See Hate Speech, Leave It Up

In 2017, student name tags on University of Michigan dormitory doors were vandalized with a racial slur. Black students said then they were being targeted. The incident restarted a vociferous debate on campus prejudices.

If this incident happened today, though, resident assistants and other housing staffers wouldn’t be able to take down the offensive language from the door. It’s the institution’s policy that employees can’t remove speech from a student’s dormitory door, even if it’s hateful or targeting a minority group, an unusual tactic for an institution given the relative frequency with which these episodes occur on campuses across the country — reports of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments on whiteboards abound.

This is apparently not a new rule for Michigan, but one that was recently clarified for housing staffers “as a part of evolving understanding in a community,” said Amir Baghdadchi, a spokesman with university housing.

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