U. of New Hampshire Students Assigned to Confront People Who They’ve Witnessed Using Offensive Language

An assignment by the University of New Hampshire has drawn criticism after asking students to call out those they believe use racist and other offensive types of language.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The University of New Hampshire assigned students an activity that would call out real-world examples of “hate” speech according to Post Millennial.
  • Included in the assignment were the instructions to “call in someone on their ableist, racist or homophobic use of language,” according to a screenshot of the assignment. 
  • Students were also allowed to zero in on acts of microaggressions toward any person of color, LGBTQ, or those who are disabled.
  • The assignment has been making the rounds on social media, including Twitter where the Libs of Tik Tok account published a photo of the assignment.
  • Specifically excluded from the assignment were issues of gender. Students were encouraged to talk to university staff if they had questions about that issue.
WHAT THE ASSIGNMENT SAID:
  • The assignment was shown to be worth 10% of the total grade, and asked students to “call in someone on their ableist racist or homophonic use of language, for microaggressions (or an act of racism) towards a person of color, homophone against LGBTQI+ or ableism against a disabled person.”
  • “Do your calling out in a safe way. Provide a brief orthographic (just in word, no symbols) transcript of what was said AND of your callout.”
  • The assignment also recommended that the student knows that their targets likely “mean well and are a good person. That you care about them and that is why you care that they are expressing their real values, not essentially being hurtful.”
  • Students were also prompted to offer new ways for a person to say their offensive comments.
BACKGROUND:
  • Someone familiar with the issue told The Post Millennial that the assignment was an “eyebrow raiser” and that it was offered the first week of classes for the semester.
  • The course is an introductory communication class for social interaction, taught by professor Edward Reynolds.
  • The entire assignment can be accessed through Campus Reform.