New “Free Speech Skybridge” perfect place & manner for protest banners

The Eugene Weekly’s Bob Keefer pans the Knight Campus’s still under-construction “bridge to nowhere”, here. While I agree it’s not up to the architectural excellence of, say, the Hayward Field Phallus, it will provide the perfect location for students and union members to hang protest banners from – with none of the issues General Counsel Kevin Reed raised regarding Time, Place, and Manner, when he had the Divest UO banners removed from Johnson Hall:


President Schill’s free-speech op-ed in NYT skips over blackface, silencing of Duck athletes, efforts to stop peaceful sit-ins

The NYT op-ed focuses on the “UO Student Coalition’s” efforts to prevent him from giving his State of the University address.

Information on the administration’s botched attempt to discipline the student protestors is here.

Information on his administration’s treatment of Prof Nancy Shurtz for her stupid and offensive – but constitutionally protected – attempt to dress as a black doctor at a Halloween party last year (to promote his book on racism in the medical profession) is here.

Information on the Duck athletic department’s efforts to prevent their athletes from speaking to student reporters is here.

And so far as I can tell basketball coach Dana Altman and football coach Willie Taggart have suffered no repercussions for their efforts to discourage athletes from expressing political beliefs.

Update: Then there’s the administration’s April 2016 fight against the “Divest UO” group’s protest, here. They followed this up with a proposed policy restricting the time, place, and manner of free speech, which they dropped in the face of UO Senate opposition in spring of 2017.

UO makes national top 10 list for free speech!

Unfortunately it’s the list of the top 10 *worst* universities for free speech. The Oregonian’s Andrew Theen has the report here. The FIRE list is here.

I am quoted by Theen as arguing that top 10 is a bit unfair, given President Schill’s recent decision to drop the proposed restrictions on the time, place, and manner of free speech:

… Harbaugh did credit UO President Michael Schill for one recent policy move that is a win for free speech on campus: stepping away from a controversial proposal to restrict speech under certain time, place and manner restrictions. …

Youtube: Chicago Prof Geoffrey Stone lectures UO Law School on free speech

Is free speech on campus dying?

If so, it’s still kicking. Friday’s engaging talk by Geoffrey Stone from Chicago Law laid out and put to rest the arguments against free speech and academic freedom one by one, then finished them off with his responses to audience questions about the increasing use of hate speech by conservatives, and safe spaces for our increasingly diverse students.

Free Speech on Campus: A Challenge for Our Times

Friday, February 17 at 4:00pm Continue reading

President Schill withdraws his proposal to restrict free speech TPM

It’s nice waking up to an email like this, and being able to tell the very effective TPM task force their work is done. One less weekly meeting! More on the Senate website here:

From: Mike Schill <[email protected]>
Subject: Time, Place and Manner rules
Date: February 14, 2017 at 5:51:47 AM PST
To: Chris Sinclair <csincla[email protected]>, William Harbaugh <[email protected]>

Hi Bill and Chris,

After discussing the matter with you two, Kevin Reed and other senior staff, I have decided to withdraw our proposal for time, place and manner rules. While I still believe that these rules are advisable to protect content neutrality, I am also convinced that we need to do more work in educating the community and building consensus around them. The UO has no shortage of pressing issues, difficult problems and wonderful opportunities for us to work on together now. Therefore, I am putting the time, place and manner proposal on hold for the foreseeable future.



NY Times Editors: Resist UO administration’s plan to arrest peaceful protestors

Update: The Daily Emerald’s Emma Henderson reports on student opposition to the restrictions, which the administration has given the Orwellian title of “The Time, Place, Manner and Protection of Speech Policy”.

2/12/2017: The UO administration wants to make peaceful protests a crime. They have proposed a new policy that will restrict the “time, place, and manner” of free speech at UO. Among the many restrictions our administration wants:

4. Use of University Campus for Speech Activities. … The interior spaces of University buildings are, generally, exclusively reserved for University business activities and therefore are not open for Speech Activities unless properly reserved in advance through the Facilities Scheduling Policy. …

And I thought one of the University’s primary business activities was free speech, or as Thomas Jefferson said, “for here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Another:

6.4 While the streets and sidewalks of the campus are generally open to Speech Activities by University Entities, the Vice President for Finance and Administration may designate portions of a street and the time of day during which a street is not available for speech activities by any Person or group, in order to meet traffic, emergency access, and public transit needs. Any such restriction shall be content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral.

So they want to be able to ban marches down 13th Street by, say, South Eugene High School students protesting the Trump election. And UO students will need permission to put up protest banners:

9.4 University student organizations and ASUO may place banners or signs only in those locations authorized by University Scheduling and Event Services.

And, for those who disobey:


(1)            Any person violating these rules is subject to:

(a)             Institutional disciplinary proceedings, if a student or employee; and

(b)            An order to leave the immediate premises or property owned or controlled by the University by a person in charge of University property.

(2)            Persons failing to comply with an order by a person in charge to leave or to remain off the immediate premises or property owned or controlled by the University may be subject to citation or arrest for criminal trespass.

That’s right, the UO General Counsel’s office wants to have the right to arrest UO students who engage in peaceful protests such as last spring’s Divest UO sit-in.

Our administration is not alone in proposing these sorts of restrictions, and this Sunday the New York Times editorial page took aim at them all:

While their proponents say the bills and initiatives are needed to protect public safety and ensure civility, these efforts would crush the right of free protest at a time when key American principles and institutions are under attack.

Link here:

As universities try to restrict free-speech, state legislators try to protect it

The UO administration finally gave the UO Senate a copy of their proposal to restrict free speech, here, and the Senate is now working on a less restrictive policy.  The Chronicle has a new report on the state legislation here (gated if off campus). An excerpt:

… So far, all of the lawmakers who have introduced such legislation have been Republicans. President Trump himself expressed anger this month, when violent protesters shut down an appearance by Mr. Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart editor, at the University of California at Berkeley.

In Virginia, however, Democratic members of that state’s House of Delegates played a substantial part in its passage this month of a bill briefly declaring that no public college there can abridge the freedom of anyone — including students, faculty members, employees, and invited guests — to speak on its campus.

Even before the 2016 presidential election made clear that the nation had become exceedingly polarized, some state legislatures had been moving to protect the speech rights of public-colleges students, mainly by barring such institutions from maintaining limited “free-speech zones” or by adopting new protections for student journalists.

The divisiveness that the election and its aftermath have brought to campuses, as well as recent uproars on campuses over certain speakers, appear to have heightened awareness of such speakers’ vulnerability to what is widely known as “the heckler’s veto” — protest disruptive enough to keep them from being heard.

The measure that North Carolina’s lieutenant governor has proposed is based heavily on model legislation devised by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Arizona, and by Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Ethics and Public Policy Center, in Washington, D.C.

Likewise, the Tennessee bill contains a provision calling for public colleges to punish people who interfere with the free-speech rights of others. The bill also has language providing that students may sue colleges that violate their speech rights for injunctive relief, attorney fees, and court costs.

A measure passed 65 to 25 by North Dakota’s House of Representatives, and now pending before that state’s Senate, takes a different, and somewhat softer, tack. It would require the State Board of Higher Education, which governs the North Dakota University System, to adopt a policy that prohibits public colleges from restricting speech, punishing students for free expression, or shielding students “from constitutionally protected expression merely because it is considered unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.” …