‘If she can claim she’s a person of color, she can steal my welfare check & Obamaphone,’ complaint stated
In October 2018, North Carolina State University’s Bias Impact Response Team received a unique complaint.
“Elizabeth Warren claimed she’s a Person of Color yesterday. As a self-identifying black transgender woman, I’m triggered. I don’t know what to do when white women start WOmansplaining how they gon [sic] be another race that’s different than their white skin. If she can claim she’s a person of color, she can steal my welfare check & Obamaphone,” it read.
The complaint was filed with the public institution right around the same time Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful for the Democratic Party, released the results of her DNA test that found she is roughly 1/1024 Indian, which is considered far less than the average American.
The tone of the complaint indicates it was likely a joke or an attempt to mock the bias response team, which works to collect, document and address examples of bias. Whether members of NC State’s Bias Impact Response Team found it funny is unknown.
The report was just one of 23 filed with the BIRT last fall. The reports were obtained by The College Fix through a public records act request. The documents provided by North Carolina State have all personal identifying information redacted, so it’s unclear if the person who filed the Warren report claimed to be a student.
The team allows members of the North Carolina State community to anonymously report one another for perceived incidents of hate or bias, regardless of whether the communication took place in private. The system is run by the school’s Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, which states it is “committed to fostering an inclusive, accessible, and diverse intellectual and cultural campus experience.”
NC State’s BIRT was established in 2017, is led by a team coordinator and supported by various units across the university. According to NC State spokesman Mick Kulikowski, the coordinator “leads all efforts for response and pulls in other resources as needed.”
While the school’s bias reporting system has become a joke to some, it can be difficult to discern which complaints are real, as the other bias reports from fall 2018 provided to The College Fix shows.
In September, an individual on campus came upon a large video wall featured in Hunt Library. The “Art Wall” happened to be set to Google Trends Hot Searches, and featured the word “Redskins” in relation to a professional football game being played that weekend. Merely seeing the word as part of a Google search was enough to trigger a report to the university.
“It was hurtful seeing a racial slur against my kids and myself repeatedly featured on the Art Wall,” the reporter wrote.
“The even larger, overarching problem is widespread social acceptability of this slur,” the complaint continued. “Having it displayed in bright letters over your family is simply a symptom of a bigger problem.”
In the section where the complainant is supposed to identify the “Impacted Person/Group,” the individual wrote “I don’t know.”
Also in September, a student complained that information on a campus bulletin board was “moved in such a way that it seemed to suggest a negative connotation about the LGBT Community.”
According to the complaint, a university employee had set up a message board about goal setting and had put a number of soccer balls in a goal on the board to symbolize different goals for which the group should be striving. One of the goals was to “minimize distractions.”
On the other half of the board, there were a number of logos for different campus resources to assist in the different goals on the board. One of these resources was the GLBT Center logo.
“Sometime during the night or early morning…a student, presumably, moved the GLBT Center logo to look like a ‘speech bubble’ around the ‘minimize distractions’ goal,” the report claimed, adding, “at this time we do not know if anyone on the floor was directly impacted.”
The student said the residents of the hall in which the incident took place will be reminded that tampering with a bulletin board can be considered a conduct violation.
Meanwhile, many of the 46 pages of documents provided to The Fix by North Carolina State were heavily redacted, with most entries concealing the time, place, and even gender of the individuals involved in each incident. Nine of the 23 reports were redacted entirely. Of the full redactions, four alleged bias against either gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Redactions are made in compliance with federal and state law, which means that personally identifiable information was removed,” said Kulikowski. “In addition to items like name, address and student ID number, FERPA-protected information also includes other information that would make the identity of the individuals involved easily traceable,” he said in an email to The Fix.
The full list of reports suggests a campus where even overheard discussions can instigate a report to administrators. Some other incidents included:
· A student was sitting in a lounge chair when a young student and an elderly faculty member walked in, sat behind them, and began chatting. After a discussion about a tenure track position, the faculty member allegedly told the young woman she was “very attractive” and said “I’d like to kiss you.” The young woman deflected the attention, saying “let’s not go there.”
· A student told another student that his or her roommate came back to their room one day and said “Yeah, nigga I was drunk as fuck last night.” The student to whom the story was told – not the actual roommate – then filed a complaint with the university. It appears a meeting was then called in which the offending roommate was told not to use the word “nigga,” and the student agreed not to use it. (The race of the student is unknown.)
In several other vague instances, students either reported hearing words in classes or board meetings that made them uncomfortable or found flyers posted on campus that they didn’t like. One student said he or she “does not know the exact date or an idea” of when they heard the offending word, adding that “it would have been some time last spring semester.”
In these cases, the offending word had been redacted by campus officials.
This article is one of a series of exclusive College Fix reports about bias reporting systems on campuses across America:
Michigan State University: Student files bias complaint against dorm roommate for watching Ben Shapiro video
University of Oregon: Bias report filed against professor for defending Brett Kavanaugh
Portland State University: Making jokes at Portland State gets you reported to its bias response team