SHORT TAKES


November 2, 2007

By The Way, Somebody Turned You In

William and Mary's new and anonymous bias reporting system is so wrong-headed that it's hard to know where to begin protesting it. Some anonymous reports are legitimate, as Eugene Volokh argues at the Volokh Conspiracy, but calling for a college's entire student body to watch out for bias, and then turn in their fellow students or professors, is not a good idea. This is particularly so in an era when campuses are busy fostering victimology and minority-group identities based on the allegedly permanent hostililty of majority groups. Under these circumstances, it makes much more sense to avoid placing full-time bias awareness front and center in the minds of students. Hearsay and marginal or ambiguous incidents are bound to be reported, probably with sensitivities, suspicions and resentments increased. Legitimate protests will increasingly be reported as intolerable provocations. And the anonymity is bound to rankle. A web site opposing the new bias reporting opens with the comment "Let's disband William and Mary's new schoolyard tattletale system before the lawsuits commence and William and Mary again becomes the subject of national jokes." Surely there is a better way to encourage civility and respect than setting up a formal program for snitches.

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