This blog tracks incidents of hate crimes and bullying of vulnerable groups on college and university campuses in the United States, as well as community responses to those incidents. The scope is much smaller than a professional site like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch because the focus is just on higher education, and the goal is to hold up good and bad examples of university responses. The blog began as a reaction to the spike in hate incidents on campuses after the election of Donald Trump and the variation in campus responses to those incidents. For instance, the president of Texas State University gave an incredibly tepid response to a truly horrifying incident, while the president of Elon University gave a thoughtful and strong response to an incident that turned out to be a misunderstanding.
Our experience in higher education tells us that administrators generally copy each other. If you want to get a proposal through, the best argument you can give is that similar schools are doing it. We need to hold up positive examples and put pressure on schools that aren’t assuring the safety of their students.
The primary values we want to hold up in evaluating campus responses are safety and diversity. The goal here is to keep campuses safe for diverse students, including students from vulnerable populations like religious and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. In service of our main values, we need to promote two additional values: proportionality and being reality based. The contrast between Elon and Texas State above speaks to the importance of proportion. Another story from Louisiana, which turned out to be a faked story, speaks to the importance of being reality based. We need to be both proportionate and reality based if we are going to protect both the perception and the reality of campus safety.