The Impact of Bias Response Teams on Classroom Debate

In June, the online magazine Heatstreet published this investigative report of how the Bias Response Team at one university (University of Northern Colorado) is affecting campus culture. Unsurprisingly for those who have been reading the Open Inquiry Project blog, the cultural effect is not positive.

Professors have been advised not to repeat classroom activities that some students found offensive. Ironically, some of these activities were designed to teach students the importance of civil and respectful debate of controversial issues. In one example, a professor had developed an activity grounded upon a reading of Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s indispensable article “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

Stories like these show how vitally important it is for faculty, students, and administrators to stand up for free speech on campus, so that students learn to think critically and engage with new ideas thoughtfully, rather than retreating into safe spaces and demanding intellectual conformity.