Mar 20

Secret thought police patrol campus of Portland State U., reporting those who make jokes

The instant you walk onto a government-supported college campus, you become less free.

At Portland State University, students are advised to think twice before making a joke–about anything.

Did your joke invoke a mental condition? (“You’re schizophrenic,” “Are you crazy?”). Might your joke express latent or subtle class or age hierarchy? Or even hint at an ethnic or racial stereotype? (“That is so ghetto.” “Close the door; were you raised in a barn?”).

Just walk calmly and avoid facial expressions. Get in line. Look straight ahead. Don’t make eye contact with anyone. Don’t act out of place.

At Portland State, “bias response teams” patrol campus, accepting anonymous reports about students which can subject those students to discipline.

“Students and faculty are afraid to have honest conversations—or even joke around with each other—out of fear of being reported for a faux pas,” said one observer.