State legislators hammer UNC for 'Marxist' bias team

Emails ascertained through the Freedom of Information Act show that top officials at the University of Northern Colorado scrambled to control backlash over bureaucratic missteps by the school’s Bias Response Team.

Campus Reform recently reported that UNC’s Bias Response Team asked conservative-leaning professors on at least two separate occasions to modify their teaching styles in order to avoid offending students.

[RELATED: Bias Response Team investigated prof’s for discussing conflicting opinions]

Now, documents provided in response to a FOIA request by Heat Street and The Greeley Tribune show that university officials sent or received more than 500 emails on the matter in the span of just one month, many of them dealing with angry alumni and parents.

In one instance, though, UNC President Kay Norton backhandedly mocks the media’s coverage of her school, saying the news articles touched on “everything they could cover (yeah, I may be naïve).

“I’m hoping we get a little respite while we get our act together about how we are going to handle this better in the future,” she adds, admitting for the second time that her school’s Bias Response Team inappropriately censored conservative voices.

[RELATED: UNC admits it could ‘revisit’ Bias Response Team after national criticism]

The school was also fielding angry emails from local senators and lobbyists, who chastised the institution for its blatant censorship of free speech.

“If in fact the university has been engaged in a most cynical, Marxist type of social engineering, then you can count me as someone who feels extremely betrayed,” state Sen. Jack Tate wrote to Norton. “I cannot believe that I was in a position where I was advocating for the university.”

State Sen. John Cooke also wrote a letter to Norton, condemning his alma mater in a statement that was later made public.

[RELATED: UNC prof shares tale of censorship by Bias Response Team]

“I am both astonished and disappointed by what is happening at my alma mater the University of Northern Colorado. It appears UNC leadership has decided that so-called ‘tolerance and diversity’ is justification for intolerance and intimidation,” Cooke lamented, calling the incident “heartbreaking.”

Eventually, one email shows, the school crafted a list of talking points for responding to local legislators.

Norton also received many emails from disappointed parents, one of whom said he will no longer send his daughter to the school.

“Our 16-year old daughter is considering applying to UNC but after reading this article my wife and I have serious reservations about allowing her to attend,” he writes. “We want our daughter to be exposed to many ideas, experience open and honest debate during her college years, and learn that the real world isn’t (and shouldn’t be) concerned about coddling her or providing ‘safe spaces.’”

Another administrator noted that the Dean of Students had “received at least one” note from a prospective student about the incident.

In a separate exchange, one professor wrote to UNC’s administrators to inform them that “we often co-exist with the word ‘Orwellian,’” noting that when entering “university AND Orwellian,” UNC came up as the third result.

The 500 pages of emails, showing numerous exchanges between top officials and professors, have since been made posted by The Greeley Tribune for the public to read.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski