Colleges are a place of higher learning. Students must follow strict codes of behavior to avoid penalties and punishments that could affect their ability to graduate. In the current social climate, this includes being careful about speech and actions that could offend someone else or that someone could consider as discrimination or bias. This is especially true for students attending Ole Miss in Mississippi.
One professor at the college, according to The College Fix, made a suggestion of criminal punishment for students with charges of bias, which is discrimination, harassment or negative actions taken against someone due to their age, religious belief, sexual orientation, race, disability or other protected trait. The basis for his recommendation is that the threat of criminal action would reduce the amount of bias on campus. He thinks hate crime charges at the federal or state level are ideal.
The Bias Incident Response Team
The Bias Incident Response Team handles reports of bias against students at the college. This particular professor feels the team is not as forceful as it should be and therefore not as effective as it could be. Bringing criminal charges into the picture may help the team to be more aggressive and give it stronger ground upon which to stand because, as the professor states, currently, there is no real punishment the BIRT can hand down to students.
The college reaction
The college explains that the BIRT does not need the ability to punish. Its function is to educate. This helps the school maintain an inclusive atmosphere that shows bias is not tolerated but yet still allows for free speech. The school did not commit to imposing criminal charges based on reports of bias, though.
Based on the response, it is not likely that bias reports will lead to criminal charges. However, this is not something to take lightly. If a student does break a federal or state law when it comes to harassment or discrimination, then it is possible someone on the outside could bring criminal charges.