UNH Takes Down Bias-Free Language Guide

As I guessed might happen yesterday, the University Near Here made its "Bias-Free Language Guide" unavailable for web viewing early this morning.

The associate vice president for community, equity and diversity removed the webpage this morning after a meeting with President Huddleston. The president fully supports efforts to encourage inclusivity and diversity on our campuses. He does not believe the guide was in any way helpful in achieving those goals. Speech guides or codes have no place at any American university.

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. For people who missed what all the fuss was about, the pre-fuss version of the Guide is memorialized at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

An article in my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, quotes the president further:

While Huddleston said he respected the right of individuals on campus to express themselves, he said that the “First Amendment is paramount and key to” the University of New Hampshire.

So, a happy ending? Well, I figured I might point out the obvious in a letter to Foster's:

In the wake of the massive unfavorable publicity and ridicule stirred up by the University of New Hampshire's "Bias-Free Language Guide", it was good to see UNH's President Mark Huddleston take a forthright stand in favor of the First Amendment, and make a commitment to "free and unfettered" speech on campus. The bizarre and arrogant guide is now absent from the UNH web server.

I hope President Huddleston follows through on his First Amendment enthusiasm by taking one more step: The Foundation for Individual Rights in education (FIRE) has long classified UNH as a "red light" school, for having "at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech." (https://www.thefire.org/schools/university-of-new-hampshire/). That's at least as embarrassing as the Bias-Free Language Guide.

This shouldn't be hard to remedy: just in New Hampshire, both Dartmouth and Plymouth State have been granted "green light" ratings by FIRE. UNH should strive for the same.

I'll update here if it gets published. [Update: published in Foster's Monday, August 2, right down to my capitalization typo on "education". Gotta start being more diligent on proofing]


Last Modified 2015-08-03 7:07 AM EST