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MU Police encourages individuals to report hateful speech

University of Missouri Police are encouraging individuals to report incidents of hateful or hurtful speech Tuesday.

MUPD said if you witness these actions, you should call MU Police immediately at 573-882-7201.

Individuals are asked to provide a summary and location of the incident, as well as a description of the people involved.

Police said if it can be done safely, take a photo of the person with your cell phone.

MUPD said “delays, including posting information to social media, can often reduce the chances of identifying the responsible parties.”

Police stress that cases of hateful speech are not crimes, but if the individuals identified are students, they can be disciplined by MU’s Office of Student Conduct.

The ACLU responded to the request with the following statement, “The ACLU of Missouri is disappointed with the recent request by the University of Missouri Police to report ‘hurtful speech,’ which simultaneously does too much and too little.

Racial epithets addressed to a specific person in a threatening or intimidating manner can be illegal, and may require action by police and/or university administrators. But, no governmental entity has the authority to broadly prohibit ‘hurtful’ speech – or even undefined ‘hateful’ speech, or to discipline against it.

Conversely, institutional racism and a history of turning a blind-eye to systemic inequities does require action. But mistakenly addressing symptoms – instead of causes – and doing it in a way that runs counter to the First Amendment is not the wise or appropriate response.

Missourians can rightfully expect our public university to establish policies and practices that proactively educate administrators, faculty, staff and students about the causes of, and solutions to, systemic racism and inequality, and that comports with the right to free speech and expression.”

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