US09/10-15 - Establishment of a UO Senate Ad Hoc committee to review existing language and policy regarding academic freedom on UO campus

Sponsored by:     Carl Bybee, Journalism

For Senate Action:    April 14, 2010

Create a UO Senate Ad-Hoc Committee to Review existing language and policy regarding academic freedom on UO campus

The motion: that the University Senate shall create an Ad-Hoc committee on Academic Freedom Language and Policy Review to assess the adequacy and coverage of existing institutional policies found in faculty handbooks, university policies, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and occasionally state laws or regulations that affect faculty speech or expressive activity; and that, if the committee finds existing policies are insufficient, it will propose alternative policy and/or language and will present their report to the UO Senate at the first senate meeting of winter term 2011 academic year. The Senate President will fill this committee by consulting widely with regards to nominations and making a recommendation to the Senate Nominating Committee The Senate Nominating Committee will then bring the nominations forward to the UO Senate for confirmation.


In the 2006 case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when public employees speak pursuant to their "official duties," the First amendment does not protect them from employer discipline. Although the decision specifically set aside academic speech, several lower courts have ruled recently that faculty members who speak out on matters affecting their institutions are not protected under the First Amendment. This series of decisions poses significant potential threats to academic freedom at public colleges and universities, including our own campus. These events call for an immediate review of UO policy and potential recommendations for policy revision. This issue is a current highlighted initiative of the national AAUP.

Financial Impact: No financial impact.

Related documents:

AAUP initiative and resources regarding this current challenge to academic freedom can be found at []

Article on Academic Freedom by Cary Nelson, AAUP President

last updated on 01 April 2010 by ms