The University of Oregon Senate voted to support one of the UO Student Collective’s resolutions at the Senate meeting on Wednesday after 13 of the collective’s members were charged with student conduct code violations by university administration in October.
The passage of this resolution shows the Senate’s support of the Student Collective and that members of the senate will stand by the Student Collective as the students navigate charges of violating the Student Conduct Code. The Senate is a body of representatives of UO faculty, student body and administration who work to address issues in the university community through passing legislation and creating task forces.
On Oct. 30, each student was charged with “disruption of the university” and “failure to comply.” The violations came after the students held a protest of UO President Michael Schill’s “State of the University” speech on Oct. 6. Protesters took the stage and the speech was canceled. A few hours after the protest, the Student Collective released a list of 22 demands. A coalition of student activists, its demands hinged on the rights and safety of marginalized students on campus.
On Tuesday, Schill and Provost Jayanth Banavar wrote a letter to the Senate that was published to the Senate website. The letter recommended that the Senate should not support the collective’s list of resolutions because the administration found the wording of the resolutions to be inaccurate in certain sections.
For example, the Student Collective’s resolution stated that UO welcomed white supremacist groups to campus. Schill and Banavar’s letter states that this was not true, as the university cannot legally deny any group from being on campus, “unless they constitute true threats to the physical safety of members of our community.”
The Senate voted to divide the resolution into two parts to simplify the resolution. Part one addresses the issues with student conduct code inconsistencies regarding free speech and civil disobedience and peaceful protesting. Part two addresses the university’s attitude towards the white supremacist groups invited to campus, and how they are a danger to student safety.
The UO Student Collective first presented its resolutions at the Senate meeting on Nov. 15, when the Senate was informed it would vote on the resolutions on Nov. 29. The UO Student Collective made changes to the initial resolution on Nov. 29 to emphasize the student body’s right to free speech and clarify the resolutions overall.
According to Senate President Chris Sinclair, the Senate bylaws state that any resolutions the Senate votes on must stand for two weeks before voting. In order to vote on the passing of part one of the resolutions, the Senate had to vote on a suspension of the rules.
The Senate voted to suspend the rules to vote on the first resolution on Nov. 29 due to the impending deadline of the charges the Student Collective is facing on Dec. 8.
The resolution call for the UO administration to “cease the Student Conduct disciplinary charges” against the protesters and support the collective’s attempt to “create meaningful structural change” on campus.
Part two of the resolution proposes that the UO Senate should “urge administration to pledge that they will use their position of power to deny White Nationalists and hate groups a platform on this campus.”
Correction: This article previously reported that the UO Senate voted on all the UO Student Collective resolutions. In fact, the Senate has only voted on part one of the resolutions. This article has been changed to reflect this information.