UO law professor behaving badly

3/15/2013. More here, response from Dean Moffitt below, forwarded by anonymous.

From: Oregon Law Dean <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Statement from Oregon Law on Adjunct Instructor
To: Faculty-Staff List <[email protected]>, “[email protected]” <[email protected]>, Adjunct Faculty <[email protected]>
Dear Oregon Law School Community,
The University of Oregon School of Law has reassigned the teaching responsibilities of adjunct instructor James Olmsted to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Adell Amos. This is a personnel decision, and as such we are unable to discuss details of the situation at this time. 
We are aware that Mr. Olmsted was involved in an incident with students on the afternoon of Thursday, March 14.  As dean, I expect all members of the University of Oregon School of Law community to conduct themselves with the highest degree of professionalism and respect for public discourse, especially with those with whom they may disagree.
Michael Moffitt
Philip H. Knight Dean
University of Oregon School of Law
1221 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403 
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31 Responses to UO law professor behaving badly

  1. Anonymous says:

    Who’s going to be the first to jump in on this one… shouldn’t we blame this on UOM? In fact, I think posting it somehow caused it to happen. Physics is awesome.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Of course it’s UOM’s fault. Well, I suppose Dr. Emmett Brown shares the blame, for failing to go back in time and stop Dave Frohnmayer from hiring Olmsted.

  3. Alum says:

    Yeah, that’s what happened. UOM stayed silent, carefully gathering the facts before jumping to conclusions, while everyone piled on them immediately with baseless rumors. Look, UOM is irrelevant, unless it can help make things right. That’s all that should matter now. And physics is awesome.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not let pesky facts and procedures get in the way of the mob.

  5. Bergman says:

    A quick reading of the Oregon Revised Statutes, of which that professor ought to be intimately acquainted with, reveals that he committed a class A misdemeanor when he stole the phone and arguably a breach of the peace for taking it by force.

    A person recording openly at a political protest is exempted from the communications intercept statute. So is a person recording a conversation they are a participant in.

    I can’t see this ending well for that professor.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is a crime to record someone without their permission. He had a right to seize that phone. If you don’t like that fact, call your legislator and make it lawful to record people without notification (and welcome your loss of privacy and the new police state).

    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely wrong. I do not know if you are ignorant or just stupid.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Clearly you don’t know the law. Mr. Former Law Instructor Olmsted was in a public place. If he didn’t want to be photographed his legal recourse was to walk away, not commit theft

  8. Anonymous says:

    ^^ could you be more wrong..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Public place, no expectation of privacy, no consent required.

    This would also explain why Olmsted’s been arrested now. He had no right to commit robbery/theft.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      indeed you are being “photographed” on an hourly basis in today’s world.

  10. Anas clypeata says:

    This reminds me of the faculty union bargaining deliberations described here on UOM. “What if faculty member X is accused of or arrested for allegedly committing illegal action Y?” (or recorded on video appearing to commit same?) What sanctions can the university administration impose on that person prior to or subsequent to a conviction?

    Now we have a real-world example to play with. Good times.

    • Three-Toed Sloth says:

      The former adjunct law professor is not part of the bargaining unit, so the terms of the CBA would not apply to him. Far be it from me to say whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

    • Correct. The CBA does not apply (law faculty are our of the bargaining unit). But, the poster is asking a hypothetical : “What if the CBA did cover this faculty member”?

      My guess is that the end-result, in this case, would be the same : termination of employment. But, before that could happen, there would be a process that needed to be followed that would protect the rights of workers, involving a suspension while an investigation was conducted and the faculty member would also eventually have access to a grievance process in the event they were wrongfully accused.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Appalling behavior for a university professor. The students involved demonstrated far more mature behavior than he did. He created a confrontation and then took off his jacket and his glasses like he was spoiling for a fight. The young man in the tan jacket with the pack back tried to calm things down and Olmstead confronted him. Olmstead should have walked away. In addition, what kind of example is he setting for the law students?

    He’s an adjunct member of the faculty. My suggestion: terminate his contract as soon as legally possible and send him on his way. Olmstead’s behavior is not a matter of academic freedom. It’s an example of brutish and boorish behavior toward students. He deserves to be terminated.

  12. Three-Toed Sloth says:

    I remember hearing the Former Adjunct Professor’s argument spew forth from the mouths of sophomores in the YAF back in the 1970s. Isn’t it comforting that they’ve so well stood the test of time?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a crazy dick.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just watched the video again– this guy needs to be in jail. Assault and battery, and robbery for starters.

  15. “Assault” requires someone to cause “physical injury to another”. I don’t think any physical injuries took place, thus, Olmsted was correctly charged with “Physical Harassment” which involves “unwanted touching”.

    There could be a case made for a form of strong-armed robbery, though (ORS 164.295, Robbery in the third degree: “Preventing or overcoming resistance to the taking of the property or to retention thereof immediately after the taking”. But, he was charged with theft.

    As wrong as Olmsted was, and as much as the students were calm and right, the video also shows that Olmsted’s physical space was violated, that he was touched first, and that one of the women apparently took Olmsted’s glasses (though, I would have also done the same thing, as a bystander, simply to make sure that the glasses weren’t crushed in any potential ensuing melee).

    I’m not trying to justify Olmsted’s actions : He was clearly being a jerk. But, objectively, he may have a case for self-defense. Though, I’m not sure he has any legitimate defense on the theft/robbery charge.

    • Awesome0 says:

      I think robbery is the likely crime, as the good was taken violently. He’ll likely plead to a lessor offense, if he is ever charged (arrests don’t mean charged).

      In addition, I’d love to see the unedited video to see why they started yelling out at each other in the first place.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are very wrong Keith Appleby. You don’t need to =touch= someone to be guilty of assault, let alone “injure” them. If you touch them =at all= without consent, that is battery. Watch again. The student doesn’t touch him. He puts his body between Olmsted lunging at the woman. That took guts on the part of the kid

    • First, I am correct. In the state of Oregon, “assault” requires physical injury, the lowest form of assault in Oregon, is “ORS 163.160 Assault in the fourth degree. (1) A person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if the person:

      (a) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another; or

      (b) With criminal negligence causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon.”

      The key element of assault, in Oregon, is physical injury. Perhaps you are confusing assault with battery?

      Secondd, the student does, in fact, touch Olmsted first. I think the student’s conduct was certainly proper. And, had the student even punched Olmsted, the student would have still been in the right. Essentially, Olmsted was getting in people’s faces, trying to go toe to toe with them, and seeking a competitor for mutual physical combat.

      If the student would have punched Olmsted first, I wouldn’t see a problem with that. If you act like Olmsted did, you should have a reasonable expectation that someone will accept your challenge to engage in mutual physical combat and that you will be punched. Luckily for Olmsted, the student kept his cool.

    • Anonymous says:

      The tort of assault just requires reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.

      The crime of assault in Oregon does require injury.

      A more likely charge in these circumstances would be “menacing” — ORS 163.190 (class A misdemeanor).

    • UO Matters says:

      Hmm. I regularly menace grad students. If they learn how to menace back, we give them their PhD.

    • Ha ha ha. That’s pretty unny.

  16. daffy duck says:

    there are usually three sides to every story–one side, the other side, and then, the truth. I certainly hope anyone posting here calling for termination on the basis of this edited video is never in a position to pass judgement on anything important to this duck.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! Let’s make sure we’re seeing the complete and full videos as well as supplied with all relevant testimony before adjudicating this ourselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too late. He’s done at UO.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m more interested in his legal problems than not being at the UO.