Resolution: Political dissent is not unpatriotic

Resolution of the Portland State University Faculty Senate:

Whereas Portland State University considers itself an important and integral part of the City of Portland, “where knowledge serves the city;” and

Whereas PSU faculty and administration consider the encouragement of active democratic participation central to our mission, and are committed to making the university a model for the promotion of civic engagement by both faculty and students; and

Whereas there has been a disturbing trend since September 11, 2001, of federally elected officials and law enforcement personnel making statements that imply that political dissent is suspect or unpatriotic; and

Whereas this trend includes local officials, especially those involved with Portland’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, who have made a number of statements linking nonviolent political dissent to terrorism; and

Whereas both federal and local law enforcement officials and prosecutors have used inflammatory terms such as “terrorism” and “ecoterrorism” which could serve to prejudice judge, jury and public, and to dramatically increase potential sentences;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the Faculty Senate of Portland State University affirms that active political participation is not only the right but the responsibility of all citizens of a democratic country; and

That the Faculty Senate finds that statements and actions of public officials which explicitly or implicitly question the legitimacy of political dissent or which gratuitously link activism to terrorism have a predictably chilling effect on the willingness of Portland State University students, faculty, and staff, and other residents of Portland to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights; and

That the Faculty Senate calls upon all public officials, national, state and local, including Portland’s Mayor and City Commissioners to refrain, and to direct all others in their employ to refrain from making any further statements or taking any actions which discourage political participation, dissent, or nonviolent political action, or which prejudice the right to a fair trial of any accused persons.