Here are the rules:
Take a shot every time you find a copy error on the front page.
You’re shitfaced at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning? Oh sorry. I guess I’ll have to think of new rules.
Archive for July, 2011
Here are the rules:
You’re shitfaced at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning? Oh sorry. I guess I’ll have to think of new rules.
Dear Oregon Daily Emerald i.e. Ol’ dirty,
You guys are seriously making this too easy. You could at least hide the egregious errorz. This is like handing out the Easter eggs two minutes into the hunt. Or maybe the West University/South Hills thieves got your copy editors (in which case I am very sorry for your loss–because that would not be a laughing matter at all. Not even a little bit.)?
I would like to take this time to point out that the all time number two search term referring to the Commentator blog is “bambi.” WTF.
Fox News is reporting that Peter Quint, the ASL professor who was fired over a comment he made to one of his students, is suing the University of Oregon. Since being suspended, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has stepped in, writing a letter to President Richard Lariviere demanding that Quint be reinstated for the 2011-12 academic year. (Read their investigation and letter here.)
There are two things going on in this case: the violation of Quint’s right to due process in being hastily suspended and the violation of Quint’s right to academic freedom in being fired for a comment that could have been interpreted widely. In regards to due process, the UO and the Oregon University system seem to believe they’ve got everything under control.
Quint’s lawyer disagrees, and is coming at the free speech debate from another angle: the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As an adjunct professor, Quint is not rewarded the same rights as associate or full tenured professors, which will greatly influence the outcome of the court case. Regardless, it is fantastic that Quint is standing up to UO administrators and fighting for his job. In every instance of a professor, adjunct or otherwise, not being granted the rights he or she deserves, a precedent is set for the next time the UO deals with a professor. And as I mentioned in my previous post, the UO administration already has a tenuous relationship with the first amendment. The time to act is now.
In the words of UO Matters, “Soon professors will need a concealed carry permit just to make a presentation with bullet points.”
Eugene, Ore. — On June 16 a Eugene man announced his intent to run for U.S. President in the 2012 Elections.
The announcement of Mark Callahan’s candidacy came via Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, as well as through news sources.
Callahan, 34, has previously run for several positions including the state legislature and school board, according to KEZI. Callahan received just over 3 percent of votes when he ran for state representative in 2010 and about 2 percent of the vote when he ran for position two in the Springfield Commissioner 2010 election.
On his election website, www.markcallahan.net, Callahan says that his age won’t be an issue: “I have consulted with the Federal Elections Commission, and they have confirmed that I am eligible, as long as I turn 35 by the time inauguration day comes.”
Callahan will be running in the Republican primary, though according to his website, he believes that the country was founded on “‘We The People’, not ‘We the (Insert Your Party Affiliation Here).'”
MyEugene.org reported that Callahan is the co-founder of co-founder of Lane County Citizens for Responsible Government and his professional experience is in computer technology. The same article stated that if elected, Callahan’s first act would be to “repeal ObamaCare.”
In 2010, the Eugene Weekly spotted Callahan at karaoke — “[…]Eugene native Mark Callahan, who sang Billy Idol”s “White Wedding” the same night I butchered Tom Petty. […]instead of making karaoke a social outing, Callahan chooses to go to the baralone, stay sober as a jaybird and sing as many songs as he can get in.”
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The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has launched an investigation into the termination of University of Oregon American Sign Language professor Peter Quint after he made what was perceived to be an off-color comment to a student in his ASL 203 class. A letter was sent from FIRE to University President Richard Lariviere on June 27 insisting that Quint be reinstated for the 2011-12 academic year.
In his 200-level ASL classes, as is the case with most 200-level language classes, Quint expected his students to not speak aloud — similar to a Spanish professor expecting students to not speak in English. He was having trouble with students not following this policy, so in order to attempt compliance, he relayed a personal story about being taken hostage in Pakistan, and how his ability to communicate via sign language saved his life. That was May 4th of this year. Then this happened:
Those ASL 203 students did not see Peter Quint again. Nor did anyone else at the university, as on the same day, Michael Bullis, the dean of the College of Education, sent Quint an email suspending him from teaching for the next day. The next day, Bullis sent Quint another email, suspending him indefinitely and promising to meet with him to discuss his future employment.
According to FIRE’s investigation, that meeting never happened, and on May 11 Quint received his final email from Bullis, dictating his termination.
The problems here are twofold — not only was Quint denied the due process that should have been afforded to him as an employee of the University of Oregon, his free speech was infringed upon, as FIRE mentioned in its June 27 letter to President Lariviere:
FIRE is demanding that President Lariviere apologize for Bullis’ actions, reinstate Quint for the 2011-12 academic year and remove all records of this from Quint’s employment files. They are also expecting a response from the university by July 18.
The most alarming part of this situation is the complete lack of due process that Quint was granted throughout this situation. The University of Oregon has a tenuous relationship with the first amendment on campus, which was seen clearly through the Pacifica Forum debacle, but also through an interview with Dean of Students Paul Shang in the January 26 issue of the Oregon Commentator. Dr. Shang was asked, “The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has listed the UO as a Red Light school for its speech code policy. How do you juggle the responsibility of providing free expression and student safety?” His response [emphasis added]:
Let go for a minute of the fact that Dr. Shang didn’t really answer the question that was asked. What he did there was create a dichotomy: freedom of speech vs. access to education and student safety. Not only does this show a lack of understanding of the First Amendment and its scope, it has potential parallels to this situation with Peter Quint: did the UO terminate Quint’s employment because they were worried about the safety of his students? We can take the skepticism a step further: was the UO protecting itself from the potential backlash and bad press of having students “feel threatened” by a comment made by a professor?
Legally, neither of these concerns holds any weight. FIRE is no stranger to communication with the University of Oregon, and has been at least somewhat successful in its endeavors. Heck, the Oregon Commentator is still around. Let’s hope that this case is no different, and Professor Quint receives the process he is due.
(Note: FIRE has a “take action” link at the end of its blog post about this issue where readers can click a button to send President Lariviere a letter urging him to reinstate Quint. The key sentence in the form letter: “The rights of UO faculty are very fragile indeed if the university believes it can dismiss its instructors for their classroom comments without even presenting any formal charges against them, much less allowing them the opportunity to address and rebut such charges.”)
On June 6th, Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark proposed a relatively simple idea to the Council: schoolchildren are required to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in class, so the Eugene City Council should be required to say it at the start of its meetings, too.
What ensued was a month of debate, controversy and notoriety, the likes of which most Eugenians were not prepared for.
Clark’s initial mention of the proposal, which was brought to the council officially on June 20, was met with minor support, but mostly skepticism from his fellow Councilors. The proposal would allow for the recitation of the Pledge at the Council’s regular meetings, where the eight councilmen could recite if they chose, and the audience would have an option to join in if they were so inclined. But those in attendance accused Clark of political posturing.
The next week, when the idea again came before the council, there were worries about the implications of a mandatory pledge — worries that were stated by Mayor Kitty Piercy. She believed that the pledge would be a divisive measure, making those who chose not to recite seem as though they were not patriotic. So she proposed a compromise.
And even at the next meeting, most Councilors seemed skeptical. Councilor George Brown even suggested to Clark that he should say the Pledge in ceremony in the privacy of his own home. Clark seemed disappointed.
The compromise that Mayor Piercy proposed at the June 13th meeting eventually made its way into law last week, passing by a vote of 6-2. The Pledge will be said at the four meetings closest to “patriotic holidays of Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July.”
But that’s not even the interesting part.
In hearing about the story, Fox News sent a crew down from Seattle to cover the story. And in their coverage, the meeting was characterized completely differently. From the Register-Guard:
To be fair, Fox’s coverage leaves much to be desired.
What did the vote accomplish, really? And what would the harm have been in allowing those who wish to pledge allegiance to the United States of America that right at the beginning of a public, government meeting? One of the main oppositions to saying the Pledge was that Councilors already swore an oath to uphold the Constitution when they took office, as the Register Guard notes:
Another is that saying the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings could be a divisive force — potentially, those who choose not to recite it could be deemed anti-American or some other such nonsense. This was Mayor Piercy’s main opposition, and a sentiment that seemed to echo throughout both the Council and the community.
By allowing Councilors and those attending City Council meetings the option to say the Pledge of Allegiance at a public meeting in which government employees are conducting official business would serve to both remind those in attendance and decision-makers why the processes in which we make community decisions are in place (hey, thanks for democracy, America) as well as — and this is arguably a more important point — allow legislators the choice to express their freedom of speech in a forum that is supposed to protect that right for the rest of the community (among doing other things, of course).
In any community with one predominant viewpoint, regardless of attempts from individuals, a pervading idea is generally more highly respected than the ideas of the minority. The best decisions come from discussion of differing viewpoints, from individuals feeling empowered and inspired to express their opinions — even if that opinion is love of flag and love of country.
For example, for the first time since 1911, Oregon actually passed a redistricting bill that was signed by Governor Kitzhaber without major revisions or the need for the task to be handed to the Secretary of State. The bipartisan bill passed overwhelmingly in both the Oregon House and Senate — comprised of 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans, and 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans, respectively.
The conversations that occurred in the creation of what had the potential to be a highly political action actually helped to create a solution that has the ability to benefit all Oregonians. Being able to express opinions and share different beliefs can be beneficial to a society. Cities are birthplaces of innovation precisely for that reason — having your viewpoints challenged is inspiring.
The City of Eugene would do well to keep this in mind when deciding how to organize their meeting proceedings. A city that claims to be so tolerant and accepting of new ideas should probably start being tolerant and accepting of the old ones, too.