University of Missouri Police Tell Students To Report “Hurtful” Statements

University_of_Missouri_sealFree speech advocates are increasingly uneasy about the response of University of Missouri to protests of racism on campus. Some of the incidents described by students are exercises of free speech. Those concerns were heightened with the videotape of a communications professor harassing and trying to get students to “muscle” out a student journalist. This concern was heightened even further by police asking students to report “hateful and/or hurtful” speech. We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses and the message seemed to invite the type of speech regulation that has been on the rise. Citizens are allowed to say “hurtful” things without being forced to answer for their exercise of free speech. Monitoring and punishing hurtful statements threatens the most basic values of free speech in our universities. For those with controversial views, the police policy must have had the same feel as Mass communications professor Melissa Click calling for a show of “muscle” to target journalists. A complaint was filed by the student journalist against Professor Click who has now resigned her position.

The university’s student conduct code prohibits harassment, which it defines as “unwelcome verbal or physical conduct” against “actual or perceived membership in a protected class … that creates a hostile environment.” This includes conduct deemed to constitute bullying, retaliation and threatening or intimidating behaviors. The vagueness of these rules raise obvious unease for free speech advocates. As a result, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has written to the university to raise these concerns.

I have a nephew who just started at Missouri who appears to love the school. Ironically, he went there for the school’s stellar reputation for journalism studies. If the university wants to remain a serious academic institution, it will have to examine the implications of some of these moves for free speech values that are so essential to the academic mission.

The incidents described by students include people driving around with Confederate flags on their trucks or posting or saying intolerant or threatening things. Some of these acts may indeed cross the line into threatening conduct. However, some statements are also exercises of free speech. While distasteful and “hurtful,” they are part of an open and robust dialogue in this country that has been traditionally protected through cases like New York Times v. Sullivan. If we start to prohibit “hurtful” thoughts from being expressed, a wide array of speech would be chilled in society. We have always maintained that the solution to bad speech is good speech — not speech regulation or coercion.

What do you think?

124 thoughts on “University of Missouri Police Tell Students To Report “Hurtful” Statements”

  1. JAG, Great comment. We have a sick, victimhood culture. And, that story you just told is the perfect example. I was raised the complete opposite. Take care of yourself, nobody owes you anything, work hard and never whine. Again, I know I’m preachin’ to the choir.

  2. @ JustaGurl


    We seem to be simpatico on this….if I might appropriate a word from the Hispanic culture without throwing others into a breathless triggered faint…… 🙂

    Seriously though, I have opined on what in the world is going to happen to these sheltered cupcakes when they come in contact with the REAL world. Like Paris tonight for example.

  3. JAG, You have one of the best senses of humor here. What we have created here in the US is an Italian mamma’s boy culture. Kids are coddled. They move out, find life tough, and mommy and daddy take them back in @ home. Or, some just don’t leave. One of the few universally liked aspects of Obamacare is the mandate that children be covered under a parent’s policy until they’re 26. WTF? I was married and we bought our first house, during the 14% mortgage rate years, by the time I was 26! I know I’m preachin’ to the choir on this w/ you, JAG.

  4. Nick…

    YOU are so mean!!! you should have posted a TRIGGER warning with that post… I am NOW feeling triggered.. 🙁

    I need to go find my binky… 🙁

    What next, are you going to get all Micro-aggressive on me?


    My god… that kind of stupid should HURT!!!!!

  5. Ok… put some perspective on this. Our precious snowflakes are all butthurt about harmful words, throw hissy fits when someone wears a sombrereo, scream and yell when the least bit offended, and demand their “safe places” with coloring books, bubbles and snuggle bunny blankets. Poor poor babies.

    Meanwhile……in Europe, in Paris, hundreds of people are being slaughtered by ISIS terrorists who have been streaming unrestrained into the EU from Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Malaysia and every other hell hole in the world. Yelling Alla Akbar and murdering innocent people in the name of Islam.

    And….Obama wants to bring in hundreds of thousands of these “so called” Syrian refugees and loose them upon our communities. What could possibly go wrong? This on top of the millions and millions of illegal aliens who have already broken into our country and come from God knows where.

    What should we be more concerned about in the short run? I would say….. The murdering terrorists. However, in the long run we should be very concerned that these wilting violets who are willing to aid and abet the terrorists, who are budding fascists themselves, who are gleefully destroying the academic institutions that their parents are paying hundreds of thousand of dollars to attend……they are the future of our country.

    We are so screwed.

  6. Betty,
    here is a snippet of what you wrote.:

    The rest seem intended to provide a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone.


    INCLUSIVE Environment.. sorry, I have to post a BIT of a rant on this word.

    the other day I was watching a YouTube video and then I was reading and taking part
    in the comments. The video was of a sexual nature, he is a popular YT star and
    has a huge following and sometimes, people will ask him questions and
    he will do a short video answering the question.

    somebody asked about women and having sexual relations. the exact topic is not really that
    So, anyway… down in the comments section, some ladies were talking about
    how they get aroused and what happened when they do, she asked if a women
    can be TOO aroused..

    Somebody then replied, that if the women does NOT FEEL aroused to her partner,
    then that means she is NOT enjoying it…

    a Trans Women said… Well, Trans women don’t get aroused like that… etc.. etc..
    then a few others chimed in… etc.. etc..

    Then, the Trans women said… I can’t believe you are all so Trans-phobic.

    I asked.. Are you joking?

    Then she said… You ladies are talking about a sexual arousal that Trans women can’t achieve …
    ‘WHY are you guys EXCLUDING me and ALL Trans women from this conversation?

    She was upset, because she wants to feel INCLUDED IN ALL things that are female related.

    here is exactly what she wrote:

    “Also for anyone throwing a hiss fit at me for how non-inclusive these responses are,.. etc.. etc… ”


    Notice she did NOT say anybody was INSULTING…

    Nope, nobody was insulting her, she just felt like she was ENTITLED to be included in that conversation,
    even though, fact is… a LOT of women would not have been include in that conversation…
    women who went through menopause… women who just have issues with that,
    also, women who have had Chemo therapy… etc.. etc…
    So, fact is… NOT all women would be INCLUDED in that conversation. YET, she was mad, because
    she thought that the other women were NOT including her.


    Here is the funny part… NOT ONE person on that thread said ANYTHING insulting to her,
    yet, she felt the need to totally alienate a BUNCH of people who are supportive of her issue
    because she THOUGHT she should be included in ALL things female.

    I have even heard of trans women getting upset if a Cis straight women talks about her period.

    that is a TOTAL perversion of the word INCLUSIVE… yet, that is how people are using it these days.

    It is NOT up to the college campus to make sure that people feel INCLUDED.

    Yes, there are people who will say TERRIBLE and hostile things, people can not be sheltered
    from that… It will HURT them in the long run.

    Now, fact is… I have not seen anybody HERE who feels that if it was an UNSAFE environment
    that they would have a reason to complain…

    People are taking issue with the though that they want people to report hurtful speech.

    Do you even understand why falls under HURTFUL speech?
    that is a VERY long list.

    YES, Hate speech is NOT cool, and it is a terrible thing… BUT, we should
    not be OK with a University coming down on Free Speech like this.. and to take it a LOT further
    from Hate Speech and into HURTFUL… Sorry, that is just outright CRAZY!!!

    You know why I don’t want to ban HATE speech?
    because I LIKE that people can say what they want…
    and they will also PAY A HEAVY price for saying terrible racist things.,
    there are MAJOR consequences to Hate Speech.
    I LIKE to know out in the OPEN who I should NOT trust, and so, those racists
    should be allowed to say what they want… and then, Society will act accordingly.

    If we ban that speech, then we won’t know who the racists are..
    they can then HIDE in secret.

    I rather they hang themselves publicly with their own words. 🙂

  7. Dieter, In case you are legally blind, the liberals of today are the new fascists. The evidence is overwhelming. Read Camille Paglia.

  8. Dieter, The student who went on a hunger strike and led this Whine-in @ Mizzou is from a wealthy, elite family. The protesters @ Yale, do you think they’re from the families of garbage collectors? They’re from upscale to rich to wealthy LIBERAL families. Coddled, spoiled brats who think they have a Constitutional right to not be offended. These are the children and grandchildren of the 60’s/70’s protesters, begging the free speech and academic freedoms their parents marched for be revoked, in the name of PC.

  9. Dust Bunny Queen, “Flood the campus police with butthurt complaints…..whaaaaah waaaaah waaaah.” GREAT idea. One thing these self-important people can’t handle is ridicule.

  10. Darrel Hamamoto – Technocratic Takeover: PC Universities, Mandatory Vaccines & Erasing Instinct
    Red Ice Radio

  11. I have been greatly uneasy about our hyper-offended society, as well as the erosion of free speech on university campuses.

    Learning how to handle offense can be a teachable moment. It is a grave error to teach our young adults that the world must change so they won’t ever be upset. They will be unsuited to work in many jobs, or make a difference in the world. How in the world would they ever travel overseas? Dig a well for the Peace Corps? You’re definitely going to be offended if you expand your horizons.

    I remember at one of my previous jobs, one of my coworkers was so difficult to deal with. He was crude, brash, obnoxious, and totally inappropriate. It was unbelievable what he would say sometimes. One time, he went way across the line, took one look at my face, and knew it. He just suddenly stopped, gave a really sincere apology, and we had a long talk about how his South Korean culture demanded a type of machismo on steroids. Men were expected to be brash and crude and inappropriate. Girls had to be shy and retiring and hide their teeth behind their hands when they smiled. He hated acting that way, but it was ingrained, and he couldn’t turn it off. He said he would try to do better to turn that off when he walked in the door to work.

    After that, we were good friends. I was invited to his wedding. If I had acted like so many students today, I would have just gone to HR and he possibly could have been fired. But there was a story there, and talking about it solved the problem.

    Look at what hyper-reactive young people miss out on, when they demand that the world change so they won’t have ever have to be uncomfortable.

    Whatever happened to parents who taught their kids not to let a remark hurt you if it isn’t true? Not to fight with everyone? Who cares what other people think? We are putting the responsibility of our own self respect on the shoulders of everyone around us. But we’re never going to sterilize all criticism and hurtful remarks out of society. Just look at this blog. The cops would be called continuously just from the heated debates and arguments we have here. We are getting uncomfortably close to Fahrenheit 451.

  12. @Nick Spinelli. The Nazi book burning of 1933 in Berlin was organized and controlled by the SA. Students participated. In fact, anyone could come and throw books into the bonfires. Much worse than the book burning was the public destruction by burning of valuable art works a few years later. If I remember correctly that was done by the SS.
    It must also be remembered that the German students of 1933 were overwhelmingly from socially and financially privileged families and were very conservative if not reactionary. Any comparison with our students today is false.

  13. acne not ace

    Come on…it could be fun!
    Report every single itty bitty tiny thing that someone said that made you feel hurt in your sensitive, delicate, fragile soul.

    1. DBQ – these special snowflakes are getting more and more special by the day.

  14. I think it would be hilarious and ironic to report all sorts of “hurtful statements” ….Waaaaah!

    My roommate complains that I fart and snore too much….I’m hurt
    Someone made fun of my hair/ace/clothing/shoes/accent……I’m hurt
    No one wished me happy birthday…..I’m hurt
    Someone made a remark about my weight….I’m hurt.
    My boyfriend didn’t text me back for the 40 times I texted him….I’m hurt
    I was rocking out to my favorite song and my room mates told me to shut it up so they could study….I’m hurt.

    Flood the campus police with butthurt complaints…..whaaaaah waaaaah waaaah.

  15. DBQ,

    “Multiculturalism” did not make America great.

    “Multiculturalism” did not exist during America’s ascent to global hegemony.

    “Multiculturalism” is deleterious.

    Have you read Jefferson and Hamilton on “multiculturalism,” mass immigration and incongruous immigration?

    Jefferson said that mass immigration would cause the national condition to be “…more turbulent, less happy, less strong,…”

    Hamilton said that “…a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”


    Thomas Jefferson –

    “Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom?” “If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here.”

    Alexander Hamilton –

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

  16. Dust Bunny Queen,

    It’s funny you should mention that.

    You sound eerily similar to one Abraham Lincoln:

    To wit,

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” “…he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”

    P.S. It is widely accepted that Abraham Lincoln was brilliant and insightful.

  17. bettykath,

    Y’all are free to go to another university.

    If you see someone breaking the law, call the police.

    The private university is free to run itself.

    The private university is free to listen to your ilk’s idiocy or have it removed from the campus.

    Welfare and affirmative action have gotten out of hand.

    But then we knew they were deleterious and unconstitutional from the outset.

    Have you ever noticed you’re always filing complaints about and demanding of other people’s institutions and organizations? Why don’t you organize your own university so you can produce the dullards you admire? Maybe you will place some graduates on Jeopardy or create some wealth, ending your need to redistribute other people’s.

    “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bull—-,” right?

    We need to “fundamentally transform” America back to the intent of the Founders and the

    literal Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789.

  18. Also….I’m beginning to think that segregation is not such a bad thing. Let all the blacks and black lives matter people go to one school. The feminazi social justice warrior types to another. Then let those who wish to actually learn something and make something of themselves go to another.

    Win Win. The protests and temper tantrums can continue and the rest of us can go on with productive lives.

    They already seem to be self segregating anyway with the Black only meetings and kicking the whites and asians out of their little woe is me professional victim organizations..

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