Rutgers to Students: No Such Thing as 'Free' Speech, We Are Watching You, 'Think Before You Speak'
Wants students to spy on each other, file reports, provide private information.
Rutgers University students, you are being watched.
That appears to be the message a Rutgers.edu web page would like the campus community to absorb. The web page is maintained by the Bias Prevention & Education Committee, which chillingly warns students that there is "no such thing as 'free' speech," and to "think before you speak." From the web page:
Since 1992, the Bias Prevention Committee has monitored the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus for bias incidents and has provided bias prevention education to staff, students, and faculty. …
Bias Acts Are:
Verbal, written, physical, psychological acts that threaten or harm a person or group on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, atypical heredity or cellular blood trait, military service or veteran status.
If you experience or witness an act of bias or hate, report it to someone in authority. You may file a report on line at www.bias.rutgers.edu and you will be contacted within 24 hours.
Rutgers' bias incident reporting form is identical to the one used by the University of Colorado-Boulder, which was criticized by free speech and privacy advocates (Reason included) back in May. It asks students to report on each other and provide addresses, phone numbers, identification numbers, and even dates of birth—any information that could be used to identify a victim, witness, or person of concern in a bias incident.
Like Colorado, Rutgers defines bias so broadly that all kinds of clearly protected speech would likely trigger an incident report and subsequent investigation by this Orwellian committee.
However, the university administration seems to be backing off some of the committee's claims. When Campus Reform first reported the existence of the web page last week, it looked like this (Edit: Link fixed). By Monday, it looked like this. The difference? The university removed the assertion that there is no such thing as 'free' speech.
I suppose this means that administrators recently reviewed the page, and stand by the rest of its claims.
[Update: The web page's claim about free speech included quotation marks around the word 'free.' I have added those quotation marks, which slightly alter the implications of the claim.]
Hat tip: Campus Reform