- Associated Press - Friday, August 19, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa has dropped plans to create a team to assess claims of bias.

In January university chief diversity officer Georgina Dodge proposed a team to address complaints of racial or other bias on campus concerning incidents that “skirt the line between a policy violation or even a crime.”

But Dodge recently told the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/2bCopbe ) the plans raised concerns about the possible impact on academic freedom. She says that over the past eight months, bias response teams at other institutions have become more punitive in their focus and have overreached their authority.

“After working thoughtfully and carefully on how to develop such a team here, we came to conclusion that how we initially had envisioned the BART might not be effective,” she said.

Dodge said there has been a high rate of failure concerning bias response teams at other schools.



The initial plan for the University of Iowa’s response team was to only serve as a means to identify and assess questionable incidents in a timely manner. Disciplinary actions were not included in the proposed response team’s authority.

She said the university goal remains: ensuring there’s a “safe place in which anyone who is subjected to biased treatment can go to find resources and to get help in coping.”

According to Dodge, the final version of that safe place will likely resemble the school’s Office of Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator and be housed in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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