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Censorship or smart thinking? UWM ‘Inclusive Excellence” group pushing to silence certain words

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MILWAUKEE -- As University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students prepare to start the fall term, campus leaders are set to reinforce a controversial guideline. A student group has put out a list of words they think students shouldn't use.

Brandon Williford said he's excited to be out of high school and more independent at UWM.

"We`re all adults here," Williford said.

But Williford said a list of words some deem offensive has him questioning a relatively new campus guideline.

"I feel like it`s censorship," Williford said.

UWM "Just Words" campaign

UWM "Just Words" campaign

 UWM's "Center for Inclusive Excellence"

UWM's "Center for Inclusive Excellence"

Last year, UWM's "Inclusive Excellence Center" debuted its 'Just Words" campaign -- bringing attention to words and phrases like 'retarded' and 'crazy' that some might find hurtful.

"We`re not saying you can`t say some of those words - but some of those words can be construed as microaggressions," Jim Hill, the interim senior student affairs officer at UWM said.

Hill said "Just Words" is merely a suggestion -- not censorship.

"We are not doing that at all. As a matter of fact, we`re trying to improve and have open dialogue," Hill said.

Also on the list: 'ghetto,' 'Nazi' and even 'politically correct.'

UWM "Just Words" campaign

UWM "Just Words" campaign

"Someone can say, 'oh, you`re being politically correct -- PC.' Well, someone may take offense to that and say, 'I`m not being PC. I`m just being me,'" Hill said.

FOX6 News reached out to the Inclusive Excellence Center, a group funded by student fees for an interview. Ironically, a spokeswoman only had two words for FOX6: "No comment."

"I don`t personally find any of those words offensive - I think the use of them is all about who you are with," Casey Mullins, UWM senior said.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill

While the group claims some may consider 'illegal alien' an overt anti-Latino bias or 'lame' ridiculing amputees. Some say it's just society being overly sensitive.

"It seems a lot of people`s feelings are getting hurt right now for anything," Mullins said.

There will be posters and fliers up all over campus once students return to classes -- highlighting the "Just Words" campaign. Officials hope it will spark dialogue.


  • confused

    Censorship! You should not be held back or stymied in your speech. If you say something and it offends someone they can say, hey do not say that around me. You know what leads to violence? All this tip-toeing around “micro-aggressive words”, trigger words, all this bottling up of how a person really feels. Walking on egg shells. You can’t say some one has a great idea or that they are pretty. Or that the idea sucks and we are all going to lose our jobs if we do it. Illegal aliens come from EVERY country! Lame? is an idea that’s weak. Ghettos and nazis do exist. so do slums and up-town. Thugs and mols are from the Elliot Ness days-no race can claim it. Gangster are from the 1920’s and up-again no race can lay claim to it. If your child here’s what society deems to be not PC-talk about the word(s) where they came from and what they mean. So if a nice gentleman holds the door open for me do I thank him or is that making me un-PC and a weak lil ol female? Between not being able to speak one’s mind and no one face to face anymore-just social media- we are going to become socially retarded. (that means slow acting or slower to act)

  • Paul

    UWM is an embarassment and I graduated from there. I find Jim Hill to be offensive. Is this guy getting paid?

  • Is what it is

    If you get offended by a word, any word, you are weak to began with, and probably shouldn’t leave your mommy’s house.

  • EGK

    “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” -Proverbs 18:21

    That being said, I’m also reminded of another verse:
    “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” -Psalm 119:165

  • NorellWE

    Censorship! Remember sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Live with it, these words came about so we could Identify the enemy, I’m just sick of these liberal Nazi that think we can all just love each other. Snap out of your drug induced coma and live with it.

    • Kayla Hellal

      Why does it bother you that people are trying to minimize hate in public spaces? Is it really better to just throw ones hands in the air and accept that people will never get along?
      Also, “liberal Nazi that think we can all just love each other” seems a bit of an oxymoronic phrase. Also, yeah, liberals tend to live with their heads in the clouds–but comparing them to a group that pushed an agenda that consisted of genocide is utterly ridiculous.

      • Z

        Actually, the Nazi party was on the extreme left of the spectrum. Although, more closely aligned with Socialism.

        Just like liberalism.

        So it really isn’t a stretch comparing the two. Aside from the genocide you mentioned.

  • D Good

    OMG. These little spoiled brats should go get a job and pay their own way. Then they wouldn’t have time for this silly crap. There are many more concerns in this country than censoring a few slang words.

  • BM

    A poster campaign is not equal to policy changes or restrictions on speech. It seems that people are trying to censor the poster. Just as the university allows religious fundamentalists to scream at students in the plaza to burn in hell, Donald Trump to host an event, and DNC to host a debate, the campus allows this student created poster to challenge words that have a chilling effect on campus. Use the words if you wish… but don’t for a second pretend that they have no impact (after all, you’re choosing to use the words). And don’t pass the blame on to people who feel put down by hateful words as being “too sensitive.” If you use these words, own that you are offending someone or perhaps not understanding why the words matter to them. If you want to use the words anyways, go for it. But don’t for a second pretend they are meaningless. Your words have an impact –regardless if you think they “should” or not….

  • Sean O'Farrell

    “Brandon Williford said he’s excited to be out of high school and more independent at UWM”. Sounds like Brad is entering into a super repressive society that is the antithesis of independence,

  • Jacquelyn Marie

    Don’t these losers have anything better to do than come up with this garbage? Meanwhile, kids their own age are fighting overseas for America’s freedom!~ I am so disgusted & would like to drop them all out of a plane in SYRIA..

  • Z

    Absolutely pathetic. This generation is so soft that they need to censor big, scary, hurtful words.

    If any UW-M student has a lick of sense, they will rip down any of these fliers and promptly deposit them in a trash can.

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