University of Oregon on ‘Bias Response Team’: Nothing to See Here

    This month, a number of commentators have criticized the University of Oregon’s (UO’s) bias incident reporting system—an online tool to report perceived incidents of “bias” to campus administrators—and some of the university’s “Bias Response Team’s” (BRT’s) responses to those reports. In March, FIRE filed a public records request with UO, seeking documents about students’ complaints and whether the BRT’s handling of those complaints has the potential to chill or infringe on First Amendment rights. UO, however, is resisting public scrutiny. In its response on April 1, 2016, the university told FIRE that it would not benefit the public to produce […]

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    Four-Word Joke Results in Five Conduct Charges for University of Oregon Student

    EUGENE, Oregon, August 26, 2014—The University of Oregon (UO) has filed multiple, blatantly unconstitutional conduct charges against a female student who jokingly yelled “I hit it first” from a dormitory window. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is calling on UO to immediately dismiss all charges against the student and reform its unconstitutional speech policies. “The University of Oregon’s absurd overreaction is the real joke here, and it’s not very funny,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “Using an unconstitutional speech code to punish a student […]

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    University of Oregon: Derecognition of Student Group for ‘Offensive’ Publication

    The Oregon Commentator, a conservative student magazine, won a three-month long battle for press freedom from the University of Oregon student government. When a transgendered student senator complained of being offended after being mocked in the magazine, the student government finance committee rejected the Commentator‘s mission statement, which had remained unchanged for the past 21 years. The finance committee publicly denied their constitutional obligation to distribute student fees on a viewpoint-neutral basis. FIRE wrote to UO President Dave Frohnmayer, who declared he didn’t want to intervene in the funding process. It was not until FIRE sent an open letter to the […]

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    University of Oregon: ASL Instructor Dropped Due to Classroom Comment

    FIRE has asked the University of Oregon (UO) to reverse its punishment of American Sign Language instructor Peter Quint, who was relieved of his teaching duties on the basis of a single comment he made in class to students who had repeatedly violated a class policy against speaking aloud. Quint, who is deaf, shared with his class a personal story about how he was able to escape a Pashtun tribesman in Pakistan who had a gun by means of showing “respect” in a foreign environment. When the students spoke aloud again, Quint sarcastically asked if he would have to shoot them for the […]

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    University of Oregon: Student’s Four-Word Joke Results in Five Unconstitutional Disciplinary Charges

    In June, a student yelled “I hit it first” out of a dorm window. She’s now being charged with five conduct violations.

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    University of Oregon: Student Government Denies Group’s Funding Over Pro-Gun Rights Views

    On November 11, 2015, the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) rejected Young Americans for Liberty’s application for funding of a “Liberty Poker Night” event in support of gun rights.

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    Judgment for University of Oregon in Doctoral Candidate’s Title IX Lawsuit

    A little over a year ago, we reported the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowing former doctoral candidate Monica Emeldi to proceed to trial in her sex discrimination lawsuit against the University of Oregon (UO). The trial finally began last Monday, and less than 48 hours later, the federal district court entered judgment for UO, finding that Emeldi had not sufficiently proven her claims of retaliation against the school. Emeldi filed her Title IX lawsuit against UO in 2008, after Dr. Robert Horner resigned as the chair of her dissertation committee and she was unable to […]

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    Oregon’s Student Government Discriminates Against Student Group Hosting Pro-Gun Rights Poker Tournament

    EUGENE, Ore., November 19, 2015—Last night, the University of Oregon’s student government denied funding to a student group’s poker night event for a second time amid concerns the event’s pro-gun message and prizes “would make students feel uncomfortable.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to the University of Oregon (UO) before the Associated Students of the University of Oregon’s (ASUO’s) vote yesterday. FIRE explained that ASUO’s refusal to fund a poker night hosted by UO’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) expressly because it disagrees with the event’s message amounts to constitutionally prohibited viewpoint discrimination. FIRE […]

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    University of Oregon Professor Calls for Greater Public Scrutiny of ‘Bias Response Team’

    Last month, FIRE publicly called on the University of Oregon (UO) to release records relating to its controversial “Bias Response Team” (BRT) protocol. The BRT had intervened with students and faculty in response to student complaints about allegedly offensive speech and, in the case of a student newspaper, inadequate coverage of particular issues. In response to a public records request from FIRE, UO declined to issue a fee waiver, arguing that sharing such records would not benefit the public. Now, a UO professor is publicly calling on his institution to provide greater transparency with regards to the BRT and to […]

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