Faculty Senate could clash with administration over protesting policy

UO Faculty Senate President Bill Harbaugh is worried about the university’s new protesting restrictions and fears the senate may not be able to agree with administration.

At the UO Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday in the EMU, Harbaugh said his goal is to have a large base of people look over the policy that restricts the time, place and manner of protesting on campus.

“We need to keep in mind it’s a university, and we are all about free speech and engaging in debate on controversial issues,” he said. “We need to make sure this policy does not restrict that right in unreasonable ways.”

The proposed regulation prohibits speech activity, such as picketing and protesting, from taking place indoors and instead must take place in designated free-speech zones. The rule may create controversy among students, especially with recent events in the U.S. federal government, such as the Immigration Ban and the gag orders on the Environmental Protection Agency.

“It may be in the end that we are unable to come up with a policy that the U of O administration will accept,” Harbaugh said. “In that case, they may, and they can, use their authority to pass a temporary policy of their own.”

Also at the meeting, the senate voted to create a new master’s program in Language Teaching Studies, which was already a concentration but is now being offered as its own degree.

Doneka Scott, the associate vice provost for student success, also spoke at the senate meeting about student retention, increasing four-year graduation rates, and the new online advising program, SSC Campus.

“SSC Campus is a tool we are fortunate enough to have on campus that really connects advisors and students and other staff that really advise students in other capacities that aren’t just academic,” Scott said. “Our goal is to have all advisors using SSC Campus by fall of 2017.”

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Emma Henderson

Emma Henderson