Post = Book Chapter

Issues that Concern You Discrimination - Chapter 16 by Eric Stoller
My blog post on affirmative action was recently included as a chapter in a book. The book, “Issues That Concern You: Discrimination,” was published by Greenhaven Press in December, 2007. It is the first time that something that I have written has been published in a book. The book has a hardcover and yes, it is on my desk at this very moment! I am giddy with excitement.

The post (and now book chapter!) was originally written for an assignment in a philosophy class at Oregon State University. The class, Ethics of Diversity, was/is taught by Lani Roberts. I am grateful for everything that she has taught me. Thanks Lani.

More photos of Issues That Concern You: Discrimination are after the jump…
Continue reading Post = Book Chapter

Co-facilitating a CSSA class

I co-facilitated a College Student Services Administration (CSSA) class at Oregon State University today. Jessica White and Chris White are teaching a course on Technology Issues in Higher Education. Jessica and I presented an edited version of our “Blogs and Student Learning” presentation. After an hour on blogs, blogging, rss, etc., Chris and I facilitated a discussion on podcasts / podcasting in a higher education context. I had a great time. The class asked a lot of questions and the discussion was lively. It felt good to be back in the classroom.

Ottobib and Dell Recycling

Ottobib creates citations for MLA, APA, AMA, and Chicago Style based on a book’s ISBN. I tested it out on one of my CSSA textbooks. I quickly found the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), typed it into Ottobib, and presto — instant APA Citation:

Evans N., Forney D., Guido-DiBrito F. (1998). Student Development In College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers

In other news, Dell is now allowing folks to recycle any Dell-branded product (without purchasing anything!) for FREE! Apple needs to adopt a similar policy. Apple’s current recycling policy requires the purchase of a “qualified Apple computer or monitor.” I really hope they greenmyapple.

Acknowledgments

I wish to thank the following people for challenging and supporting me during my graduate program/assistantship. I have learned a lot from all of you and I look forward to our next adventure!

CSSA faculty/staff/instructors including: Jessica White, Rich Shintaku, Laurie Brendle-Sleipness, Larry Roper, Bob Bontrager, Tom Scheuermann, Tracy Bentley-Townlin, Melissa Yamamoto, Jackie Balzer, Tom Kirch, Eric Hansen, Bernie Liang, and Michael Hevel.

Additional faculty/staff that I wish to thank:
Lani Roberts, Jim Day, Dan Crouch, Michael Ingram, Moira Dempsey, Wayne Robertson, Nancy Laurence, Blake Vawter, Kate Peterson, Joy Jorgensen, Jodi Nelson, Deb Burke, Dan Schwab, Resa Cochran, Janet Nishihara, Kris Winter, Marcus Langford, Rick DeBellis, Carol Andrews, Janet Morandi, Kyle Cassady, Edie Blakeley and Allison Davis-White Eyes.

The 2004 CSSA Cohort. I am extremely grateful to all of you. I am graduating because of you.*

*Wendy, Tanya, Padma, Cat, Andrea, Gail, Tarah, Melanie, Justina, Dave, Rem, Kent and Sam – Thanks for listening!

Final defense

I. Portfolio overview

  • Blogging
  • 1 year of content, comments, and community
  • Portfolio + Blog = Blogfolio
  • Technology – WordPress

II. Competency #9: Multicultural awareness, knowledge and skills

  • Area of Specialization – Social Justice and Organizational Change
  • Self-Awareness 2004 – 2006
  • Action oriented

III. Practicum experiences

IV. Acknowledgements

V. Questions

Technology and Student Affairs #2

Why is technology vilified in Student Affairs?

This session from PaperClip Communications is full of shock and awe:
“Liabilities, judicial impact, legal issues, thorny topics, and professional dangers”

Facebook, Myspace: Liabilities, Judicial & Legal Matters

Every day a new set of issues, concerns, liabilities and legal precedents are set in relationship to cyber communities.

Sites like Facebook and MySpace are rapidly evolving, attracting more and more users. Cyber communities are rapidly developing into a new social and communication platform for college students.

With this new platform comes a whole new set of legal issues, judicial concerns and potential liabilities for every college and university.

Join a panel of experts and your colleagues for a cross-campus discussion on the legal and judicial impacts of cyber communities.

During this dynamic live event you’ll hear from a panel of attorneys who will address thorny topics such as:

  • What’s the status of free speech online when using university servers to access cyber community sites?
  • Does monitoring cyber community sites create a new “duty of care” and therefore open the institution to new liabilities?
  • What legal status do the provider’s terms of usage have on campus? Are there conflicting legalities between the cyber communities and the university?
  • What legal rights exist for an institution to document on-line actions in real world judicial proceedings?

As the digital world evolves so do the legal ramifications surrounding these popular sites. There is a need for developing policy and reconsidering procedures as campuses consider how these digital domains intersect with the real campus world.

We will also discuss issues such as:

  • What students may not, but should, know about their online community agreement.
  • How addressing student conduct online impacts a student’s Freedom of Speech.
  • If your institution reviews student activity/behavior/speech in online communities, are you as an institution opening yourself up to liability? Have you created a new duty of care standard that you will be held to?
  • What are the implications for using information obtained from online communities in judicial hearings? What can be used, what should be used, should you use it at all?
  • What are the implications of using this information in hiring or selection processes? Can or should cyber communities be consulted as part of the admissions process?
  • What is the most effective plan for educating students about the personal and professional dangers associated with online communities? What is working, what is not? We will discuss what best practices are being employed by institutions across the country today to educate students.”

I think it’s important to educate all student affairs practitioners about the complete picture of online communities. It is important for us to know whether or not we have a duty of care. However, I do not think that “fear sessions” create a technologically competent profession. Where are the NASPA, ACPA, and Paperclip sessions on Facebook/MySpace.com and their potential benefits to retention and academic success? I think we should look at technology like we look at other areas in student affairs. Why do we not think holistically about technology?

Technology and Student Affairs

Every time I think that I can shift my focus away from technology in student affairs…they pull me back in! This (see blockquote) is an online course that is being offered by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Can someone please inform ACPA and NASPA that technology is not an “emerging discussion.” It is this kind of language which causes student affairs administrators to remain stuck in 1995. Technology is CURRENTLY in use in student affairs! We have blogs, databases, wikis, rss feeds, vpn clients, web statistics, screenreaders, podcasts, etc. This course should be technical!

Who can I look to as a technology mentor in student affairs when almost everyone seems to think that technology and student affairs are mutually exclusive. NASPA needs to bring back the information technology knowledge community. ACPA needs to have highly technical classes on technology for student affairs practitioners. It is 2006. Technology needs to be part of our educational competencies. [end rant]

ACPA: Technology in Student Affairs

Course Description

iPods, Blackberry, MP3, and more! Today’s college students are awash in technology and have adapted it to their lives. How comfortable are we as college student educators with integrating technology into our professional lives?

This e-learning course is designed to provide an overview of the issues related to technology and the field of student affairs. Included in the course are sections on the current issues, decision-making, and practical applications. Discussion will center on the implications of technology in higher education and how it can best be managed within student affairs. Although technical aspects of technology will be discussed, it is not designed to be a “technical” course. A main objective for participants is to research and address a current technological issue with which they (or a functional area of interest) are dealing.

Course outcomes:

  • Participants will be introduced to the emerging discussion of technological decision-making in student affairs.

  • Participants will reflect on and discuss how professionals make technological decisions on their campus.

  • Participants will research an upcoming decision (or potential decision) related to technology, develop specific goals and strategies to address the issue at hand, and share results with other participants.

  • A comprehensive list of resources for participants will be provided by the instructor and expanded upon by the participants.

A history of web projects

The official title of my OSU Graduate Assistantship is “Student Affairs Web Specialist.” Here are a few of the projects that I have worked on since I arrived in Corvallis in 2004.

OSU Admissions old
When I first started my assistantship at OSU, the Admissions web site looked like this:

old admissions design

The site was in need of an overhaul. The first few months of my assistantship were spent fighting fires. Various issues would arise that would need taking care of, and a complete overhaul of the Admissions web site would not happen for a long time.

OSU International Admissions
The primary project that I was assigned to was managing the re-design of the International Admissions web site (the version that is currently up is a progression from last year’s design.).

old international design

The International Admissions web site was re-designed using web standards and user feedback. The site was easy to navigate and loaded quickly due to its css-based layout.

admissions international design

The re-designed International Admissions web site received positive reviews from the OSU community and from several external audiences.

Eric Stoller’s Blog
Initially, the ESB was used to house my technology workshop lessons/links. The focus shifted when I decided that the blog could serve as my portfolio for CSSA as well as a personal journal. I blogged about life, school, and work. Eventually, my social justice posts became the primary focus of the blog. I think this is probably due to the fact that my passion for social justice came to the forefront of my life while I was in the midst of a life changing experience. I built the blog using WordPress. The theme was a free theme that I shaped to my own devices. I’ve added plugins for subscribers and recent comments/posts. The flexibility of a css-based design has allowed me to change colors, font sizes, etc. The php include construction of WordPress enabled me to add search functionality and comment functionality to posts/pages where it did not normally appear by default.

Eric Stoller's blog screenshot

I have had quite the experience with the blog. It is personal. It is professional. It is a portfolio.

OSU Precollege
I was given this project as a quick and easy web re-design. The folks over at OSU Precollege needed a web presence that reflected a consistent look and feel of the overall OSU web. I utilized a template from OSU Publications and created a basic web site.

OSU Precollege web page design

The biggest challenge with this project was the lack of “client” communication. The site was created by yours truly in a design vacuum. It’s not usually the way I would like to work. I prefer a collaborative process in which stakeholder involvement drives the project. The previous Precollege site had not been updated for a long time, and I fear that the current site design will exist for far to long. Unfortunately, I think this reflects the belief that as long as a site is online it is functioning. I believe this creates a static, cob web ridden presence that does not involve the actual users of the site.

OSU Success
This site was designed by an external vendor but I had a large role in the accessibility and usability of the site. The site was initially constructed in a format that was deemed to be boring for its intended audience. First-year students need a site that encourages participation as well as incentives for return visits.

OSU Success

I learned a lot about working with an external vendor on this project. There was a lot of planning, communicating, designing, and thinking that went into this project. The final project was accessible as well as standards compliant. The student response was very favorable and the site differed from similar sites.

A blog was created to compliment the student OSU Success site. Students were selected from the orientation staff and trained in the art of blogging. Site statistics showed that we did not have the best results with regards to visitors. However, I believe that the blog was a great experience for the student writers as well as for the students who read it.

OSU Success Blog


OSU Success for Parents and Family

A companion site for Parents and Family was created to compliment the student version. Parents and family were given content which was relevant to their experience. The site design that was used was simple and easy to use. Once again, the site was accessible and highly usable.

OSU Success for Parents and Family

Basecamp
While working with the OSU Success vendor, I became aware that the amount of email correspondence was becoming unmanageable. I had recently discovered the 37 Signals project management application: Basecamp. OSU staff and the external vendor utilized Basecamp for file transfer, deadline creation, and intergroup communications. The tool became an online archive for everyone on the project. Basecamp became a key component to our overall communications and project management strategy.

Basecamp and OSU

I’m really glad that I suggested Basecamp. For me, this clearly represented how online applications can be used to streamline group processes and communications.

OSU Graduate School
OSU Publications designed a new web site for the OSU Graduate School. I stepped in and was able to manage the interface between the folks from Publications and the Graduate School. I taught the GS folks how to update the new site as well as how to navigate a site that was structured using css and includes.

OSU Grad School web site screenshot
OSU Grad School forms screenshot

The Graduate School now uses online forms for a variety of data transmission functions. This should save them a lot of time, money and effort. The new GS site and online forms provides a heightened user experience for student users due to increased accessibility, usability, and functionality.

OSU Admissions new
The OSU Admissions web site re-design project was a terrific experience. It was a collaborative experience in which OSU Publications and OSU Admissions joined forces to create a standards compliant, user-friendly site. The site utilizes css and includes. We focused a lot on separation of content from the design. The new site includes a blog that has received a lot of visits. Written by an Admissions staffer, the blog showcases OSU Admissions as well as the accomplishments of the OSU community. I created the blog using WordPress (my personal blogging experience enabled me to set up the blog). The Admissions template encloses the new blog so that the user experience is seamless. The new Admissions site continues to grow and search engine optimization will increase as the site expands.

OSU NEW Admissions design screenshot

Admissions site level 2 redesign screenshot

OSU Admissions website level 3 screenshot

OSU Admissions blog


OSU Document Management Project

The OSU DMP is using a blog (another WordPress blog that I created) to transmit information to key stakeholders as well as enable users to interact with the site. The project is enormous in scope and will utilize the blog to maintain a constant stream of communication with users.

OSU EM DMP Blog screenshot


OSU Student Affairs

I am in charge of re-designing the OSU Student Affairs web site. The current version (pictured below) is not standards compliant and it is due for an overhaul. The primary users of this site are internal users. The site will serve as a central hub of information. I plan on using code from the OSU Admissions site design. The Admissions code is accessible and the site structure efficiently separates content from design.

OSU Student Affairs web site original screenshot


OSU Student Affairs – redesigned

Oregon State University Student Affairs website

*One of my last projects will probably involve the creation of a wiki for OSU Enrollment Management IT. The wiki will serve as a repository of techie tips and experiential histories. I’ve never created a wiki before so I will need to research the wiki options that exist. OSU CWS currently uses a wiki and I will probably see if their site wiki would work for OSU EM IT.

Multicultural Action Plan (Journey)

A paper for my Multicultural Competency in Student Affairs class:

First of all, I want to clarify that I cannot stand the term, “plan.” It seems soulless when the context is multicultural action or social justice. A plan is something that does not reach my heart. For the purpose of this paper, I am going to use “journey” as the descriptor for what this document is all about. I think I’ve been on a multicultural competency journey since I started my graduate program. In the span of 2 years I have gained significant social justice “muscles.” I’ve written about white privilege, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, and ableism. I attended a multicultural institute. I have decided that I am going to be an anti-racist, feminist, ally. When I started my graduate program I talked about the importance of diversity but I was not aware of my white privilege. I was not aware that I was actively contributing to sexism. I did not realize that oppressions are interconnected. I was an ally for LGBT folks but I did not realize how much racism and sexism seeped from my psyche.

My journey into social justice is still in its infancy. It is my desire to use this paper as a letter to myself. It will serve as a reminder to me that I still have a lot of learning and self-awareness work to do. Hopefully I will read this paper 5 to 10 years from now and see progress. This paper will serve as my social justice time capsule. One of my professors said that living with purpose makes someone matter. Multicultural action and social justice are two things that matter in my life. I wrote a paper about how oppression harms the oppressor and I really feel that this place that I am now in allows me to work towards subverting the dominant paradigm and the system of institutionalized oppression that we all live in.

What multicultural issues do I want to learn more about?
Suzanne Pharr’s excellent work on the common elements of oppressions has helped me to understand the linkages of various oppressions. The oppression of one marginalized group via the marginalization of another group will not end oppression. I’ve heard this labeled as “the Oppression Olympics.” I really feel that this interconnectedness of oppressions is something that I need to research further. I also need to dialogue with others about how to articulate the fact that I truly believe that oppressions are all related. I have read a lot, but I need to experience more in my daily life. Thankfully, I have a great group of social justice educator friends who humor my thirst for conversation.

In addition to conversations, I am planning on reading more books by people of color, by folks who are transgender, by folks with disabilities, and by folks who write from the perspective of multiple oppressions. For example: radical women of color.

My knowledge of history needs to be re-made. I was taught that Columbus discovered America. How do Native Americans exist in that kind of educational system? I hope to use my white privilege to work towards re-educating my white sisters and brothers. I know very little. I have taken a few classes, read a few books, and had a few conversations, but I still have a lot of work to do. Another “issue” that I need to address is my own heritage. What do I know about Germany, Ireland, or the Cherokee Nation? Almost nothing. The truth of the matter is that I am white and my culture is unknown to me. I have to learn about my own history.

My social life

When I was growing up, all of my friends were white. I did not have any friends of color. None of the members of my family had friends of color that I knew of. Everyone that I associated with on a social level for the first two-thirds of my life were white, heterosexual, and low to middle class. Presently, I have friends of color, friends who are gay, and my partner is a woman of color. Does this mean anything? I think it means that I have come a long way in my understanding of what it means to appreciate and celebrate differences. My current friends are as diverse as my thinking. I have learned a lot from them. They have been so patient with me. Sometimes I feel like all I do is ask questions. Most of the time though, I feel like my social life is wonderful. I support my friends and they support me.

Conferences
As I continue my multicultural journey I have come to realize that I need to speak up sometimes. One venue where I feel that I need to voice my opinion in is the professional conference. When I hear a white person say something about “normal students” and then refer to students of color as “non-traditional,” I need to speak up. I think I will plan on presenting at the next NASPA conference. I think it would be appropriate if I presented a session on ally work from a student affairs context. Perhaps a half-day session so that material could be delved into. It has been too often the case, in my experience, that social justice sessions barely scratch a surface and rarely involve depth.

How will I approach institutionalized discrimination?

I think I will work hard to educate those who are in my sphere of influence that the institution is oppressive and works towards an educational subversion. White privilege is a powerful tool when it is used as a crowbar against oppression.

Blogs and Action
I have found that blogs, both reading them as well as posting on one, have proven to be a great way to connect with a diverse group of people. It takes a lot of energy to post on my blog as well as to take the time to read what other people are writing, but I think I have built virtual relationships that are fairly strong. They have been forged by our collective stance against oppression. Who knows if our blogs will always exist, but at the very least, they have given us ways to connect and to share with one another.

Conclusion
I realize that this journey letter, this plan, this smattering of thoughts is but a small part of my everyday existence. Multicultural competency is something that is an ongoing process in my life. I feel that I have so much to learn and to discover about myself but also about people all over the world. It’s frightening that someone can make it this far in life and still have no idea about who they are. The reality is that I am a long ways away from being a multiculturally competent student affairs practitioner. Most of the theories that I have been taught come from a supposedly generalizable, white-male specific foundation. I need to read about theories from people of color about people of color. I need to read about theories from LGBT folks about LGBT folks. My head is spinning with what I need to learn. (Eric — when you read this next, you need to have read some more, talked some more, etc.)

A faux legal memo

Note: This memo was created for my Legal Issues in Higher Education class. Pizzegenetics does not exist!

April 1, 2004

TO: Shaun Duncan, Vice President of Student Affairs

FROM: Eric Stoller, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs

SUBJECT: Cacophony at Central City University

I. Introduction

The primary purpose of this memo is to provide a functional working paper regarding the recent incidents with the Pizzegenetics Department. We are currently involved with two potential legal issues. Opra Ochre, a CCU student is threatening to sue the university regarding her rights to free speech while Wendy Dae, a researcher for Pizzegenetics is involved in a multifaceted issue. Wendy Dae is threatening to sue Opra Ochre for assault and discriminatory harassment as well as CCU for failing to protect her rights to safely conduct research.

Last year, CCU received a $23 million, six-year grant which has led to the increased scrutiny of the Pizzegenetics Department. Various media outlets, community action groups, and student organizations have literally lobbied for the stoppage of the Pizzegenetics project. However, there have been plenty of positive outcomes for the Pizzegenetics researchers. Time magazine recently ran a feature on their odorless garlic.

The Pizzegenetics Department consists of three professors and nine post-doc research assistants. The Pizzegenetics Department building is located near the Center for Genetic Engineering.

As you are aware, CCU prides itself in its “intellectual and civilized approach to addressing diversity and difference.” The recent incidents at the Pizzegenetics building have been very disturbing and serve only to undermine our mission. It has seemed that there has been a gradual build up to the unfortunate incident that occurred on March 25, 2006.

Thus far, the following events have transpired with regards to the Pizzegenetics project and CCU:

  • Several editorials have been written in the Moderate Radical.
  • Small, most unorganized protests outside of the Pizzegenetics building.
  • Two campus approved evening vigils.
  • Leaflets have been taped on cars near the Pizzegenetics building. (Note: The newspaper editorials, protests, vigils, and leaflet distribution have all been sponsored by the “Protest PG” movement.)
  • The Pizzegenetics building was broken into and vandalized. Several pieces of computer equipment were damaged and Pizzegenetics personnel are reporting the theft of a number of genetically engineered plants from the department’s rooftop.
  • CCU student, Opra Ochre vandalized numerous Pizzegenetics bulletin boards.

Before the last protest, the “Protest PG” movement had followed university policies and procedures. On March 25, 2006, the “Protest PG” movement held a protest outside of the Pizzegenetics building. The protest involved about 150 students as well as a few CCU faculty. The protestors disrupted classes through the use of a loudspeaker. They also passed out flyers with the names, addresses, and photos of all of the Pizzegenetics faculty and research staff. In addition to the flyers, “Protest PG” members have also created a website listing the same Pizzegenetics staff information.

During the protest, four Pizzegenetics researchers attempted to quiet the protestors. The conversation soon became heated and a shoving match ensued. Opra Ochre doused one of the researchers, Wendy Dae, with a “large cup of hot coffee.” Opra Ochre then threatened to “get even more physical if we have to, to stop you foreigners and your criminal corporate partners!” Wendy Dae responded by calling Opra Ochre “…a thief, an extremist – racist, a dangerous criminal!” Witnesses reported to CCU Campus police that Wendy Dae threatened to hit Opra Ochre.

II. Policy/Educational/Administrative Issues and Questions

There are several key university policies that need to be reviewed in order to establish a consistent response and review to this situation. Policies currently under review are: Campus Harassment, CCU Assault Policy, Free Speech, Disruption of Services, Campus Events (which includes the use of audio equipment during class times), Student Conduct Regulations, Hate Crime Policy, and our Human Resources Employee/Employer Agreement Contract.

I have spoken with CCU Office of Student Life and they did not receive any requests for space usage by the “Protest PG” organization. Prior approval is necessary when a group is using audio which may be disruptive to the CCU community. Our time, place, and manner rules may be called into question.

I believe that what we do to create campus community and the work that we do towards assessing our campus climate will be crucial in maintaining alignment with CCU’s mission and values. The faculty senate, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Campus Police, and University Counseling Services are putting on several open forums this month. They plan on creating safe spaces for dialogue with the hopes that the “Protest PG” students voice their views in a civil atmosphere. I have met with the editors of the Moderate Radical and they plan on covering the forums. Their advisor has assured me of balanced coverage which we hope will assure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Several questions exist which we need to consider and/or act upon:

  • Threats: Pizzegenetics researchers have been threatened with further violence. What can we as a campus do to protect our campus community from more violence?
  • Learning: What types of educational opportunities exist in which we can educate our community about activism and the sanctity of academic research? What student development considerations should we think about as we progress through this process?
  • Lawsuits: What are the liability issues to consider for these recent events? How can we address both Wendy Dae’s and Opra Ochre’s legal concerns? On one hand we have a researcher who is not feeling safe on campus and on the other; we have a student who feels that her right to free speech is being prohibited.
  • Student Conduct: What are the appropriate student conduct regulations for addressing this situation? Have Ochre’s previous conduct offenses been adjudicated? Has free speech and public protests been discussed amongst the Student Conduct Committee?
  • Student Life: Is “Protest PG” a registered student organization? If so, have they in any way violated CCU student organization policies?
  • Campus Police: What was the CCU Campus Police response to the protest? Were they on site before or after violence (specifically, the alleged coffee assault) occurred? How many individuals were arrested? Who is the appropriate contact person for CCU Campus Police? Are they communicating with CCU Public Affairs?
  • Training: Pizzegenetics staff did not call CCU Campus Police when the protest started. What can we do to train CCU personnel that the first thing they need to do is to call the CCU Campus Police so that they are informed of all protests?
  • CCU Public Affairs: Is CCU Public Affairs aware of FERPA and the need to communicate with the Registrar’s Office prior to any official press communiqués?
  • Campus Mission: How can we continue to address this situation intellectually and with civility while at the same time realizing that we will have to agree to disagree?

There are several questions that we need to discuss with many campus entities.

III. Legal Issues

a. Case Law

To assist with our discussions and to provide us with a legal framework, I have collected several cases that I feel can ensure that we approach our actions within the boundaries of the law.

Discriminatory Harassment:

Doe v. University of Michigan, 721 F. Supp. 852, 864 (Dist. E.D. Mich, 1989)

In this case, the University of Michigan had an anti-discrimination policy that “prohibited individuals, under the penalty of sanctions, from ‘stigmatizing or victimizing’ individuals or groups on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap or Vietnam-era veteran status” ( Doe v. University of Michigan, 1989). The case focused on whether or not the policy violated the First Amendment. The courts found that “the Policy swept within its scope a significant amount of ‘verbal conduct’ or ‘verbal behavior’ which is unquestionably protected speech under the First Amendment” ( Doe v. University of Michigan, 1989). The Michigan policy was too overbroad and thus found to be unconstitutional.

The UWM Post v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, 774 F.Supp. 1163

(E.D. Wis. 1991)

The “UW Rule” held that “the university may discipline a student in non-academic matters in the following situations: For racist or discriminatory comments, epithets or other expressive behavior directed at an individual or on separate occasions at different individuals, or for physical conduct, if such comments, epithets or other expressive behavior or physical conduct intentionally:

1. Demean the race, sex, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or age of the individual or individuals; and

2. Create an intimidating, hostile or demeaning environment for education, university-related work, or other university-authorized activity” (The UWM Post v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, 1991).

The courts determined that the policy or “UW Rule” regulated the content of speech, and was therefore unconstitutional. The policy was also considered overbroad.

Application:

Wendy Dae is threatening to sue Opra Ochre for discriminatory harassment. Our anti-discrimination policy will bear significant relevance if Dae sues Ochre. It has been proven that it is extremely difficult to regulate speech.

Freedom of Speech:

Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

The Des Moines School District suspended a group of students for protesting the Vietnam War. The students wore black arm bands which the school district’s no-armband policy. The students sued the school for violating their First Amendment rights. According to the U.S. Supreme Court:

The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on the part of petitioners. There is here no evidence whatever of petitioners’ interference, actual or nascent, with the schools’ work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the schools or the rights of other students (Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 1969).

Additionally, the court held that “in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression” students (Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 1969). Students maintain their constitutional rights to free speech when they are on school property.

Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 181 (1972)

This case focused on a university student organization and the organizations quest to become an officially recognized student organization. The case revolved around multiple issues, including: First Amendment protection and student organizations on state colleges and universities; time, place, and manner restrictions; and the difference between advocacy and action. Speech in the form of advocacy is entitled to full protection by the First Amendment while action is not.

The U.S. Supreme Court stated that “state colleges and universities are not enclaves immune from the sweep of the First Amendment” (Healy v. James, 1972). The Court found that it was unconstitutional for the university to stipulate that the students had to prove that they would not be a disruption to the campus. The burden of proof was instead placed on the university instead of the students, since placing the burden of proof upon the students was in effect a prior restraint on free speech.

Furthermore, the Court’s held that “while a college has a legitimate interest in preventing disruption on the campus, which under circumstances requiring the safeguarding of that interest may justify such restraint, a ‘heavy burden’ rests on the college to demonstrate the appropriateness of that action” (Healy v. James, 1972).

Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942)

This case dealt with “fighting words.” Fighting words are defined as words that are likely to cause a fight or to incite violence. Chaplinsky uttered several words that were determined to be fighting words, therefore they were unprotected. The First Amendment does not protect words which are “likely to cause a breach of the peace” (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942). Words that are limited “include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words-those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” as well as words that have a “direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remark is addressed” (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942).

Application:

The protest that occurred contained numerous aspects of speech. Although content of speech is extremely difficult to regulate, we might be able to restrict speech on the basis that the speech caused a disturbance. Opra Ochre’s threats to sue based on the alleged restrictions on her free expression seem slightly baseless considering the fact that Ochre’s words could be labeled as fighting words.

Time, Place, and Manner:

Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 268 n.5 (1981)

Relating to our current situation, this case involved the legal precedents of free speech within a public forum. A registered student organization was barred from conducting meetings in university facilities on the grounds that they were violating a university regulation which prohibited “the use of University buildings or grounds ‘for purposes of religious worship or religious teaching” (Widmar v. Vincent, 1981). The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that a university could regulate speech with regards to location.

According to the U.S. Supreme Court:

A university differs in significant respects for public forums such as streets or parks or even municipal theaters. A university’s mission is education, and decisions of this Court have never denied a university’s authority to impose reasonable regulations compatible with that mission upon the use of its campus and facilities. We have not held, for example, that a campus must make all of its facilities equally available to students and nonstudents alike, or that a university must grant free access to all of its grounds or buildings (Widmar v. Vincent, 1981).

Auburn Alliance for Peace and Justice v. Martin, 684 F. Supp. 1072 (M.D. Ala. 1988)

In this case, students at Auburn University sued their institution for forbidding them to hold a week-long campout at Auburn’s designated public forum area. The students stated that this violated their constitutional rights. Auburn University had a policy which regulated speakers and demonstrations on the campus. The policy stated that:

Auburn University recognizes and supports the rights of students, employees of all categories, and visitors to speak and demonstrate in a lawful manner in designated areas of the campus. In order to maintain campus safety, security, and order, and to insure the orderly scheduling of facilities and to preclude conflicts with academic and co-curricular activities, Auburn University reserves the right to reasonably limit such activities by…regulations regarding the time, place, and manner of such activities (Auburn Alliance for Peace and Justice v. Martin, 1988).

The federal district court determined that Auburn had a legal right to reasonably limit speech activities concerning their time, place, and manner. According to the court, “few would suggest that a university would be forced to allow a speech or demonstration in the reading room of the library” Auburn Alliance for Peace and Justice v. Martin, 1988).

Ward v. Rock Against Racism 491 U.S. 781 (1989)

This is another time, place, and manner case. The U.S Supreme Court “affirmed that government has a substantial interest in regulating noise levels to prevent annoyance to persons in adjacent areas…” (Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 1989). The protestors utilized a loudspeaker which definitely disturbed the Pizzegenetics personnel.

Barker v. Hardway, 283 F. Supp. 228 (S.D. W. Va.), affirmed, 399 F. 2d 638 (4 thCir. 1968 )

In this case, higher education institutions can suspend students if they participate in a disruptive demonstration which deprives people of being able to go about their business.

Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn, 460 U.S. 37, 45-46 (1983)

This case provides us with the consideration that activities which take place in a public forum receive “far more protection than expressive activities not undertaken in a public forum” (Kaplin & Lee, 1997, p. 360).

Buttney v. Smiley, 281 F. Supp. 280 (D. Colo. 1968)

This case provides information regarding the act of physically blocking entrances to campus buildings and preventing personnel or other students from using the buildings. I do not know if the protestors blocked the Pizzegenetics building but I believe that this could be pertinent pending the CCU Campus Police official report of the events that transpired.

Clark v. Community for Creative Non-violence, 468 U.S. 288 (1984)

This case provides us with further language as to how we define “reasonable.” Reasonable is defined as those restrictions on time, place, and manner that “are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, that they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and that they leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information” (Clark v. Community for Creative Non-violence, 1984).

Application:

Opra Ochre’s right to protest is supported by case law. However, the time, place, and manner of said protest is at the discretion of the university as shown by relevant court decisions.

Additionally, from Healy v. James (1972), “We . . . hold that a college has the inherent power to promulgate rules and regulations; that it has the inherent power properly to discipline; that it has power appropriately to protect itself and its property; that it may expect that its students adhere to generally accepted standards of conduct."

Due Process:

Fellheimer v. Middlebury College, 869 F. Supp. 238, 244 (D. Vt. 1994)

College student conduct hearings are considered to be an administrative function of a university. This case affirmed that students are “not entitled to the same procedural due process that they could expect in a criminal proceeding” (as cited in Mawdsley, 2004, p. 7)

Additional Information:

In addition to the case law mentioned above, there are also laws at the federal, state, and institutional level that needs to be addressed and enforced. I am including a few of the most relevant laws.

Federal:

First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment also is important with regards to academic freedom. Thus, both Opra Ochre’s free speech concerns and Wendy Dae’s freedom to conduct research fall under the protections of the First Amendment.

State:

Oregon Constitution Article I Bill of Rights, Section 8. Freedom of speech and press

“No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right” (Oregon Constitution). The State of Oregon buttresses the First Amendment and increases its efficacy.

Statutes:

FERPA / Buckley Amendment, 34 C.F.R. §99.31 (9)

Please be aware that Opra Ochre’s student records can only be disclosed to officials who have a “judicial order or subpoena” (Kaplin & Lee, 1997, p. 27). This must occur in conjunction with a “reasonable effort to notify the parent or student before disclosure” (Kaplin & Lee, 1997, p. 27).

Oregon Administrative Rules:

Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 576-015-0015

(1) Obstruction or disruption of teaching.

(2) Obstruction or disruption interfering with freedom of movement

(4) Detention or physical abuse

(9) Inciting others to engage in any of the conduct (mentioned above)

These rules provide CCU with a safe learning environment. The use of a loudspeaker meets 1 and 9 of this rule. The protest and the alleged assault match up with 1, 2, 4, and 9.

Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 576-005-0005

These are the time, place, and manner rules for speech in the Oregon University System. Visit: http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/rules/OARS_500/OAR_576/576_005.html for more information on Purpose and Scope; Definitions; Public areas; Access, traffic, and University Business Not to be Impeded; Notification; Use of Tables, Cart, Booths, and Similar Structures; Administrative Interpretation; Authorized Exceptions; and Enforcement. A copy of this as well as all of the OAR’s can be found in the CCU Office of Student Conduct.

Recommendations for Action:

Opra Ochre and the protestors violated multiple CCU regulations when they conducted their protest at the Pizzegenetics building. The Office of Student Conduct should plan on a lengthy adjudication process as numerous students were charged with offenses. The primary offenses focus around the violation of time, place, and manner restrictions.

Opra Ochre’s right to express herself is potentially nullified due to her use of “fighting words” and the aforementioned time, place, and manner guidelines. Opra violated CCU policies and several Oregon OAR’s, The Office of Student Conduct should move her hearing to the larger Student Conduct Committee since her offense is not as minor due to the coffee assault/”fighting words.”

I recommend that we form a campus coalition to immediately address the issues that I have addressed. The coalition should include: CCU Legal Counsel, the Dean of Student Affairs, Student Conduct, Campus Police, Campus Programs, CCU Student Life, CCU Student Government, CCU Counseling Services, Ombudsperson, Pizzegenetics administrators, and the Office of Access and Equity.

A discussion should occur with the “Protest PG” student organization. Their advisor should facilitate the scheduling of this meeting. It should potentially take place within the next 2 weeks. The conversation should be framed around our policies regarding student organizations, student rights and responsibilities, and the Oregon OAR’s.

Human Resources and the Office of Access and Equity should meet with Wendy Dae to discuss her potential suit. CCU Legal Counsel should be brought in on an as needed basis. Additionally, Wendy’s supervisor should be asked to join this meeting.

Conclusions, Implications, Questions:

I believe that it is in our best interest to set up a meeting with the CCU Office of Legal Counsel. This memo can provide us with a working document but it cannot take the place of legitimate legal scholarship. This situation has posed a significant challenge to our community. It is extremely important that we protect and advocate for the freedoms of our students, staff, and faculty. However, we must find a balance that is legally based that allows for free expression.

The increase in violent activity with regards to Pizzegenetics is very frustrating. The funding that they receive is a great boon to our overall budget and yet the research has caused a large amount of negative publicity and controversy. The community of Toppings has supported almost all CCU endeavors with the fervor of a booster club. However, it is crucial that we work with internal as well as external stakeholders to determine what can be done to create a better relationship for CCU, Toppings, and the Pizzegenetics project.

The potential for learning is great with a situation like this. Our students have shown a passion and a spirit for activism that has impressed most of our staff. However, we must works towards instilling a sense of accountability and responsibility amongst our students. After all, it is our goal and mission that they strive to become citizens of the world and it is our charge to help them with this lofty goal.

Security has been increased at the Pizzegenetics building and personnel have been instructed that they are to stay inside the building during protests. CCU Campus Police are installing security cameras in the building and are increasing their bike patrol presence.

Lastly, we need to strive to be as proactive as possible. The “Protest PG” student organization has stated that they are willing to dialogue with university officials and we need to make sure we take advantage of this opportunity to add value to their learning experience.

References

Kaplin, W.A. & Lee, B.A. (1997). A Legal Guide For Student Affairs Professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mawdsley, R. D. (2004). Student rights, safety, and codes of conduct. Legal Issues in the Community College, (125), 5-15.

Table of Cases

Auburn Alliance for Peace and Justice v. Martin, 684 F. Supp. 1072 (M.D. Ala. 1988)

Barker v. Hardway , 283 F. Supp. 228 (S.D. W. Va.), affirmed, 399 F. 2d 638 (4 thCir. 1968)

Buttney v. Smiley, 281 F. Supp. 280 (D. Colo. 1968)

Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942)

Clark v. Community for Creative Non-violence , 468 U.S. 288 (1984)

Doe v. University of Michigan , 721 F. Supp. 852, 864 (Dist. E.D. Mich, 1989)

Fellheimer v. Middlebury College, 869 F. Supp. 238, 244 (D. Vt. 1994)

Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 181 (1972)

Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn, 460 U.S. 37, 45-46 (1983)

The UWM Post v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin , 774 F.Supp. 1163 (E.D. Wis. 1991)

Tinker v. Des Moines School District , 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

Ward v. Rock Against Racism 491 U.S. 781 (1989)

Widmar v. Vincent , 454 U.S. 263, 268 n.5 (1981)

Federal Constitution

United States First Amendment

Oregon Constitution

Oregon constitution. (n.d.). Retrieved Apr. 01, 2006, from Oregon Constitution – Bill of Rights Web site: http://www.leg.state.or.us/orcons/orcons.html.

Statutes

FERPA / Buckley Amendment, 34 C.F.R. §99.31 (9)

Rules

Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 576-005-0005

Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 576-015-0015