UO community leaders respond to conduct code violations: “cease the punitive measures”

Correction: This article previously reported that the UO Student Collective had written the letter to President Michael Schill, when in fact the letter was signed by leaders of the University of Oregon Senate, the GTTF, United Academics and the ASUO.

On Monday, a letter signed by various entities released a letter in response to the student conduct code violation charges being brought against those who participated in a protest that shut down President Schill’s State of the University speech on Oct. 6.

The letter was signed by University Senate President Chris Sinclair, Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation President Jessica Neafie, United Academics President Michael Dreiling, and ASUO State Affairs Commissioner Imani Dorsey.

The letter states that they “write in a unified voice,” to address their concerns with how the charges were brought upon the students involved in the Oct. 6 protest. They ask President Schill to “cease the punitive measures against students and engage in a dialogue without the cloud of threat or intimidation,” according to the letter.

The letter comes after Schill wrote an op-ed about the protest in the New York Times, an email was sent to the student protesters informing them of the charges being brought upon them from the university, and a UO grad student received the email though she claims to have not been at the protest.

In their letter, the signers state that President Schill “obscured the nature of the tensions that energized the protest and narrowly framed the circumstances in an analysis of free speech devoid of any consideration of the relationship between power and access to platforms for speech,” in his New York Times op-ed, published Oct. 23.

In the letter, the signers address President Schill saying that “the actions of your office, particularly your New York Times OpEd, have escalated tensions, and exposed our students to intimidation and ugly responses by online commenters.” The signers also state that they “find it disturbing” that President Schill did not foresee the negative comments that would be written to the students involved.

The response letter goes on to specifically state the seven problems that the signers found with the email informing the student protesters of the charges, sent by Associate Director for Student Conduct and Community Standards Katy Larkin on Oct. 30.

The problems they identify are factual ambiguities, anticipation of conflict — not engagement, lack of oversight, intimidation, investigatory errors, derailing due process and lack of just representation and counsel, according to the letter posted to Facebook on Monday.

The signers say that “this has gone too far,” and call to “de-escalate” the situation. The group of student activists “supports [Schill’s] call for debate and discussion about what transpired on October 6th,” they explained.

On Nov. 15, the UO Student Collective will be expressing their concerns to the University Senate. “This is a much better venue for beginning a campus dialogue than the other highly constrained venue that you have pursued thus far,” the signers wrote in its letter.

The letter, posted to the UO Student Collective’s Facebook page by Nicole Francisco‎, can be read here.

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Rylee Kahan

Rylee Kahan

Rylee Kahan is a News Reporter for The Daily Emerald. She is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and loves late-night coffee runs.