President Schill drops policy proposal for TPM restrictions on free speech

2/14/2017:

From: Mike Schill <mschill@uoregon.edu>

Subject: Time, Place and Manner rules

Date: February 14, 2017 at 5:51:47 AM PST

To: Chris Sinclair <csinclai@uoregon.edu>, William Harbaugh <harbaugh@uoregon.edu>

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.

Best,

Mike

12/07/2016: For informational purposes and background, please see previous senate motion:

This policy contains elements related to free speech activities on campus.

11/27/2016 update: After weeks of of not responding to Senate requests for an updated draft of the TPM free speech restrictions policy, General Counsel Kevin Reed has now submitted one to the administration’s Policy Advisory Council.

They meet Dec 7th at 10AM in the JH Conference Room to discuss it, agenda here. Assistant Board Secretary Amanda Hatch sent the Senate the draft policy at 4:40PM Wednesday. It is now posted on the PAC website here.  The PAC membership list is here.  The Senate will take up the proposed policy during the Winter term.

10/31/2016 update: The Senate is in the process of formulating a plan for a response to the administration’s proposed policy on time, place and manner restrictions on free-speech. The administration is in the process of updating the draft below in response to comments they have received. We will add the new draft to this post when the GCO provides it to the Senate.

10/28/2016:  The message from President Schill is below, the break, followed by the Administration’s proposed policy restricting the Time, Place and Manner of Free Speech, and by the relevant sections of UO’s Policy on Policies, on how policies should be developed and approved.

Colleagues,

Over the past year, controversies involving free expression have cropped up on campuses throughout the United States. Speakers have been disinvited at several universities as a result of objections to their views. At other universities, speakers arrived on campus only to be shouted down by their audiences. A student was disciplined at one college for making a joke about feminism; at another a similar fate met students who criticized the university’s affirmative action program. And at many universities, students demanded administrative sanctions against other students for their expressions of political views.

The University of Oregon has a proud history as a leader in the protection of free expression. In 1963, the university created a free speech platform outside the EMU. A few years later, during the height of Vietnam War protests, the university created new procedures that recognized the rights of students to protest and drafted policies that took a lenient approach to nonviolent demonstrations. In 1986, the free speech zone was expanded to the plaza outside our student union. Wayne Morse—our former law professor, dean, and US senator—was throughout his career an outspoken advocate for unpopular political positions.

Today, members of our community still use demonstrations to drive attention to their causes, including in just the past year marches organized by the Black Student Task Force, the Divest UO movement, and our own classified workers. Like other UO presidents, I have sometimes been mentioned less than lovingly during these protests. But like the majority of my predecessors, I am also deeply committed to the principle of free expression, both as embodied in the First Amendment and in the institution’s tradition of academic freedom.

Let me ground this conversation in the unequivocal statement that the UO embraces free expression as one of its core principles. It is outlined in the policy on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech passed by the University Senate in 2010 and signed by President Richard Lariviere. The policy states the following:

“Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution 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 wrong’ cannot be grounds for its suppression.”

My own views on free expression are entirely consistent with this strong statement of principle. As the inscription at the EMU Free Speech Plaza states, “Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one.” Today’s unpopular sentiment or theory may become tomorrow’s orthodoxy. Perhaps even more important, unpopular views, even those that never catch on, cause us to question our commonly held presuppositions and engage in critical thinking, which is at the core of what we teach at a great university.

Of course, free speech is not and never has been an absolute right. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best when stating that the law does not sanction someone “falsely shouting ‘fire’ in a theater.” Courts have determined that it is appropriate and necessary for government to define the time, place, and manner in which speech may coexist with the functions of government. In a university setting, we create restrictions that protect the safety of our community, the rights of our students to obtain an education, and the ability of our faculty, staff, and administrators to do their jobs effectively.

Last year, a group of students representing Divest UO occupied the waiting room of Johnson Hall and attempted to plant a sign in front of the main door for more than a month. They were respectful, interesting, and fun to engage in conversation. To be honest, I sort of liked having them there, even though they refused my offers of food. On the other hand, they disrupted business at Johnson Hall. When we looked for policies pertaining to the sit-in, we found that we had little more than vague rules prohibiting disruption and allowing for scheduling the use of facilities.

The absence of appropriate and well-understood rules for the use of campus spaces for the free exchange of ideas makes us all vulnerable. We don’t have a set of consistent policies and rules that are clear to students, members of the faculty and staff, or other entities who may wish to appropriately protest. More important, the absence of clearly articulated policies means that there is an unacceptable risk of arbitrariness and ad hoc rulemaking that in itself is a threat to the UO’s foundational free speech principles. While I liked the students sitting in the foyer, what if they had been hateful people advocating for policies we find reprehensible? Restrictions on speech—even those allowed by law—must be content-neutral.

To deal with this problem, I have asked our Office of General Counsel to draw up a proposal that sets forth a clear set of guidelines to govern the time, place, and manner of expressive activity on campus. They are in the process of getting feedback from stakeholders across campus and plan to take that proposal to the Policy Advisory Committee in the next few weeks. It is my hope that this process of circulating a proposal will allow us to craft the best policy possible, one that reflects the values of the community and serves the legitimate needs of the university. I view it as the beginning of a campus dialogue that will involve all constituents of our university including our students, classified workers, administrators, faculty, and University Senate. Because of the vulnerability I described in the previous paragraph, if for some reason we are unable to come to a consensus in four months, then I will enact a temporary policy until that consensus is achieved.

The final topic that I would like to cover is how we treat each other. At our September convocation, I spoke to more than 3,000 incoming members of the Class of 2020. I told them that sometimes professors or classmates might say things that angered or even offended them. But the antidote to speech that one doesn’t like is not to shut down that speech. That is what totalitarian governments do. Instead—to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis—the antidote to speech we don’t like is more speech. I am delighted that we have not experienced the type of intolerant behavior that has taken place at many other universities in the 15 months since I assumed the presidency of the University of Oregon.

The fact that we have the right to say what it is on our mind, of course, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think about the effects of our words on others. Racist or sexist speech, hate speech, is not welcome on this campus. Students, faculty and staff members must all remember that we are a family—a family of Ducks. That means something. We should not harm members of our community by making them feel bad or unwelcome. As a community of scholars, we can debate ideas and theories without insulting each other or resorting to name-calling. Think about how your speech affects the people who hear it. And if you say something, even inadvertently, that does create offense, consider apologizing or engaging that person in a discussion. That’s what people in a family do. That’s also how we learn from each other—through discussion.

This message—that there is nothing inconsistent between the notions of protecting free speech and being careful that our speech doesn’t harm members of our community—is one that we should all put into practice. Not because the university’s administration will step in to squelch the speech with disciplinary proceedings. We won’t do that unless it rises to the level of pervasive harassment that deprives members of our community of their rights to teach or learn. We should consider the effect of our speech on others because we are a community of scholars.

So let’s argue with each other robustly over ideas and policies. Let’s protest against oppression; let’s argue about politics; let’s even debate about questionable decisions emanating from Johnson Hall. But let’s do so respectfully, assuming that each of us just wants to do the right thing. And let’s also keep open the possibility that all of this speech might convince us to change our minds. That is the essence of rational discourse; it is why our university was created and why we chose to be here.

Office of the President, 1226 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1226
P: 541-346-3036

 

The University Administration’s proposed policy:

University of Oregon Policy TBA

Time, Place and Manner Rules for Campus Speech and Protest Activities

Reason for Policy

To reaffirm the University’s commitment to the robust exchange of ideas and its support for full and honest debate across the full spectrum of human issues, while simultaneously respecting the safety of speakers and audiences alike as well as the safe operation of the campus.  This policy reaffirms and implements the important principles embodied in the University’s Policy Statement on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech by ensuring that different voices and points of view may be heard and the business of the University can be conducted in safety even in times of protest or controversy.  It sets forth the rules for engaging in free speech activities so all constituents might understand how to share and respect the rights of our community members to engage in teaching, learning and scholarship.

This policy does not supersede rights an employee organization, certified as the exclusive representative under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act, may have pursuant to its collective bargaining agreement.  Neither does this policy ignore the important role of civil disobedience in this history of this nation and this campus; rather, it attempts to clearly define the line where protected conduct ends and civil disobedience begins.

                                                                                                                                                           

Entities Affected by this Policy

Any individual on University owned or controlled property

                                                                                                                                                           

Web Site Address for this Policy

[Provided by Office of the University Secretary after policy is posted online]

                                                                                                                                                           

Responsible Office

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of General Counsel at 541-346-3082 or gcounsel@uoregon.edu

                                                                                                                                                           

Enactment & Revision History

[Insert enactment date here]

                                                                                                                                                           

Policy

Definitions:

  • Free Speech Zones” are defined as those areas specially designated for Speech Activities by Non-University Entities:
    1. The Amphitheater at the Erb Memorial Union;
    2. The intersection of University and 13th Avenue
    3. Memorial Quadrangle
    4. Humpy Lumpy (the grassy area at the northeast corner of Agate St. and E 15th Avenue)
  • Literature” means posters, flyers, handbills or leaflets of any size.
  • Person” means any member of the public or the University community.
  • “Non-University Entity” refers to an individual or organization that is not a University
  • Speech Activities” means expressive activities that communicate a message such as leaf-letting, picketing, speech-making, demonstration, petition circulation, and similar speech-related activities.
  • University” means the University of Oregon.
  • “University Entity” refers to groups or entities involving members or units of the university community, including colleges, schools, departments, and other university organizational units, labor organizations representing university employees, recognized faculty groups, recognized student groups, academic student groups, and self-defined groups of three or more members of the faculty, staff or officers of administration, when scheduling any Facility.
  • University Property” means all facilities owned or leased by the University or the University of Oregon Foundation, wherever situated.

Use of University Campus for Speech Activities

In general, University grounds are available to University Entities for Speech Activities, subject at all times to guidelines, as authorized below, applied on a content and viewpoint neutral basis, to protect safety, property and university operations.  Non-University Entities are generally restricted to uses of designated Free Speech Zones for their Speech Activities, but may also reserve space for Speech Activities pursuant to the Facilities Scheduling Policy to the extent such spaces are not already reserved for use by University Entities.   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.  Classrooms, auditoriums and other suitable space are available for scheduling programs involving speech activities, while other interior spaces (including hallways, lobbies, waiting areas, and stairwells) are not available for such activities unless specifically designated for such use.  Posting signs and fliers within university interior space is allowed only in those areas designated by the department, division or unit that controls that interior space.

Reservation of University Space for Speech Activities

Many campus spaces suitable for speech activities are available for advance reservation through Scheduling and Event Services in the Erb Memorial Union, per the Facilities Scheduling Policy.  See http://scheduling.uoregon.edu/.  Persons wishing to reserve campus space are encouraged to schedule space through that office.  Speech activities in residence halls and University-owned dining halls may be regulated by the Director of University Housing.  Any such regulations shall be content and viewpoint neutral.

Access, Traffic, and University Business Not to Be Impeded

  • No speech activities shall impede ingress or egress to buildings or disrupt pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • No speech activities shall unreasonably disrupt regular or authorized activities in classrooms, meeting or event venues, offices, lobbies, waiting areas, laboratories, housing and dining buildings and other University facilities or grounds.

(3)            No speech activities shall be conducted at a volume that unreasonably disrupts the normal use of classrooms, officesnd laboratories during any time when those facilities are being used for University business.  Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., amplified sound will not be allowed in outdoor spaces except in athletics performance and training facilities and the Erb Memorial Union amphitheater, unless otherwise approved by Scheduling and Events Services.  Amplified sound in the amphitheater may be prohibited by Scheduling and Event Services if it interferes with scheduled classroom activities.

(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- and viewpoint-neutral basis. 

Notification

(1)            In order to allow scheduling and to assure public safety, persons desiring to picket or demonstrate are encouraged to notify the appropriate University official at least 24 hours in advance.

(2)            The officials to be notified are:

(a)             Deputy Athletic Director or designee for all athletics facilities

(b)            Director, University Scheduling and Event Services for all other spaces.

(3)            In all instances, the university will endeavor to give priority for the use of space to any person who has reserved that space through the University’s Facilities Scheduling Policy.

Use of Tables, Carts, Booths, and Similar Structures

(1)            Tables, carts, booths or similar structures may be set out and used on campus only as provided in this rule.

(2)            Except as provided in section @@ of this rule, use of a table, cart, booth or similar structure is permitted in the Erb Memorial Union amphitheater area so long as the use does not disrupt University access, traffic or business. The University may require users of a table, cart, booth or similar structure who do not have a reservation pursuant to section @@@ of this rule to move if necessary to avoid such disruption.  All such tables or other structures shall remain staffed or occupied by the event sponsor so long as they remain in place.  Persons occupying tables or other structures are responsible for ensuring the structures are safe and that they do not blow over, collapse or otherwise cause injury or impediment to other persons.

(3)            Except as provided in section @@@ of this rule, use of a table, cart, booth or similar structure larger than three feet by six feet on campus for informational, nonprofit, commercial, or any other purposes, must be sponsored by a University Entity and should be coordinated pursuant to the University Policy on Facilities Scheduling and be coordinated by the Erb Memorial Union.

Use of Signs, Banners and Placards

(1)            Except as provided here, Non-University Entities may not post Literature on University bulletin boards, buildings or elsewhere on campus.  Any temporary signs not erected by the University shall comply generally with the Campus Outdoor Sign Plan, found at https://cpdc.uoregon.edu/services/services/signage.  No permanent signs may be posted on any University property, except by the University.

(2)            Notwithstanding foregoing section (1), Non-University Entities using university athletics performance facilities under facilities use agreements may post signs or banners on University buildings within or visible from the performance as provided for in the terms of a sponsorship or facilities use agreement authorizing the use of the venue.

(3)            Posters, signs, banners and other materials and literature advertising official University functions may be placed on campus by the University.

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

(5)            University Entities members may post Literature on departmental boards reserved for such use pursuant to viewpoint- and content-neutral guidelines established by the relevant departmental office. However, no University spaces or other resources may be used for activities that would violate controlling government ethics rules or political campaign laws and regulations.

(6)            To the extent that it does not violate controlling government ethics rules or political campaign rules, University Entities or Non-Entities may post Literature on designated University bulletin boards found:

On 13th Avenue between Johnson and Chapman Halls

On 13th Avenue at the intersection of University Street (two stations)

(7)            No Literature of any kind shall be left on automobiles parked on University property except by the University.

(8)            Posting of Literature in areas within or adjacent to the residence halls must be in accord with the specific On Campus Housing Policies applicable to these areas. (See http://housing.uoregon.edu/print-advertising)

(9)            Posting of Literature within University-owned and operated apartments must be in accord with the specific rules and policies applicable to these areas which are implemented by the staff of the University Housing Office.

(10)         Posting of Literature within athletics training or performance facilities must be in accord with the specific policies applicable to those areas as may be established by the Athletics Department.

(11)         Signs or banners used during Speech Activities shall comply with the following specifications:

  1. To protect safety, the size of the handles or supports for posters, signs, placards or banners shall be made of wood or hollow PVC piping without exception and limited to one-fourth inch (1/4”) in thickness by three-fourth inch (3/4”) in width or ¾” in diameter and shall extend no more than eighteen inches (18”) beyond a single exterior edge of such posters, signs or banners.
  2. All posters, signs, placards or banners shall be hand-carried and not in any way affixed, fastened, or attached to the premises; they may not be self-supporting and placed for display; nor leaned against any wall, partition, landscaping or other University property.
  3. The carrying of posters, signs, placards or banners in a way that obstructs or interferes with the normal movement of any vehicular traffic or pedestrian movement on University Property is prohibited.

CHALKING

Chalking messages on sidewalks in exterior areas of the campus in areas that are exposed to the rain by University Entities is permitted unless an area has been specifically designated by the Vice President, Finance and Administration as off-limits for such activity due to safety or aesthetic concerns.  Chalking is not permitted on the exterior walls of any University building.  Chalking is by its nature a short-lived medium for communication and nothing in this policy shall preclude campus maintenance personnel from removing chalked messages in the ordinary course of their campus cleaning and maintenance activities.

ENFORCEMENT

(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.

(3)            The Vice President of Finance and Administration, Vice President for Student Life, the Dean of Students, and their designees, have the authority of “persons in charge” of University property for purposes of these rules.

APPEAL

Anyone aggrieved by the application of these rules may appeal in writing within 10 days to the Chief of Staff, Office of the President, or designee. If the Chief of Staff, Office of the President, or designee does not respond to the appeal in writing within 10 days of receiving the appeal, the appeal is deemed denied.

                                                                                                                                                           

Related Resources

The University’s Facilities Scheduling Policy: https://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/04000-facilities/scheduling-use-facilities.

The University’s Policy Statement on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech: https://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/01-administration-and-governance/freedom-inquiry-and-free-speech.

The University’s Campus Visitor’s Policy:

http://policies.uoregon.edu/content/campus-visitors.

Campus Outdoor Sign Plan:

https://cpdc.uoregon.edu/services/services/signage

Printing-Advertising Policies:

http://housing.uoregon.edu/print-advertising

 

UO Policy on Policies: 

Some relevant extracts:

3.2 Academic Policy.

A Policy that addresses curriculum, academic standards, academic standards of admission, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, major changes to academic programs, grading standards, student life that relates to the educational process, or other matters of an academic nature as commonly understood in higher education, as specified in Section 1.3 of the University of Oregon Constitution.

  1. Academic Policies.

5.1 For Academic Policies, the Senate President will initiate action within the Senate’s procedures and in collaboration with appropriate others. The Responsible Office for Academic Policies shall be the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, which shall coordinate with the University Senate.

5.2 After action by the Senate, the Senate President will present the Policy to the University President, who will take action in accordance with Section 7.2 of the University of Oregon Constitution.

5.2.1 For each proposed new Academic Policy or change to an existing Academic Policy, if the President’s decision is contrary to a vote of the University Senate on the proposal, he or she shall come to the Senate within the time specified in Section 7 of the University of Oregon Constitution (60 days or longer if necessary) – as President of the Faculty – and suggest withdrawal or amendment. The Senate shall promptly consider the President’s request. If the President and the Senate cannot come to agreement after 60 days from the President’s presentation, the President and the Senate President shall jointly call a Faculty Assembly.

5.2.2 If a Faculty Assembly is called pursuant to section 5.2.1, the Statutory Faculty and President will fulfill their oversight obligations and exercise their authorities according to the procedures outlined in Section 9 of the University of Oregon Constitution.

5.3 Proposals regarding majors, programs, minors, certificates, courses, and degree requirements originate in academic units and are drafted by faculty. These items are not considered policies for the purpose of this Policy.

13 thoughts on “President Schill drops policy proposal for TPM restrictions on free speech”

  1. Reading President Schill’s statement, you would assume that the threats to free speech at the U of O come entirely from students, overly-zealous about issues like divestment. There is no mention in the letter of attacks on freedom of speech by the U of O administration, and remedies when that occurs.

    After the basketball incident, both Professor Jennifer Freyd and I were both publicly attacked by the U of O administration for expressing our views. I speak here to my own experience.

    In an interview with a Portland TV station, I said two things: the U of O was liable to be sued for its handling of the basketball case, and in my opinion it had ill-served all of the students involved. The response of the U of O “media relations office” was to send a mass email to every Portland alumni attacking me personally, claiming, among other things, that I was an intellectual fraud with no current connection to the U of O (FYI: I am an emeritus professor who has continued to teach at the U of O while spending most of my year at Oxford University).

    Subsequent inquiries established that no one in “media relations” had any idea who I was. They had been instructed to do this by Johnson Hall, apparently Acting President Coltrane. Emails to Johnson Hall for an explanation of its behavior were ignored. Professor Freyd and I made repeated requests through various channels (the faculty union, etc.) for an official retraction, which were flatly rejected.

    Post-script: Until recently, I felt I at least had the distinction of being the only U of O faculty to be attacked in a mass email. But I’ve learned from a veteran of the controversies over sports funding that he was subjected to a similar attack in a communication with the entire alumni—not just Portland!

    Cheyney Ryan

  2. From https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/337/1/case.html

    U.S. Supreme Court

    Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949)

    … The vitality of civil and political institutions in our society depends on free discussion. As Chief Justice Hughes wrote in De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U. S. 353, 299 U. S. 365, it is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes.

    Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 315 U. S. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. …

  3. A discussion that should be had in correlation to this is why, at least in the case of the Divest UO campaign, students ended up protesting. This was an action taken after a dozen attempts to sit behind closed doors with decision makers, told to worry about other unrelated issues, and navigate a non-transparent university foundation. The campaign was pushed to make more visible actions due to the inaction of the president and foundation members.

  4. Do University Senate meetings have time allotted for public comment? If not, can anybody tell me how students can offer their perspectives on this issue other than leaving comments on this post and attending the Policy Advisory Committee’s next meeting on December 7th? Students desperately need to be included in this conversation; if anybody can tell me how students can get a seat at the table, it would be much appreciated.

    1. There will be an open discussion on this issue in the Senate in future meetings, and if there is interest (and I suspect there will be) at a town hall type forum. The Senate is also developing a Free Speech task force to look at the policy proposed by the administration and to craft a proposed policy for Senate approval. Any policy proposal produced by this task force will be fully debated by the Senate and we will welcome all viewpoints on it.

      The upcoming meeting on November 2 already has a full agenda, so I suspect there will not be time to have a substantive discussion on this particular issue. President Schill will be giving brief comments (with questions) at the beginning on the meeting, so there could be a short conversation on this. However, the time allotted for the discussion at this point is minimal.

      Stay tuned here for more details and how/when to contribute to the crafting of and discussion on any proposed policy on this.

      Thanks for your participation. All voices on campus will be heard on this issue.

  5. If protesters are “required to stay 15 feet away from any exit, entrance, staircase, parking lot, or roadway,” where can they stand? Where can they march? This would constructively prohibit large groups from forming, forcing protest marches to shrink to a size small enough to meet those parameters. This is not an acceptable restriction on free speech for our community.

    The purpose of protests are to make people uncomfortable. The purpose is to obstruct normal activity in order to draw attention to a cause. Restrictions on poster size and thickness serves no purpose except to make speech a little quieter, to make our voices a little less heard. To regulate something so mundane is to come up with arbitrary ways to make us fearful and silent.

    I have been a student at this university for seven years. I have been a student of four departments. I have been a participant in many student organizations, and led a few. In my time here, I have seen the effect of speech on this university: the GTFF walk outs, the Divest UO movement, the Take Back the Night marches. What will become of these important means of speech? What will become of our rituals that make us feel safe and heard in our community?

    This is unacceptable.

  6. This entire initiative comes from a handful of administrators. Does anyone else believe that free speech and civil disobedience need explicit localization? Is it reasonable for Johnson Hall to occupy the attention of the entire University community on this matter? Perhaps future announcements should be cordoned off in an administrative free speech zone?

    What is driving this project? In one meeting the GC expressed a motivation, but it seemed like a stretch: we don’t have a 50-page policy on this topic, like some other Universities. Wonderful. Obviously we need heftier legal documents to compete on the global scene.

    Let’s ask the administration to withdraw this policy initiative, so we can all get back to work.

  7. Protests are inherently inconvenient to governing authority. That’s the whole point. After reading President Schill’s letter, I can find three proposed justifications for the new policy. Two of them do not hold water, the third is insufficient and left unexplained. My conclusion is that the administration is attempting to put restrictions on free speech that they find inconvenient.

    Justice Holmes’ opinion was about restricting free speech when it causes panic. It was not about restricting free speech practices that are generally inconvenient. Quoting Holmes: “The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Does a peaceful divest campaign propose a clear and present danger? Or is it merely inconvenient?
    Pres. Schill condemns the absence of clearly articulated policies, saying that it creates a risk of “arbitrariness and ad hoc rulemaking that in itself is a threat to the UO’s foundational free speech principles.” But doesn’t this new proposal fit right into that criticism? It seems arbitrary and ad hoc to me. It’s a specific response to a peaceful divest campaign.
    Pres. Schill also explains that “…they disrupted business at Johnson Hall,” but he doesn’t go into any specifics. What business did the students disrupt exactly, by hanging out in the common areas of Johnson Hall? Did they disrupt actual business? Was it inconvenient to be confronted by the divest UO message while working at Johnson Hall? Well good, because that’s the whole point!

  8. I am heartened by all the important discussion being had on this issue.

    I’m happy to contribute my op-ed piece, “UO’s proposed ‘free speech’ policy results in restrictions”, which was published in The Register-Guard today (19 November 2016).

    http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/34964657-78/uos-proposed-free-speech-policy-results-in-restrictions.html.csp

    UO’s proposed ‘free speech’ policy results in restrictions

    By Jennifer Gómez

    For The Register-Guard

    Nov. 19, 2016

    I have fond memories of my time at the University of Oregon.

    Don’t get me wrong; as a graduate student in clinical psychology at the UO (2011-16), the campus seemed to remain at the center of controversy regarding campus sexual violence and racism. What has been transformative is the university community’s responses to these injustices.

    Over the years, I have witnessed and participated in protests and marches, and I have watched the UO change. I have watched victims of sexual violence publicly find their voices. I have watched undergrads, graduate students, staff and faculty come together to publicly shed light on a glossed-over truth: the UO had two campus buildings named after white supremacists.

    From the campus community’s grit, passion, perseverance and fights for social justice, the UO has changed. In doing so, it makes me proud to be a Duck.

    Now, living out of state, I was shocked when I came across this new proposed policy ( http://rgne.ws/2goQlof ): “Time, Place, and Manner of Free Speech.” In rationalizing the need for this policy, President Michael Schill commends the UO as a leader in “the protection of free expression,” citing the UO policy, “Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech” ( http://rgne.ws/2g1nIIO ).

    President Schill goes on to describe members of the UO as a community — even a family — that can learn from each other through honest and respectful discussion. I agree with freedom of expression; I also agree with respect of others. What I cannot seem to understand is how freedom of expression and respect translate into dictation of excessive limitations to free speech.

    Limitations that would bar protests inside or in front of Johnson Hall: the site of the highest level administrators on campus; and unsurprisingly, the site of many protests as well.

    To limit free speech spaces to places where people in power cannot hear them seems to diminish their effectiveness. This reads to me like a convenient way to sustain the status quo. Change — important, painful, much-needed change — often is inconvenient.

    The road to change at the UO, as well as in U.S. society, has been strewn with letters, emails, petitions, committees and meetings. Protests are often the last resort when “appropriate” times, places, and manners have been dismissed, degraded, or are inaccessible to people who are being harmed.

    In opening the dialogue regarding this restrictive proposed policy, Schill says that “if … we are unable to come to a consensus in four months, then I will enact a temporary policy until that consensus is achieved.” That statement could be interpreted as the following: “If you ultimately do not agree with me, I will do it my way anyway.”

    Schill can use unilateral power to demand that marginalized members of the campus community acquiesce into a role of relative silence — similar to how a bully on the playground intimidates his classmates out of weakness and fear. Conversely, the university could grant those of us who have been raped, marginalized, and/or otherwise rendered invisible freedom of expression, including “inconveniently” in Johnson Hall.

    In doing so, the UO would be encouraging dialogue and discussion in manners that embrace diversity in expression, honor the UO’s legacy of protection of free speech, and recognize the importance of “disruptive” protests as necessary mechanisms of change. Especially when “appropriate” steps have a long history of being ignored by the UO administration.

    There is a powerful saying among marginalized groups that personifies the fight for social justice: “Speak truth to power.” I plead for the adoption of a parallel saying for the decision-makers at the University of Oregon: “Power, actually listen to truth.”

    Jennifer Gómez (jmgomez.org), a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the UO, is completing a pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Charleston Consortium Psychology Internship Training Program.

  9. The proposal regarding time and place restrictions on protests on the UO campus calls for order, planning, and convenience to administration, classes, and labs. Such policies would put in place a surveilling and policing gaze on individual and collective bodies and ideologies that is unwarranted. Protests are by nature arbitrary, ad hoc, and inconvenient. These suggested rules seem highly restrictive, noninclusive, unwelcoming, and lacking support for the UO’s history of activism whether by students, staff, faculty, community members, or those beyond the UO and Eugene/Springfield area. Speech should not be regulated and reduced in this manner. Rather we should maintain the practice of an open and affirming campus rather than infringing upon the variety and value of voices in our institution. Part of our academic purpose is growth which comes through discomfort and civil dispute.

    Julie Voelker-Morris, Faculty working group on Inclusive and Intercultural Teaching; UO Senate committee on Sexual Orientation and Attraction, Gender Identity and Expression

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