Harassment Charges for Student Who… Told Joke

Aug 27, 2014 by

No joke: A University of Oregon student was charged with five separate code-of-conduct violations for shouting a kind of funny, vaguely inappropriate four-word phrase out the window of a campus dormitory.

The female student was at a friend’s room inside UO’s Carson Hall when she decided to stick her head out the window and shout, “I hit it first,” at a random couple on the street. The couple yelled back at her and then later reported the incident to the floor’s residential advisor. The RA then made the student apologize.

The student contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which shared these details because of what happened next:

That did not end the matter, however. On June 13, the student was shocked to receive a “Notice of Allegation” letter charging her with five separate conduct violations for her four-word joke. In addition to dubious allegations of violating the residence hall’s noise and guest policies, UO charged the student with “[h]arassment,” “disruption,” and “[d]isorderly conduct.” …

As FIRE noted, the Supreme Court has defined peer harassment in the educational setting as conduct “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” as to effectively deprive the target of educational opportunities or benefits. The student’s isolated, four-word comment plainly fails to meet these criteria.

Harassment and disorderly conduct for making a lame joke? That sounds crazy, although if you read the campus’s absurdly broad anti-harassment policy, the student no doubt violated it:

via Harassment Charges for Student Who… Told Joke [Gasp!] – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

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