The University of Michigan recently announced a plan to hire a new “‘Bias Incident Prevention and Response Coordinator.” The individual who fulfills the role will be responsible for monitoring, reporting and responding to “issues of bias,” including racism, cultural appropriation, and other on-campus social justice initiatives. The decision, which will cost the university a grand sum total of up to $57,000 per year, is facing significant pushback from people who believe the role amounts to little more than the “PC Police.” University of Michigan representatives are pushing back with an explanation that the position isn’t new; instead, they’re simply refilling the role after the previous officer parted ways with the university.
- Once hired, the Bias Incident Prevention and Response Coordinator will engage in university-wide coordination, critical incident case management, student bias interventions, resource location and assignment, as well as investigation and potentially punitive responses to incidents of bias.
- The job description gives the coordinator power to create a “safe listening space in which to offer compassion, support, and guidance to students,” especially if they are experiencing bias directly.
- The coordinator is responsible for overseeing a team of Student Life and Campus partners, each of whom will provide additional support to on-campus social justice activists and “targeted students.”
- It wasn’t immediately clear if the person hired for the coordinator role would have the power to enact suspensions or expulsion for perceived serious transgressions. However, many supporters of free speech who believe in the importance of open discourse in University believe this is exactly what will happen. Potentially impacted incidents could include misgendering someone, making racist jokes in passing, or even disagreeing with the right to wear a Hijab on campus — a current hot-button issue.
- The position requires a Master’s degree in social work or a similar field, as well as at least three years of experience working in Student Affairs or a similar role.
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What do you think of the recent trend to focus on college students’ feelings, giving them “safe places” and PC police?