Campus Free Speech

Harassment Charges for Student Who… Told Joke [Gasp!]

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Fires
Christof Berger / Wikimedia Commons

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:

"Harassment" means (a) Intentionally subjecting a person to offensive physical contact; Unreasonable insults, gestures, or abusive words, in the immediate presence, and directed to, another person that may reasonably cause emotional distress or provoke a violent response (including but not limited to electronic mail, conventional mail and telephone) except to the extent such insults, gestures or abusive words are protected expression;

Hurting another person's feelings may be wrong, but it isn't a criminal action, and it shouldn't be subject to sanction at any university where the First Amendment applies.

If the administration decides to proceed with these charges, the student has her choice of an "Administrative Conference," where decisions are final and "restorative justice" or "conflict resolution services" are likely outcomes, or a "Student Conduct and Community Standards Panel Hearing," where possible punishments include suspension and expulsion and the standard of proof is "more likely than not" to have occurred.

FIRE is insisting that UO drop the charges and alter its policies to comply with free speech requirements.

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  1. WHAT

    THE

    FUCK

    1. What? You actually hit it first?

  2. Poor taste? Yes.
    A confession that she listened to some crappy Ray-Jay song? Yes.
    An indication of the increasingly crass and promiscuous behavior of millenial women as a whole? (DISCLAIMER: this blanket statement is not intended to suggest every single XX of the millenial generation is this way, just that the broad culture is trending that way): yes.

    Something that should be punished by the university and result in charges of harrassment? Nah.

    1. There’s a song called I hit it first?

      Do I have to search YouTube?

      1. There is indisputable video evidence that he did hit it first.

        1. Holy crap, I just educated myself about that song, and somehow I feel stupider, if you can imagine…

          1. +1 upvote for the best answer!

        2. I somehow doubt that’s true. Was there bleeding in the video? I’m gonna guess he hit it somewhere around #50, give or take ten. He was just the first one to co-star in her celebrity whoredom.

          1. Yeah, because every virgin bleeds.

            1. Yeah, because women typically film their first sexual intercourse ever for the world to see?

              I’m simply asking for evidence that he was indeed her first, as given KK’s reputation, I find that harder to believe than Elizabeth Warren becoming a Rothbardian.

              1. He never claimed to be “her first.” He merely hit it before some others. If I say, “I got ice cream first!” because I’m in front of you in line, does that mean I’m the first person ever to eat ice cream? Or just that you haven’t gotten yours yet?

                1. More R&B songs need to be about eating ice cream.

                  1. How about milkshakes?

            2. A pity. Still, the absence of a bloody sheet meant little, by itself. Common peasant girls bled like pigs upon their wedding nights, she had heard, but that was less true of highborn maids like Margaery Tyrell. A lord’s daughter was more like to give her maidenhead to a horse than a husband, it was said, and Margaery had been riding since she was old enough to walk.

              1. AC, a friend of mine lost hers to a balance beam. It sounded much more painful than the time I clipped the road while making a sharp turn on a bike and took a bike frame to the nuts.

                1. AC, a friend of mine lost hers to a balance beam.

                  Ewwwwwwwww………

                  It sounded much more painful than the time I clipped the road while making a sharp turn on a bike and took a bike frame to the nuts.

                  Owwwwwwww…….

        3. If Bobby Brown made a remix of “I Hit It First” dedicated to Ray J, would it be accurate? Or merely inappropriate?

          1. If Bobby Brown made a remix of “I Hit It First” dedicated to Ray J, would it be accurate? Or merely inappropriate?

            Following a long tradition in R&B/Soul music, actually.

      2. Ya, the dude that did the sex tape with Kim Kardashian put out a song with that title directed at Kanye or Reggie Bush or that month-long basketball hubby of hers or something.

        I never quite understood it myself. It’s like being first in line at McDonald’s in the morning. Sure, you got your egg mcmuffin before the next schmuck, but everyone in line is gonna get theirs too. Ain’t like its some crazy accomplishment.

        1. Ya, the dude that did the sex tape with Kim Kardashian put out a song with that title directed at Kanye or Reggie Bush or that month-long basketball hubby of hers or something.

          Oh, OK. I believe the proper term for that is “Patient Zero”

        2. To me, Kim Kardashian looks like a homely transvestite.

          1. IMO, she’s a testament to the power of CGI.

            She clearly goes through much more work to look like a human than the humans went through to look like apes in either of the most recent Planet Of the Apes movies.

          2. Just who the hell is this Kim Kardashian, what the hell did it do, where the hell is it, where did it come from, is Kim a guy’s or gal’s name and why the hell should any one, let alone, myself, care?

    2. An indication of the increasingly crass and promiscuous behavior of millenial women as a whole? … : yes.

      1. Hmm cut off.

        What?

        1. I’ll take the cut off as the squirrels way of nodding in consensus.

    3. You just can’t stop digging, can you? Do you ever say anything whatsoever that isn’t repulsively collectivist?

      1. Yes, because pointing out broad cultural trends that are plainly evident while simultaneously caging it in a disclaimer intended to serve notice that not all individuals will align with this broad trend is somehow collectivist, right?

        FFS, trends in the popular culture exist. You may think of them good, bad, or indifferent. If I were to say people are, as a whole, less racist than they were in the 1850’s, would that be fucking collectivism?

        1. Wow, you really don’t understand what collectivism is, do you. It’s not collectivist to say people have less polio, or are less racist. That’s an observation. But to say that all women–whom I’ll guarantee you haven’t met OR had sex with–are “more promiscuous” is fucking asinine. You’re projecting your own bitterness about women onto all of them. It’s REALLY fucking obvious, yet you can’t see it.

          If you really can’t see the difference, you need to talk to someone who can explain it you.

          1. An indication of the increasingly crass and promiscuous behavior of millenial women as a whole?

            As a whole, defined as “generally” or relating to the single whole unit, but not the separate parts.

            That entire goddamn wording is meant to indicate this is a broader cultural trend. Perhaps my wordings of crass and promiscious were deemed “judgey” and connotative in describing that trend, but my description of the trend clearly indicates that its an observation of a trend (akin to less people are racist than in 1850) while maintaining that this observation of the broad culture does not mean the any particular individual within the culture is so inclined.

            You don’t like the statement because of its snoconz sounding judgement. That’s fair. I’m not sure how I really feel about the trend either. Sometimes it works to my short term benefit. But its not collectivist. It’s a recognition of a cultural phenomenon and identifying this behavior (at least in its crassness, if the promiscuity is a somewhat debatable point as noted by Nikki) as symptomatic of that trend.

            1. Epi’s on the rag.

          2. “to say that all women–whom I’ll guarantee you haven’t met OR had sex with–are “more promiscuous” is fucking asinine”

            Ten bucks says he’s a virgin, or hasn’t gotten any for at least ten years.

            That’s the general trend. When I see small-l libs spitting out the misogyny, it’s because they cannot get any of those women they so passionately hate — that’s why they hate them so much.

      2. What’s left that isn’t? 🙁

    4. An indication of the increasingly crass and promiscuous behavior of millenial women as a whole?

      What, exactly, was promiscuous? Is it automatically promiscuous to have had sex with someone else’s boyfriend before they did?

      1. Shouting its barbaric yelp over the rooftops like some post-modern Walt Whitman could be considered as such…

        1. As promiscuous? Maybe if she was topless while she did it. Maybe.

          Or maybe if she was actually fucking multiple guys while she did it.

          You know. If she had been doing something actually promiscuous.

          1. or if she had sex with indiscriminate partners while shouting it.

          2. A female bragging about sexual exploits would be considered promiscuous behavior in eras past, and by a reasonable contingent today. But you raise a fair point in terms of how it would be viewed by a good enough portion today. However I think crass is at least an appropriate term for it.

            1. Only to people who don’t actually know the definition of “promiscuous”.

              You’re not only droning on boringly, but you don’t even know the definition of the words you’re using.

              1. There’s an old sayin where it concerns self-reported sexual history. Take a woman’s number and multiply by 3, take a man’s number and divide by 3.

                The implication is that if she is loudly yelling that she hit it first, she also managed to bang multiple other dudes.

                1. There’s an old sayin where it concerns self-reported sexual history.

                  If the average of the women isn’t very nearly equal the average of the men, your subjects are lying or the population selection is skewed.

            2. It’s actually funny and not crass at all.

              I hit it first could mean anything although it has obvious connotations.

              The fact that she said it to a couple is very funny as it could have been interpreted either way.

        2. Shouting its barbaric yelp over the rooftops like some post-modern Walt Whitman could be considered as such..

          I laughed.

      2. It’s even worse than that, it was apparently shouted at some random people. How is a joke shouted out of a window an indication how promiscuous this individual is, never mind an entire generation of women.

      3. Anything not done in the name of monagamous, heterosexual, state sanctioned marriage for the sole purpose of breeding more red blooded ‘Mericuns is permiscuios Niki, duh.

        Also, apparently they tell me you are the worst…..

        1. I know, I really am the worst. I had no idea how much I could have increased my whoring quotient simply by yelling at passersby.

          1. Yes, but now you do know. So you can become even worse.

          2. The important thing is you are constantly striving for improvement.

            Perfection *is* an attainable goal!

          3. STELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

          4. Some buddies and I used to drive around the campus when the freshmen were moving in yelling at fathers about the obscene things that a middle reliever for the 93 Mariners was going to do to their daughter.

            I should be on the university equivalent of death row for the shit I did in Uni.

        2. Always remember, you can’t spell heterosexual without hate.

      4. What, exactly, was promiscuous? Is it automatically promiscuous to have had sex with someone else’s boyfriend before they did?

        I think he was referring to Kim Kardashian’s video sex practices and/or string of boyfriends/husbands and the loud, public associative proclamation.

        Just as if a man or woman had shouted “I’m hornier than Ron Jeremy!” out the window and, despite no indication of a sex act on their part, you’d get an impression of their level of promiscuity.

    5. What’s wrong with promiscuous behavior?

      1. Nothing, so long as you’re a guy…..

        1. That seems to be the consensus. In my humble opinion if you find a stable, intelligent, fun, sexual, and promiscuous woman she is a treasure and is far more marriage material than others. Moralizing about women having sex is beyond my comprehension.

          1. I’d settle for stable.

          2. “…if you find a stable, intelligent, fun, sexual, and promiscuous woman…”

            Yeah, and wave to Mr. Snuffleupagus and say hi to the Machine Elves wherever you find her.

            1. Just because you’re a virgin doesn’t mean that those ladies aren’t out there.

  3. *switches Amazon Smile account to FIRE*

    If you want to have an “anti-harassment policy,” stop stuffing your face at the Great American Trough of Pelf.

    1. I have to thank the reason commentariat. I learned about Amazon smile through some other story. I don’t buy a lot on amazon for personal use (mainly because I don’t buy much that isn’t food). However I do get a few things here and there for work.

      I feels good to know that when I’m spending company money, IJ is getting a little cut of that.

      Now if only my major materials suppliers had the same program…. Too bad it’s all commodities. Not much profit to squeeze out of that.

    2. SUPER IDEA!!!!

  4. Shit is going downhill fast…

    1. Ditto. That women was obviously a deranged lunatic who else would go around hitting ‘it’ (which I can only take to mean genitalia) she’s lucky she wasn’t thrown into jail.

  5. Simple test, really.

    Does she weigh the same as a duck?

      1. So, do we burn her?

        Ironically, it looks like FIRE won’t…

    1. Who are you, so wise in the ways of science?

    2. What else floats?

      1. Very small rocks? Gravy?

      2. Apples! Churches! Lead!

  6. Joke em if they can’t take a fuck

  7. How is that a joke?

    1. The Monty Python reference, or the original ‘shout out’ to the fragile couple?

  8. Hate speech.

  9. How thin-skinned do you have to be to take something like this to the university?

    1. Oh man you do not want to know the answer to that question. Some people are the biggest quisling dicks because they love the power of being able to get others in trouble.

        1. In my defense I had drunk a lot of cough syrup.

          1. +1 Purple Drank

          2. Was it hempen cough syrup?

  10. When are students going to start rejecting these schools and going to campuses that respect their individual rights?

    I know the marketplace is distorted by state money, but I hope these students begin to find ways to communicate, rate these universities as to ‘student rights/friendliness’, and then just avoid the abusive schools.

    1. Those schools cannot exist.

      1. Which can’t exist: a school that doesn’t take state money or one that can’t respect student’s rights and treat them like a paying customer?

    2. My state recently allowed enhanced CCW permit holders to carry on campus, and campu security sent out so many emails to “clarify the rules” and “assure people that campus was still safe” that you’d think that instead of allowing law abiding citizens to carry instead the legislature had announced that they were going to release all the inmates from the criminally insane hospital onto campus. I did enjoy the uquestion and answer section when one liberal professor wanted to know if they could post a sign at the classroom door barring guns in their classes or kick someone out of class for carrying. The university president had to state that would be illegal and the professor would be punished 🙂

  11. A friend of mine had me yell out his dorm window at his political science professor that the Soviets were right to invade Hungary. I assumed that was the current lesson. No. It turns out said professor had escaped Hungary. I may actually have hit the guy after finding that out.

    Good times.

    1. Back in the day, my dormmates and I had a game where we would yell the phrase “13 inch cock” as loud as we could out windows and down staircases.

      College.

      1. One time in College I had a Miller High Life and it tasted kind of good.

        1. You sick little monkey!

        2. The champagne of beers.

      2. How promiscuous of you.

        1. I was the most promiscuous dude in the LARP group, yes.

          1. So you were the rogue?

            1. Could be a barbarian who simply enjoyed the lamentations of their women.

            2. Sure, the brotha had to be the thief! I’ll have you know my Detect Traps is only 15%!

              1. Jeez man, don’t report me to the RA!

      3. In college a girl I knew would scream “Jesse’s ball sack!” as loud as she could. I’d usually oblige by dropping trou.

        1. Awww…

          See, Jesse knew/knows how to get along. What’s up with these prigs?

      4. What a coincidence, that’s what my dates scream as well.

      5. High school.

    2. My friend and I used to wander up to the girls’ women’s floors in our dorms and walk through quickly. If anyone said anything, we’d just yell, “BLOW ME!”

      So mature.

      1. We lured a squirrel into a dorm room and herded it down the hall to the women’s showers. Much hilarity ensued.

        1. Now the squirrel gets its revenge by messing up your comments on occasion.

    3. So… you applied the fist of etiquete to your friend? 😀

  12. I tried to figure out where this story took a turn from my college experience. Obviously the couple would have laughed it off 30 years ago, particularly if the joke came from a woman.

    Second and more importantly, the Advisors in my dorms were Juniors or Seniors who got better rooms and a little money to make sure we didn’t burn the place to the ground. If they had actually located the RA, he would have laughed at the complainers and told them to lighten up.

    I bet the floor’s residential advisor in this story is a full-time salaried professional. Yet another reason college costs so much and sucks so bad these days. Can’t let a chance to justify that salary and bust balls go to waste – so this is what we get.

    1. You’d be surprised how tyrannical some of the upperclassmen RA’s can be. I got written up twice freshman year by the same fuck. Once for being in the same room as a guy with a nerf gun (it’s a simulated wehpunn!) . The same prick hosted a floor wide nerf gun fight the next year.

      1. Seriously? One of my RA’s kept a fucking AR-15 in his room…

  13. So what do we think of the people who actually reported this?

    1. Coming to an HOA near you.

    2. Future political leaders?

      They could still go either Blue or Red Team.

  14. The couple yelled back at her

    then later reported the incident to the floor’s residential advisor.

    One of these actions was appropriate.

    1. My RA had a complaint drop box hanging over a trash can. The bottom of the box was cut open so all the complaints would just fall into the trash.

  15. Let’s recap:

    -A female students shouts out “I hit it first” to a hetero couple

    -Said couple doesn’t play off that statement, and, instead, gets mad.

    -Couple reports harassment to admins.

    C’mon…not even a simple, “Honey, is that TRUE?!?” from the guy?? WTF are they teaching in colleges these days? ARE they teaching?

    1. Was she referring to the male or the female?

      1. I think that’s part of the “beauty”, if you will, of her shout-out.

        Who really knows? Maybe she’ll be deposed, and will answer that question.

      2. You see, dear, THAT’S THE JOKE!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xECUrlnXCqk

        1. Maybe a, “BUT I HIT IT BEST!” would have been ample? Then, we wouldn’t have this wonderfully ridiculous article or thread.

    2. Not even a threesome request from the guy? His head is not in the game.

  16. So I’m now seeing a market for making a college ranking site based on how overly sensitive the college administration is. Bonus, both the over sensitive and the sane could use the site to find their ideal college.

    1. A scale of 1 to 10 pussywillows

  17. i remember when people thought being politically correct meant not calling people ‘nigger’ or waving your genitals at women.

    how naive we were

    1. Nonsense, I saw both of those things in a Trick Daddy video just recently.

  18. 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.

    Seriously? 1.25 charges per word? And no one looked at this and thought “maybe we’re overreacting?”

    1. They had the local police department teach them about trumping up charges.

  19. I have no idea why that is a joke, and that’s what’s wrong with the kids these days.

  20. What’s wrong with being sexy ?

    SexIST !

  21. Reminds me of back in 1980 when I first got my drivers license. I’d drive my friends around and whenever we saw a couple then one of us would yell, “Fuck her, I did!” Yeah, it was stupid and juvenile. But isn’t part of the joy of being young being able to say and do stupid things with few repercussions? Alas, no more…

  22. Counting down the days before the University backs off that stupid call. Thank you FIRE for all you do.

  23. “Harassment” means (a) Intentionally subjecting a person to offensive physical contact; Unreasonable insults, gestures, or abusive words, in the immediate presence, and directed to, another person that may reasonably cause emotional distress or provoke a violent response

    Everything in that is COMPLETELY subjective. It is, by default, arbitrary, capricious and should not stand as any kind of rule/reg. (especially at a public university)

    1. Isn’t that what they want so the truly enlightened can decide what they will and will not allow us too do and we don’t have any recourse?

  24. These colleges are run by worthless liberal pussies. God Damn, i look forward to a civil war with the progtards. They will be in fora very rude awakening.

  25. Lame Ducks…

  26. And we just had PJ O’Rourke beaming about the wonderfulness of today where his kid has never been in a fight. Yes, the feminized world of the millennials where nobody can be offended less the government put you in some dungeon.

  27. I find it funny that this was against a woman.

    Welcome to equal rights; stupidity is a bitch!

    I would like some context to whether she was shouting shitty rap lyrics, or if she was inebriated and announcing a conquest.

    On a side note, I have noticed my younger Marines tend to come to me with silly problems such as this. It seems a generation threatened with suspension for school yard brawls feels submitting meaningless problem to “authority” as a worthwhile way to deal with their petty nature.

  28. I read the Wikipedia entry on “I Hit It First”, and I still don’t understand why it’s supposed to be either funny or offensive.

    1. It’s supposed to be offensive because the joke is about sexual activity. Violence is good, sex is bad. It’s supposed to be funny because you’re attempting to both slut shame a woman by implying she is promiscuous and it’s supposed to be insulting to the person with them that they didn’t take their virginity. I think I’d refer you to Jackass and comedians like Sacha Baron Cohen which have popularized insulting others as high humor. IMHO, we’re in backward world thanks to a pervasive Statist influenced culture.

  29. As the equivalent of an RA here in the UK, I can say the rules (to which everyone signs up voluntarily as part of their contract for being here and in halls so I like to portray as like “private law”) our rules are drawn so broadly that we could probably find sufficient fault in almost anything to be able to technically discipline someone. And I guess that if this were reported to me I’d have to make some effort to contact the person alleged to have shouted (if it was late at night for example especially because it could be a nuisance rather than because it was offensive – though we do also have a harassment policy).

    But I very much doubt we’d do more than have a word with the person concerned unless it was a repeat “offence”. But even if we did take further action, my default position at least is that students are already incurring huge expense to be here, and have so little spare, that unless it is really an egregious offence I will always try not to impose fines and so on whenever possible (maybe don’t tell my bosses – I have a record of not having conducted disciplinary processes very often 🙂 )

  30. Nothing dumber than a administrator…. those that can do, those that can do NOTHING…. administrate.

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