UND: Racism Doesn’t Violate Code of Conduct.

More University of North Dakota students wear blackface (Photo: Facebook).

More University of North Dakota students wear blackface (Photo: Facebook).

Remember the “Locked the Black Bitch Out” students, and the Blackface students? It has been decided by UND that neither of these acts of explicit racism violate the UND code of student life because…constitution. Yep. It’s that pesky 1st amendment preventing the university administrators from doing a gosh darn thing about the casual and uncaring racism demonstrated by students. They can’t do anything at all, oh no, their hands are tied.

The two racially charged photos went viral and led to black student leaders at UND holding a rally Friday to share their experiences with racism and ask for the university to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when matters, such as the two photos, come up. After the rally, some of the organizers met with UND President Mark Kennedy to talk about their concerns about the campus environment.

In a letter to the campus community Wednesday, Kennedy condemned the two photos, but said a zero-tolerance policy is not possible for UND’s campus.

“While I appreciate the desire for such a policy, it is unachievable under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Kennedy wrote. “The challenge we all face is to find the balance between wanting to eliminate expressions of racism and bigotry and supporting the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. If we value freedom of speech, we must acknowledge that some may find the expressions of others unwelcome, painful, or even, offensive. We can, however, speak out and condemn such expressions, and we can work to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment.”

A more welcoming and inclusive environment? Just how are you going to do that when you’ve effectively given students a green light to be bigoted assholes? How on earth could any student of colour feel comfortable or even begin to trust people in that environment? You’re making a lot of soothing noises, but actions speak louder, and your actions? You didn’t take any. Instead, you chose the craven route of hiding behind the 1st amendment, and while doing that, you demonstrated a complete lack of understanding that amendment. All speech is not protected, Mr. Kennedy, and a good deal of speech is not considered to be something which can be freely spouted. We’re also not talking about just speech here, Mr. Kennedy. This is a shameful display of cowardice, and blatant pandering to white privilege.

Kennedy announced last week that the school will form a diversity advisory council to provide recommendations for improving the campus climate on issues of diversity and inclusion.

The president tapped Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sandra Mitchell to lead the process of selecting no more than 12 individuals to serve on the council.

The council will review the university’s existing diversity and inclusion practices and programs and identify the best practices to enhance the university’s understanding of diversity and inclusion in the higher education setting, Kennedy wrote.

“I want to make sure we have courses that challenge students to consider alternative perspectives and which will help students better understand how effectively engaging those with diverse backgrounds is essential for their future success,” Kennedy wrote.

Ah. So basically, Mr. Kennedy, what you want is to teach your white bigots the when and where it’s okay to let your bigotry ring, lest they impede those shiny futures. *Spits*

Via Grand Forks Herald.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    And yet in his first statement he said this:

    the kind of behavior and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not ok, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable

    They look pretty excused from here.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    How does this prevent the University from enforcing their own code of conduct?

  3. johnson catman says

    Chigau @4:
    Exactly what I was thinking. The first amendment is about the government’s ability to restrict free speech. It says nothing about other entities. And a university, even a state run one, is not the government.

  4. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Technically, the 14th amendment applies the first amendment to the states, so it does apply.

    However, freedom of speech is not absolute, by any means. UND is taking the cowards’ way out. That, or they tacitly endorse the racism, which at this point, I would find just as believable in spite of their words.

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