Pacific University has made a commitment to all students to protect them from any possible forms of violence. Of course assault, sexual misconduct and abuse are universally condemned on campus, and ought to be banned.
However, the abridgment of any form of speech is quite controversial.
On Pacific’s website there is a page titled Bias Incident Report, which can be found under the “Support at Pacific” tab.
Students and members of the Pacific community can access this Bias Incident Report page to analyze incidents of offensive speech against marginalized groups.
For example, when the university posted a photo of Pacific football fans covered in red and black body paint to the school’s Twitter account, the Bias Incident system was used to find the appropriate solution for the issue.
Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Narce Rodriguez, who created this system to investigate potential biases against minority students, said the website’s language to describe any potential bias incidents is a work in progress
Those skeptical of the Bias Reporting system believe it’s vague descriptions for infractions threatens the right of students to speak freely.
Others feel a report on a person’s official record could be damaging to the reputation of students, who have possibly made an offensive joke or expressed an unpopular opinion that resulted in an incident report.
Director of the Center for Gender Equity Martha Rampton supports this new system, but only under the condition it be better understood by students.
According to Rampton, she did not know a reporting system existed, prior to speaking with the Index. She hopes to see the consequences of an incident report be made known to everyone.
Many students were also previously unaware of this system. This lack of knowledge surrounding the new system could prove dangerous, as students would have no idea what could get them in trouble or what consequences they may face.
Rodriguez plans to submit a report of incidents and better explain the system to students and faculty in the future.
This, in the hopes that staff, faculty and students across the campus can better understand the system, and the punishments that can result from it.