(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) Members of Stanford University’s information technology department once offered money to those who flagged and reported “racist terminology” on university websites but retracted the program after facing backlash from people.
The offer was part of a “Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action” program that started in 2020, according to the College Fix. The financial incentive was raised only during a late-January faculty senate meeting where professors talked about their concerns that the college campus slowly becomes a little representation of the world in George Orwell‘s book “1984.”
The scholars from Stanford also cited the school’s “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative,” the IDEAL Anti-Racism Toolkit pushed on campus and the university’s relatively new “Protected Identity Harm Reporting” system as alarming projects stifling both free speech and academic freedom.
On Feb. 9, the faculty senate voted to create an “Ad Hoc Committee on University Speech” to review these ongoing concerns and present solutions.
This faculty representation in late January happened because of the nationwide backlash to the university’s 13-page “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative” that was first reported on in Dec. 2022 by The Wall Street Journal.
The initiative, one aspect of the “Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action” program, was criticized for stating that more than 125 words, including common ones such as “addict,” “American” and “trigger warning,” should be eliminated from school websites.
According to a Dec. 2022 news release, seven Stanford web domains were scanned for harmful words last year, adding “the process for working with content owners for remediation is still in a planning phase.”
Since then, the financial incentive has been removed and reworded to avoid further backlash from people.
The “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative” website has also been taken down, with the media representative Stett Holbrook saying that the initiative is “being re-evaluated and is not operational.”