Towson University in Maryland launches its “#NotAtTU campaign” this week, which is “centered around creating an anti-racist and hate-free campus climate,” according to Student Government Association President Kurt Anderson.
For students’ convenience, the “Not At TU” page also defines just what “hate crimes” and “bias incidents” are.
WJZ-13 reports that the university agreed to students’ demands “to make sweeping changes” to its hate-bias policy because those on campus were “fed up with the incidents that have been going on.”
For instance, last month students gathered for a rally because someone had scribbled “Satan Rules Towson” on a blackboard — overtop an anti-racism message. (Surprisingly, none who worship the Lord of Darkness counter-protested, nor reported the rally as a “hate/bias” incident.)
Another involved a white student using “bias language” towards (black) employees at a university café.
Towson U. student paper The Towerlight reports SGA President Anderson says “the campaign isn’t a direct response to [specific] incidents.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” Anderson said. “We rushed it because of what’s been happening.” Originally, he said, the campaign was supposed to launch after the minimester, but it took longer than expected to develop.
Anderson said a “bigger campaign” will continue in the fall and feature video promotions.
In an email, Ron Butler, the director of Residence Life, announced HRL’s commitment to the campaign Friday.
“The ‘#Not at TU’ campaign will include posters on every floor and across TU with the message that hate has no place on our campus and how to report incidents of hate/bias,” the email said. “The University will investigate all reported hate crimes and hate/bias incidents.”
Anderson also says that the SGA is trying to make it mandatory to include hate and bias reporting procedures on every course syllabus.
Under the school’s definition of “hate crime” on the Not At TU page, it says “Hate itself is not a crime and Towson University is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”
But scroll down a little farther and it states “While the First Amendment protects most speech, hate has no place on Towson University’s campus. The University will work diligently to investigate all reports of hate/bias to determine if a University policy has been violated.”
Probably by design, Towson did not put “speech” after “hate” in the sentence “hate has no place on Towson University’s campus.” That’s because hate speech is included in that “most speech” protected by that ‘ol First Amendment.
Since Towson is a public entity, even its institutional policies have to be compatible with First Amendment protections.