It is important to consider pedagogy and classroom management, particularly as they relate to contentious social issues and vulnerable populations. When these topics are discussed in class, students sometimes make declarations and accusations that, intentional or not, disrupt the learning environment.
Student speech, when related to class discussion and consistent with an environment conducive to learning, is vigorously protected by law and by university policy, even when such speech is offensive to others. At the same time, speech that is not relevant to class discussion and that disrupts the ability of our instructors to teach or our students to learn can be forbidden as disruptions of university activities in violation of policy.
The Office of the Provost actively supports faculty efforts to establish classroom environments that are, as UO Student Conduct Code makes explicit, environments “where the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual are respected.”
No one should face classroom challenges alone. Please report any incidents that take place in your classroom to your unit head.
The following resources are available to instructors seeking to educate themselves about how to address potential disruptions or other classroom challenges.
- The Teaching Engagement Program hosts a wide range of workshops, seminars, and conversations about teaching, as well as online resources such as Controversy on Campus and Difficult Topics/Strong Emotions/Challenging Moments.
- Respect.uoregon.edu provides information about identifying and reporting incidents related to bias, discrimination, or discriminatory harassment, and provides a list of resources for faculty and staff.
- The Division of Equity and Inclusion and the Center on Diversity and Community offer one-on-one consultations to faculty members and graduate employees seeking to confront classroom challenges and advance goals of equity and inclusion on our campus.
- The Office of the Provost website provides an index of resources for faculty looking for support on topics related to classrooms and teaching.
- The UO Student Conduct Code provides information to help you set expectations for your students about respectful classroom conduct. The conduct code states, “Engaging in behavior that could reasonably be foreseen to cause disruption of, obstruction of, or interference with the process of instruction, research, administration, student discipline, or any other service or activity provided or sponsored by the university” is considered a violation of the code.
- New classroom decals and posters will be posted in classrooms winter 2018, providing a quick reference for who to contact in case of classroom events and emergencies.
In case of an immediate threat to health or safety dial 911.
For more information, see the December 13, 2017 message from Provost Jayanth Banavar.