Monday, January 18, 2016

Hate speech hysteria at Western Washington University

Western Washington University classes resume Tuesday, more than a month after anonymous hate speech directed at students of color led to a campus shutdown and the arrest of a student on malicious-harassment charges.

After he suspended classes for a day and launched an investigation into anonymous hate speech directed at Western Washington University’s students of color, WWU President Bruce Shepard got an earful from critics.

While many people on campus supported his decision, others told him he’d overreacted, or said the threatened students should have brushed off the anonymous comments.

“I think that’s the wrong way to think about this stuff,” Shepard said Monday. “I think that really misses the point.” The point, he believes, is that racism is widespread, and that it’s wrong to ask people of color to deal with it by growing a thicker skin.

Tuesday marks WWU’s first regular day since Shepard suspended classes Nov. 24, a day after anonymous hate speech directed at Western students spread on social-media sites.

And while Shepard says it was “absolutely the right call, given what we knew,” he has asked an outside consultant to review the decision and the events leading up to it.

One student was arrested, and the investigation is now closed, Shepard said.

The November hate-speech incident occurred shortly after student-government leaders talked about opening a discussion on whether the school’s mascot, a Viking, was inclusive.

Soon afterward, profanity-laced hate speech directed at students of color began appearing on social media. One of the posts, on the anonymous social messaging application Yik Yak, said: “Let’s lynch her.”

Those words, investigators believe, referred to student-body President Belina Seare, who is black.

On Nov. 30, Bellingham police arrested WWU sophomore Tysen Campbell, who is white, and charged him with malicious harassment for the online threat. A court date has not yet been set.

Campbell also remains suspended from WWU, and his case is being reviewed as part of the student conduct process.



Anonymous said...

It is interesting that some of the worst racists are "leaders" of the black activists.
There will always be hateful people in all groups.

Bird of Paradise said...

Anon 3:07 You mean Calypso Louie,Al Sharpton,Jessie Jackson, and Barack Obama?

Anonymous said...

5:24 AM Yes !