GAME OVER: RAs call the COPS on students playing video game

A group of University of Maryland students were playing a video game in a student lounge when resident assistants (RAs) reported them to the police. 

Students were playing the game Quiplash, a multiplayer “say-anything” party game, according to the free speech nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Similar to Cards Against Humanity, a prompt is displayed in Quiplash and players submit anonymous responses to answer the prompt. Players then vote for the best response.

According to the police report summary, the UMD students responded to a prompt “I see…” with the statements “I see my GPA falling,” “Civil Rights,” “unstoppable tide of Islam,” “Jared.Too.Much.Jared,” “your mom,” “The Fitness Grand Pacer Test,” and “Too many Jews to kill.” The last response, mentioned in the first paragraph of the police report, appears to be the one with which the RAs took issue.

UMD Police Sgt. Rosanne Hoaas confirmed to Campus Reform the details in the summary obtained by FIRE.

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Police told the author of the offending response that he would be referred to UMD’s Office of Student Conduct. The incident was classified as "hate bias" in the police report.

“Even though I understand that what the student said was inappropriate, I think that the RAs should have expressed their concern directly to the students rather than involving law enforcement,” Susan, a rising UMD student who asked that her last name not be revealed, told Campus Reform

“Honestly, if this happened to me, I’d feel very constricted in my speech,” she continued. “Just knowing that an offensive joke could lead to getting reported to the police would make me very wary. I would have felt that the reaction was disproportionate to the offense.”

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UMD’s policy statement on freedom of expression and personal responsibility states that “censorship is not compatible with the tradition and goals of the University.”

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