“Racism Interruptor”: Court Rules for Professor Blocked from Twitter Page for Posting “All Men Are Created Equal”

There is an interesting case out of Oregon where Judge Marco Hernández has ruled for a Portland State University Professor Bruce Gilley who was excluded from a Diversity Twitter page by the Communication Manager of the Division of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Oregon. (The manager is identified as “tova stabin” who the court notes “spells her name with all lowercase letters.”). Stabin has now left the school. The court rejects a critical motion to dismiss and said that Gilley has raised sufficient evidence to go to trial after stabin blocked Gilley for responding to a tweet with “all men are created equal.”

In Gilley v. Stabin, Judge Hernández offered this background:

Defendant tova stabin {[who] spells her name with all lowercase letters} was previously the Communication Manager for the Division of Equity and Inclusion … at the University of Oregon….

On or about June 14, 2022, Defendant stabin, in her capacity as Communication Manager, posted a “racism interruptor” to the Division’s Twitter page, @UOEquity. The Tweet read “You can interrupt racism,” and the prompt read, “It sounded like you just said_________. Is that really what you meant?”

Plaintiff Bruce Gilley, a professor at Portland State University, responded to the Tweet the same day it was posted with the entry “all men are created equal.” Plaintiff is critical of diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) principles, and intended his tweet to promote a colorblindness viewpoint. Plaintiff tagged @uoregon and @UOEquity in his re-tweet. Also on June 14, 2022, Defendant stabin blocked Plaintiff from the @UOEquity account. Once he was blocked, Plaintiff could no longer view, reply to, or retweet any of @UOEquity’s posts….

Plaintiff later filed a public records request with the University of Oregon to inquire about the policy VPEI uses to block Twitter users. … The University initially responded that there was no written policy and that “the staff member that administers the VPEI Twitter account and social media has the autonomy to manage the accounts and uses professional judgment when deciding to block users.” …Plaintiff also asked whether other Twitter users had been blocked from @UOEquity, and the University responded that two other users were blocked. … Plaintiff asserts that “[b]oth of the other users have expressed politically conservative viewpoints, including criticizing posts of the @UOEquity account.” Am. Compl. ¶ 70.

On June 27, 2022, Defendant stabin responded to an email from University of Oregon employee Kelly Pembleton, who was helping respond to Plaintiff’s public records request. Defendant stabin sent the following in response to Pembleton’s request for a list of the users she had blocked on @UOEquity:

“Doesn’t take real long. I’ve only ever blocked three people. Here is the list. I’m assuming the issue is this guy Bruce Gilley. He was not just being obnoxious, but bringing obnoxious people to the site some. We don’t have much following and it’s the social I pay least attention to. Here’s a screenshot of everyone I’ve ever blocked. I hardly do it (and barely know how to).”

Minutes later, Defendant stabin sent another email to Pembleton about the records request. The email reads, in pertinent part:

“Oh, I see. It is Bruce who brought it. Not surprising. He was commenting on one of the “interrupt racism” posts, as I recall talking something about the oppression of white men, if I recall. Really, they are just there to trip you up and make trouble. Ugh. I’m around at home for a quick zoom about it.’

The court found that the record was sufficient to go forward after finding that this is indeed a limited public forum, including the following analysis:

[A] Twitter page is a forum designed for expressive activities. Garnier, 41 F.4th 1178 (“Social media websites—Facebook and Twitter in particular—are fora inherently compatible with expressive activity.”). Defendant stabin testified at the hearing that the Racism Interruptor prompts she posted were intended to serve as tools for individuals to use when they encountered discrimination in their daily lives, rather than to promote discussion on the Twitter page as such. Ultimately, however, the expressive activity on the Twitter page is not “incidental” to its operations, unlike ads on metro buses whose primary function from the government’s perspective is to generate revenue. …

… the Court concludes that @UOEquity is a limited public forum. The University adopted and published guidelines restricting the content that can be posted on the page and permitting administrators to block users who violate them. Those guidelines have been reinforced to faculty and staff who manage the accounts. The degree of enforcement appears less rigorous than in Seattle Mideast Awareness, but the nature of the forum is different, and the Court declines to find on the record before it that the University has abdicated responsibility for enforcement. The Court concludes that the University did not affirmatively open @UOEquity as a designated public forum. Therefore, any restrictions on speech in @UOEquity must be reasonable and viewpoint-neutral. Hopper, 241 F.3d at 1075.

Professor Gilley maintained that the other two barred individuals posted conservative viewpoints. The Court does not rule on the merits, which will have to be addressed at trial.

The case is interesting since many on the left support the censorship programs at Twitter and other social media. However, if the same censorship is carried out directly on state-related accounts, it can trigger First Amendment challenges.

What was notable is that the General Counsel’s office took action to defuse the situation but only after the filing of the lawsuit. It sought to open the account and pay the nominal fees sought to end the litigation.

On August 11, 2022, Plaintiff sued Defendant stabin for violating his First Amendment rights in blocking him on @UOEquity. Compl., ECF 1. The University’s Office of General Counsel learned of the lawsuit the following day. … Also on August 12, 2022, the Division unblocked Plaintiff’s Twitter account from @UOEquity.

On August 16, 2022, Kevin Reed, the University’s general counsel, sent a letter to Plaintiff’s counsel, Del Kolde. Id. ¶ 5, Ex. 2. This letter read, in part:

“In any event, Prof. Gilley (@BruceDGilley) was unblocked from the Twitter account at issue (@UOEquity) last Friday, August 12, 2022, and the Division of Equity and Inclusion does not intend to block him or anyone else in the future based on their exercise of protected speech. My office has reinforced to our colleagues who control the University’s multiple social media channels that, if they open such channels to comments, they may not block commentary on the basis of the viewpoints expressed. I have further confirmed that those social media channels controlled by UO’s central communications unit have no blocked users.

Finally, enclosed with the hard copy of this letter to Mr. Lee is $20 to cover the nominal damages of $17.91 alleged in your complaint. Ordinarily the University would issue a check; however, we are enclosing cash to avoid the administrative hassle and delay of issuing a check. Accordingly, your lawsuit is now moot, as there is no longer any effective relief that the federal court can grant, and we ask that you voluntarily dismiss it.”

It was a smart effort by the General Counsel’s office but came too late. What is curious is that the court says that the office only learned of the lawsuit after it was filed. There are generally intent to sue letters and other communications before an actual complaint is filed. It is not clear why the General Counsel was not aware of the expected lawsuit.

Ultimately, the court ruled that the assurances of the university is not sufficient to moot the case and that both injunctive relief and declaratory judgment are still possible in the case.

72 thoughts on ““Racism Interruptor”: Court Rules for Professor Blocked from Twitter Page for Posting “All Men Are Created Equal””

  1. Tova has some photos online. Hideous looking. Morbidly obese.
    Mad at the world for the abuse her parents did on her. Typical. Sad.
    She doesnt realize that beauty comes from within. She has none inside. A ruined, wasted life.

  2. It’s interesting how the revolutionary neo-Marxists in America are still dredging up specific rational-sounding excuses for censorship. In this case, the allegation was that the professor’s comment was “off topic,” a patently absurd claim to anyone who can think beyond the most mundane, connect-the-dots logic. However, I predict that we will not long be stuck with the requirement to dream up rational excuses for censorship. Soon, the Woke, like the Revolutionary Guards during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, will cancel targeted speech with the simple, indisputable claim that such speech is “counter-revolutionary.”

    1. Sam Adams, have you forgotten that you ratified an absolute right to private property?

      The “woke” are antithetical, direct and mortal enemies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Americans and America, whose primary goal is to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” which is precisely what Comrade General Secretary, and Subversive High Criminal, “Crazy Abe” Lincoln treasonously did a long, long time ago.

      1. “Sam Adams, have you forgotten that you ratified an absolute right to private property?”

        Is it absolute? Let’s take a look at Amendment V

        “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or PROPERTY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without JUST COMPENSATION.

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

        1. Which is PART of the basis for Trump taking DOJ to court over the MAL documents.

          One one of MANY reason the 11th Appelate court FAILED

          If you can not seek protection of a constitutional right in court – it does not exist.

    1. “All men are created equal.” A fraction of a millisecond later, they are on their own, free to pursue their particular form of “happiness,” succeed or fail and be embraced or spurned, accepted or rejected. Individual success or failure, of any type, for any reason or by any rationale, is not guaranteed or guaranteed against by the Constitution. What you seek is the Communist Manifesto and its motto: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Which brilliant and unassailable, head communist calculates all those values, by the way? If you have the American Constitution, you don’t need all that communist freeloading balderdash, all you need is yourself.

  3. OT

    “It’s the [competition], stupid!”

    – James Carville

    Crazed Power-Hungry Comrade Gestapo Head AG Merrick Garland is going to illegitimately and illegally expand his power and purview and break up Google even though the Sherman Antitrust Act (SAA) is wildly unconstitutional. The SAA is an illicit consequence of the high criminal and Constitution denier “Crazy Abe” Lincoln, who decided to disobey and rearrange fundamental law – “The Law According To Dishonest Abe” (there is no prohibition of secession in the Constitution and the Founders availed themselves of and engaged in that very secession). The solution to success-cum-monopoly is competition. The executive and legislative branches enjoy no power enumerated by the Constitution to regulate any business, industry, market or consumer. The SAA comes straight out of the Communist Manifesto and is eschewed by and not listed or cited in the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide for the guarantee or prices or products. The Constitution provides the freedom for competition to flourish. “Crazy Abe” commenced the incremental implementation of the principles of communism and it is “progressively” subjugating industry, the economy and the country.

    Karl Marx, “It’s good to be King.” Wait! What? Incidentally, Google is private property and it may censor to its heart’s content. Try DuckDuckGo.

  4. OT



    “Woke” Super Bowl – Spontaneous Concoction in the Era of “Woke”???

    The NFL is private entertainment property and it is the only entity with the power to “claim and exercise” dominion over football. Despite having the best NFL quarterback, Joe Burrow, The Bengals’ OC and O Line nearly complete shutdown mysteriously engenders a fully “Woke” super bowl. Remember when Jessica Savitch reported on Gene Klein of the San Diego Chargers meeting a Meyer Lansky in Acapulco and ended up dead in a ditch a few months later? Can anyone count the International Soccer corruption cases?

    “Frontline’s, host, Jessica Savitch, admitted having minor reservations with the show. “Did I get my way on every point?” she says. “No. But I think we did a good job. I’m supporting our people. And if I’m proven wrong, I’m proven wrong.” One of Savitch’s most serious wrongdoings was to allege guilt by association. A typical example: Chargers owner Gene Klein once invested in an Acapulco hotel. So did Sidney Korshak, identified by Savitch as a mob lawyer. Klein was once at the hotel when Lansky held an underworld meeting there. “Aha!” the viewer is led to infer. “Klein equals Korshak. Korshak equals Lansky. Ergo, Klein equals Lansky.” Savitch, who is on loan from NBC News to PBS for the Frontline series, said such associations were mentioned for the supposedly higher purpose of demonstrating that the NFL doesn’t enforce its own rules against owners’ and players’ fraternizing with gamblers. In this case, the end didn’t justify the means.”

    – VaultSI

    Remember the 2015 FIFA corruption case?

    In 2015, United States federal prosecutors disclosed cases of corruption by officials and associates connected with the Fédération internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer.

    Near the end of May 2015, fourteen people were indicted in connection with an investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) into wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The United States Attorney General simultaneously announced the unsealing of the indictments and the prior guilty pleas by four football executives and two corporations.

    – Wiki


    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    – Declaration of Independence, American Founders

    It’s not that many who are not included misperceive, it’s that many deliberately misconstrue on order to erroneously, illicitly and fraudulently re-interpret and benefit themselves. Many require political emulsifiers to forcibly mix that which is impossible.

    The authors are representing Europeans saying that European men are created equal to equally enjoy the unalienable right to freedom which includes free ambulation and mobility, free speech and opinion, free assembly, free enterprise, free markets, and the vast body of natural and God-given rights and freedoms that allow European men to pursue their personal and particular form of “happiness” in order to produce success or suffer failure for themselves.

    No body of law guarantees success, failure, acceptance or rejection of any individual or group.

    Americans are free to embrace or spurn any person, place or thing.

    In order to avoid any potential misunderstandings or conflicts, the Founders passed the Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations – they meant it – Lincoln violated the law in 1863 and must have completed compassionate repatriation per the law) along with the Constitution, requiring Americans to be “…free white person(s)….”

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

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