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

  1. "I am the best free-speech protector of any public flagship president ever." says:

    What if I curse out one of my students in an email? A more-likely scenario… what if I curse out an administrator, just for the hell of it? What does that get me?

    • uomatters says:

      For the latter, the respect of your peers.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I suspect cursing out a student in an email will get you in a heap of trouble. I wouldn’t count on my first amendment rights to protect me.

      There is a great deal of tension between free speech rights and reasonable expectations of civility. I’m not sure FIRE has gotten the balance or the formula right. I say this as someone who has given money to FIRE in the past and thinks that they are concerned with a vital problem in academia.

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