Bias Response on Campus

48 Journal of Law & Education 1 (2019)

U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper #2020-13

51 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020

See all articles by Joseph W. Yockey

Joseph W. Yockey

University of Iowa College of Law

Date Written: 2019


“Bias Assessment and Response Teams (BARTs) are becoming ubiquitous at universities in the United States. These programs rely on administrative personnel to investigate and intervene in alleged bias incidents on campus. BART proponents maintain that the programs play an important role in promoting safety, diversity, and inclusivity. Critics, on the other hand, worry that the investigatory and regulatory nature of BARTs—together with their often-vague definitions of actionable bias—will silence debate and chill student and faculty expression.

This article assesses BARTs in light of these concerns. It finds that while the goals of BARTs are legitimate, most programs suffer from policy missteps that justify fears of speech suppression and skepticism about their utility. In response, the article suggests that universities should reinvent bias response strategy through greater reliance on principles-based and meta-regulatory governance. By doing so, universities can create safe and supportive learning environments while still ensuring that students and faculty remain free to engage in critical, open inquiry.”

Keywords: Bias, bias response, campus speech, free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, bias assessment and response, higher education, higher education and the law, shared governance, principles-based governance, higher education policy, higher education administration

Suggested Citation

Yockey, Joseph W., Bias Response on Campus (2019). 48 Journal of Law & Education 1 (2019), U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper #2020-13, Available at SSRN:

Joseph W. Yockey (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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