By Erin LeeAnn Watson
The purpose of the proposed hate speech policy is three-fold: to educate the students, faculty, and staff on how to communicate effectively to those of varied backgrounds, secondly, to set a policy that insensitive language toward a targeted group will not be tolerated, and finally, to remove the ambiguities and the administrative confusion regarding who deals with these issues.
There has been growing frustration among not only minorities but people of certain religious beliefs and sexual orientation who have been the victims of language that is extremely hurtful and offensive but have no place to turn to for support. The college has no concrete way of handling situations that stem from hateful language, which in turn can lead to physical altercations and emotional trauma. The purpose of the purposed policy is not to punish but to educate. The purpose is to require that the college recognize the severity of personal attacks and hateful loaded language such as faggot, nigger, chink, and wetback. The proposed policy attempts not to challenge freedom of speech but to set standards of race and diversity tolerance.
The hate speech policy aims to help foster a healthy environment on campus, and is also intended to resolve issues of social tension effectively.
In sum, it would allow students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to speak with a committee of qualified authorities about issues of intolerance and hate speech on campus. The college community will have the opportunity to file, confidentially, an informal and formal complaint with said committee. At the end of the year the committee shall report to the campus community the number of informal and formal complaints. The report will act as an assessment of the major issues that should be resolved before the next academic year. This policy is also meant to create a healthy dialogue on campus that will be helpful to the entire campus community. It is also meant to expose the perpetrators of discriminatory acts to resources that will educate them not just in the short term but in the long term as well.