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Student Org Coalition Creates Website With Information On Bias, Rights

A coalition of 14 Penn State student organization has created a website with information and resources for students on bias and First Amendment or freedom of expression rights.

The website, titled “Addressing Bias: Rights, Responsibilities and Responses,” features four primary sections that address the following questions:

  • How does the First Amendment apply to me?
  • How should I interact with authorities?
  • What is bias and why should I care?
  • How does academic freedom apply to me?

The website addresses these issues by answering specific, situational questions in each section. They outline proper conduct and legal rights related to situations ranging from campus and classroom discussions to interactions with police.

The First Amendment section, for example, provides an extensive answer to the question “what do I do if I’m at a protest and someone is trying to provoke or bait me?” alongside a direct link to related university policies. The bias-focused section asks and answers: “What do I do if I feel like the police have targeted me because of my appearance?” Each section features several questions and a “basics” tab that acts as an overview of the university policies in each area.

The website also features a video series titled “What It’s Like” that features short videos of students discussing their Penn State experience.

The site, which took students more than a year to develop according to a release, will be updated over time with more questions and situations that are deemed relevant.

The following organizations collaborated with several university administrative offices to produce the site:

  • Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus
  • Black Caucus
  • Black Graduate Student Association
  • Black and Latino Male Empowerment Group
  • Black Student Union
  • Council of Commonwealth Student Government
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Commemoration Committee
  • Graduate and Professional Student Association
  • International Student Council
  • Latino Caucus
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
  • Presidential Leadership Academy
  • University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA)

“Penn State has students who come from various backgrounds and even highly trained and skilled people can be biased,” Latisha Franklin, president of the Black Graduate Students Association, said in a release. “Patience and the willingness to learn using sites like this are the best ways to combat bias.”

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.


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