UO Policy revision will allow Pres Schill & Trustees to expel students & fire faculty for failure to “Honor the rights, dignity, essential worth, and well-being of all individuals.”

It appears to be a flagrant violation of the First Amendment and the Oregon Constitution, but presumably our leaders think they can use it as a threat against troublesome faculty and students until FIRE brings a lawsuit. My first reaction to this was disbelief, and in case yours is the same I’ve put the working doc below. Here’s the proposed final text, from an email sent to me by one of the authors:

The University of Oregon affirms its commitment to the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of respect for all. A culture of respect and inclusion, both in-person and in online forums that honors the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual is essential for this community to thrive and excel. The University further affirms its commitment to the freedom of thought and expression of all its members.

Members of the University of Oregon community are expected to:

  • Comply with all applicable student or workplace expectations, including those contained in the Student Conduct Code, University and unit-level policies, relevant collective bargaining agreements, and the annual respectful workplace notice.
  • Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others.
  • Respect the privacy, property, and freedom of others.
  • Honor the rights, dignity, essential worth, and well-being of all individuals.
  • Reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.
  • Value the passions, aspirations, individuality, and success of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Promote academic freedom, creative expression, and intellectual discourse.
  • Foster equity and inclusion in pursuit of a welcoming, safe, and respectful community.

Failure of a University employee or student to comply with this policy and its associated procedures will subject the person to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Discipline will be imposed consistent with applicable University policies, the Student Conduct Code, and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.

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38 Responses to UO Policy revision will allow Pres Schill & Trustees to expel students & fire faculty for failure to “Honor the rights, dignity, essential worth, and well-being of all individuals.”

  1. Dog says:

    Okay, the FIRE police are now definitely on the horizon. In the laundry list of required behavior, I am sure that all faculty in the eyes of someone else can be viewed as violating an item on that list at some point.

    Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others. – who do we show compliance for this? Is there a web form we need to fill out? What is the criteria used to establish “personal integrity”?

    J’accuse

  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    This seems like a menu of seeming bromides designed to be used as a means of totalitarian control, over thought and speech as well as actions. This is sure to get a lot of attention nationwide from people and organizations who think that academia has become a loathesome, dangerous loony bin of wokeness. If they go through with this, I certainly hope they get the attention they will richly deserve.
    Here’s one example (of countless possibilities): we are expected to “reject violence.” Now, it happens that the people of Ukraine (some of whom may be ancestors of mine) are putting up violent resistance to what I consider the unwarranted and vicious Russian invasion. How does that square with the UO policy? The answer is, it really doesn’t. And in fact, the policy is inconsistent with any sort of liberal understanding of academia. (Or conservative, if you prefer.) Oh boy, I hope UO gets it from Heterodox Academy, Academic Freedom Alliance, Vox, the National Review, FIRE, and on and on and on and on …

  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Another thing: I got a weird email from Schill today about a cartoon. Does anyone know what point he was trying to make? Does anyone know the “radical” publication in which this cartoon supposedly appeared? Is he talking about the Insurgent, or what?

  4. Quagmire says:

    The article in question is here: https://studentinsurgent.org/2022/02/28/breaking-asuo-vetos-threat-to-student-autonomy/

    The artist’s official statement about Schill’s email is here: https://studentinsurgent.org/2022/03/03/official-artists-statement-in-response-to-schills-email/

    The statement starts with the text, “I am black” and ends with the text “And to any liberals who saw my image as racist under the assumption a white person drew it… Please, show some REAL racial solidarity by giving good POC leaders power.”

  5. just different says:

    Don’t hire or admit bigoted assholes and you won’t need to have a speech code. If UO were serious about DEI it would start with not letting people like that in the door in the first place. They don’t enhance “diversity of thought,” they just make the campus more toxic.

    • Thedude says:

      How do you propose we screen out bigoted assholes?

      Who decides what is bigotry?

      • just different says:

        The same way we determine “fit” otherwise.

        • Thedude says:

          So anybody you don’t like gets kicked out of a public university???

          • just different says:

            If by “anybody you don’t like” you mean people who will undermine the university’s commitment to inclusiveness, yes. But it’s better to screen them out in the first place, as one of the many criteria used to make hiring decisions.

            • Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

              Having seen some hiring loops, it appears that allegiance to DEI is now the highest requirement, at least for management and faculty positions. It would be instant disqualification for a candidate to say that they treated everyone equally, professionally, kindly, and with integrity at all times, but did not agree with the DEI movement. Much of this purge seems to be for marketing reasons, but a few of those involved do seem genuinely mean-spirited.

            • thedude says:

              Are you going to do a deep dive into all students’ or faculties’ social media histories? Do a phishing attack so you can see their internet search history? What is a real way this can happen? Just rate people based on your subjective take on the DEI statement? Want to hire the big data people to design a targeting model?

              Your assumption that this can actually be done is even more dangerous than your assertion it needs to be done preemptively.

              • uomatters says:

                There’s no need for social media investigations. Bigotry levels can now be determined by a straightforward single-neuron recording procedure which involves drilling a small hole in the scalp and inserting an electrode deep into the amygdala. The employee’s neural-firing rates are then recorded as they are shown a series of images ranging from 1 to 7 on the Helms Bigot scale. Survival rates are high.

              • just different says:

                We ALREADY use a whole bunch of soft criteria when hiring with varying degrees of success, all without the need for neurosurgery. People just get their panties in a bunch about using commitment to diversity and inclusion as one of those criteria because it’s been politicized.

                Notice that I said “politicized” and not “political,” in the same way that recognizing that climate change or covid is real has been politicized but is not inherently political. There are reasonable discussions to be had about how exactly to improve diversity and inclusion, but the people screaming about “totalitarianism” aren’t interested in reasonable discussions, only in denialism and obstruction. So yeah, screen them out if you can.

              • Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

                It’s entirely possible that the DEI screen is actually _increasing_ the number of bad actors that get hired. Few bad guys will have qualms about wrapping themselves in the DEI flag. A lot of good people, though, will have ethical problems with a DEI loyalty oath, and some of them can just go elsewhere. Over time, the effect can be the opposite of what was intended.

                This might be hard to measure, but the overall tenor of the university seems to have gotten harsher, more fearful, and more divisive over the last few years.

      • Dog says:

        right and its especially important to screen out the bigoted non-assholes so they aren’t confused with the asshole non-bigoted
        candidates. Surely there is an app for that …

  6. E. Hubbard says:

    Nothing fosters a community’s sense of inclusion like the threat of expulsion.

    • Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

      Paraphrasing the master, I seem to have accidentally joined a club that would never allow a person like me to become a member.

  7. Confused says:

    I’m confused – this isn’t a new UO policy, but an update of one that’s been on the books for 22 years. Much of the content of the bullet points weirdly being objected to appear in the original:

    https://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/01-administration-and-governance/community-standards-affirmation

    Also, I don’t see the quoted statement below in the policy itself , where did that come from? I see this as a positive affirmation of community standards and values, but maybe you mean that generally termination could result from not abiding by a UO policy…?

    “Failure of a University employee or student to comply with this policy and its associated procedures will subject the person to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Discipline will be imposed consistent with applicable University policies, the Student Conduct Code, and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.”

    • uomatters says:

      You’re correct, it’s a revision of an existing policy. I’ve changed the headline to say that. Among the changes is the addition of the discipline section. That section is not in the Word draft, but it is in the final (or near final) version that was sent to me by the UO Admin who is in charge of the revisions and which is in the post, word for word.

  8. Environmental necessity says:

    This seems on its face merely an aspirational document. The “enforcement” provisions are perfunctory, already articulated and developed in other documents governing faculty and student behavior (this new language creates and applies no new authority). Any effort to fire or expel someone for language and sentiment “violations” will have a steep hill to climb in court. This does not mean I think these moves are a great idea by the university, just that I am not hair on fire about their implications. I am actually much more concerned about the activities indicted in the cartoon – the EMU should be controlled by students. They paid for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, classified staff are being disciplined for “tone” already. While I and others observe faculty and managers being quite disrespectful toward classified staff and that is tolerated by senior managers and administrators.

      • New Year Cat says:

        Classified staff have always been criticised or disciplined for “tone” and even told they have anger issues when working under a bully boss would make anyone angry, even a manager! (Bully bosses are always, always, defended by management.) There has always been an extremely classist attitude towards classified staff by many on this campus, completely unjustified when you look at the actual quality of the mostly-highly-educated workforce without which UO could not function.

        • All About Emboldening the Bullies says:

          I could not agree more. For the last 20 years I’ve watched the bullies be protected and defended by administration. Might look into how many conflicts of interests there are between the admin/legal counsel and the bullies who are protected and emboldened to create a toxic work environment for others. If upper administration and HR cannot seem to effectively manage the bullies who are often put in supervisory positions (because guess what, they’ll grab power at every opportunity), then do they really have the guts to be in those roles? My favorite piece of irony lately is the requirement that everyone complete the respectful workplace training….. helloooooo, it makes the whole thing laughable on a good day. If the people who have the power to implement strategies for creating a thriving and respectful workplace culture (which includes holding the power hungry bullies accountable), then at least don’t pretend to be doing something by having everyone complete the training. Healthy workplace cultures are created from the top of food chain. It’s easy to make excuses for bullies that you are scared will make your job a little harder if you hold them accountable. But the harder choice (the one with integrity) is to have the backs of those who are being bullied and/or those staff and faculty who are often the targets.

  9. cdsinclair says:

    This feels academic because we would be required to “Promote academic freedom, creative expression, and intellectual discourse.”

    Thus, the Senate can and should take this up.

    On a related note, can a dean or vice provost be disciplined or terminated for violating the academic freedom of faculty meeting?

    • unexcellent says:

      This suggests something specific. Can you elaborate on (hypothetical, of course) a dean/VP preventing faculty from meeting?

      • cdsinclair says:

        I was distracted and meant to write “member” instead of “meeting”.

        HOWEVER, for an answer your specific question, you should talk to Architecture. They got in trouble for meeting (off campus if my memory is correct) a few years ago.

  10. cdsinclair says:

    I’m looking forward to the day that someone is fired for not valuing someone’s passions.

    • uomatters says:

      If I read the “Honor the … well-being of all individuals” part right, Pres Schill may have to fire himself for letting faculty salaries fall below inflation.

      • Dog says:

        In the spirit of journalism I would suggest UO matters make
        a graphic say staring Jan 1, 2016 of UO salary “gains” compared
        to west coast inflation rate. In general, I don’t think faculty either know or believe the ground we have lost compared to that metric.
        Hell, maybe even Schill doesn’t know.

    • Tug o' the Forelock says:

      My passion is well-written prose that is grammatically correct. I do not feel that my passion is valued by a great many! What is my recourse?

      Yr. most humble and curmudgeonly servant,

  11. Jane says:

    Interesting that as traditional religion declines, cult religions and purification rituals and expulsions of the unbelievers rush to fill the vacuum. The universities seem to be becoming more and more fertile ground for this sort of development.

  12. anon says:

    Hardly a non-story. Go read about her lifetime record in supporting women in science and African scientists. Her lab trained many; She won a major international prize for this mentoring.
    She was also just elected to NAS and American Academy Arts&Sciences

    Its here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Overbaugh

    But all this did not protect her from punishment by Fred Hutch or UWash Med school ‘leaders’.

    If Julie Overbaugh can be so severly punished for this one-off error 13 yrs ago, the upper-administrators are just nuts.

    • Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

      I’ll add that people can react in a lot of ways to being cruelly shamed and flogged for the insipid fashion of the day. There’s a non-zero chance that when you do this to someone, they’ll just take their ball and go home. She could probably just retire. That’s an awful lot of damage to humanity just to demonstrate how woke you are.

      Does anyone think they can just crap out another world-class virologist with decades of experience in the next month to replace her? Madness!