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 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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    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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    Victory: University of Oregon Drops Charges Against Student for Joke

    EUGENE, Oregon, August 28, 2014—In a victory for free speech, the University of Oregon (UO) dropped the unconstitutional conduct charges it filed against a student based on a four-word joke wholly protected by the First Amendment. UO’s reversal comes barely 24 hours after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) press release drew national attention to the university’s embarrassing treatment of the student. “We’re pleased that the student is no longer weighed down by these chilling disciplinary charges and can focus on her education,” said Peter Bonilla, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “UO’s quick action here illustrates […]

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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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    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: 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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