Students at University of Missouri asked to report 'hateful,' 'hurtful' speech

Students at the University of Missouri are being encouraged to report “incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech” to the University Police Department, according to an email sent out by campus police officials Tuesday morning.

An MUPD spokesperson confirmed to the contents of the email, images of which had made their way on to social media, and said the department had yet to receive a complaint.

“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 said.

The University’s campus has been the scene of protests for several days, with demonstrators decrying the response to a few alleged incidents they say were racially-charged. A graduate student went on a hunger strike and the university's football team threatened to not play its game on Saturday in order to bring national attention to the protesters’ plight. The unrest has resulted in the resignation of the university system’s president and chancellor.

The stated purpose of Tuesday’s email was “to continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe.” The message encouraged students who witnessed “hateful and/or hurtful speech” to “Call the police immediately,” “Provide a license plate and vehicle descriptions (if appropriate)” and document “the individual(s) with your cellphone.”

Students found to be in violation of the university’s conduct code could be subject to a range of sanctions, from a written notice or loss of privileges to expulsion from the residence hall or university, according to the student handbook.