Bias Response Teams (BRTs) are appointed boards at colleges and universities across the country which encourage students to report “bias incidents” they observe on campus. These teams consist of faculty, staff, and sometimes law enforcement. Students are encouraged to report “bias incidents” to these boards (or teams) in the name of inclusion and tolerance, but it’s often unclear what the school considers “bias” in the first place. Overly broad or vague definitions of bias put all kinds of speech at risk of being reported- even unpopular speech which is protected by the First Amendment. Political speech and satire are particularly vulnerable because the system favors students who easily take offense.
Bias Response Teams are fundamentally un-American because their very existence threatens students’ First Amendment rights. Their goal is to shut down speech which is constitutionally protected in the name of tolerance and inclusion.
Public universities are required to uphold and protect the First Amendment, including speech which may be deemed as offensive and hurtful.
While some dialogue may be upsetting, it does not justify corrective, and sometimes disciplinary measures being imposed upon students for simply exercising their First Amendment right.
BRTs are designed to intimidate and silence students who share viewpoints that don’t line up with the progressive woke ideology being forced in classrooms today.
These teams create an environment of fear on campuses and are designed to chill student speech. Students never know if what they are saying or if the opinions they are expressing could be reported to BRTs and lead to punishment.
As a result, many students are fearful of offending others and of the potential consequences that could follow them throughout their entire lives.
BRTs encourage the accusers to view themselves as victims, and urge students to report any small, subjective incident they deem as bias.
Students that are labeled “offenders” are unlawfully subject to corrective measures like mandated training and facilitated dialogues all with the intent to make the accused feel as though they have done something wrong.
In this age of Cancel Culture, BRTs can be abused and used as an opportunity to comb through the social media of individuals, looking for reasons to report them and put their character on trial.
Many BRTs allow students who report on their fellow classmates to do so anonymously! Sometimes supporting documentation can be included in a report but is often not required.
The anonymous reporting style of BRTs restrict students’ Sixth Amendment rights to “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
BRTs stand in the way of a students’ right to due process, which is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
These bias response teams are one of the contributing factors as to why self-censorship on college campuses is at a dangerous, all-time high.
According to a survey conducted by RealClearEducation in 2020, 60% of college students say they have kept quiet due to fear of how others would respond. It is, unfortunately, true that so many college students today are reluctant to share their opinions on contentious issues like politics, race, and religion.
Universities exist to challenge students in their previous ways of thinking and self-censoring actively hinders the broader purpose of a college education. Who will want to engage in unique, intellectually stimulating conversations knowing these types of entities exist at their university?