Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
Oregon State University has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment is defined as: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance because it has created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person of that individual’s status.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The computing resources system shall not be used for material or activities that reasonably could be considered harassing, obscene, or threatening by the recipient or another viewer.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Oregon State University policy prohibits behavior based on another’s protected status that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance because it has created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person of that individual’s status.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
The University recognizes and supports the rights of free expression and speech.
University grounds are open to the public and the University community for speech activities except any grounds designated for authorized access only.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment, defined as conduct of any sort directed at another that is severe, pervasive or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person in the victim’s position substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study or participate in his or her regular life activities or participate in the activities of the University, and actually does cause the victim substantial emotional distress and undermines the victim’s ability to work, study, or participate in the victim’s regular life activities or participate in the activities of the University. Stalking behavior that meets this definition constitutes Harassment within the meaning of this rule.
Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
Under this University policy, bullying is prohibited. Bullying is defined as conduct of any sort directed at another that is severe, pervasive or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person in the victim’s position substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study or participate in his or her regular life activities or participate in the activities of the University, and actually does cause the victim substantial emotional distress and undermines the victim’s ability to work, study, or participate in the victim’s regular life activities or participate in the activities of the University.
April 4, 2014
By Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform Oregon State University (OSU) has paid $100,000 in legal fees and $1,000 in damages to former students to settle a lawsuit after the university trashed the conservative student newspaper’s distribution bins. The lawsuit was formally dismissed Wednesday with the university found at fault by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the school has not admitted to any wrongdoing. In 2009, distribution bins for The Liberty, the university’s conservative student paper, disappeared from campus. They were eventually found dumped in a trash heap at the edge of campus, still containing newspapers. Bins for the The Daily Barometer, OSU’s other student publication, […]» Read More
April 4, 2014
Torch readers may remember the case of ‘Oregon State University Student Alliance v. Ray’, in which Oregon State University tried to stop distribution of the student newspaper the Liberty by confiscating (okay, trashing; see above) its news bins and citing an unwritten policy to block new news bins back in 2009.» Read More
December 30, 2013
As 2013 comes to a close, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) looks back on a year that was headlined by dire threats to free speech and student rights on campus.» Read More
December 13, 2013
Oregon State University (OSU) joins an elite group of colleges and universities by becoming just the 17th school in the country to receive FIRE’s highest, “green light,” rating for free speech policies. A college or university earns a green light when its written policies do not seriously imperil free speech. While the clear majority of the nation’s colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech, OSU is now a proud exception. It is Oregon’s first-ever green light school, and its policy change affects more than 27,000 students. “FIRE is thrilled to see another major state university eliminate its speech codes,” said […]» Read More
July 25, 2012
Emily Harrison is a FIRE summer intern. Oregon State University (OSU) is just one “red light” speech policy away from earning FIRE’s acclaimed “green light” distinction. The university revised its restrictive “Electronic Harassment” policy in 2008, which is a positive indicator of OSU’s willingness to protect the free speech rights of its students and faculty members. We hope this means that OSU might be willing to revise its “Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence” policy, which is OSU’s lone remaining speech code. OSU’s Equity and Inclusion Office offers an “overview” of OSU’s sexual harassment policy: Sexual harassment includes sexual or gender-based behavior […]» Read More
December 8, 2008
Here on The Torch, we have reported on several occasions about the growing number of university policies prohibiting so-called “bias incidents.” The problem, from FIRE’s perspective, is that these “bias incidents” are often defined to include constitutionally protected expression. One of the policies we highlighted in the past was a policy at Oregon State University defining a “bias incident” as “any behavior, word, or action directed toward an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics or background. Such acts may result in creating an unsafe environment or have a negative psychological, emotional, or physical effect on an […]» Read More
November 29, 2007
This fall, The College of William & Mary launched a Bias Incident Reporting System “to assist members of the William and Mary community—students, staff, and faculty—in bringing bias incidents to the College’s attention.” In its initial incarnation, the system was fraught with constitutional problems, from both free speech and due process standpoints. The system initially allowed for anonymous reporting, providing that “[a] person reporting online may report anonymously by leaving the personal information fields blank.” The definition of “bias” was overbroad and encompassed constitutionally protected expression: “A bias incident consists of harassment, intimidation, or other hostile behavior that is directed […]» Read More
July 18, 2007
The Student Press Law Center reports that last Friday, the governor of Oregon signed into law a bill protecting the free speech rights of high school and college journalists. House Bill 3279 provides that: Student journalists are responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature and advertising content of school-sponsored media. […] Any student enrolled in a public institution of higher education may commence a civil action to obtain damages under this subsection and appropriate injunctive or declaratory relief as determined by a court for a violation of subsection (2) of this section, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution […]» Read More
November 8, 2006
A recent editorial in The Daily Barometer, the student newspaper at Oregon State University, picked up on the absurdity of FIRE’s recent case at Marquette University where the chair of the philosophy department, Dr. James South, removed a quote from humorist Dave Barry from a graduate student’s office door because South found the quote “patently offensive.” The quote read: As Americans, we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government. If the quote doesn’t seem adequately nocuous to create any sort of […]» Read More
November 17, 2005
Earlier this month, Samantha reported that 2005 FIRE summer intern Luke Sheahan has been shining some much-needed sunlight on newspaper theft at Oregon State University. Luke is a student there and runs a student publication called The Liberty, hundreds of copies of which continue to be stolen—as if the theft of a distribution bin wasn’t enough. Given all of this, Luke wrote to OSU’s president with a very simple request: publicly condemn the vandals. The response? Nothing. So Luke also met with several other figures on campus—so far, to no avail. Of course, all of this might be understandable […]» Read More
November 2, 2005
Luke Sheahan, one of FIRE’s summer interns from 2005, has bravely taken the fight for free speech back to school with him. Sheahan is the publisher and executive editor of The Liberty, a student publication at Oregon State University. In October, a distribution bin for The Liberty was stolen from its location near the OSU bookstore. Sheahan quickly spoke out about the incident to the press and called upon OSU President Edward J. Ray to condemn the theft and reiterate the importance of press freedom. Sheahan stated: “I know that President Ray is committed to intellectual diversity and that he […]» Read More