Tag Archives: Senate Task Force on Bias Response Team

The Senate Task Force on the Bias Response Team

The Senate has formed the Task Force on the Bias Response Team.  There are available seats for representatives chosen by ASUO and the GTFF.

Read co–chair Chris Chavez’s letter:
Dear Senators-

I want to give you an update on the BRT task force. The charge of the Senate’s Task Force on the Bias Response Team is this:

National coverage of UO’s Bias Response Team (BRT) and similar efforts aimed at reducing campus bias have raised some concerns regarding the potential for negative effects on free and open classroom discussions. This task force is to assess the material and perceived impact of the BRT on faculty, student, and staff interactions, with a focus on the impact of the BRT on academic matters. The task force will first gather information about the BRT’s operations, including record-keeping. Then, based on the findings of this research and input from the Senate and the University community, the task force will work with the UO administration to ensure that the BRT functions so as to encourage both academic freedom and inclusivity.

The Task Force is chaired by Chris Chavez (Journalism) and Chris Sinclair (Math and Senate VP). The membership includes Rich Margerum (PPPM), Ofer Raban (Law) and Theodora Thompson (Classified staff in Admissions, and SEIU local President). There will be a few other members, including a student, who have yet to be appointed. The committee is advisory to the Senate, and will follow the Senate’s open meetings rules.

At the J-School town hall earlier this month VP Robin Holmes announced that she was reviewing the BRT and expected to make some changes. However I think it’s important that the Senate take the lead on this, and that we should do so with full knowledge of what the BRT does.
It’s to the credit of BRT coordinator Maure Smith-Benanti that her 2014-15 report on how the BRT tries to reduce biased behavior and language is one of the more transparent documents I’ve seen come out of the UO administration, and I’m optimistic that the BRT and VP Holmes’s office will share more with us. (See the BRT website and report at https://uodos.uoregon.edu/Programs/Bias-Response-Team/Annual-Reports.)
I expect that the task force will be able to collect some information over the summer and update the Senate on that information by early fall. If you have any information on the BRT I encourage you to email Chris Chavez and Chris Sinclair, at csinclai@uoregon.edu and cchavez4@uoregon.edu.