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University issues statement on hate speech, discriminatory behavior

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Wichita State University responded to an alleged incident involving former Student Body President Joseph Shepard and the parents of Student Body President Paige Hungate, condemning violence, discriminatory behavior and hate speech Friday afternoon.

The university response came after more than 40 students gathered in the Student Government Association’s office demanding a response from Hungate and Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall. Hall agreed to provide a university statement following the meeting with the student group.

“We regret that waiting for the investigation to conclude has been perceived by some as a lack of concern about inappropriate speech. Nothing could be further from the truth.””

— University Statement

“Wichita State University does not in any way condone or tolerate violence, discriminatory behavior or hate speech,” the university said in the statement. “We take all allegations of such matters extremely seriously, whether those allegations involve members of the WSU community or visitors to our campus.

“Last night’s disturbance at the conclusion of the Student Government Association dinner is under investigation by the University Police Department (UPD). We regret that waiting for the investigation to conclude has been perceived by some as a lack of concern about inappropriate speech. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The university promised to broaden the efforts on discussing what steps can be taken to deter incidents of discrimination in the future, and also create an inclusive and tolerant campus environment.

“Those efforts will be broadened in weeks to come,” the university said in the statement.

— By Evan Pflugradt

2 Comments

2 Responses to “University issues statement on hate speech, discriminatory behavior”

  1. All is Known on May 8th, 2017 9:48 am

    Everything is already known about bias/harassment/discrimination. Reporting mechanisms and processes already exist for students, faculty, and staff.

    The Student Code of Conduct addresses Harassment and other behaviors and processes in great detail. It has existed for years. The web link to it is:

    http://webs.wichita.edu/inaudit/ch8_05.pdf

    WSU Policy 3.47 – Discrimination Review Procedures for Students, Employees, and Visitors was created June 17, 2016. The web link to that document is:

    http://webs.wichita.edu/inaudit/ch3_47.pdf

    No need to waste time developing reporting processes when they exist. There just needs to be education about existing processes in place. There also needs to be discussion about the fear of retaliation on the part of WSU faculty, staff, and administration because that impedes reporting issues. The people responsible for creating the fear of retaliation for reporting bias/harassment/discrimination is what needs attention.

    Many people at WSU are afraid of retaliation. The WSU Climate Survey certainly notes how current faculty/staff/administration fear being retaliated against if you take the time to read the details of the report. It is noteworthy the item of being “Afraid of Retaliation” is not listed in the Key Findings section of the report and seems to be the only item of statistical significance not listed in the Key Findings. Seems to be an important omission.

    When using the results of the survey, just under 1,000 of the nearly 2,500 (40%) total faculty/staff/administration at WSU responded they had directly experienced bias/harassment/discrimination of some form at WSU. Of the nearly 1,000 who reported experiencing bias/harassment/discrimination, over 800 responded they did not report it and 220 (27%) said they did not report it because they were Afraid of Retaliation. The complete Climate Survey results are at the following web link:

    http://webs.wichita.edu/depttools/depttoolsmemberfiles/wsunews/Climate%20Survey%20Analysis%20-%20Wichita%20State%20University%5B1%5D.pdf

    The fear of retaliation is real to faculty/staff/administration and was noted in an article in the Wichita Eagle on May 9, 2015 where Matt Conklin states he told President Bardo that some staff in Student Affairs were looking over their shoulders, fearful for their jobs because they had seen what happened to Wade Robinson and President Bardo told Matt Conklin, “some should be”. That should tell you what you need to know about people being afraid of retaliation and how that undermines the efforts to address issues related to bias/harassment/discrimination. It came straight from President Bardo according to Matt Conklin. Here is the link to the article in the Wichita Eagle:

    http://www.kansas.com/news/local/education/article20574063.html

    Hopefully those focusing on ways to report issues will realize those mechanisms exist. Addressing the retaliation that people experience is the key to making a change.

    [Reply]

  2. site on May 9th, 2017 2:08 pm

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