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

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Oregon

On June 13, 2014, the University of Oregon charged a female student with five conduct violations on the basis of a four-word joke shouted out a dormitory window at two individuals standing outside. The offending student, who yelled “I hit it first,” immediately apologized to the insulted students, whom she did not know, after they reported her to the Resident Assistant. Despite the student’s apology, UO charged the student with “harassment,” “disruption,” and “disorderly conduct,” in addition to violations of the dormitory’s noise and guest policy. In an August 1, 2014, letter to UO, FIRE demanded that the school immediately rescind the charges against the student and revise its unconstitutional speech codes. Within 24 hours of FIRE publicizing the student’s case on August 26, UO dropped the charges against the student, despite claiming that her behavior may have violated school policies.