Regular readers of this blog have already seen the negative effects Bias Response Teams can have on universities.
Examples such as the limits placed on classroom discussion at the University of Northern Colorado remind us of the serious impact these teams can have on open inquiry at the university. While administrators continue to push the implementation of these teams, faculty members, such as Aaron Kindsvatter at the University of Vermont, are starting to push back against them.
In this article from Seven Days Professor Kindsvatter discusses an open letter he sent to members of the university community which argued for the removal, or at a minimum a restructuring, of the university’s bias response team. Though there has not yet been an incident at Vermont like the one at Northern Colorado, Kindsvatter still fears the effects the team could have on the university in the future. As Kindsvatter tells us, free and open discussion is the best way to attack bad ideas, and the University of Vermont’s bias response team is “begging to be misused by people who have an ax to grind.”
Professor Kindsvatter reminds us all that we must be pro-active in defending speech on campus. If faculty wait until unconstitutional abridgments of speech actually take place, it may be too late to protect open inquiry on campus.