Censorship or smart thinking? UWM 'Inclusive Excellence" group pushing to silence certain words

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'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

"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

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.