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. Dieter, Neo fascists come cloaked “seeking diversity” and demanding limits on speech and “safe places.” They demand we give up much of the 1st Amendment and the 2nd Amendment. I know it’s tough to admit liberals have become fascists. I used to be liberal. Hell, I was a VISTA volunteer. Then I got smart. Read Camille Paglia, a smart liberal libertarian.

    And, I see you have become a member of the victimhood sect of liberalism. I replied to you @ 7:55p on 11/13/15. I dare you to find any insult. I won’t ask you to take your FALSE accusation back. Liberals lie even when the truth is there for all to see!! Yes, I just called you a liar. That’s what I call people who falsely accuse me!

  2. @ Nick Spinelli. As a son of a Jewish father who survived Auschwitz Monowitz, a non-Jewish mother who was in a concentration camp for hiding Jews in our apartment in Amsterdam (I was 16 then) and was honored by Yad Vashem I need no lectures/insults from you about who is and who is not a Nazi/fascist. American liberals are not Nazis because I see no liberal American SA marching daily in our streets here and painting swastikas on Jewish shops. As a group they are not fascists either (I am married to one) although a few may be. I see no Mussolini-like liberal fascist SA marching daily in our streets here. Those armed troops were intended to terrorize the population. They were a major kingpin of Nazism and fascism. Without them neither Hitler nor Mussolini would have succeeded. Where are they in our nation?

  3. DBQ, I saw some of those Mizzou crybabies tweets lamenting they were moved off the front page. Maybe they should host an ISIS summit, that would get them headlines!!

    1. Dust Bunny; That’s pretty graphic and convincing. I think this boils down to whether you believe that 911 was a false flag or not. Even if this Paris event went down exactly as is reported, 911 truthers are going to question the official narrative. Who is really behind these attacks? How is it going to be used to take away more of our freedoms in the name of ‘security”? What is the bigger agenda? Why did NSA type surveillance not thwart this orchestrated event? Why has it thwarted NO terrorist attacks? Why are the witnesses interviewed on main stream media always so calm? Why is there so little “graphic” footage? I saw a photo of a woman on twitter who looked like her leg had been blown off and she was laying calmly on her back texting on her phone. Is this even possible? Wouldn’t she be in shock from blood loss? This raises more questions than answers which should raise all kinds of red flags but I notice that with some people it simply does not. Some people simply accept the official reports and move on.

  4. Wow! Hildegard needs to put on her tin foil hat. She seems to be implying that this whole Paris thing is a hoax. cue the Twilight Zone music.

    As Paul stated people are different. Some people are calm under pressure. React differently to shocking events and are still IN shock. Perhaps it is that stiff upper lip that the British are so famous for.

    Personally, I would rather be around the stoic calm person in a crisis than the hysterical can’t keep it together type.

  5. Paul, Find me someone who seems genuinely distraught if you can. So far all the witnesses are amazingly calm.

    “Police official: Around 100 hostages taken at Paris theater; 35 dead”

    I can’t find any raw footage from inside the theater. Lots of tweets no footage. Why?

    1. Hildegard – what kind of raw footage are you looking for? It isn’t a TV show.

  6. He probably feared for his life and refused to do so.

    No comma after the word “life” in the previous comment.

  7. Claiming that the president’s car HIT a protester is like claiming that all of those poor, murdered souls got in the way of bullets yesterday in Paris. The president’s car, as it was moving, was blocked and surrounded with militant, aggressive, loud barbarians DEMANDING that he get out of the car. He probably feared for his life, and refused to do so. I don’t blame him one bit. Hit a protester? I would’ve floored it.

  8. Here is another perspective eye opener. The poor put upon Mizzou students are mad because the terrorist incident in Paris where hundreds are dead, is taking away their spotlight. Waaaah Unfair! WE are the most important people in the world. Boo hoo. They still think the KKK is threatening the students. Really? KKK Are they sure it wasn’t just a ghost costume that was not strictly politically correct. If it weren’t so sad, I would be tempted to laugh.

    Check out these tweets. Un Effing Believable! indeed

    1. Dust Bunny; In your response to Bettykath “If the incidents are real…” and your general comment “The poor put upon Mizzou students are mad because the terrorist incident in Paris where hundreds are dead,”

      Paris Attacks: {Incrediby calm] Eyewitness Account of Terror
      This is just one piece of information. How is that hours after witnessing what she claims to have witnessed; hour after experiencing what she claims to have experienced that she is SO calm? She might have been describing a trip to the grocery store….

      1. Hildegard – people is people and you can quote me on that. 🙂 People react differently to events. Some fall to pieces, others have their executive suite switch on.

  9. The students were protesting because of the verbal bullying (I don’t know if it had yet escalated to the physical, but the fear of the physical bullying was real), “n….” signs written with feces seems to me to be bullying to everyone with dark skin.

    @ Bettykath

    It was my understanding, maybe I’m wrong, that the verbal assaults and the pickup truck with Confederate battle flag, were from off campus people. Unknown people and there is no confirmation that this happened. And that there is no proof of who actually played with their own poop and made a swastika in the bathroom.

    Redneck white boys drunk in a General Lee pick up truck. Nice stereotype yes? Swastikas are generally aimed at the Jewish contingent. Where is their outrage.

    Verbal bullying is a pretty wide brush to swath with. Especially since there has been umbrage about innocent statements using words that are common in the English language. Nigardly, black hole, angel food cake and all sorts of other ridiculous things. Certainly calling someone the “N” word is wrong and rude. So is calling someone a Cracker, Wop and all of the other lovely racial insults. Obviously this would be considered wrong. But….until I know what their definition of “verbal bullying” is, I am skeptical.

    Since there have been multiple instances of these “racial” assaults, like nooses hung on doors, signs and other supposedly horrific racist events that have turned out to be admittedly done by the supposed victim in order to stir up the pot, I am extremely suspicious of any of these so called assaults until they have been proven. In fact most of those events seem more like Munchhausen by proxy racist events. Invented to become the prime victim of the day and to create chaos.

    Is there racism. You bet and we see it on BOTH sides. Black as well as white. What do you want the administration to do about that?

    If the incidents are real, what do you expect the University Administration to do? Go and hunt down the townies who probably do not like the snot nosed university kids of all ethnicity? Shall they go on an unsubstantiated witch hunt and punish ALL the white students, based on what evidence other than say so and some demented poop graffiti?

    I’m not condoning actions against others that are racial insults. I do expect to have more than some whispers and innuendo before we begin hanging each other and ruining lives and careers. Vigilantism is unsavory no matter which side is the instigator.

  10. bettykath, PLEASE keep commenting here. People need to understand the viewpoint of white liberals, consumed by guilt. Many liberals don’t believe when they say what you just did. For them it’s just political, trying to appease a race of people enslaved by the Democrat party. You are providing a valuable public service because I have seen over several years you are a true believer.

  11. When the learning environment is unsafe for a group of students based solely on the color of their skin, they have to spend extra energy on being safe. Bullying sometimes begins verbally, and then escalates to the physical. The students were protesting because of the verbal bullying (I don’t know if it had yet escalated to the physical, but the fear of the physical bullying was real), “n….” signs written with feces seems to me to be bullying to everyone with dark skin. That’s not the only example, but it seems to have been the trigger for action. Then one of those protesting was hit by the car of the president of the university. The cops were called on the protesters and the protesters were treated with what is becoming the usual with cops – excessive force. This inspired the Black football players to join the protest then joined by their teammates and the coach. Now what’s going to get everyone’s attention more than a football team on strike? More of the student body joined the protest, most likely some joined because they learned why the protest was important; others because their team refused to play.

    Those whose comments denigrate the protesters are also the ones who denigrate the result of the education level of the Black students. It’s hard to study when you don’t feel safe. The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. This is what the students did. They want systemic changes so that the bullying stops and they are safe to concentrate on their studies. Safety, like the white students get by the color of their skin…

    I strongly recommend the book “Waking Up White”.

    1. bettykath – how long has it been since you were on campus? For me it was the mid-80s. I went to the largest university in the United States and the one with the largest number of foreign students. Everyone was treated the same way. except the athletes, who had tutors. The only safety issue, and it was a major one, was getting run over by someone on a bike. I did notice that a certain segment of the black students would always meet together for lunch or coffee, etc. Was this them discriminating against ‘whitey?’

  12. Here’s an informative video about the massive changes happening in our country post Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage; including the U of Missouri incident. . BTW I am NOT a Christian per se and disagree with her ‘gay is sin’ attitude and much of her biblical references. Personally i don’t know why, even if we don’t ascribe to a person’s lifestyle, worldview, or religion, we cannot then LEARN from them still. Minds should be OPEN to all sources of knowledge and wisdom.

    They’ll Do Everything to Keep This Quiet: A Truth You Don’t Want To Know About America But Need To
    Lisa Haven

  13. Re: Mizzou. Kids in America are weenies. And those over 18 are adults. They act like kids until they are 40. I say: 18, up and out!

  14. The last Pope (Benedickhead) was a member of Hitler Youth.
    I am reminded of the Reichstag Fire and then the Reichstag Fire Decree! issued by President von Hindenburg. The Decree erased or eroded all civil rights in Germany. Things went downhill thereafter.

    This event today may well bring back a very strong right side of the isle reaction. The Europeans need to get their troops on the ground in the muddle east. It is their sphere of influence, not ours. I see Hollande being kicked out of office and a right winger coming in. All of Europe needs to get individual nation borders erected again. They need to put the navy on the water and stop the refugees.

    In America we need to Build Up That Wall! The Donald will get more traction after this terrorist attack in Paris.

  15. MLK Hospital here in CA tried to go with a quota system. It preferentially hired African Americans, so it was a minority majority staff.

    The predictable outcome is that hiring practices were skin deep, rather than qualifications. This was a literally deadly decision, as there were so many malpractice lawsuits, wrong medications dispensed, and I believe the hospital broke a record for how many nurses fell out of chairs and went on disability. A chair was statistically more dangerous than any weapon.

    Because of this misguided quota system, in which the bar was lowered at a hospital, which is medical malpractice in and of itself, the hospital lost its accreditation.

    Instead of demanding that hiring practices be changed, and the hospital hire the most qualified applicants, instead of just anyone with the right skin color, the community declared that the loss of accreditation was racist, and there were protests, sing-ins, and Al Sharpton et al were in heaven. No one seemed to stop and say, you know, going to my local hospital shouldn’t be like playing Russian Roulette. People shouldn’t die in the waiting room. Maybe they should hire based on qualifications that go more than skin deep. Skin color actually shouldn’t matter at all, any more than hair color does.

    Affirmative Action, and its facsimiles, always lower the bar. Instead of being judged for your qualifications, skill, and hard work, you get judged for your skin color. It’s been a disaster, and is anathema to a just merit based system.

  16. “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.”

    LOL. So reactionaries burning books = no good, but progressives burning books = OK

    1. rcocean – by 1933 most German youth were members of the Hitler Youth which was compulsory.

  17. DBQ, We did not coddle our kids. They had friends who were coddled. They would bust on our kids because we made sure they had jobs starting @ age 15 and 16. Our son worked @ a local diner starting @ age 15 as a dishwasher. He worked his way up to cook and held that same job until he graduated from high school. Our daughter worked @ Target starting @ 16 and worked for that good company until she got out of college, almost 7 years. To their credit, they never whined and liked the freedom they had earning their own money.

  18. @ Nick

    My husband’s parents had three children by the time they were 24. At the age of 26 his father founded, owned and operated a lumbering operation in Oregon and California, that employed at least 30 men and brought in millions of dollars of timber sales and lumber.

    The idea that you are still a child at the age of 26 is ludicrous. The idea that you are a child at 18 or be treated like children when in college is beyond stupid. Retarding the maturation of several generations of Americans has led us to this point.

    Do you think that you are considered a child in Syria at the age of 26? Not hardly. Heck, you probably haven’t been a child since the age of 9 if you lived in those areas.. Not that I recommend throwing children into war to mature them. However, we need to make OUR children grow up and face some reality……before reality faces them with an AK47.

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