Reporter Will Campbell has dug into the history and found a few brave (i.e. tenured) souls willing to speak on the record. Read it all here. The start:
The History of BERT
BERT was created in May 1999, when a comment made by a student sparked a protest that resulted in the arrest of 31 students, according to an Emerald article from 1999. The ignition point was a presentation on Hispanic communities in which a UO student said Hispanic individuals have poor work ethic and blamed their culture.
In the heated discussion that followed, students took to email to criticize or defend the statement. Eventually, a student threatened three women in the class, saying to one that she deserved to be sexually assaulted.
Former president Dave Frohnmayer didn’t expel the student. A rally at the Erb Memorial Union followed, and 75 protesters went to Johnson Hall to stage a sit-in. When they stayed after-hours on the floor of Johnson Hall, 31 were arrested for trespassing.
Students demanded action after the arrests. One demand included the formation of a “discrimination response team” that would “notify authorities, provide victim support and ensure due process for the accused discriminator.” …