The University of Iowa has scrapped plans to create a Bias Assessment and Response Team after determining that such bodies often become what one administrator called “scolding bodies” that can create as many problems as they are intended to solve.
Iowa’s Chief Diversity Officer, Georgina Dodge, specifically cited the uproar over the University of Northern Colorado’s bias response team, which has been criticized for policing language and violating academic freedom. Details of the UNC bias team’s overreach was first reported by Heat Street in June.
Dodge told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that nationwide, many bias response teams resembled “scolding panels.”
“Frankly, the [word] BART has become a bit tainted because of the actions that these people have taken,” she said. “One of the things that we’ve seen at many schools is that the BARTs have become almost punitive in nature. When we are dealing with incidents that do not rise to the level of a policy violation, how you are going to penalize someone is a big question?”