FINAL: Senate motion to support Collective students passes 23-21

Update with text as passed by the UO Senate:

After a full, frank, and extended discussion led by Senate President Sinclair (Math) – with UO President Schill, Provost Banavar, and many UO Collective students  present – the Senate voted 23-21 today to pass a revised version of US17/18-02: RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE UO STUDENT COLLECTIVE. This resolution was regarding disciplinary charges for Student Conduct Code violations brought by the administration against students who had protested at, and disrupted, President Schill’s October 6th State of the University Address.

This resolution had been presented to the Senate and posted on its website for review two weeks ago. Yesterday afternoon President Schill and Provost Banavar sent a letter to the Senate responding to it. The UO Student collective took this response to heart, in part, and redrafted their motion last night and this morning, taking out some of the parts the President and Provost found objectionable and making general edits and explanation. The Senate received that revision shortly before the meeting today.

The revised resolution was considered under a suspension of the normal rules, given the fact that time was of the essence, since the Student Conduct Office had given the students charged with disciplinary violations a firm deadline of December 8th to decide on how to respond to the charges, the students had exams, and that the next Senate meeting was not until January.

After voting to suspend the rules with the required 2/3 majority, a motion was then made to divide the resolution, separating the parts on the student conduct process from the parts asking the administration to condemn speech by white supremacists. This passed with considerable support.

The Senate then spent about 30 minutes discussing the student conduct part of the resolution. The resolution was read out in its entirety twice – once before division, and once after.

Some Senators urged the Senate to delay, arguing that this was too little time to consider. Others argued that the students had been given a deadline and the Senate needed to act today.

Provost Banavar asked the students if they would be satisfied if the administration would extend the Dec 8th deadline. The students asked if the Provost could promise such an extension. He said he could not.

Senate VP Harbaugh (me) relayed that he had just been told by the Dean of Students that the Student Conduct Office had failed to make recordings or verbatim transcripts of the student conduct hearings held so far (and had prevented the students from making recordings), despite that fact that verbatim transcripts were required for appeals of conduct violations. Whoops.

The Senate extended the time for debate several times. One OA Senator said that the OA’s would feel that passing the resolution would be taken as an attack on the OA’s who have the difficult job of enforcing student conduct code violations. This was received with respect.

One Senator, from the law school, argued for delay and more deliberation, until next quarter. This same Senator had been on the UO Board of Trustees as its sole faculty member when they passed their 2014 motion taking authority for Student Conduct away from the faculty. At the time she raised no objection with the board that the Trustees were given that motion only shortly before their meeting, and she did not even bother to inform the faculty or the students that the motion was coming. The Greeks had a word for this: hypocrisy.

One Senator raised the point that the motion could be taken as supporting students rights to disrupt classrooms. This did not get a lot of resonance with the faculty, who are quite experienced at turning student disruptions into teachable moments. Many of us even enjoy it. Here’s hoping VP Kyle Henley and the administration’s PR machine do not decide to give Duck spokesman Tobin Klinger instructions to go to the press with that canard.

At 4:56 the vote was called, and the motion passed 23-21. Here’s the final text as passed, absent footnotes. It should all be on the Senate website Th AM:

US17/18-02: RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE UO STUDENT COLLECTIVE

Section I

1.1  WHEREAS the Mission Statement of the University of Oregon states:

“We value our diversity and seek to foster equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful community”; and

1.2  WHEREAS the UO Policy on Free Inquiry and Speech states

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society.” [Emphasis added];

and

“The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.”; and

1.3 WHEREAS UO students have approached the UO administration with their concerns about UO policies and US policies that affect their well-being, safety, and academic success; and

1.4 WHEREAS the preamble of the Student Conduct Code reads:

“The primary mission of the Student Conduct Code is to set forth the community standards and procedures necessary to maintain and protect an environment conducive to learning and in keeping with the educational objectives of the University of Oregon. Founded upon the principle of freedom of thought and expression, an environment conducive to learning is one that preserves the freedom to learn — where academic standards are strictly upheld and where the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual are respected.” [Emphasis added]; and

1.5 WHEREAS overzealous disciplinary action against students may result in the repression of dissent and free speech and continues to harm these students’ academic success; and

1.6 WHEREAS UO officials have made public statements that may prejudice the adjudication of the alleged conduct code violations; and

1.7 WHEREAS the UO Policy on Academic Freedom says

“Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance.”

and

“These freedoms derive immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences.  Any such determinations shall be made in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by relevant peers.”

and yet despite this requirement, relevant peers have not been involved in this conduct code judgement process.

Section II

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the UO Senate supports the rights of students to peacefully protest during university events, even disruptively, so long as those protests do not prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say; and

2.2  BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate recognizes that the students involved in the protest at the State of the University Address succeeded in bringing significant matters of academic concern and student well-being to the attention of the university community, and that we urge that this be taken into consideration when judging their discipline cases; and

2.3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate calls on the the Student Conduct Code and Community Standards Committee to ensure that the Student Conduct Code is revised to include student peers in judgements on disciplinary cases involving free speech, as required by the Policy on Academic Freedom. Given the importance of free speech and academic freedom, the Senate urges the Committee to develop Student Conduct Code procedures distinct from standard discipline charges; and

2.4 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UO Senate urges the administration to cease the Student Conduct disciplinary charges process and pledges to support student protesters during the disciplinary appeals process; and

2.5 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate supports the conversations the administration has now initiated with the UO Student Collective and that the Senate will continue to provide a forum for all students.

Finis.

Having spent more than the expected time on the discussion and debate of this resolution, the Senate then adjourned, putting off the remainder of the agenda until January.

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms) 11/29/2017, 3:00 – 5:00 P.M. Video feed

Meanwhile the US Senate will be meeting on Trump’s plan to destroy graduate education. UO President Mike Schill’s excellent comments on that are here.

Update: Here is the new draft of the Student Collective resolution:

US17/18-02: RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE UO STUDENT COLLECTIVE

Motion

Section I

1.1  WHEREAS the Mission Statement of the University of Oregon states:

“We value our diversity and seek to foster equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful community”; and

1.2  WHEREAS the UO Policy on Free Inquiry and Speech states

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society.” [Emphasis added];

and

“The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.”; and

1.3 WHEREAS UO students have approached the UO administration with their concerns about UO policies and US policies that affect their well-being, safety, and academic success; and

1.4 WHEREAS the preamble of the Student Conduct Code reads:

“The primary mission of the Student Conduct Code is to set forth the community standards and procedures necessary to maintain and protect an environment conducive to learning and in keeping with the educational objectives of the University of Oregon. Founded upon the principle of freedom of thought and expression, an environment conducive to learning is one that preserves the freedom to learn — where academic standards are strictly upheld and where the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual are respected.” [Emphasis added]; and

1.5 WHEREAS overzealous disciplinary action against students may result in the repression of dissent and free speech and continues to harm these students’ academic success; and

1.6 WHEREAS UO officials have made public statements that may prejudice the adjudication of the alleged conduct code violations; and

1.7 WHEREAS the UO Policy on Academic Freedom says

“Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance.”

and

“These freedoms derive immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences.  Any such determinations shall be made in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by relevant peers.”

and yet despite this requirement, relevant peers have not been involved in this conduct code judgement process.

1.8 WHEREAS hate crimes have increased by nearly 40% in Eugene, Oregon between 2015 and 2016, roughly half of which were racially motivated, as per the City of Eugene 2016 Hate and Bias Report; and

1.9 WHEREAS White Supremacist groups have been allowed on the University of Oregon campus by the administration; and

1.10 WHEREAS White Supremacist speech and organizing is a direct threat to members of our university community, especially marginalized demographics;

Section II

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the UO Senate supports the rights of students to peacefully protest during university events, even disruptively, so long as those protests do not prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say; and

2.2  BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate recognizes that the students involved in the protest at the State of the University Address succeeded in bringing significant matters of academic concern and student well-being to the attention of the university community, and that we urge that this be taken into consideration when judging their discipline cases; and

2.3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate calls on the the Student Conduct Code and Community Standards Committee to ensure that the Student Conduct Code is revised to include student peers in judgements on disciplinary cases involving free speech, as required by the Policy on Academic Freedom. Given the importance of free speech and academic freedom, the Senate urges the Committee to develop Student Conduct Code procedures distinct from standard discipline charges; and

2.4 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UO Senate urges the administration to cease the Student Conduct disciplinary charges process and pledges to support student protesters during the disciplinary appeals process; and

2.5 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate supports the conversations the administration has now initiated with the UO Student Collective and that the Senate will continue to provide a forum for all students.

2.6 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UO Senate denounces White Supremacist speech and organizing on campus as a direct threat to the university community; and

2.7 BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the UO Senate urges University of Oregon administration to pledge that they will dissuade and minimize the impact of White Nationalists and other hate groups on this campus to the best of their ability.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair
  • Remarks from Johnson Hall
  • Report: Dean Lim, UO Libraries
  • College of Ed update: Dean Kamphaus

3:40 P.M. Approval of Minutes, November 1, 2017 and November 15, 2017

3:45 P.M.   Business

4:50 P.M.   Open Discussion
4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:50 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

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22 Responses to FINAL: Senate motion to support Collective students passes 23-21

  1. OAnonymous says:

    Livestream not working, interested to hear Kamphaus’ update on COE.

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  2. OAnonymous says:

    Working now!

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  3. cdsinclair says:

    That was a lot of work for only two comments.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    1.7 WHEREAS the UO Policy on Academic Freedom says

    “Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance.”

    This action by the UO Senate supports the students as “members of the university community” and more equal. Now, if only we could get the same for the invisible, and still more more equal, “members of the university community”, all ~1300 of them.

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  5. Oldtimer says:

    If I understand this correctly, the senate supports the disruption of a regularly scheduled speech, denying the speaker the right to speak? Or is it that the senate prefers an alternative strategy with this incident in order to assure the right to speak for everyone? The resolution reads more like a manifesto than a resolution on either issue. And we wonder why the general public shakes headsat us. The senate can do better than this. Or can it?

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    • Zinn says:

      “the UO Senate supports the rights of students to peacefully protest during university events, even disruptively, so long as those protests do not prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say;”

      “The resolution reads more like a manifesto” would be a claim that would be easier to accept if there was evidence that you actually read the “manifesto” in question…

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      • Oldtimer says:

        To Zinn. yes, you are correct. The resolution sys that, along with many other things. What it does not say is that the incident in question fails that test or that it should therefor, be subject to charges under the conduct code, omissions that led to my questions when I read it.

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  6. prof from another school says:

    From the discussion of Academic freedom:

    ” ‘academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences. Any such determinations shall be made in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by relevant peers.’

    and yet despite this requirement, relevant peers have not been involved in this conduct code judgement process.”

    This section on academic freedom uses peers in the usual professional way, and most certainly does not indicate that student peers should be involved in student misbehavior cases involving free speech. for example misbehavior or professional incompetence as a psychologist ought to be judged by peer psychologists.
    I suspect this wording is to protect professors from the [uninformed] judgement of adminstrators, who are thus required to ask other professionals if the action is really incompetent.

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  7. I voted against this resolution because I think it is counterproductive in a few ways.

    First, as Senator Koopman noted during the discussion, it is not actual legislation. It is merely a suggestion doesn’t impel us or anyone to do anything. As such, its power is only rhetorical, and that power is substantially diminished because we were so far from a consensus. If we’re going to make a proclamation, we ought to spend enough time thinking it through that we can be unified in our message.

    Second, merely rhetorical as it may be, these resolutions seem to align us “with” the students and “against” the administration. The stance adopted here perpetuates the unhelpful us-versus-them type thinking that impedes meaningful action. We missed an opportunity to position ourselves as representatives of the whole institution and its mission and values, and instead reduced our voice to one that is partisan and reactionary. Additionally, this resolution could force the people who need to work through the conduct cases to reaffirm those division. What if, in fact, all rules and regulations were followed correctly and some kind of disciplinary action is appropriate under the policies as they stand? As several senators noted in discussion, we do not have enough information about the events to know. Taking any action in the absence of sufficient information only serves to discredit us.

    Third, I fear that we have fooled ourselves and the students into thinking that we have actually done something about the student conduct process. Some may feel that these resolutions absolve us of responsibility to take further action. If there is a problem with the student conduct procedures, in this case or more broadly, then the senate should take a systematic, careful look and propose concrete solutions through legislation. In this resolution, what we have focused narrowly, futilely, and unproductively on this specific incident. A less hasty approach would be to let things play out under the current rules/procedures as intended, then make meaningful, systematic changes (if any are needed) to prevent this from happening in the future.

    **Please note views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my college, department, or lab.**

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    • uomatters says:

      To me, the meat of this resolution is this:

      2.3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate calls on the the Student Conduct Code and Community Standards Committee to ensure that the Student Conduct Code is revised to include student peers in judgements on disciplinary cases involving free speech, as required by the Policy on Academic Freedom. Given the importance of free speech and academic freedom, the Senate urges the Committee to develop Student Conduct Code procedures distinct from standard discipline charges;

      This is a UO Administration committee that includes 4 faculty nominated by the Senate and appointed by the UO President. We just nominated the 4th member, David Schuman, a former Oregon Court of Appeals judge and current UO Law prof, and President Schill has appointed him. Its charge, from the UO Board’s 2014 revision of the student conduct code, is to consider conduct code revisions, ensure the code is being properly applied, and provide annual reports. From what we can tell, this has not been done consistently and pehaps not at all since 2014, when the administration took control of this committee from the Senate.

      The student conduct office’s disciplinary response to the student protest has brought these and other problems to light, some related to these specific situation, some more general. So it’s entirely appropriate that the Senate respond as we have done, by calling on the administration to do what its own policies require.

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      • I agree that 2.3 is good and appropriate in spirit. Perhaps, if we had been less rushed, we could have figured out that we could have had unanimous support for a resolution that more directly tacked this issue. Or, even better, we could have taken action beyond passing a resolution. It is not clear to me whether the senate has the power to actually change policy or dictate that the work that we suggest be done actually be done, but that is the kind of thing we should have discussed yesterday.

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        • uomatters says:

          Nothing we did Wednesday prevents the Senate from taking this matter up again – in fact I think what we did pretty much assures that we will. The students were given a firm deadline of Dec 8th. Our Provost said he did not have authority to extend that deadline on his own. We had a responsibility to act, even if that action was only to urge the administration to reconsider.

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          • I was persuaded by Senator Frazee’s point that parts of this amount to a public rebuke of the work being done by OAs in good faith. Banavar pointed out that his office doesn’t conduct these things – Student Life does. So, basically, we ignored the requests to let the process play out, and now we’re going to implore them to fix it later? I’m no psychologist, but I don’t think our strategy is the best way to persuade people to do what we request.

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            • Arian Mobasser says:

              Isn’t that the whole point of shared governance? The extent to which our system of checks and balances is interpreted as ‘us vs them’ depends on how one chooses to frame it.

              Despite having sponsored the students’ resolution, I have no doubt about the good faith of our administration, nor of our OAs. However, there is substantial evidence that the work of the Student Conduct Office is not being administered in accordance with our Student Conduct Code [see § 3(IV)(2); (§ 3(II)(2)(c)(A)]
              https://policies.uoregon.edu/vol-3-administration-student-affairs/ch-1-conduct/student-conduct-code

              In this case, honoring requests to let this process play out is actually in direct conflict with students’ rights to fair adjudication of alleged Student Conduct Code violations. While I agree with taking a systematic approach toward fixing the student conduct procedures (though the issue here is more with implementation), I hope you’ll agree that we have an additional responsibility to defend and support students who are presently suffering its ill-effects.

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            • Zinn says:

              Show trials which ignore our policies and values so that a few administrators can assert their dominance in relation to eager 19 year olds are an embarrassment to our institution and should be stopped immediately.

              “Letting the process play out” in this case is unconscionable.

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            • Arian, I might have missed it, but as far as I can see from the resolution (US17/18-02), there are no documents providing evidence that the Study Conduct Code is not being followed. If it is not, then that certainly is troubling, and would suggest (a) the students have good standing to appeal any decision under Section 3, parts IV and V, and, potentially (b) the process requires revision.

              Part of what I meant in saying that the senate should “represent the whole university” is that it should represent not only the faculty, students, and administrators, but also the values and principles of the university. In this case, that implies listening to all parties in good faith, then making a careful decisions grounded in evidence. For example, it has been asserted several times that the offices of the Provost and/or President are improperly interfering with the process. I don’t believe the senate has been presented with evidence to that effect.

              The statutory power of the senate is quite limited. Shared governance is not the same as checks and balances; it relies on mutual respect more than formal power. To the extent that the senate has any power, it flows directly from our credibility with the university community. We must be deliberative and fact-based in all of our decisions if we want people to listen to what we say.

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            • Arian Mobasser says:

              Elliot, I share your sentiment on the importance of being deliberative and fact-based. In the weeks since the students’ protest, I have invested a lot of time and energy to pursue the facts for myself (don’t tell my advisors), and have had many conversations with other Senators to help further clarify our shared understanding. And while I believe it’s reasonable to have expected other Senators to do the same, your complaint is valid and well taken. I regret not having had the opportunity to present this evidence more clearly. I wish the students were given more time.

              In addition, I take to heart concerns about public rebuke of our colleagues’ work. While I acknowledge that this is a game of adversaries for some, I know Senate to be a strong enough forum of mutual respect within which we can constructively give and receive feedback. If there were indications that student government was mishandling student funds, for example, I would call on student leaders to interpret a Senate resolution as means for deliberate reflection and reassessment of its procedures, not defensiveness. Regardless of unanimity or Senate’s limited statutory power, I would expect campus leaders to honor this forum of mutual respect to hear and heed the formally expressed concerns of slightly more than half of its members.

              For me, this resolution is merely a starting point from which we can constructively broker a stronger understanding of the imminent threats to student learning and safety, and of the legal and financial constraints within which the University is able to resolve them. It’s further incumbent on us to fight misinterpretations of this resolution as public rebuke of procedurally sound adjudication of student conduct code violations, or as endorsement of the heckler’s veto. This is my personal commitment to collaboration. To this end, I would ask my colleagues to avoid labeling the resolution as futile and unproductive, and to use every opportunity to undermine the ‘us vs. them’ narrative rather than to reinforce it.

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    • Zinn says:

      In a situation where students are being punished for attempting to speak, there is not much space for “neutrality.”

      The only question is this: does the “whole institution” you want to represent include those students? If so, the Senate had to act, at the least the way I see it. No one in this school was willing to stand up for them. And Mike Schill doesn’t need anyone to stand up for him.

      As for the power of rhetoric: sure, the resolution isn’t legislation. Neither is the Declaration of Independence.

      It is the UO Senate’s job to articulate what is right, and the current conduct process as applied to these students–which feels like one where Schill is aggrieved party, judge, and executioner and which, at the very least, makes a mockery of notions of procedural fairness—is not right.

      The Senate acted correctly in this case, I hope you will come to see that. As a non-senator, I’m glad those charged with representing me showed some moral courage, for once.

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  8. Pingback: University of Oregon faculty endorse shutdowns by activists who blocked president's speech - The College Fix

    • uomatters says:

      This is hilarious:

      Harbaugh, an economics professor who has rightfully criticized illiberal UO administration actions in the past, decided to join the dark side and embrace the illiberalism parade by congratulating the student activists on their odious achievement.

      Thanks for sending me the link!

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      • just different says:

        Mr “College Fix” apparently doesn’t understand that free speech also applies to speech you find annoying or inconvenient.

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