A brief history of “civility” and its abuses, ancient and current

I’ve always thought “civil speech” meant honest and effective talk about how to resolve matters of importance to civil society, but for many people, including many university administrators, it seems to mean polite niceties that do not offend.

Historian Joan Scott has a fascinating piece in The Nation on the rather ugly history of “civility”, and its current abuses. In “The New Thought Police: Why are campus administrators invoking civility to silence critical speech?” she explains what’s really going on when people invoke civility:

… All of these efforts presume a certain benign self-evidence for the use of the term “civility.” As the University of Maryland statement puts it, “niceness” is “easily understood by all parties”: We know civility when we see it. Left aside in these invocations are not only interpretive differences among individuals and groups (one man’s or woman’s presumed civility may strike another as uncivil), but also the history of the term. Although, as with any word, the meanings of “civility” have changed, the concept still carries traces of its earlier use. I’d argue further that although the contexts and specific applications have varied over time, the notion of civility consistently establishes relations of power whenever it is invoked. Moreover, it is always the powerful who determine its meaning—one that, whatever its specific content, demeans and delegitimizes those who do not meet its test.

The most comprehensive history of civility is Norbert Elias’s classic, The Civilizing Process(1939). In this account of the development of manners in Western Europe, civility is the standard that defines the identity of a group against a reviled and subordinate “other.” Elias explains that whether it was Christians against barbarians, or court aristocrats against the rising middle class, or the upper bourgeoisie attempting to distinguish themselves from the lower orders, “civilisé was…one of the many terms…by which the courtly people wished to designate…the specific quality of their own behaviour, and by which they contrasted the refinement of their own social manners, their ‘standard,’ to the manners of simpler and socially inferior people.”

Scholars have documented these power differentials and how notions of civility were used to define them. Kathleen Brown describes the association of civility with cleanliness in 16th-century America: “Writers documenting contact with Native Americans and West Africans evoked civility in exclusive ways, conjuring fears of animal natures unmitigated by Christian virtue and foreshadowing the meanings attached to civilization a century later.” William Chafe points out that during the sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, peaceful demonstrators—deliberately conducting themselves respectably and in a nonviolent manner as they claimed their civil rights—were charged with incivility. John Murray Cuddihy, a sociologist of religion, wrote of the effects of what he called “the Protestant etiquette” on “emancipated” Jewish intellectuals. The problem for these men (Marx, Freud, and Lévi-Strauss) was at once to live by the codes of decorum their societies required for success and to wrestle with the designation of their kind as the embodiment of incivility: obsessive, fanatical, vulgar, effeminate, unrestrained—the disruptive Jewish id to the responsible Christian superego.

She goes on to connect this history to more recent abuses of the term by university administrators, for example in trying to justify the firing of Stephen Sailita at UIUC, and other faculty at other universities. Thanks to a reader for pointing me to this article.

A brief history of the UO administration’s efforts to impose civility rules on the faculty is here. The attempt was led by Mike Gottfredson, Tim Gleason, and Randy Geller. It was beaten back by the faculty union and then finished off by the Senate’s ad hoc Freedom Committee, chaired by Michael Dreiling. Every now and then the administration tries to revive it – as in the current faculty union bargaining – but at this point the pro-freedom faculty coalition is pretty strong.

AAUP threatens UIUC with censure over firing of Prof Salaita for “incivility”

Colleen Flaherty has the story in InsideHigherEd, here. A snippet:

There’s been no shortage of criticism, both formal and informal, of how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign handled the withdrawn faculty appointment of Steven Salaita last summer. (The university has a substantial number of supporters who say it was right to reject Salaita for the tone of his anti-Israel remarks on Twitter, but detractors have been numerous and vocal.) The latest disapproving report, out today from the American Association of University Professors, offers familiar complaints and also paves the way for the organization to hold a censure vote against the university later this spring.

The AAUP isn’t a regulatory body, but institutions generally hope to avoid landing on its censure list for alleged violations of academic freedom and sometimes work hard to remove themselves once on it.

The UO faculty union and the Senate fought hard with President Gottfredson over academic freedom. Gottfredson and his negotiators Tim Gleason, Doug Blandy, Randy Geller and Sharon Rudnick wanted the union contract to include rules requiring civility and proper respect, and they didn’t want the university to give explicit protection for criticizing administrative policies.

After a year of hard work by United Academics and the UO Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom, Gottfredson and Geller are gone, Gleason has been put out to pasture as FAR, and UO now has a very strong Academic Freedom Policy – perhaps the strongest in the country – which 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. … Public service requires that members of the university community have freedom to participate in public debate, both within and beyond their areas of expertise, and to address both the university community and the larger society with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, cultural, or other interest. … The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal.

As well as Lariviere’s strong Free Speech Policy, which says:

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues … The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression. …

These policies are of course founded on basic human rights and the social purposes of universities, but they are also entirely practical. No sensible university leader or trustee wants to get distracted from their jobs by a political fight over some statement by some professor that offends some politician, donor, or alumnus.

They want to be able to respond like this: “Yes, that statement by professor X about Y in Z was deplorable. Despicable, even. But I can’t interfere. I’m sorry, and I appreciate your years of support for the athletic program, but the only response our university can make to free speech that someone doesn’t like is — more free speech.”

Judge approves free speech lawsuit against ISU Pres “in his personal capacity”

I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the normal immunity of state officials for official acts does not hold in cases involving violations of civil rights:

AMES, Iowa, January 7, 2015—Yesterday, an Iowa federal judge denied Iowa State University’s (ISU’s) motion to dismiss a First Amendment lawsuit filed by students. Chief Judge James Gritzner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa rejected every one of ISU’s arguments in his 19-page order. This is the first time a judge has ruled in a case brought as part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Three other lawsuits in the project have already been settled in favor of free speech, for a total of $210,000 in fees and damages.

“We’re very pleased with the court’s decision to deny every part of ISU’s motion to dismiss,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “FIRE looks forward to a successful outcome that affirms ISU students’ right to freely advocate for their beliefs.”

Student-plaintiff Erin Furleigh said, “It feels so good to know the facts can’t be ignored anymore.”

Furleigh and fellow student Paul Gerlich, the vice president and president, respectively, of ISU’s student chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), sued ISU in July 2014 as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. In their complaint, the students detailed how the university censored the group’s T-shirts based on their marijuana-related messaging and imagery, removed NORML ISU’s advisor, and implemented new guidelines for using ISU’s trademark in order to restrict NORML ISU’s speech. Attorneys at the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, which represents Gerlich and Furleigh, argued that ISU’s actions amounted to censorship that violates the First Amendment.

In response, ISU filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the case was a matter of trademark use and not a free speech issue. The university also argued that NORML ISU’s T-shirts constituted government speech. Other grounds on which ISU sought dismissal include sovereign immunity, qualified immunity, and procedural due process.

The court refused to dismiss the case on any of these grounds. With respect to the trademark argument, the court’s order states that “[n]o infringement is involved in the case at hand,” confirming that NORML ISU’s right to advocate for marijuana legalization is a First Amendment issue. Furthermore, the judge’s order noted that well-established case law “hold[s] that college administrators cannot control the speech of campus groups because of disagreements with the groups’ viewpoints.” Judge Gritzner also allowed Gerlich and Furleigh to pursue their claim against ISU President Steven Leath in his personal capacity for violating their constitutional rights.

The case’s discovery process, in which the parties exchange documents and take depositions, will continue until June; trial is scheduled for December 2015.

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

I’ve been a little worried about my use of the UO logo and Puddles on the “crap-free UO webpage“, but Exhibit A eases my fears. Any ideas for new coffee cups?

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University pays prof $120K in damages for denying him leadership roles on committees, etc.

11/7/2014: The ACLU has the good news here:

Washington State University is paying former journalism professor David Demers $120,000 to drop his five-year-old federal free-speech lawsuit against four WSU administrators.

“I am extremely pleased with the settlement,” Demers said. “It sends a strong message to university administrators that those who intend to violate professors’ free-speech rights will be held accountable.”

The bad news? Demers had to file for bankruptcy over his legal bills, and all this money goes to his lawyers. The other good news? These sorts of lawsuits now look like easy lucrative wins for lawyers.

On Monday, 3 November from 7-9 pm, there will be a presentation on identifying and challenging retaliation. The presentation will be held at the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry (1236 Kincaid St). The primary speaker will be Eugene attorney Jennifer Middleton. This event is organized by the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence.

Information on Ms Middleton’s credentials is here:

Shareholder Jennifer Middleton brings seventeen years of distinctive legal service, advancing and defending the rights of individuals in employment and civil rights matters including discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, disability rights, whistleblowing, and medical leave claims. … Prior to joining Johnson Johnson & Schaller, Jennifer served as an attorney at the Employment Law Center in San Francisco and for the American Civil Liberties Union at its New York headquarters, prosecuting civil rights claims nationwide. She currently serves as the President of Oregon’s ACLU Board of Directors.

Update: I attended this session. It was very educational.

Administrator eats crow over academic freedom violation

10/28/2014: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has the news, here:

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2014—In a victory for free speech, New Jersey’s Bergen Community College (BCC) has rescinded its punishment of an art professor it placed on leave and forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for posting a picture of his daughter wearing a Game of Thrones T-shirt.

After learning of BCC’s outrageous actions, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) connected Professor Francis Schmidt with FIRE Legal Network member Derek Shaffer, a partner at the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Gabriel Soledad, an associate at the firm.

Bergen-Community-college-game-of-thrones-TshirtIn a recent letter to Schmidt, BCC Director of Human Resources Patti Bonomolo acknowledged that the college “may have lacked basis” for punishing him and that doing so “potentially violated” his constitutional rights. “Lest there be any doubt, BCC recognizes and respects that you are free to exercise your constitutional rights, including your right to freedom of speech and expression, even to the extent that you may disparage BCC and/or its officials,” wrote Bonomolo.

“I’m very happy to have my First Amendment rights back. I’m glad to have this thing behind me and would like to get back to teaching animation,” said Professor Schmidt. “I’m happy to know groups like FIRE are out there, protecting my valuable First Amendment rights as an academic. Without them our higher education system would be all the weaker.”

“Saying that Bergen Community College’s punishment of Francis Schmidt ‘may have lacked basis’ is like saying that King Joffrey may have been a less than ideal ruler,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff …

4/17/2014: “I will take what is mine with fire and blood”

No, that’s not a quote from a UO law professor, or Kimberly Espy, (or the faculty union treasurer) it’s from Daenerys Targaryen. The Foundation for Individual Rights has the story on how it got a professor put on leave and sent to a psychiatrist by his paranoid administrators.

Professor suspended over ironic comments and inappropriate sighs

Rumor has it that some Johnson Hall administrators – and perhaps a few members of our new Board of Trustees – still dream that the civility restrictions on academic free speech that Mike Gottfredson tried to enshrine in the faculty union contract will someday come to pass. Meanwhile The Daily Telegraph has a hilarious story about how they could be used:

[Professor of English] Thomas Docherty was banned from the University of Warwick in January for allegedly giving off “negative vibes” and undermining the authority of the former head of his department.

The case against him included “inappropriate sighing”, “making ironic comments” and “projecting negative body language”.

The English, of course, have nothing like our First Amendment. They do, however, have a wicked sense of humor. After being subject to the necessary amount of ridicule, their university administrators backed down too.

U of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s sneak attack on academic freedom

The UO faculty union and the Senate fought hard with President Gottfredson over academic freedom. Gottfredson and his negotiators Tim Gleason, Doug Blandy, Randy Geller and Sharon Rudnick wanted the union contract to include rules requiring civility and proper respect, and they didn’t want the university to give explicit protection for criticizing administrative policies.

They lost, after a year of hard work by United Academics and the UO Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom. Gottfredson and Geller are gone, Gleason has been put out to pasture as FAR, and UO now has an Academic Freedom Policy which 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. … Public service requires that members of the university community have freedom to participate in public debate, both within and beyond their areas of expertise, and to address both the university community and the larger society with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, cultural, or other interest. … The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. 

As well as Lariviere’s strong Free Speech Policy, which says:

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues … The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression. …

These policies are of course founded on basic human rights and the social purposes of universities, but they are also entirely practical. No sensible university leader or trustee wants to get distracted from their jobs by a political fight over some statement by some professor that offends some politician, donor, or alumnus.

They want to be able to respond like this: “Yes, that statement by professor X about Y in Z was deplorable. But I can’t interfere. My job is just to manage the administrative side of the university. I’m sorry, and I appreciate your years of support, but the only response our university can make to free speech that someone doesn’t like is more free speech.”

The latest example of the practicality of this approach is in Illinois. UI made a job offer to a professor. He then wrote something controversial. (The professor’s name is Steven Salaita, his writing was about Israel and Gaza, and it was on Twitter, but that is irrelevant). The Trustees and donors got upset about what he’d written and put pressure on the Chancellor, who caved and rescinded the job offer. The Chronicle has an article about some of the backlash.

Scott Jaschik has an excellent report on this in InsideHigherEd.com, with emails between the chancellor, trustees, and lawyers obtained from public records requests. And the AAUP blog Academe has an excellent post as well, by John Wilson:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign chancellor Phyllis Wise has written an open letter to the campus (copied below) explaining her decision not to allow the hiring of Steven Salaita. The letter is an appalling attack on academic freedom and a rejection of the basic values that a university must stand for.

Wise argues, “What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them.”

Of course, this standard is ridiculous: individuals should be free to say personal and “disrespectful” things about others (for example, everyone should be free to say that Wise’s argument here is both stupid and evil, without facing punishment from the respect police). Respect is not a fundamental value of any university, and being “disrespectful” is not an academic crime.

But it’s notable that Salaita really didn’t say anything personal about anyone. So here Wise greatly expands the concept, declaring that not only persons but “viewpoints themselves” must be protected from any disrespectful words. I am puzzled as to exactly how a free university could possibly operate when no one is allowed to be disrespectful toward any viewpoint. Presumably, Wise will quickly act to fire anyone who has ever disrespected or demeaned Nazism, terrorism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Since all “viewpoints” are protected, then biology professors must be fired for disrespecting creationism as false, along with any other professor who is found to believe or know anything.

Wise’s other main argument confirms this absurd approach: “A Jewish student, a Palestinian student, or any student of any faith or background must feel confident that personal views can be expressed and that philosophical disagreements with a faculty member can be debated in a civil, thoughtful and mutually respectful manner.”

If what a professors tweets before they’re even hired might undermine those “confident” feelings, then all professors would have to be banned from ever expressing any opinion anywhere, lest it create any doubt that a student will be unable to debate in a respectful manner. There is clear evidence in Salaita’s teaching evaluations that students are free to express disagreements with him. But since the standard that Wise sets is the imagined feelings of students, rather than actual evidence or reality, Salaita’s long experience as a teacher is no defense.

Wise claims, “We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals.” That sentence is exactly right. But Wise’s grotesque mistake is imagining that one of the rights of an individual is to be protected from the possibility of hearing “disrespectful” criticism. To the contrary, one of the fundamental rights of individual students is the right to hear dissenting points of views without censorship, and Wise is clearly violating that right of students to hear Salaita teach when she imposes her personal standards of “civility” on a university.

UO Trustees “Go Ducks” free, so far

8/9/2014: One of the big worries about UO Independence was that the Board of Trustees would end up dominated by athletics boosters, as has happened with the UO Foundation, now run by Steve Holwerda, whose life dream is to become Duck Athletic Director. So far, it’s been quite the opposite with the Trustees. Chair Chuck Lillis and the board have been focused on academic excellence.

Here’s the current count of occurrences of “Go Ducks”, a now notorious phrase which many on the academic side would like to ban from official use (except of course as allowed by our new hard won Academic Freedom Policy and Lariviere’s Free Speech Policy, which notes: “The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.”) Out of respect for Trustee Connie Ballmer, I’m mixing in a little Bing:

UO Board of Trustees: Go Ducks count = 0:

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UO Foundation: Go Ducks count = 23:

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FIRE files four free speech suits, one supporting faculty muckraking blog

This is good news, just in time to celebrate the 4th of July:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a.k.a. theFIRE.org, has just announced a major new legal initiative. In the past FIRE has worked as an advocacy group, and co-ordinated free speech lawsuits on behalf of students and faculty. Now they have some serious new funding and have hired “preeminent First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere of the national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine as counsel for students and faculty members participating in the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.”

I’ve had a few talks with FIRE and with a DWT lawyer over what I saw as attempts by UO and the UO Foundation to harass and retaliate against me for this blog. (For example, UO F, and UO.) The DWT lawyer spent several hours with me on the phone, and more on email. I asked what the bill was, and he laughed and said “nothing – this is a really interesting one, and these people are hilarious.”

These people are passionate about the importance of free speech in academia, and from what I can tell they know the law cold. And now they’ve got money, too. Today FIRE started off by filing four free-speech lawsuits, and they say more are coming. The most interesting case, from my perspective, is this:

At Chicago State University, administrators have repeatedly attempted to silence CSU Faculty Voice, a blog authored by Professors Phillip Beverly, Robert Bionaz, and other faculty members that exposes what they see as administrative corruption. After bogus accusations of trademark infringement failed to intimidate the professors, CSU hastily adopted a far-reaching cyberbullying policy to silence its critics. It then used the cyberbullying policy to investigate one of the faculty bloggers for harassment, leading to today’s lawsuit from Beverly and Bionaz.

The full complaint is here:

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FIRE redlights UO’s student conduct codes over free speech issues

The people at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education are dogged fighters for campus free speech rights. They’ve now given UO a “red-light warning” on its free speech policies, as explained here. While UO has a strong policy on freedom of speech, signed by President Lariviere and approved by the Senate, the interpretation by the Office of Student Conduct is significantly less liberal. For example, that office says that it is a violation of the student conduct code for a student to use curse words in an email to a professor. I don’t have many grad students who could pass that standard! FIRE also raises questions about the legality of the language UO uses regarding prohibited racial harassment. Their letter to President Gottfredson, asking for a response by June 26, is here:

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Gottfredson pads resume with credit for Academic Freedom, after getting Tim Gleason and Randy Geller to fight it for 18 months

He has no sense of shame. He is trying to claim credit for what was accomplished by 18 months of hard work by the Senate and the United Academics faculty union, over his determined opposition:

The policy as approved by the Senate April 9th is here. Notable points?

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. … The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal.

The truth is that Gottfredson and Geller fought with the Senate against including this language for a year. Here are some of Geller’s deletions to the initial Senate draft, noted in white, with comments from former Senate President Margie Paris (Law) in red:

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When the policy stalled in the Senate, UAUO tried to put it in the faculty union contract. Gottfredson got his bargainers, Tim Gleason (former Journalism Dean, now UO strategic communications consultant) and Sharon Rudnick to fight it. The union proposed, the administration struck it out, repeatedly. One example of the union language struck by Gottfredson:

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The union eventually compromised. Then the faculty went back to their Senate. Another long fight with Gottfredson, eventually we got what we thought was agreement to the language at the top. Then Gottfredson tried to back out at the last minute – literally, 30 minutes before the April 9th Senate meeting Gottfredson’s assistant Dave Hubin came running in, trying to get us to take it off the agenda. We didn’t. The Senate passed it unanimously. And Gottfredson then waited six weeks, until the last Senate meeting of the year, to claim that he’d been in favor of this all along, and would sign it.

Sure Mike, whatever. I suppose next Tim Gleason will be claiming he supports transparency.

Gottfredson hasn’t signed Academic Freedom policy because of rape allegations

5/8/2014: That’s the latest rumor. The Senate’s Academic Freedom policy would allow all UO employees to criticize UO policies. There are plenty of UO employees – apparently including some in the athletic department – who are outraged by how UO has handled the rape allegations. But their bosses have told them they can’t talk to the press. If Gottfredson signs this policy,  they can. So he won’t.

4/9/2014: From the Senate website, for debate and vote today. Great policy. The sticking point will be “c. POLICY AND SHARED GOVERNANCE. Members of the university community have freedom… ” The administration wants to restrict this freedom only to faculty. Why?

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UO unions call on Gottfredson to sign Academic Freedom Policy

Today’s Register Guard has an op-ed on Academic Freedom from the presidents of the UO graduate student union (David Craig), the UO faculty union (Michael Dreiling), and the UO staff union (Carla McNeely):

On April 9, the elected UO Senate unanimously approved a statement on academic freedom that is among the strongest in the country. The policy commits the UO to supporting “open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to the university community.”

The policy specifically protects academic freedom in the areas of research, teaching, public service and shared governance. It affirms that “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.”

… If the Beavers can do it, why not the Ducks?

Good question. Perhaps the president of the UO administration, Mike Gottfredson, will commission a responding op-ed from his $207K lawyer Randy Geller, or his $218k strategic communicator Tim Gleason, or his $450 an hour backup lawyer Dave Frohnmayer?

I’m on the Senate ad hoc Freedom committee, and can report that the sticking point for President Gottfredson is giving students and staff “the freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice”. 

That’s right, under Gottfredson’s version of Academic Freedom, the student and staff who signed this op-ed could be subject to institutional discipline for it.

Gottfredson should get over his weird obsession with controlling what people say, sign the policy already, and let us all get back to our jobs.

Gottfredson: Weak on Freedom?

4/16/2014 update: It’s been a week now, no signing ceremony. The rumor is that President Gottfredson has stuck Dave Hubin with the job of finding some explanation – plausible or not, doesn’t really matter – for why although he would personally love to sign this policy, it would be a violation of his fiduciary responsibility as “The University”.

4/10/2014 updates: Senate passes academic freedom motion unanimously

InsiderHigherEd has a report on the “months of contentious negotiation” between the Senate, the union, and Gottfredson over academic freedom, and Betsy Hammond has a story on this in the Oregonian here:

Gottfredson, in an emailed response to The Oregonian, said, “I look forward to closely reviewing (it) …I fully support the strongest policy on academic freedom possible. Academic freedom is central to our mission and underlies everything we do as a university.”

This is our passive-aggressive president’s typical non-response. “Asked and answered.” “I’ll take that under advisement”. ” “I look forward to reviewing it”. Then nothing.

Here’s some more history, with his Randy Geller’s redlines of an earlier Senate draft. And here’s Gleason and Rudnick’s restrictive proposal on academic freedom, from 2/17/2013 during the union bargaining. All about the limitations, authority, and of course that easily abused requirement for “civil dialogue” – and if The University thinks it’s not, then discipline!

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Senate calls for nominations for next President by 3/4, vote on 3/12.

Dear Senators and members of the UO Community,

The University Senate will be holding elections for Senate Vice President / President-Elect at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, March 12th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. We welcome all nominations for the this important office, including self nominations.

The Senate Bylaws define the Senate Vice President / President-Elect in section 4.2:

“The person elected Senate Vice President is automatically elected to the separate office of Senate President-Elect. … The responsibilities of the Senate Vice President shall include but are not limited to chairing Senate meetings when the Senate President temporarily steps down or is absent, chairing the Committee on Committees, being a voting member of the Senate Executive Committee and Faculty Advisory Council, and assisting the Senate President in governing the Senate as requested. The Senate Vice President shall assume the Senate Presidency when the Senate President vacates or resigns from the office unexpectedly…”

The person elected to the position of Vice President / President Elect will immediately assume that office and will automatically become Senate President at the final Senate meeting in late May of this year.

Any member of the Statutory Faculty is eligible to run for Senate Vice President. The Statutory Faculty is defined by the UO Constitution as “the body of professors consisting of the University President, tenure-related officers of instruction, career non-tenure-track officers of instruction, and officers of administration who are tenured in an academic department.”

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for Senate Vice President, please reply to Lisa Mick Shimizu, Senate Executive Coordinator, by March 4th, 2014 with the following information:

Name of nominee;

Nominee’s UO Department.

If you are nominating someone else, please confirm that they have agreed to serve.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Lisa Mick Shimizu
Executive Coordinator
University of Oregon Senate
1226 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
lisa@uoregon.edu
541-346-4439

2/19/2014 Senate to vote on academic freedom, March 12:

The most recent draft of the Senate Ad Hoc Freedom Committee’s motion is here, President Gottfredson’s previous efforts to squash freedom are discussed here. Dave Hubin’s weird 2/18/2014 memo to the Senate, pretending he doesn’t understand the point of the last 6 months of Senate work and reports on academic freedom, is here.

The Senate will also address athletic subsidies, a report from IAC Chair Rob Illig (Law) on Jaqua Center athlete tutoring problems, Randy Geller’s policy to restrict faculty access to outside legal opinions, faculty input into review and selection of the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, the Blonigen report on RIGE and Espy, and election of next year’s Senate President.