Ithaca College Student Government Considers Anonymous ‘Microaggression’ Tracking System

 

prevent-snoring-tape-mouthThere is a chilling resolution that is currently under consideration by the Student Government Association (SGA) at Ithaca College, a private university in upstate New York. The resolution, which has the support of many SGA members, seeks to target so-called “microaggressions” on Ithaca’s campus by creating a tracking system that students can use to anonymously report incidents of perceived bias on campus.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a microaggression is a slight against another person—intentional or not—that is perceived to be discriminatory based on the snubbed person’s race, ethnicity, gender, class, or practically any other characteristic that one might think of. Princeton University students have called microaggressions “papercuts of oppression.”

For my latest op-ed at The Huffington Post, I tackle this resolution because I see it as part of a broader trend on campus to create what I’ve called “a war on candor.” As I write in the piece:

Advocates of speech policing seem to think we’d be better off in a society where we only speak in the approved manners of a small subset of those who hold social science PhDs. It treats candor among individuals as a nasty mistake to be trained out of ignorant, non-professional speakers.

This year there’s been a lot of complaining about a resurgence of intolerance for speech both on and off campus. Now is the time to start doing something about it. As I see it—and as I argue in my book Unlearning Liberty—the simplest thing we can do to reverse the trend is to get back to some of the wise practices of a genuinely pluralistic society: hearing each other out before judging, accepting that people will express themselves in ways we don’t always like but still trying to understand where they’re coming from, offering the benefit of the doubt, and remembering that our opinions and preconceptions might be wrong.

Head over to The Huffington Post to read my whole analysis of the Ithaca College situation and then let me know what you think.

There are 24 comments.

  1. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    Greg Lukianoff:There is a chilling resolution that is currently under consideration by the Student Government Association (SGA) at Ithaca College, a private university in upstate New York. The resolution, which has the support of many SGA members, seeks to target so-called “microaggressions” on Ithaca’s campus by creating a tracking system that students can use to anonymously report incidents of perceived bias on campus.

    This is does indeed appear seriously ill-considered. One can only imagine the hilarity chaos which would ensue if say a handful of pranksters bad actors used this proposed system to target, for example, all members of the SGA who support the resolution which brought it into being. Repeatedly targeted them.

    • #1
    • March 27, 2015, at 1:39 PM PDT
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  2. Tommy De Seno Contributor

    All passive-aggressive people will be jailed.

    • #2
    • March 27, 2015, at 1:42 PM PDT
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  3. Ward Robles Member

    Someone eventually had to ask this question: Is merely disputing the concept of a micro aggression itself a micro aggression?

    • #3
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:14 PM PDT
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  4. Doctor Robert Member

    This crap is easily defeated and could have been put to rest a generation ago by simply refusing to comply. Be as brash and macro-aggressive as you can. Applaud those who act similarly. Mock those who are PC.

    • #4
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:15 PM PDT
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  5. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Yep. I think this is the tipping point for Western civilization. Not so much that this is happening, but that our college-bound generation think (or a percentage thinks) that this is a great idea. Clearly the schools are on board.

    The fruits of a type of monopoly, perhaps, come home to roost. Unless I’ve offended chickens here in some way.

    • #5
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:16 PM PDT
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  6. James Gawron Thatcher

    Greg,

    Isn’t it amazing that college age infants can take pride in obsessing about micro-aggressions. I came up with my own term that I worry about. I call them micro-genocides. Not a day or at least a week goes by without ISIS or Boko Haram or some Jihadist committing a micro-genocide of innocent people. Well it’s only at most a few hundred or maybe a few thousand, so what’s to get excited about.

    Women should be hyper-sensitized to any word that sort of sounds sexist. On the other hand, if half a billion Muslim women live under absolute tyranny every day not even a blip on the emotional radar.

    Amazing. Just Amazing.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:20 PM PDT
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  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    “Micro-aggression” is more Newspeak. We used to call it “rudeness.” We also used to say “sticks and stones can break my bones,” but now words are “aggression.”

    I don’t think it would ever occur to a non-totalitarian to try to outlaw rudeness.

    • #7
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:46 PM PDT
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  8. Percival Thatcher

    Roberto:

    Greg Lukianoff:There is a chilling resolution that is currently under consideration by the Student Government Association (SGA) at Ithaca College, a private university in upstate New York. The resolution, which has the support of many SGA members, seeks to target so-called “microaggressions” on Ithaca’s campus by creating a tracking system that students can use to anonymously report incidents of perceived bias on campus.

    This is does indeed appear seriously ill-considered. One can only imagine the hilarity chaos which would ensue if say a handful of pranksters bad actors used this proposed system to target, for example, all members of the SGA who support the resolution which brought it into being. Repeatedly targeted them.

    Roberto, that was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the word “anonymous.”

    I would like to report:

    • the man who was standing at the bus stop on Main St. at 2:40 PM for scratching himself in a paternalistic manner
    • the couple engaged in a PDA at the Food Co-op last Thursday for being aggressively, unapologetically, and graphically heteronormative
    • the food server at the Forbes Hall cafeteria for humming My Girl during lunch last week for being out of key

    They’d close it down within a week.

    • #8
    • March 27, 2015, at 2:51 PM PDT
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  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    I wonder if we won’t see more people going to college over the internet instead of going to school onsite. If you take classes online are you able to just do the work and skip all the BS?

    • #9
    • March 27, 2015, at 7:11 PM PDT
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  10. Troy Stephens Inactive

    The microaggressions will continue until the infantile whining stops.

    • #10
    • March 27, 2015, at 7:13 PM PDT
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  11. TKC1101 Inactive

    That parents would allow their children to waste their time and their money attending any institution that would allow this to happen at all amazes me. My family could not afford college so I paid my own way. My kids were told the undergrad is on Dad, but the graduate degree is their problem. I did recommend they find an employer who would pay for it.

    I did hit the trifecta, -they got jobs in their major and got MBAs paid for by their employers.

    There was never any idea that college was anything other than a path to work, not a period of discovery. Periods of discovery were when you were not schooling, working or sleeping.

    Life is short and if you screw up the first half of your twenties, you do not get a do over. No one hands those years back to you. You end up working for the people who did not waste them, if they will hire you.

    I am at a loss to understand the parents who think this is an acceptable or tolerable way for their money to be spent. My kids would have already begun the transfer process to another school.

    • #11
    • March 27, 2015, at 9:34 PM PDT
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  12. JRez Inactive

    At risk of redundancy, here it is again:

    Unless and until we address micro-aggression’s root cause [Nano Aggression(tm)] then we’re just fiddling about the edges. And if you think Nano Aggression can be appropriately restrained without confronting Sub-Atomic Aggression(tm)….well then you’re just whistling past the graveyard. </reductio ad absurdum>

    This notion that some anonymous, collective tattling system could attenuate the level of one’s “aggression” in a Free Market of ideas is more absurd than it is scary [btw, your ideas aren’t welcome in the “Free Market”]. But what’s most concerning is that those who would arbitrate Aggression(tm) deem themselves the sole determinants of its manifestation(s).

    Alas, there is no irony.

    • #12
    • March 28, 2015, at 4:34 AM PDT
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  13. Edward Smith Inactive

    Is this Microaggression?

    • #13
    • March 28, 2015, at 2:39 PM PDT
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  14. Edward Smith Inactive
    • #14
    • March 28, 2015, at 2:42 PM PDT
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  15. Peter Gøthgen Member

    What they really need is this:

    • #15
    • March 28, 2015, at 8:28 PM PDT
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  16. Kozak Member

    Arizona Patriot:“Micro-aggression” is more Newspeak. We used to call it “rudeness.” We also used to say “sticks and stones can break my bones,” but now words are “aggression.”

    I don’t think it would ever occur to a non-totalitarian to try to outlaw rudeness.

    It’s not even rudeness. You can commit “microaggression” without intending to insult or harm the person. They just need to feel aggrieved.

    • #16
    • March 28, 2015, at 10:39 PM PDT
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  17. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Even here at Ricochet we have attempts by members to control other people’s language to avoid “loaded” words and to “consider who you are talking to.”

    I love the Code of Conduct, but I don’t come here to be protected or have a safe space.

    This way of thinking is contrary to freedom and the free exchange of ideas.

    Bless you, Greg, for the necessary and hard work you do exposing this dangerous falsity that enforces shoddy thinking.

    • #17
    • March 29, 2015, at 4:51 AM PDT
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  18. Edward Smith Inactive

    I don’t come here to be protected or safe either.

    I am quite capable to knowing how to respond to people I disagree with but whose Posts I consider to be irrelevant.

    I recently put up a comment that could be considered a dirty joke. It was most certainly meant to be kind of a skit outline, of the sort of story that Billy Connelly would tell back when he was a bad boy (and so funny you ended of tearful and exhausted from laughing – my story was not nearly as good).

    It got pulled.

    Frankly, I find that to even mention the name Lena Dunham invokes so many disgustingly revolting stories that I consider the mere mentioning of her name to be past poor taste. But her name is not yet CoC here. It should be.

    Still it is not my sensibilities, but those of the editors that has to be taken into account.

    My hope is to yet prosper. I merely abide right now. If I could buy a Thatcher or a Reagan membership, I would as soon meet Nanda or John Walker as at Get Together as meet the founders or editors or illuminati in Washington DC, which, outside of the Air and Space Museum is a dull place. I already have briefly met Rob Long and John Podhoritz – I feel no need to have lunch with them now. I wouldn’t mind meeting Jonah Goldberg, but would as soon buy extra Coolidge memberships and giving them away (perhaps to be given away again) to people who could answer say, this question.

    Natasha: Boris, tell me again how this will help me keep my girlish figure?

    Describe, in as much detail as possible, where and when that was said.

    • #18
    • March 29, 2015, at 5:04 AM PDT
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  19. Max Knots Member

    Obsessing about micro aggressions distracts the obsessor from the really serious and awful things occuring daily around the world. And eliminates the need to do anything constructive.

    Perhaps this is merely an infantilized generation’s way of shutting their eyes tightly, putting their fingers figuratively in their ears and yelling “La la la la la” to avoid dealing with the real unpleasantness of our human condition?

    Is it a microaggression to suggest that they just “grow up”?

    • #19
    • March 29, 2015, at 5:29 AM PDT
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  20. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Max Knots:Is it a microaggression to suggest that they just “grow up”?

    No, it is the only cure, painful as it may seem to them…

    • #20
    • March 29, 2015, at 5:32 AM PDT
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  21. Autistic License Member

    I’m considering a sign for my office: If you feel microaggressed, we are microsorry.

    Or, maybe a new Ricochet handle: Serial Microaggressor.

    • #21
    • March 29, 2015, at 12:42 PM PDT
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  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Autistic License:I’m considering a sign for my office:If you feel microaggressed, we are microsorry.

    Or, maybe a new Ricochet handle:Serial Microaggressor.

    Maybe something more along the lines of,

    “I’m sorry for the microaggression. Next time, I’ll try to be more obviously insulting.”

    ?

    (not for you, Autistic License but for me….)

    • #22
    • March 29, 2015, at 12:49 PM PDT
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  23. Max Knots Member

    Mama Toad:

    Max Knots:Is it a microaggression to suggest that they just “grow up”?

    No, it is the only cure, painful as it may seem to them…

    Tough love.

    • #23
    • March 29, 2015, at 12:51 PM PDT
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  24. Man With the Axe Member

    I know it’s funny how pusillanimous these people are, that they feel genuinely aggrieved that someone has slightly hurt their tender feelings, often by simply disagreeing with their asinine world view.

    But in the long run it isn’t funny. These are the sort of people who first will set up the mandatory diversity training, then the reeducation camps, and finally the killing fields.

    • #24
    • March 29, 2015, at 8:43 PM PDT
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