Colby College logs absurd bias incidents on website
A detailed catalog of “bias incidents” at a college in Maine provides a rare glimpse into the nature of the statements and behaviors that constitute punishable “bias” on college campuses.
The Student Affairs Division at the small, private Colby College maintains a Bias Incident Log on its website detailing reported incidents of off-color comments and shenanigans that offended some students, such as arguing a call at a basketball game and using the phrase “on the other hand.”
According to the school website, “[a] bias incident is an action that that violates College policy and is motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s bias or attitude against an individual or group based on perceived or actual personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
A section of the school website is devoted to addressing these issues. It appears that bias incidents and hate crimes are reported and catalogued the same way.
The bias incident log is categorized by date, location, targeted characteristic, and includes incident descriptions. The log contains the report of an alleged assault, but most entries report prejudiced statements made by students or anonymous posts on YikYak, a localized social media platform.
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Some of the bias incident reports include ugly phrases shouted by students at contentious men’s basketball games. One student reportedly yelled at a referee after he disagreed with a call.
“What the hell is this,” he asked. “A women’s basketball game?”
An incident in the spring semester of 2016 was filed because a student’s statement targeted ability.
“A student used the phrase ‘on the other hand,’” the entire description reads.
The most recent incident as of press time was reported for targeting gender/gender identity/sexual orientation.
“I am not a rapist, but if I was I wouldn’t want to rape you, there are plenty of other girls for that,” one student reportedly told another.
One student allegedly witnessed a Hawaiian-themed party in December that he/she found in poor taste.
“A person reported that while walking home, a group of students were pretending to have a luau, dressed in luau skirts and coconut bikinis, screaming ‘for the fiftieth state,’” the description read.
Three students were seen wearing sombreros, ponchos, and fake mustaches for Halloween.
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Another entry reported that the Catholic chaplain’s office in the college chapel was defaced and pro-life flyers were missing. Separately, a bulletin board once sported the message “I hate the papists, they worship a man in a pointy hat.”
A Bias Incident Prevention and Response team addressed the problems within 12 hours. The duties of the team are twofold.
“To promote awareness and understanding on campus about issues of diversity and human difference to foster an inclusive environment; and to consider and facilitate effective responses to incidents of bias that affect the Colby community,” the page states.
[RELATED: Bias Response Team investigated prof’s for discussing conflicting opinions]
The website says that bias offenders can be expelled from school.
“Bias incidents affect not only the individual victim or target of a specific action, but often make an entire group (or community) feel vulnerable and unwelcome,” the administration warns. “This is unacceptable at Colby and will be treated as a serious offense that could include separation from the College.”
The website also says that friendliness and understanding of human differences are values held at Colby.
“A Colby education is characterized by academic rigor, a strong community, a friendly campus atmosphere, global reach, and active engagement with diversity of thought and human difference,” the website says.
The college offers bias prevention trainings based on its diversity statement and a school honor pledge.
A representative from the college Student Affairs Division was unavailable when Campus Reform asked for comment on the Bias Incident Log.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RiersonNC