3 years ago1,000+ Views
As most students are settling back into their dorm rooms, seeing their friends again after a long summer, and attending their first classes only to be overwhelmed when handed the syllabus. Now imagine the syllabus telling you have 5 exams, 4 papers, oh and by the way you can’t use these very specific words or phrases because the professor doesn’t like them.
At Washington University, this happened when professor banning words like : “illegal aliens,” “tranny,” or referring to men and women as “male or female” on his class syllabus. But, over the weekend, the college kid spoke up, and today it was announced that Washington State University will NOT allow the censoring of words or phrases by professors.
Henry Riechman, chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, “blanket bans on specific words or expressions that some may find offensive would seem actually to contradict the true spirit of open and free discussion.”

Uh... Duh.

Don’t ban my words, bro. College campuses are supposed to be areas of free expression and discovery. By censoring words or phrases we are missing the point of EDUCATION.
I’m glad Washington University took a stand and said something about this, I hope other college campuses jump on board and see the value in free expression plus safe spaces!
Because if we can’t feel safe to share and have a productive conversation on college campuses...then where can we?
This is really interesting, because the terms you listed above are actually really hurtful for some people. I wonder if the professor banned them because they hoped that it would make the students affected by those terms feel safer in class. I agree that censorship is not the way to deal with that issue. I self-censor all of those terms out of respect to those who feel hurt by them. But I would not have known to do that if I hadn't been taught why it was important. It would be better if we didn't learn to speak disrespectfully in the first place, but I think that by the time we reach college those words have already made it into our vocabulary
I’m definitely not opposed to stopping harmful language and speech, only opposed to censorship. I think discussing it is really what’s important! I’m totes with ya both @shannonl5 and @alywoah. look at us discussing right now without censorship (ah not that we need it)
@alywoah for sure. I feel like it would probably be a drag to teach the same lessons to people year after year, but doing so would probably be much more effective than banning the words without an explanation. Then again, I understand wanting to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding those words. After all, plenty of colleges have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to harmful behavior, and while those policies generally refer to things like vandalism, a lot of them could definitely include hate speech. Words like this are indeed harmful and they can have a detrimental effect on other students, which could mean that their education suffers. Should students still have the right to use them, despite what doing so means for others?
I can totally understand why the professional would want to ban those words. Those words can be incredibly offensive. I think it would had been more useful if the professor perhaps gave a crash course as to why these terms are offensive. Maybe then the students will make the decision to self-censor themselves, as @Shannonl5 mentions.
Totally @shannonl5! And I think people tend to be open to discussing and monitoring their speech with discussion and work :) that’s the benefit of education I think
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