University of Oregon: ASL Instructor Dropped Due to Classroom Comment

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Oregon

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 students to understand his point. Although this statement was clearly not a true threat, UO immediately dropped him as an instructor and banned him from contacting anyone who could help him prove his innocence. UO also completely ignored its due process obligations.