Students demand expulsion, unpaid leave to punish ‘hate speech’
- Protesters at Bellevue College are calling for the “expulsion” of students found guilty of “hate speech” in response to an alleged string of insensitive messages that appeared on campus over the past several months.
- They are also demanding personal statements of support from each faculty and staff member, a prayer room for Muslim students, and "low-cost full lunch packs."
Protesters at Bellevue College are calling for the “expulsion” of students found guilty of “hate speech” in response to an alleged string of insensitive messages that appeared on campus over the past several months.
A student group known as “BC Students United” has submitted a 7-page list of demands to the president after he apologized in an email Sunday for failing to alert students of the incidents in a timely fashion. President David Rule explained that his office had originally sent email notifications to warn the campus of the alleged hate-speech, but forgot to copy the student email list.
“The lives of every single Muslim and LGBTQ student on this campus were threatened. They weren’t informed,” group member Joshua Shepherd told KING.
Now, BC Students United is not only demanding full disclosure from the administration, but is also using its newfound leverage to advocate for the creation of new policies and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity.
In addition to demanding strict consequences for students and staff found guilty of “hate speech,” including “leave without pay,” “expulsion,” “mandatory sensitivity training,” and “possible legal consequences pursued by the college,” the group also makes a vague appeal for an end to all “racism, discrimination, differential treatment, and retaliation against students, faculty, and staff for speaking out against systemic racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia/transphobia.”
To accomplish the latter goal, the students want Bellevue to institute “annual/new employee training for all staff members on the definition/practice of aggressions and microaggressions;” require all faculty and staff to issue a “personal statement of commitment against racism, discrimination, and differential treatment;” and grant tenure to more full-time professors.
Next, the group demands an increase in public safety officers to address incidents of hate speech, saying “there shall be appropriate numbers of public safety officers and patrols as decided by students in consultation with public safety officers,” adding that students should also be allowed to serve on the school’s “Bias Incident Response Team.”
While they were at it, the group of protesters decided to throw in a couple other demands, including Muslim student access “to a specific room for daily and Friday prayers,” and “low-cost full lunch packs that include water, fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches.” Additionally, they ask for the school to expand its hours on the weekends and drop financial charges for student organizations hosting “cultural events” on campus.
Finally, the group calls for a review of the school’s tenure process to make sure it is void of “groupthink,” and demands that the school provide “a living wage and equitable pay for all staff and faculty,” though the students do not specify what level of pay they would consider acceptable.
After receiving the demands, Rule met with the students and then sent out a second email detailing the contents of the meeting.
“As many of you know, a group of very concerned, brave, and well-meaning students of our college met last week with myself and many other senior administrators,” Rule explained. “It was hard for us to hear the real fear in their voices.”
On a couple of occasions throughout his letter, Rule points out that the school is committed to its mission of social justice, saying it will “continue to meet challenges as we grow as a collective of advocates for social justice.”
“In the truest spirit of social justice, we are allies, not adversaries, in our opposition to hate. Together and united, we will be advocates for change at Bellevue College and beyond,” he declares.
Notably, the nature of the messages allegedly found on campus have not been revealed. In several other instances across America’s colleges, students have reacted strongly to various pro-Donald Trump messages found on campus, which student protesters have deemed worthy of psychological counseling to cope with the “genuine concern and pain,” even calling the mere mention of his name Islamophobic.
Campus Reform reached out to Bellevue to request information about the content of the messages found at the school, but had not received a response by press time. This story will be updated if and when the college provides a statement.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski