Hate Speech

College President Cancels Classes over Threats, Which He Confuses with 'Hate Speech'

Does Western Washington University's head even know the difference?

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MUH SAFE SPACES!!!!
Western Washington University

No wonder kids today don't know the difference between "hate speech" and actual threats of violence. It doesn't appear the adults who are overseeing their educations know either.

Today Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard has suspended all the classes on the college's campuses. Here's part of his message explaining why:

Yesterday, we observed social media being used for hate speech targeted at Western students of color. I need to be VERY clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too. No, this was hate speech.

These are likely crimes in my view (and in the view of those in the criminal justice system we immediately involved). I cannot go into the details of an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Other than to assure you that this investigation is the highest priority of our campus law enforcement colleagues.

We do not know if the perpetrators are Western students. If not, they face the criminal justice system. If so, they also face the criminal justice system. And, when it comes to being associated with Western, I promise you it will not be for long.

Law enforcement has advised me of their assessment that, as the situation is currently understood, there is no threat to general campus safety. However, and I trust you stand with me on this: a threat to any one of us is an attack on all of us.

You may find this message baffling if you know what "hate speech" actually is. All those things he says in the opening paragraph that are not what he sees as "hate speech" is actual "hate speech." Hate speech is not a crime, regardless of what his views and local law enforcement's views are on the matter. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment.

Fortunately, the Seattle Times investigated what was actually going on. It seems as though there was some sort of threat:

In an interview, Shepard said Western was alerted by employees who saw the threat first on the anonymous social-media phone application Yik Yak. Later, students contacted the administration as well.

He said the target was students of color, and that he decided to suspend classes because he was concerned about the safety of all students. Tuesday was to be the last day of classes before the Thanksgiving break.

"There are any number of statements out there that are disturbing and very threatening," Shepard said of the social-media posts. "We do not know what was in the mind of that person, of course, that is one reason we are investigating it. So, who was that person's target? We can't say until we locate that person and interrogate them."

This may be related somehow to the school's mascot (a Viking) and some typical college complaints that it didn't express diversity (was nobody going to bring up rape culture?).

I'm not in a position to judge based on this information whether the words that were put out were specific, targeted, or credible enough to be considered an actual threat of violence. But I am in a position to judge that Shepard needs to educate himself about what "hate speech" is, understand that as abhorrent as it is, it's not illegal, and to be able to determine the difference between hate speech and threats.

Related: Even if it were just hate speech, the college students at WWU are more likely to want it to be censored than older folks.

NEXT: Complicitor: legal jargon or science fiction alien?

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  1. Paging Lenore….weekly contest idea right here in this article!

    (come up with an inclusive, non-offensive, non-microaggressing school mascot)

    1. it’ll have to be making fun of teathuglicans or libertarians because their offense doesn’t count

    2. Doesn’t UCSB have that with the Banana Slug?

      And how in the hell has Pittsburgh (Kansas) State managed to keep the Gorilla as its mascot? That is the RACIST.

      1. Banana slug???? Obviously a reference to the male genitalia!

        1. Or just triggering people who are lazy and of course RACIST because any reference to lazy is RACIST!!

          1. Gauchos everywhere appreciate the correction.

      1. That’s clearly an offensive and RACIST portrayal of an extra-terrestrial!

        1. Don’t forget speciesist.

          Altairians are people too!

      2. Not to mention that using the words “human being” is exclusive of those who identify as furries or turtles or bronies.

        1. As an Otherkin I feel othered by your comment. I spent all day getting my Cure Light Wounds spell back, and now I just have to use it on myself.

    3. The Insert College Here Anythings!

      Each individual is invited to choose the form of the mascot, if so desired.

      1. Whoa! I get it, I get it. Very cute! Whatever we think of. If we think of J. Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover will appear and be our mascot, okay? So empty your heads. Empty your heads. Don’t think of anything. We’ve only got one shot at this.

    4. Why do i keep wanting to suggest, “Nigger Viking“?

      I mean, its ‘inclusive’.

    5. I’ve always felt like the WWU Viking was living on borrowed time. Way too white and male. Even has blond hair! His existence is problematic for such a progressive school.

      I predict that, within my lifetime, he will receive a makeover to be more culturally sensitive or better reflect the community or some shit like that.

  2. These are likely crimes in my view

    STFU.

  3. These are likely crimes in my view

    STFU.

    1. Worth repeating.

      Bruce Shepard, shut the fuck up.

  4. Yesterday, we observed social media being used for hate speech targeted at Western students of color. I need to be VERY clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too. No, this was hate speech.

    Someone over the age of 12 writes like this? This clown is a college President?

      1. He is married to a Stepford Wife.

        http://www.wwu.edu/president/c…..-bio.shtml

        1. That’s a man in a wig.

          NTTAWWT

    1. Is there an award for bad non-fiction? Like, “Bad Memos”?

      Frankly, I’d find a “Bad Memos” contest more interesting than “Bad Fiction”.

      1. There should be except there is so much of it I am not sure how you would pick a winner.

    2. I find “willy nilly” to be triggering

  5. So, umm, what were the actual threats? Or is asking that just my white, male, lawyer privilege showing?

    1. Anything that triggers a student of color is a threat and criminal. In fact, your failure to acknowledge this is RACIST and also criminal.

  6. Is there a contest for most gratuitous overreaction going on?

  7. If not, they face the criminal justice system. If so, they also face the criminal justice system.

    So, in conclusion, the criminal justice system will be faced either, uh, way.

    1. Reading that, I found myself asking “Is this dude paid by the word?!?”

  8. I think this lecture is apropos here:

    Coddle U vs Strengthen U

  9. So, how many millions of dollars is this college going to burn on the pyre of thought police seminars and special snowflake resource centers to placate the students’ feelz?

  10. You may find this message baffling if you know what “hate speech” actually is. All those things he says in the opening paragraph that are not what he sees as “hate speech” is actual “hate speech.” Hate speech is not a crime, regardless of what his views and local law enforcement’s views are on the matter. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment.

    Hateful speech? That kind of speech?

    Just a suggestion, but maybe we shouldn’t cede the language to the idiots wielding it against us and itself. Otherwise, we’ll soon be the Baskin-Hyper-Robbins of speech with 32,000 flavors.

  11. “This may be related somehow to the school’s mascot (a Viking)”

    Of course it is.

  12. “This may be related somehow to the school’s mascot (a Viking)”

    Of course it is.

  13. Somebody doesn’t want to get Missouried.

    1. It won’t work. Now that he caved the hyenas smell blood.

  14. You know, all these students and the administrators (who are no better), ARE all “concentrated” nicely together – anyone get my drift?

    1. Happy camps?

  15. Didn’t some school have “The Fighting Whiteys”? Or “The Fighting Honkies”?

  16. Oh god. Not Western.
    I graduated from there in 2012.
    While it was well known as a more “liberal” college, the social justice stuff didn’t start creeping into every aspect of life until the last of my days there.
    I think I got out just in time.

  17. You may find this message baffling if you know what “hate speech” actually is.

    “Hate Speech” is any opinion that runs contrary to the progressive line.

  18. He isn’t confused, any more than college feminists are confused when they suggest unwanted hand holding is rape. By using the same term to refer to criminally actionable threats of violence and simple douchebaggery, he is trying to promote a language change that will make it difficult to make any distinction, thus making it easier to criminalize douchebaggery, which is his agenda.

  19. Threats on Yik Yak are about as rare as hashtags on Twitter. Good luck with that investigation, Mr. President. Now the students know how to get that final exam postponed.

  20. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,

    http://www.OnlineCash9.Com

  21. Ugh. Yes, hate speech is legal. And yes, his agenda is to criminalize it. However it must be confronted and condemned and not a single comment here does that. With freedom comes responsibility. What the heck is wrong with you people? Next story like this I will expect nothing less from you. And after you confront and condemn the hate you can say whatever the hell you want. And if you don’t do as I say I will feed you to my hungry woodchipper and that is not an idle threat.

    1. PIss off….quit babbling.

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