With heightened awareness of racial incidents on the University of Missouri campus that resulted in the school president stepping down, the on-campus police department advised all students to contact them in the event of hateful speech, reports the Missourian.
In an email to all students, the campus cops admit that “speech is not a crime” but they would like to be notified in case school disciplinary measures may eventually come into play.
“While cases of hateful and hurtful speech are not crimes, if the individual(s) identified are students, MU’s Office of Student Conduct can take disciplinary action,” the email stated.
Among the many issues facing the campus that resulted in the protests were accusations that white students were using racist language on campus.
In September, Missouri Student Association president Payton Head — who is both black and gay — wrote a Facebook post detailing verbal assaults on campus from white students.
“I just want to say how extremely hurt and disappointed I am. Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be okay to continuously scream N****R at me,” Head wrote. “I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society.”
According to Maj. Brian Weimer of the MU Police Department, it’s not up to the campus police department to discipline suspects for hate speech because it is not a crime, but the department would still like to know.
“It’s important to note that hateful speech is not a crime,” Weimer said. “So there will be no arrests and no citations issued; this is just a place to report.”
Language policing cuts both ways on the Midwestern campus, with Assistant Professor Melissa Click facing dismissal for threatening a student photographer for attempting to cover the campus protest.