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Sep 09, 2016 11:17 AM EDT

UNL Rolls Out 'Non-negotiable' Respect Policy; How This Affects Students' Learning

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The University of Nebraska Lincoln has recently rolled out its new respect policy as part of its efforts to embrace diversity and value acceptance. Newly-installed Chancellor Ronnie Green welcomed students by sharing a list of "non-negotiable" things that they should or should not say.

In the school's official website, the institution asks that "all members of the University community be especially mindful of our responsibility to create an environment that is welcoming to all, where each person feels accepted, valued and safe." UNL's commitment to diversity and inclusion requires everyone in the community to be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom.

The College Fix reported that Chancellor Green announced the new policy during his speech at the new student convocation on Aug. 19. "We do not tolerate actions of hate and disrespect," he said.

It was noted, though, that Green did not define what a specific action of disrespect might be, whether during his speech or in the written policy. The new policy comes at a time when accusations of microaggressions or unintentional slights are commonly misinterpreted as racist acts.

"At new student convocation this past Friday, we emphasized our beliefs and were met with enthusiastic response from the newest members of our family (and, we are very proud to say, LARGEST CLASS IN HISTORY)," Green wrote in a post. "That's what I expected, because our beliefs on diversity and inclusion represent the way we operate. They are not-negotiable."

Intellectual freedom activist David Moshman criticized the new policy in an article for The Huffington Post. He deemed UNL as not only controlling speech, but the students' underlying beliefs, censorship to indoctrination.

"In other words, here in the UNL community, we encourage you to speak up but if you say the wrong thing we will not tolerate it," he wrote. "Feel free to politely criticize the ideas of ISIS or the Ku Klux Klan, for example, but make sure not to show any disrespect, much less hatred, for any group, individual, or ideology. If you can't express yourself respectfully, shut up."

This does not bode well for students especially when the school itself urges them to just accept the set of beliefs provided instead of allowing them to determine what is right and wrong. It also affects learning, seeing as how they are no longer allowed to dissent from progressive ideas.

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