university of oregon bias response team

The University of Oregon has published it’s 2014-2015 list of “bias” (micro-aggression/wrongthink) incidents, as reported to its “Bias Response Team” (how Orwellian), whose purpose is to allow students and faculty to report (tell) on other students and faculty regarding incidents of everyday “subtle but offensive comments or actions that is often unintentional or unconscious.” What could go wrong? They are quite vague, but here are some of the more obviously ridiculous examples:

A student reported a culturally appropriative themed party.
Bias Type: Ethnicity, Race
Location: Student Programs
Response: A BRT Advocate reached out to the reporter. A BRT Case Manager met with the president of the student program to discuss the incident.

A student reported that another resident purposefully avoided them in a biased manner.
Bias Type: Ethnicity, Race
Location: Housing
Response: A BRT Advocate met with the reporter, and a BRT Case Manager referred to Housing Staff to communicate community standards and expectations.

A student reported that residents were frustrated about being referred to incorrectly.
Bias Type: Gender Identity/Expression, Gender, Sexual/Romantic Orientation
Location: Housing
Response: Reported for information only. A BRT Case Manager referred to Housing Staff to communicate community standards and expectations to the entire hall.

An anonymous student reported that she felt excluded from a group project and accused of wrong-doing by other group members.
Bias Type: Ethnicity, Race, Nationality
Location: Classroom
Response: Reported for information only.

A student reported that a tutor consistently ignores him.
Bias Type: Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Race
Location: Academic Building
Response: A BRT Advocate met with the reporter, and a BRT Case Manager held an informative conversation with the supervisor of the tutoring center.

An anonymous student reported feeling unsafe due to other students expressing anger about oppression.
Bias Type: Gender Identity/Expression
Location: Housing
Response: A BRT Case Manager referred to Housing Staff to communicate community standards and expectations to the entire hall.

A student reported that a professor taught a concept based on stereotypes and misrepresentation of certain identities.
Bias Type: Sexual/Romantic Orientation, Gender
Location: Classroom
Response: Reported for information only. A BRT Case Manager spoke with the reporter, who requested no further action.

A student reported that a sign encouraging cleaning up after oneself was sexist.
Bias Type:Gender
Location: Housing
Response: A BRT Advocate met with the reporter and empowered them to contact Housing staff. A BRT Case Manager followed up to ensure that the sign was removed, and the program staff had an educational conversation about the issue.

An international student reported that an instructor scrutinized them more than other students when proctoring an exam.
Bias Type: Race, Nationality
Location: Classroom
Response: A BRT Advocate met with the reporter, and a BRT Case Manager contacted the appropriate supervisor, who had a professional development conversation with the instructor.

And that’s the state of American universities in 2016. It’s not hard to understand why this form of reporting on others is potentially unethical, and perhaps even harmful or dangerous for between group relations, but this is where we’ve gotten ourselves.

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