After Heat Street reported earlier this month on how the University of Northern Colorado’s Bias Response Team policed speech on campus and in the classroom, a university spokesperson has told the local newspaper “there are some pieces that we can do better next time.”
“We do not want to be in the process of censoring—that is not the intent,” the dean of students, Katrina Rodriguez, told the Greeley Tribune this week.
After reviewing more than 200 pages of records, Heat Street revealed that the Bias Response Team had asked professors to change their teaching style and lessons after students reported being offended. In both cases, the professors had asked their students to weigh opposing arguments about social issues, including gay and transgender rights.
“I would say that there are some aspects that we can revisit,” Rodriguez told the Greeley Tribune, which followed up Sunday on Heat Street’s report about how the Bias Response Team shut down classroom debate. “There could have been perhaps another way to look into this.”
By deadline, Rodriguez had not responded to our inquiry about what, specifically, the Bias Response Team planned to change and how soon those changes would take effect.
Three other administrators in the Dean of Student’s Office, which oversees the Bias Response Team, also could not be immediately reached for comment.
The records reviewed by Heat Street also showed that the Bias Response Team had hung 680 posters on campus warning students against “offensive” words and phrases, including “crazy,” “hey guys” and “poor college student.”
Earlier this month, Rodriguez told Heat Street that equating these posters to censorship was “a flawed premise.”
The existence of Bias Response Teams—and the concerns about their censorious potential—is not limited to the University of Northern Colorado. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has identified more than 150 Bias Response Teams nationwide.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.