By: Elizabeth Guldimann
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business recently distributed a document to the members of its professional business fraternities, threatening disciplinary action against students whose fraternity members deem their words or actions to be “psychologically harmful.”
YAF exclusively obtained a copy of the Kelley Fraternity Hateful Speech/Action Reporting System through our Campus Bias Tip Line. The system, according to the document, is intended to “hold all Kelley professional members accountable to an environment of inclusivity and the absence of bigotry, discrimination, and streotyping[sic].” Instances that can be reported by students include “extremely demeaning jokes,” “perpetuating negative stereotypes,” and “posting psychologically harmful content.”
Any student reported will receive an email from the fraternity council explaining the charge, and will also be given an “anti-racism guide” and “inclusivity guide.”
The document does not mention any investigations to confirm alleged words or actions. While the document aims to make the fraternity atmosphere feel “safer” and more inclusive, it can be easily abused by those with a personal or political grudge to exclude their peers and subject them to disciplinary action.
The system is also unclear in its method of response, as the document states that both the first, second and third offenses will have a “3rd demerit logged against them.” No first or second demerit is mentioned, only a third demerit three separate times. YAF reached out for comment from IU, but a response was not received in time for publication.
Who gets to define what is “psychologically harmful”? IU’s new reporting system reflects a deeper issue at college campuses across the country: prejudice against diversity of thought. Students whose views differ from the majority of their peers are being silenced for fear of punishment should their ideas offend someone else.
Elizabeth Guldimann is a National Journalism Center intern at YAF’s New Guard.