boys club’, continuing those teachings, and those teachings being delivered by a professor of [his] character is dangerous.”
The professor later revealed that he became a vegan because he did not want to harm animals, which he referred to as “sentient beings.”
“I sat in my class yesterday, a class I had tried my best to endure and keep my head up as I know myself to be a strong, intelligent, woman entrepreneur,” stated the student, regarding the professor’s eating practices. “But I sat there in shock as I had just witnessed a man in a position of power at an educational facility, give more respect to animals that he refers to as sentient beings than women. As though animals are the only sentient beings, and a woman’s purpose is to satisfy his taste buds.”
In a fall 2018 incident, a Michigan State student reported his dorm mate after realizing that the dorm mate was watching a video of famous conservative spokesman Ben Shapiro, The College Fix reported.
“Ben Shapiro is known for his inflammatory speech that criticizes and attacks the African American community,” the student’s report detailed. “I thought hate had no place on MSU’s campus yet MSU has roomed me with someone who supports hate speach [sic].”
The university offered a room change to the student who submitted the report.
More MSU incidents that yielded campus bias reports, uncovered by The College Fix through a Freedom of Information Act request, include a “hangman” game left on a dorm whiteboard hall (the word “SOUTH” was written), a Snapchat video in which a student said “I hate white people,” and two complaints within three days from a student claiming that a cartoon mocking liberals and posted in a dorm had offended her.
The free speech nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has previously released statements on campus bias response systems, stating that the “speech police” pose an increasing threat to campus free speech.
“Inviting students to report a broad range of speech to campus authorities casts a chilling pall over free speech rights,” Adam Steinbaugh, senior program officer at FIRE, said, according to InsideHigherEd. “Bias response teams solicit reports of a wide range of constitutionally protected speech, including speech about politics and social issues. These sometimes anonymous bias reports can result in interventions by conflict-wary administrators who then provide ‘education,’ often in the form of a verbal reprimand, or even explicit punishment.”
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