On March 16, 2011, Portland State University student Rachel Cain had a telephone conversation with a PSU library employee concerning a library policy. Cain was not satisfied and left a phone message for the employee, criticizing the employee’s professionalism. Cain was later notified that her phone call had been reported to PSU’s student life office, and on March 23, Cain was charged with “Obstruction or Disruption of University Activity or Process” and “Failure to comply with a University Official’s requests.” She was found responsible for both charges, charged a $10 discipline fee, and asked to sign a “Behavioral Agreement.” Cain appealed, and following intervention from FIRE, PSU dismissed Cain’s charges in August 2011.
October 17, 2011
I’m pleased to announce that Portland State University (PSU) student Rachel Cain’s record has been wiped clean after she was initially found guilty of charges of “disruption” and “failure to comply” due to the content of a telephone conversation between Cain and an employee of PSU’s library system. Her case—like others we’ve seen at FIRE—is a useful reminder of why universities cannot hold students to the same speech standards to which they may hold their employees, a worrying trend on college campuses today. Here are the facts of Cain’s case. On March 16, 2011, Cain had a telephone conversation with […]» Read More