Point of Contention: ‘Mild’ Hate Crime Punishment Prompts Campus Debate

By Ty Gooch, Staff Writer

Ten points for a misuse of ID. Ten points for a hate crime. A sore point among students.

Guilford’s decision to assign a level one hate crime violation only 10 points in the new judicial points system has incited many debates on campus. The administration has yet to propose a solution.

In contrast, underage drinking violations carry 15 points.  Many students are appalled at what they feel is an undervalued charge and they aren’t afraid to raise their voice.

“What in God’s name were the creators of the point system thinking when they made a hate crime 10 points?” asked senior CJ Green in an email interview. “We live in a country founded on genocide and slavery and to have a hate crime being scored less than underage drinking will evoke that one extreme student to commit the act and lead to an issue that should never have happened in the first place.”

Green isn’t the only one upset. Many students are in favor of a stricter punishment for hate crimes.

“A hate crime should be an automatic suspension,” said sophomore Cara Messina. “We go to a Quaker school. We don’t do stuff like that.”

On the other hand, some students believe that point values should not be associated with hate crimes.

“All crimes can be described as a result of hate,” said junior Alex Morales. “It’s hard to say a crime was committed blatantly because of prejudice.”

While students disagree on how exactly hate crimes should be punished, most support an increased point value.

“I don’t understand the methodology that went into coming up with these point levels,” said junior Sidra Dillard. “It seems like what I value most, they value least.”

Just as students don’t understand the school’s reasoning behind the point values, the administration doesn’t understand why students are so angry.

“I am confused about why students are so upset,” said Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandy Bowles. “The levels for hate crimes are the same as before; all we did was assign points to them.”

Bowles, along with Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow, attended a Community Senate meeting on September 4 to discuss the hate crime issue with students, listening to their side of the debate.

Fetrow and Bowles both defended the current system, emphasizing that while a hate crime is serious, it isn’t a standalone violation.

“A hate crime violation is a sort of modifier to an existing violation,” said Fetrow. “There is no such thing as a hate crime. A hate crime cannot stand alone.”

In other words, a student found guilty of committing a hate crime will have other violations on top of it. For example, if a student vandalizes another student’s property for prejudicial reasons, they will not only receive a violation for a hate crime but also for property damage.

Given this information, some students are more forgiving.

“In principle, without looking at the system it seems messed up, but in practice it’s reasonable because the punishment is worse than just 10 points,” said senior Lucas Blanchard-Glueckert. “I’m not going to be up in arms on something that seems like it may not be as unreasonable as people think.”

Still, students disagree with the system and stand firm on their belief that hate crimes should be punished more severely. While no decision was reached at the Community Senate meeting, a change is definitely not out of question.

“This is a pilot,” said Fetrow. “We are seeing how things go and are open to make changes.”

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One thought on “Point of Contention: ‘Mild’ Hate Crime Punishment Prompts Campus Debate

  1. Hate crime and violence is all over the country. Just google White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence to America. http://whitegirlbleedalot.com/. It’s about hate crimes, racial crimes, mob violence, violence against gays.. etc. It’s a collection of violence mostly have videos. You might not believe it but it’s really happening. So scary. I think there’s more than 50 cities.

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