College bias system opposed
December 5, 2007
p. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a national organization that reviews the policies of colleges and universities in the United States, issued a statement calling for the College to eliminate the newly revised bias reporting system.
p. ACTA complained that even after revisions, the bias reporting system still violated the First Amendment.
p. “The administration can tinker with the system all it wants. The fact is, it needs to go,” ACTA President Anne D. Neal said in a press release Nov. 20. “The system is ripe for abuse, and the administration has offered no reason for why it’s needed. What’s wrong with free speech?”
p. ACTA’s official website, goacta.org, describes the group as “an educational organization committed to academic freedom, excellence and accountability at America’s colleges and universities.”
p. Originally called the National Alumni Forum, ACTA is a bipartisan organization founded in 1995 by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Lynne Cheney, Richard Lamm and others.
p. The goal of the organization is to improve the quality of American higher education.
p. It has members from over 600 colleges and universities in the United States, including the College.
p. ACTA previously expressed its disapproval of the bias reporting system in a letter Neal sent to College President Gene Nichol.
“Speech codes of this sort, whatever they are called, betray the College’s legal obligation to protect individual rights on campus,” Neal said. “Under the guise of creating a more welcoming ‘community,’ William and Mary has undertaken to adjudicate which viewpoints are acceptable — and which are not.”
p. Charles Mitchell, spokesman for ACTA, told the Daily Press that President Nichol has not yet responded to the letter, which was sent Nov. 1.
p. He also mentioned that ACTA is in the process of researching bias reporting systems at other colleges and universities and comparing them to the system in place at the College.
p. The College is does not plan to take the system down anytime soon.
p. Sam Sadler, vice president for Student Affairs and chair of the Bias Incident Reporting Team, told the Daily Press that since the revisions were made over two weeks ago, he has not received any complaints about the bias reporting system.