Neutral Observer Program
What is the Neutral Observer program?
The Neutral Observer program was started at the University of Oregon as a pilot program through the Office of Student Life in 1990. Currently the program is housed in the Conflict Resolution Services (CRS) office and is coordinated by the CRS director. This program is modeled after ones of the same name at UC Berkeley and the University of Colorado that were developed in the 1960s.
The Neutral Observer program provides trained observers at rallies, demonstrations, protests, and other events that take place on the University of Oregon campus. The presence of trained observers at these events allows for the availability of unbiased witnesses should there be any form of escalation. It has been reported by other campuses that the presence of neutral observers can have a “calming effect” on the event.
What does a Neutral Observer do?
Neutral Observers identify themselves by wearing a brightly colored badge. If a situation arises that presents potential damage to people or to property, the observer(s) writes a descriptive report of what they observe. This report may be used in the event that action is taken that results from the escalation. Observers are not on any side . They are trained to make behavioral observations rather then judgments or interpretations.
Why become a Neutral Observer?
By being a neutral observer you are:
- helping to create a campus environment in which all voices can be heard
- helping to protect individual's freedom of speech
- contributing to a fair, informed judicial process
- acquiring observation and reporting skills
- contributing to an environment in which violent escalation is minimized
How do I become a Neutral Observer?
If you are interested in becoming a Neutral Observer, please contact Conflict Resolution Services at:
541-346-0617 or firstname.lastname@example.org and/or fill out the application below and submit it to Conflict Resolution Services.
Neutral Observer Application
Mandatory training for selected observers will take place at least one time each year.
Conflict Resolution Services, 164 Oregon Hall