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UO Teacher Cited for Harassment, Theft

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EUGENE, Ore. — University of Oregon campus police cited a adjunct law instructor after he pushed students during a demonstration.

The instructor was cited in lieu of being taken into custody, but the altercation was all caught on camera.

Students Against Imperialism organized the demonstration, focusing on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. They admit the topic is heated and controversial, but they say they didn’t expect instructor James Olmsted to confront them the way he did.

In some of the video, the student is touching the instructor. The student was not a part of the demonstration but stepped in when he thought the instructor was being confrontational. Olmsted then removed his glasses and brushed away another student. A student says he then took her phone away because he saw her recording him.

Campus police were called and Olmsted was cited in lieu of custody for second degree theft and two counts of physical harassment. Olmsted was escorted off campus and issued a letter forbidding his return.

One of the students told KEZI 9 News the instructor shoved her during this altercation.

“It’s kind of ironic. You think someone who has studied law would at least have some basic knowledge like you know you are not supposed to grab anyone, steal their phone, so that was pretty shocking to me,” said UO student demonstrator Diana Salazar.

“The reason universities exist is because the free exchange of ideas. That’s what we value. That’s what we are here for, and whenever a situation occurs when people are really not allowed to have that free exchange, that’s disturbing for us,” said Phil Weiler, UO Spokesman.

The university says Olmsted’s teaching responsibilities have been reassigned for the rest of the year.

Police are reviewing the video and say it’s an ongoing criminal investigation and that more charges could be brought forward.

KEZI 9 News reached out to Olmsted by email and phone on Friday, asking for his side of this confrontation, but did not receive a call back.

The UO released this statement Friday:

“The University of Oregon School of Law has reassigned teaching responsibilities for adjunct instructor James Olmsted to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Adell Amos. This is a personnel decision and we are unable to discuss details of the situation at this time. The University of Oregon honors and values the free exchange of ideas. We expect all members of the campus community to conduct themselves with the highest degree of respect for public discourse.”

Here is a link to one of the videos (Warning: explicit language): http://bit.ly/Yexp9N

 

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