The University of California has issued a decree to students, ordering them not to use the term ‘Chinese virus’ and not to let anyone else use the term, reasoning that it is ‘racist’.
The orders come from the Council of Chief Diversity Officers at the University (yes that really is a thing). Administrators sent out what they describe as a “guidance document” to help “supportive positive and inclusive campus climates during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The order mandates that students “reject racism, sexism, xenophobia and all hateful or intolerant speech, both in person and online,” and to “Be an ‘up-stander,’ and discourage others from engaging in such behavior.”
Pray tell, what constitutes such hateful speech?
“Do not use terms such as ‘Chinese Virus’ or other terms which cast either intentional or unintentional projections of hatred toward Asian communities, and do not allow the use of these terms by others,” the documents urges.
Students and faculty members should only refer to the virus as “COVID-19” OR “coronavirus” in all “oral and written communications,” the decree adds.
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Not all students are following the ‘guidelines’, however.
“While certain concerns of bigotry directed towards persons of Asian descent might be warranted, this UC policy implicitly attributes a malicious motive to those who refer to the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’ and that is laughable,” External VP of the UC Berkeley College Republicans Rudra Reddy told Campus Reform.
“The Chinese government has actively contributed to the spread of this deadly virus by obscuring information about the outbreak and spreading devious rumors trying to assign blame to the American military,” Reddy added.
“They deserve to be called out for their role in this crisis and the UC system should not play along with their propaganda campaign to designate calls for accountability as racism.” Reddy further urged.
Also speaking to the University oriented website, a UC graduate student who wished to remain anonymous said “the fact that the UC system found it a reasonable expenditure of time to put together a ‘guidance document’ is a waste. This pandering to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is an attack on the mission and values of the University.”
Others noted that it is not clear that the document is not a compulsory mandate.
“Although this may be a ‘guidance document,’ how many people on campus will know that compliance is voluntary – and even if they do, do they truly believe they won’t be punished? Quite obviously, this guidance is intended to ‘chill’ certain speech…” commented Nicole Neily, president of First Amendment group Speech First.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) also took issue with the document, noting that it “is framed as ‘guidance,’ suggesting the directives are merely aspirational; however, the language that follows (‘Do not…’) suggests these particular provisions are mandatory.”
“Will disregard of this ‘guidance’ result in students or faculty members being punished?” FIRE posited, adding that “Statements like these directives impermissibly chill protected expression, as students and faculty may self-censor for fear of crossing a line they cannot see.”
A spokeswoman for the University of California told Campus Reform in an emailed statement, “at the University of California we put our Principles of Community into practice by fostering inclusion and respect to all, regardless of background. UC embraces freedom of speech and robust discussions. This commitment does not prevent us from speaking our core values. UC actively denounces and discourages xenophobia (prejudicial actions against people from other countries), bigotry and racism. Our guidance is consistent with our principles and values.”