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Gambling, guns, and an acid-test for UO’s free speech policy

Last updated on 12/22/2018

Everyone favors free speech they agree with. The acid test is defending speech you disagree with. UO has a strong policy defending such speech, here:

The University of Oregon values and supports free and open inquiry. The commitment to free speech and freedom of inquiry described in this policy extends to all members of the UO community: Faculty, staff, and students. It also extends to all others who visit or participate in activities held on the UO campus.

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 as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings.

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. 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.

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.

But it’s easy to write a strong policy. The acid-test comes when you have to follow it, for speech you disagree with. Like this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 3.36.19 PM
This project is for Young Americans, as the image suggests. For our readers in Indonesia, consider daftar judi online.

Fortunately the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is on the case. Given UO policy and the many SCOTUS rulings against prior restraint, this is an easy one. Full letter here:

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 3.35.51 PM


  1. The New Guy 11/18/2015

    Is thing open to faculty? Asking for a friend.

    • Out of state 11/18/2015

      Sure always happy to win a little tuition money back from a professor.

  2. honest Uncle Bernie 11/18/2015

    I believe that FIRE has long given UO a “red light” rating on its free speech policies. Be that as it may, FIRE has in the past in several instnaces, I beleive, warned UO that it was violating Constitutional free speech rights, and UO has backed down.

    Here’s a link re FIRE’s red light rating for UO:

  3. honest Uncle Bernie 11/18/2015

    I should add that I know of at least one instance when Dave F was enough of a Constitutional scholar to realize when UO was in the wrong and FIRE in the right about the legality of UO-related speech restrictions.

    It will be interesting to see how M. Schill performs now.

    UNLESS — uomatters is making this up? Is it a parody? YAL know what I mean? If it is a parody, it’s pretty high quality stuff.

    • just different 11/18/2015

      Pretty sure decks with bullet-holes aren’t regulation.

      • honest Uncle Bernie 11/18/2015

        you are a stickler!

      • uomatters Post author | 11/21/2015

        And 4 aces, instead of the Dead Man’s Hand?

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