A college campus is a collective of students forming bonds and receiving an education. Such a place should be also be a safe haven.
In Pierce’s 2017-2018 General Catalog, one of the seven college values listed is the “freedom to think, dialogue and collaborate.” But there is a fine line between freedom of speech and verbal harassment or hate speech.
Verbal harassment can be a type of danger present on Pierce College’s campus. This type of danger is not one of guns, but one of threatening words that offers the same fear of physical violence.
Recently, verbal harassment and threats have been communicated between clubs on campus. This leaves members nervous, and administration needs to be informed.
To counteract this violence, all clubs and members should sign a behavioral code of conduct, which lists pre-agreed behavioral do’s and dont’s.
According to a member of the Blatigenous Club, there is no code of conduct to their knowledge.
If club members do not have a written guideline for how to behave, lines can be blurred, and anything can be up for debate, including hate speech.
All students, involved in a campus club or not, should treat peers, professors and faculty with respect and kindness. Students should not slander harass, or make any derogatory comments toward others.
Students should also be aware of the consequences of their actions. Regardless of a student’s point of view, hate speech can lead to unwanted results.
When students feel threatened, it makes them feel unsafe, which can lead to anxiety, depression, or wanting to fight back, which can lead to more danger.
When the term “verbal harassment” is entered into the Pierce homepage search bar, only one result comes up: the college’s General Catalog from 2007. The problem with this result is that it is outdated, and times have changed due to the introduction of social media.
Hate speech between Pierce students can extend outside the classroom and the campus and onto the internet. Every club’s code of conduct should state that online action is also representative of their club.
All students should feel that their safety is monitored and have peace of mind that no harm will come their way, knowing that they are in no direct danger.
If every club on campus has a behavioral code of conduct, students can focus on their studies and interact with others safely.