Despite the creation of a “Bias Response Line” for students to report offensive and inappropriate situations at New York University, the editorial board of the campus student newspaper is claiming that the line is unresponsive to their needs.
In a piece published in Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper, the editorial board claims that the Bias Response Line is strongly pushed at NYU, as it is advertised on every course syllabus and throughout orientation for new students. Still, they argue that the program “has not taken any meaningful action.”
According to the article, NYU has not appropriately disciplined professors who have been reported as offensive via the Bias Response Line and cites a recent case where a student reported a professor for perceived transphobia.
“Last semester, a transgender Steinhart junior August Enzer reported psychology professor Edgar Coons for alleged transphobia,” the editors write. “The BRL relayed the case to CAS human resources and Gene Jarrett, Seryl Kushner Dean of the College of Arts and Science, but the BRL has not been transparent about the outcome of the case. The lack of transparency by the BRL makes it impossible to hold NYU and its constituents accountable.”
According to Enzer, who waited two years to file his report, the professor used the term “abnormalities” in describing transgenderism and also utilized lesson plans that students found transphobic.
“Coons’ lesson plans are just very blatantly disrespectful, very blatantly transphobic,” Enzer said. “The school has done nothing to combat this or educate him.”
Additionally, the editors claim that NYU administrators have also failed to produce a year-end report of all incidents reported through the line, as well as the outcomes of each situation and whether or not the individuals reported were punished.
“Moreover, BRL and President Andrew Hamilton promised in 2016 that they would provide a breakdown of the organization’s reports by the end of 2017,” the editors write. “The BRL has still not released a public report.”
Despite admitting they have zero knowledge regarding the NYU’s handling of the transphobia bias incident with Coons, the editors claim that the university was negligent because his punishment was not clearly outlined for the public.
“The BRL was neglectful in its handling of its investigation of Coons — the NYU community does not know how Coons was disciplined, if he was at all,” the editors write. “Without clearly outlining punishments for transgressions of racism, transphobia and other bigoted behavior, NYU is failing to hold itself to account.”
John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.