10/10/2018: Reposted for the historical record.
When you’re running down our First Amendment, you’re walking on the fightin side of me:
3/29/2016 update: Press Conference on the Johnson Hall steps, Facebook event page here.
Our students have been conducting a quiet CO2 Divestment sit-in the Johnson Hall lobby for months. The administration has banned their banner from the bush outside JH, and now the students are apparently going to reassert their free-speech rights.
Do they have the right to put up the banner? I’m no lawyer, but here’s some UO history. Back in 2010, former UO GC Randy Geller wanted to change UO policy to implement “Free Speech Zones”, outside of which First Amendment rights would be tightly controlled. This was in reaction to the Pacifica Forum incidents. Geller’s policy starts on page 13 here. It’s funnier than Animal Farm.
Free speech is indispensable, but:
UO will restrict Free Speech, except inside the Free Speech Zones, and even then you’ll need insurance and maybe a reservation:
No unapproved banners outside free speech zones – and don’t even think about posting the video on the internets:
Oh yeah, no camping or chalk either. Chalk? What’s that about?
All of Geller’s silly language above was rejected by the UO Senate and it is not UO policy.
The Facilities Use Policy that was adopted instead is at http://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/04-facilities/facilities-scheduling. It turned Geller’s policy on its ass, by limiting the areas UO can control to buildings and “scheduled outdoor spaces” i.e. the EMU amphitheater. The Senate rejected all of Geller’s anti-free speech, anti-banner, and anti-chalk language.
The Facilities Use policy is paired with the powerful Free Speech and Inquiry policy, at http://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/01-administration-and-governance/freedom-inquiry-and-free-speech:
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.
How much clearer could this be? It’s not like the CO2 Divestment students are doing anything reprehensible, like using chalk.
3/13/2016: UO bans students’ fossil fuel divestment banner from a bush? Continue reading