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Maryland bill would force universities to implement ‘hate-bias’ prevention programs

Bill was formed with heavy input from student group that demanded campus censorship

A bill in the Maryland House of Delegates would require all institutions of higher education in the state to form “hate-bias” prevention programs and reporting systems that would be tracked by the state legislature.

Introduced last month, House Bill 511 is sponsored by several delegates but led by Democrat delegate Angela Angel of Prince George County. The proposed law was developed in collaboration with ProtectUMD, a group that identifies itself as a coalition of “student activists representing different marginalized communities” on the campus of University of Maryland, College Park, according the “@Protect_UMD” Twitter page.

The bill requires Maryland’s public institutions of higher education to “develop, implement, and submit to the Maryland Higher Education Commission a certain plan for a program to prevent hate-bias incidents.” Schools would also be required to issue yearly reports to the Maryland Higher Education Commission “regarding the institution’s implementation” of its hate-bias prevention programs.

The law would also require universities to implement a “mandatory incoming student educational program to provide instruction on the awareness, prevention and reporting of hate-bias incidents.”

HB511 defines a hate-bias incident as “an incident characterized by the expression of hate or bias against a particular group or toward an individual because of the individual’s membership or perceived membership in that group.”

Yanet Amanuel, a founding member of ProtectUMD and the chief of staff for Angela Angel, told The College Fix via email that Angel reached out to the group in order to collaborate about “a possible hate crime legislation.”

“She listened to us and began working on drafting the bill immediately after meeting with us. Everything that went into bill is from the suggestions my coalition and I made,” Amanuel told The Fix. “We are very grateful she took the time to meet with us and for keeping us involved in the process.”

Amanuel became Angel’s chief of staff in January of this year, according to her LinkedIn page. She is also listed as the current Chief Lobbyist of the Protect UMD Coalition. She told The Fix that she “started out as an intern at the beginning of session and then got promoted like 3 weeks later.”

ProtectUMD has previously called for greater campus censorship at the University of Maryland, demanding that the administration “expand the consequences for hate speech” and “punish those students who engage in it.”

Reached via email, University of Maryland campus spokeswoman Jessica Jennings told The Fix that the school already implements a “hate-bias” reporting program.

“During the last semester, the university has announced new streamlined protocols for reporting hate-bias incidents and the hiring of a hate-bias incident response program manager,” she told The Fix. “UMPD has devoted significant resources to identifying and charging suspects in several incidents. All of these measures send a clear signal that hate is not welcome here.”

In addition to its hate-bias measures, HB511 would mandate that Maryland schools implement “a program of cultural diversity.” The bill defines “cultural diversity” as “the inclusion of those racial and ethnic groups and individuals that are or have been underrepresented in higher education.”

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Aryssa Damron -- Yale University