This week we will have a controversial group visiting campus. They bring movable visual displays to campuses nationwide that contain graphic images associated with an anti-abortion viewpoint. The images can be shocking. The university encourages those who may be offended by such images to avoid the EMU Green as much as possible between 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
The University of Oregon strongly values free speech and academic freedom, and this is a case where the content – though likely offensive to many – is protected under the First Amendment. The UO in no way condones or supports the tactics of this group, but the university is a public entity and cannot restrict expression on the basis of its viewpoint. This group has filed the appropriate paperwork and met the requisite requirements to have their displays on our campus.
As a reminder, the United States and Oregon constitutions protect speech, not non-expressive conduct. Nonviolent speech and protests are appropriate ways to air views on a wide variety of topics. The UO Student Conduct Code prohibits actions that endanger, threaten or harm the health and safety of another person, or interfere with the rights of others. Students who violated the code will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Any conduct by this outside group that violates university policy relating to prohibited harassment will be addressed with the organizers.
It is important to acknowledge that some speech, even if legal, has the potential to cause anxiety, offend our beliefs, or insult our values. While the university cannot restrict these rights, we can offer resources and support services to help our UO community respond with any unease and distress that the free and open exchange of ideas can bring.
- Dean of Students staff will be available for drop-in support available on Wednesday and Thursday at the Women’s Center in the EMU. Students may visit drop-in hours after these dates at the Dean of Students Office in 164 Oregon Hall from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on business days.
- University Counseling & Testing Center is open until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and offers 24-hour crisis support via phone; 541-346-3227
- Duck Nest in EMU provides a place for students to practice self-care and life-balance. It is staffed by Peer Wellness Advocates and is open until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.
- Impacted faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) via phone 800-433-2320 or web.
- Supervisors needing assistance with a workplace issue arising from this demonstration should contact Human Resources at 541-346-3159.
R. Kevin Marbury, Ph.D., Interim Vice President
Division of Student Life
University of Oregon
6203 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6203
p: 541-346-1137, Shannon Rose, Assistant to the VPSL