Black Student Union demands 'disciplinary' board to punish students who use 'hate speech'

The Black Student Union at the University of Florida issued a list of demands to the university president and student government over the death of George Floyd.

Other demands include reducing police presence on campus and preventing "controversial speakers" from speaking at the university.

The group is calling for a board to discipline students who use undefined "hateful and dangerous" language.

Citing the recent deaths of unarmed black Americans like George Floyd, the Black Student Union at the University of Florida issued a list of demands for an “equal” learning environment including a “hate-speech” board, mandatory diversity training, and fewer police officers on campus.

According to the demand list posted to the group’s Instagram account, the BSU called on UF to implement a “zero-tolerance” policy that would punish students who use “hate speech” and “hateful and dangerous language.” In addition, the BSU says students who use hate speech should be suspended and would go before a board that would review the evidence. “If there is evidence of a student participating or promoting racist behavior, they will go before a board that will administer disciplinary action,” the BSU stated in an online petition.

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The BSU also demanded the implementation of mandatory diversity training for faculty and a 5 percent increase in the hiring of black professors and administrators for all of the university’s colleges. Additionally, the organization called for a reduced police presence on campus, the changing of buildings named “after high-profile racists,” and name tags for all black university employees so they may be “properly addressed and respected.”

 The letter demands the ability to prevent “controversial speakers” from being invited to campus through ACCENT, the university’s speaker’s bureau. BSU cited a 2019 event that featured Donald Trump Jr. as an example of an ACCENT event that made black students feel unsafe.

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UF Young Americans for Freedom issued a response to the BSU on social media slamming the group for what it calls a double standard on the First Amendment: “BSU applauds those for using their 1st Amendment rights to peacefully protest, but then in the same breath calls for the limiting of similar freedoms for those with differing viewpoints,” the UF YAF statement read.

The conservative club went on to argue that the demands are “antithetical” to the university’s principles and that freedom of speech is a “bedrock principle of academia.” The club’s chairman, Philip Smith, told Campus Reform that especially in light of a recent free speech lawsuit that UF settled with the YAF chapter, campuses should be “expanding” speech, not restricting it.

“When it comes [to] the 1st Amendment, you can’t pick which freedoms you’ll respect and which you’ll call to restrict, but that’s exactly what BSU did in their statement,” Smith said. “Our University has a history of suppressing speech, and our organization recently settled a lawsuit with them for that reason. We need to be talking about expanding free speech on campus, not limiting it.”

Campus Reform reached out to the UF BSU but received no response in time for publication.

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