University suggests it may punish students for failing to intervene in 'bias-motivated' incidents

Individuals who don't act might be 'held accountable.'

Updated: August 13, 2020 - 1:29pm

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Syracuse University may soon punish students who fail to intervene in what the university dubs "bias-motivated" incidents, a recent dispatch from the school's "chief diversity and inclusion officer" suggests. 

The university's student code of conduct "has been revised, based on [student] input, to state that violations of the code that are bias-motivated—including conduct motivated by racism—will be punished more severely," writes Keith Alford on the school's website. 

The New York-based school "also revised the code to make clear when bystanders and accomplices can be held accountable," Alford continues, implying that the university may soon begin punishing students who don't sufficiently confront such incidents when witnessed. 

It is unclear what motivated the code of conduct changes, though Alford in his post implies that the recent wave of Black Lives Matter-led activism across the country may have been partially responsible. 

"There [has been] an unprecedented acknowledgement of the devastating impact of anti-Blackness and systemic racism," the diversity officer states, arguing further that "while we have made progress in recent years and months on our campus, we still have much more to do in addressing and eradicating racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination and hate."

"We reject all acts of hate, but we can’t address each one with just words," he adds. "What we can and must do is the collective work necessary to confront it every time."