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April 23, 2003

Loose Lips Sue Ship

Bloody media. When I read a story like Group Sues Pa. Univ. Over 'Speech Codes', is it too much to expect a copy of the speech codes the story is about to be readily available?

Call me crazy, I just think that one shouldn't have to go looking for information critical to the understanding of a particular story. It's good that I feel this way. That means you won't have to deal with Shippenberg's woefully inadequate search engine.

Shippensburg University's Speech Codes

Because if we don't regulate your speech, how will you know what to say?*

Racism and Cultural Diversity
It shall be the unequivocal position of Shippensburg University to prohibit racism/ethnic intimidation and harassment. Shippensburg University is committed to cultural diversity, social justice, and equality.

Racism shall be defined as the subordination of any person or group based upon race, color, creed, or national origin, communicated through words, attitudes, actions, and/or gestures. Harassment shall be defined as unsolicited, unwanted conduct which annoys, threatens, or alarms a person or group.

It shall be a violation of this policy for any person or group to maliciously intend to engage in any activity (covert or overt) that attempts to injure, harm, malign, or harass, and has for its purpose the subordination, intimidation, and/or harassment of a person or group based upon race, color, creed, national origin, sexual preference, handicap, or age.

Shippensburg University is committed without qualification to all aspects moral, legal, and administrative of racial and cultural diversity. As an institution of higher learning we are dedicated to the widest possible diversity among our students, faculty, and staff. Shippensburg University's commitment to racial tolerance, cultural diversity, and social justice will require every member of this community to ensure that the principles of these ideals be mirrored in their attitudes and behaviors.
Nondiscriminatory Language

Occasionally all of us need to be reminded of the continuing presence of unconscious attitudes toward individuals which surface through the use of discriminatory semantics. These attitudes often belie long-standing presumptions which contribute to historically preferred views of people. These attitudes are the roots of racism, sexism, ageism, and classism, and when perpetuated through presumptive statements, lend unwarranted support to social inequities in the treatment of an individual.

Unwittingly, many stock references appear in verbal and written communications in the absence of careful evaluation of the implications of word choices. Often these are unintentional or stereotypical judgments which have been in existence for many years and have directly contributed to controlling the direction, attitudes, actions, and decisions affecting individuals from minority groups.

To the end that the language employed in a university pledged to enlightenment shall be free of "semantics which imply the second class citizenship of some of its members," the American Psychological Association Guidelines for Nondiscriminatory Language** are hereby recommended as a model reference for verbal and written language to be used by all employees.

I especially like "Occasionally all of us need to be reminded of the continuing presence of unconscious attitudes toward individuals which surface through the use of discriminatory semantics." Presumably this also covers any derogatory statements about "white males", but I get the feeling you'd just get a puzzled look out of the dean if you complained that your women's studies class professor was totally biased in her views of the farting sex.

*Not actually found in the handbook
**Who else follows these guidelines?

Posted by Bigwig at April 23, 2003 11:28 PM | TrackBack
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