March 10th, 2014 by Martin Hallstrom
We were gonna say that the Emerald was starting to do better. The Ol’ Dirty had seemingly radically cut down on the number of bullshit articles(fluff!) which is a curse for us at the OC. Without a constant stream of bad journalism who are we supposed to make fun of!?! But relax, the Emerald is still as dirty as ever which the recent plagiarism/fabrication scandal shows. Don’t get us wrong, the OC is far from perfect, our magazine seems to copy edited by a blind dyslexic after all and during our 30 years of existence surely one of our writers made something up or screwed up. Shit happens but the Emerald seems to have more shit than others.
But the real story in today’s issue was the cover article about ASUO president Sam Dotters-Katz and Professor Bill Harbaugh. Apparently the Emerald show of its journalistic integrity by publishing wild and unfounded accusations. Without any evidence or basis the Emerald still decides to print words that frame Harbaugh as having vandalized both Dotters-Katz’s and Ehlen’s car . Shit, even Ehlen himself says that it is “farfetched” that Harbaugh would have vandalized Ehlen’s car. Dotters-Katz is also quoted as saying “I don’t know if Bill did it personally. I’m not necessarily making that accusation…Even the professors I’ve talked to who hate Bill say this isn’t his M.O. I agree, but that’s not to say he’s not involved indirectly.”
Why the hell would you ever even print such wild indirect accusations? There are no grounds for it unless you count the personal feelings of two people towards a third as conclusive evidence. Naturally, we don’t know what happened and who did what to the cars and that’s the problem. That the Emerald knowingly perpetrates a person as a criminal even though there is no evidence besides the hunch of two people who are feuding with Harbaugh. The car incident should even be mentioned as there is no evidence and anything other than evidence found by the police investigation is just useless navel-gazing. But as usual the Emerald actually has a nugget of something interesting in the article but fuck interesting and important things when you can publish rumors and private beefs! Roughly 90 % of the article is spent prying into the personal issues between Sam Dotters-Katz and Harbaugh while only the last part is actually devoted to the real issue; the lack of transparency within the University and many of its operations.
If the University has nothing to hide and everything is completely kosher then why is so much hidden and blocked out from the public? This sentiment can of course be used to justify the NSA’s spying scandal but the difference is that what we’re dealing with here isn’t a private matter, this is a public university and we as students have the right to know where our money goes and how it is spent. Simple as that, or so you would think but instead the Emerald shys away from the issues and becomes a gossip magazine that spews out shit worse than a frat boy after 20 natty ice and a pizza.
We’re fucking psyched about this development, keep being dirty Emerald!
February 4th, 2014 by Thomas Tullis
It’s come to our attention here at The Oregon Commentator that OSPIRG is trying to work its dirty magic again. They don’t seem to understand that we voted them out and that they are no longer recognized as campus group. Yet they keep coming back like a hippie zombie that feeds on student money instead of brains.
OSPIRG recently submitted proposals regarding renewed funding of their group through the student I-fees. Again they want to take our money and use it for their own inefficient, naive and frivolous plans. The OC has always been a vocal opponent of OSPIRG. Not just because they are a bunch of dirty hippies that don’t shower but also because the OC stands for fiscal conservatism. That isn’t going to change any time soon so look forward to more coverage on OSPIRG and their renewed plans to take your money in the next issue of The Oregon Commentator, which will be out this coming week.
Go Ducks and Fuck OSPIRG.
February 1st, 2014 by Martin Hallstrom
We’ve all heard stories. We’ve sat in class with them and seen them on campus. We’ve seen the tutors take notes and we are constantly reminded of how special they are every time we see the shiny glass cube that the Jaqua center is. We all know that student athletes aren’t like the rest of us, not just because they perform athletic feats but simply because they just don’t experience college the way we do. They are pampered by the university and the reason is simple; they make U of O a shit ton of money.
Recent light has been cast on the academic struggles of athletes at University of North Carolina. Instructor Mary C. Willingham published a thesis in 2009: http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/Willingham_uncg_0154M_10097.pdf, detailing some of the big problems that are involved in student athlete academics. Earlier this year, CNN corroborated a story with her which showed that “around 7%-18% of basketball, football students in many schools read poorly” aka below academic standards.(http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/01/us/college-scores/index.html,http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/us/ncaa-athletes-reading-scores/index.html). Willingham showed that between “8% and 10% of the school’s[UNC] football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.” Former UNC professor Madeline G. Levine also published an open letter in support of Willingham’s findings and to describe her own experiences with athletics at the school: http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/31/06/20/1lZoJJ.So.138.pdf.
Now North Carolina is considered to be a premier institution of learning, way above U of O according to Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/, and if academic dishonesty and fraud is happening there you can bet your sweet ass it is happening at our own fine University of Nike. The CNN study actually included University of Oregon and showed this:
– 35/245 athletes scored below 400 on the SAT verbal test.
– 52/194 athletes scored a 400 or lower on the SAT writing test.
– 20/87 athletes scored below a 16 on the ACT English test.
– 11 scored below a 420 on the SAT verbal test, with 18 scoring higher.
– 10 scored below a 410 on the SAT writing test, with 13 scoring higher.
– 11 scored below a 450 on the SAT verbal test, with 45 scoring higher.
– 11 scored below a 45o on the SAT writing test, with 35 scoring higher.
The average SAT verbal score of all students admitted to the University of Oregon in 2012 was 549.
The university said that between 2007 and 2012,there were no more than 90 athletes specially admitted to the University of Oregon, meaning they would not have otherwise been admitted on academics alone.”
Scoring below 450 on either the writing or the verbal SAT’s means that you’re going to be just above or below the worst 33% of all test takers. Which by any definition is not good at all. One can wonder how well these numbers mesh with our University’s own mission “The university is a community of scholars dedicated to the highest standards of academic inquiry, learning, and service”. We must clearly have very different definition of what the word “highest” means because letting in students who score in the bottom third of all SAT test takers is not my definition of “highest standards of academic inquiry”. Granted, the SAT isn’t an all encompassing measurement neither does it always accurately reflect a person’s intelligence or knowledge level but they are important to colleges yet they don’t really seem to matter if you’re a good athlete.
It is important to note that this isn’t an attack on the student athletes themselves. It isn’t the student athletes fault that they get an entire tutoring center dedicated to them while the rest of us congregate in PFC’s basement. It is not their fault that our University has a culture that allows people who aren’t qualified for college to come here. Neither is this an attempt to suggest that all student athletes are dumber or inferior to the rest of the student population. This is just an attempt to show that we are a part of a institution that uses and places people in terrible situations just for the sake of money. This is something we should be upset about but then again it is a lot easier and way more fun to cheer on for our teams and support this culture instead of looking the bleak truth in the eye.
January 9th, 2014 by Thomas Tullis
Due to it’s timely matter, The Commentator has decided to publish this piece online. It will also appear in our physical publication later this month.
On Monday, January 6th columnist Kevin Sullivan published an opinion column in the Daily Emerald that left a rather sour taste in my mouth. Of course, I’m not much of one to read the Emerald regularly (because I already know how to have fun in the snow in Bend and find an instruction manual for this not necessary), but when I happened upon Kevin’s most recent opinion piece “Athletes should be held accountable like you and me” I knew a response from The Commentator would be necessary. Of course, here at The Commentator, we couldn’t agree more with Kevin’s notion that athletes are a favored bunch throughout our national universities (and especially here at UO). Kevin, we commend your effort to put these athletes in their place and ensure that everyone is held accountable for their actions.
The problem with Kevin’s piece is his insight into the Jameis Winston rape case that was closed a little over a month ago in December. Writes Kevin:
Imagine a case of sexual assault. A 9-11 call surfaces after a month of the case being in the mainstream news but a year after the survivor first reported the rape. The survivor has already identified the man who had raped her and DNA evidence had proven that he indeed had sex with her.
This guy was obviously convicted right?
Now hold it right there, Kevin. Why should this guy obviously be convicted? Based on the story you just told, I reached the conclusion that the man should obviously not be convicted! We’re supposed to think that DNA evidence proving that two people had sex is evidence of rape? Because there’s no such thing as consensual sex, right Kev?
“I’m not here to argue against the innocence of Winston [...] I’m here to state the truth“ writes Kevin right after conclusively referring to Winston as “the man who had raped her“. Welcome to America, where all are guilty until proven innocent… good thing our justice system doesn’t operate on the same rules that Kevin does. All I’m saying is that we have words like “alleged” so that journalists can refer to the accused without definitively calling them, as Kevin does, ”the assailant“. Throughout his piece, it is clear that Kevin has made his mind up about the Winston case. He repeatedly refers to the accuser as “the victim” and contextualizes the story in a way that makes it obvious to us all that the tenant of “innocent until proven guilty” is only applicable until an Ol’ Dirty Emerald columnist decides that it is not. And all this in a piece where Kevin calls out the media for not properly framing a story and for “poorly reported stories“. Kev, we’re all beginning to drown in the irony here.
Of course, I cannot disagree with your main point that the accuser received a lot of hate from FSU fans and the public alike. Yes, that happened, but it does not determine whether or not Winston is guilty or not. Let’s be honest this rape allegation will always be tied in with Jameis Winston’s name as well. The truth is, there just was not enough evidence to convict Jameis of anything. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t a rapist, but (without concrete evidence) we will never know what happened. Of course, since Kevin is already sure of his verdict, we invite him to pour through the case evidence that the state attorney released.
The point is, while there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with our judicial system, it’s ethically wrong to debase the innocent until proven guilty that our justice system is based on. Kevin, until you’re ready to present concrete evidence that Jameis Winston is a rapist, we cannot refer to him as one. And when you do have that concrete evidence, we highly encourage you to fax it over to the Tampa police so the case can be reopened.
It was not only Kevin’s absurdly definitive reporting of Winston’s guilt that infuriates us here at The Commentator. It seems like it would also be relevant to point out here that the opinion piece misreported a couple things. Writes Kevin:
[O]ne insightful anchor on “Good Morning America” put it on Dec. 12, “I just want this one to go away.”
Let me repeat that.
One of the anchors from ‘Good Morning America,” the leading morning show in America, said that he wanted the story of the Winston case to “go away.”
Good thing you repeated this twice, Kevin. Does that mean we can charge you with two accounts of false reporting? Take a look at the video that is being referenced, and I think it will be as clear to you as it was to me- Stephanopoulos says “They just want this one to go away.” Of course, by changing this one critical word you completely change the intention of Stephanopoulos’ comment. I see what you did there. Clever, Kev. Very clever.
Of course, why stop here? Let’s also get a source for those statistics you’re referencing. Writes Kevin: “the percentage of women who falsely report rape is very low and not any higher than any other false reporting of other crimes” I’ll forget about how terribly phrased this sentence is for a minute, so I can present some statistics:
Since 1996 “unfounded” rape accusations are reported by the FBI to be around 8%, while other index crimes have been around 2%. Of course, “unfounded” does not necessarily mean “false allegation”. It is almost impossible to discover the true percentage of false rape accusations, but many estimate that they are higher than index crimes. Of course, I’m guessing Kevin found his statistics in ”Against Our Will”. Nice. Very reliable source, Kev.
“Football should not trump [...] our judicial system” writes Kevin in conclusion to his article. Let us remind you, Kev, that bad journalism should not trump our judicial system either.
Alright, kiddos, that’s all we’ve got until we hear back from Kevin. In the meantime let’s all remember that everyone accused of rape is guilty, especially if there isn’t enough evidence to prove it.
September 2nd, 2013 by Neil Killion
The United States’ response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria comes down to a question of deterrence and not necessarily the chemical weapon use. If the United States does not respond then deterrence will take a hit and this could result in serious set-backs to global security.
The United States is in this unpleasant situation because the administration claimed the use of chemical weapons is a red line that would be met with punishment. That red line has now been crossed between nine and fourteen times according to reports and if there is no response our ability to provide credible deterrence will suffer more than it has already.
The United States did not have a credible deterrent against the Assad regime to begin with for a couple reasons. First, the United States does not have a history of retaliating against the use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons were used in the Iran-Iraq war with no repercussions. They were used by Saddam Hussein against Kurds in northern Iraq; once again with no retaliation. As previously noted, it has been used several times during the Syrian civil war with little response.
Second, Assad is no fool. He knows that after spending over a decade fighting two wars and helping rebels in Libya that the United States is war weary. The people of this nation are tired of being the world’s police. They are tired of having their sons and daughters coming back from far off lands missing limbs or in coffins. This does not make people gung-ho about getting involved in a civil war.
However, President Obama drew a red line at the use of chemical weapons and now we must act. Otherwise other red lines will mean little to our enemies. In the future our presidents should refrain from drawing red lines except for extreme circumstances such as an attack against the United States or its allies and the use of nuclear weapon; not the use of chemical weapons in a civil war. Neither Assad nor the rebels are allies of the United States, and the claim that chemical weapons kill indiscriminately does not hold water either. To push for military intervention over the use of chemical weapons is to suggest that a cruise missile or a drone do not kill innocent civilians.
It would be a better use of resources to provide aid to the nations that have been over-run by refugees fleeing the civil war.
July 30th, 2013 by Neil Killion
Nanny Bloomberg’s “soda ban” was struck down by a New York Supreme Court of Appeals today. The ban prevented restaurants and street vendors from selling sugary drinks like soda, tea, and energy drinks in containers or cups larger than 16 ounces. This is supposedly an attempt to fight the obesity epidemic. Yet, the ban did not restrict coffee drinks blended with milk or milk shakes.
Bloomberg has pointed out that 2,000 people have died of diabetes since the ban was first struck down and promises an appeal. This is typical government knowing what is good for you and passing regulations that in the end will have little if any effect on the supposed problem. Pointing out that 2,000 have died suggests that had the ban been allowed to take effect it could have been prevented.
Obesity is a problem, but you cannot regulate it away. Only those of us falling into the obese category can fix it. Forcing someone to buy more than one drink is not going to do it. Obesity is a problem, but not a disease. You do not catch the obese germ or virus. You become obese because you decide to take in more calories than you burn.
This is the same city that blocks people from donating to food shelters because they cannot monitor the salt content. I am sure the homeless and those unable to provide for themselves care whether or not the food has a high salt level if the choice is that or going hungry.
There are better ways to solve problems and the government is not usually it. As this example once again shows.
July 28th, 2013 by Neil Killion
This year the Oregon Commentator is turning thirty and we are looking for thoughts and memories from past Commentators. Send those thoughts and memories to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. In your emails please include the years you were at the OC and where you are now if possible.
July 25th, 2013 by Neil Killion
A Neighborhood Watch leader follows a suspicious character in the neighborhood and after being assaulted, and having his skull repeatedly bashed into the concrete, shoots and kills the assailant. Most people reading that would probably respond differently than the way some have responded to the media circus and lynching of George Zimmerman. What about this situation is worthy of the hype and uproar that has been thrust upon us for the last year? Nothing! The same situation happened elsewhere only it was a black Neighborhood Watch person and white assailants and surprise surprise, no uproar.
The Stand Your Ground law has been paraded about as another villain in this event, yet it had nothing to do with the event. Unfortunately, not even our supposed constitutional scholar president is able to understand a very simple law. Stand Your Ground says that if you are legally allowed to be somewhere and someone threatens your life you are able to defend yourself without first retreating. In other words if I pull a knife or gun on you while you are walking down the street you can use deadly force (read gun) to defend yourself. You do not have to turn and run. You can stand your ground, hence the name of the law. Now in the Zimmerman case, his head was being bashed into concrete. Retreating is not an option at that point. This was purely self defense. He was not able to retreat once his life became endangered. Mr. Martin was not unarmed, he was using the concrete as a weapon.
The ugly part of this was the race baiting that went on by those in the media and the White House. “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.” I seriously doubt that a child of a president would be thugged out, smoking weed, and getting suspended from school for criminal activity. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson just showed their ability to profit off a tragedy as usual. Why is it that this was considered a white on black crime when Zimmerman is half Peruvian? Oh but Barack Obama is black even though he is half white. In the eyes of some race is the only issue and no matter what it must have played a role. It was the fact that Martin was black, not that he looked like a thug in an area that had seen a spike in break ins, that got him followed.
Now onto the head shake aspect. It is sad to see how many people suck at the teat of celebrities that they blindly accept and follow what ever their favorite celebrities spout. Zimmerman is an evil bastard and Trayvon Martin was a poor innocent thug. No one stopped to question why this case was being pushed over numerous other cases where a black youth was killed. They just continued on with the talking points of the hypocrites who think it is wrong for you and I to defend ourselves while they have armed security guards to protect them.
June 26th, 2013 by Neil Killion
I would caution the cheering crowds that view the Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Prop 8 to step back for a moment. This ruling raises some red flags, and I hope that those opposing Prop 8 can understand that.
Prop 8 made same-sex marriage illegal in California. It was voted on by the people and passed. The Governor then refused to enforce it. Whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage is irrelevant. The process of direct democracy that so many on the left supposedly believe in was dealt a blow today.
If the governor does not agree with the people’s decision then he does not need to listen. In the future, when the same people that are championing this decision are in the majority and the governor is on the opposing side, the governor will not have to listen to their votes. That should raise major concerns for them because in getting a victory, they are also getting a defeat.
The court did not rule that same-sex marriage should be legal, only that the plaintiff did not have the standing to bring the case before the court. If it had been brought up as a voters’ right issue it is possible it may have resulted in a different decision.
June 26th, 2013 by Neil Killion
While many of you may have been caught up in the joyous revelations that the Ducks will not be banned from the bowls this year, the court handed down a major decisions regarding gay marriage today.
The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 opinion. The Supreme Court ruled that if you live in a state that recognizes gay marriage the federal government cannot deny federal benefits. It does not rule whether or not gay marriage itself is legal, just that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay couples in those states that do recognize gay marriage.
Although this is a victory for same-sex couples, it is also a victory for states’ rights. The state’s law held supremacy over the federal law in this case. If the state recognizes same-sex marriage then the federal government cannot deny those couples benefits. This may pave the way for other states’ rights issues in the future.
June 13th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
I know I said the Tater Awards release was my last post, but I just need to call attention to some things.
Over two months ago, the Oregon Commentator went through the legitimate avenue to transfer funds into a new line item labeled “Public Records Requests”. Apparently the ASUO Senate was unaware (as was I and the rest of the Commentator staff– go figure) that “state money” cannot be used to investigate the “state”. I learned this only very recently as the UO Administration and the ASUO professional staff alike are determined to stonewall and ultimately stifle the Oregon Commentator. It’s as if their entirely subjective moral compasses are only functioning when they see one of our staff members walk in the door.
Conveniently for General Counsel Randy Geller, President Gottfredson, and the Athletic Department, the mandatory I-fee (student money), is considered property of the state and the $999 we secured to investigate these snakes in the grass is now unusable and will go to waste.
On a related note, FERPA is being used to redact student names from President Gottfredson’s calendar. WTF? is exactly right.
As happy as I am to declare this string of debacles “Not My Problem Anymore”, I feel sorry for the returning and incoming students. Good luck and good beer to all! You are going to need it.
June 12th, 2013 by Martin Hallstrom
Some news about the ASUO reached our ears. Sure we were pretty drunk so it was barely audible. But apparently our dear friends in the ASUO are involved in some in/fighting. Frankly that’s awesome news to us at the OC.
We love watching those greedy, self-centered vultures fight amongst themselves. The reason for this infighting is a Tumblr page that contains memes and jokes made by the self-proclaimed “progressives” of the ASOU senate, mostly on the account of the conservatives in the senate and Taylor Allison.
Finally the ASUO is emulating congress! Fuck bi-partisanship and efficiency, let’s all just observe our differences instead of finding common ground. Because the ASUO senate isn’t already a rotten, bloated, ineffective, cesspool of waste, opportunism and stupidity right?
Link to the blog: Site
June 12th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
I present to you, the Tater Awards.
This is the last issue for the Oregon Commentator I will have worked on and my last post on this blog. I appreciate all the lovers, the haters, and everyone who made any aspect of my experience at the OC possible. I am very proud of the last five months and wish the students at the University of Oregon a happy summer. Cheers!
May 27th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
Last Wednesday, the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) held a meeting at which AAD for Finance Eric Roedl was scheduled to give the IAC information about the athletic department’s budget and some projections about the next 6 years.
The UO Senate voted last week to require the Athletic Department to start paying back some of its subsidies, like that of the Matthew Knight Arena property, so this meeting had attracted myself from the Oregon Commentator, and two Daily Emerald reporters.
Right away there was tension in the air. This was the last IAC meeting of the school year and the AD still hadn’t released minutes from the previous meeting. Glen Waddell was met with an awkward silence when he asked about the delay in preparing the minutes.
“I’ve been really busy and haven’t gotten around to it,” the stenographer said.
Bill Harbaugh then asked IAC co-chair Andy Karduna if he had followed up on the request to the AD for the syllabus for the College of Education FHS 110 class that the athletics department requires all new players to take.
Karduna replied that he hadn’t, and had no plans to ever do so.
I had been under the impression that the IAC meeting was open to the public, as it was – until AAD Roedl realized that the media was present. And so began the discussion of whether or not to allow the media to stay during the presentation of revenue projections.
Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential… sensitive information”. When asked why projections would be “sensitive information”, those believing it to be sensitive did not want to discuss specifics because the reporters were still in the room.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 22nd, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
The making of public records available is more of a guideline than a “law” to adhere to here at the University of Oregon. In January, Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh requested President Michael Gottfredson’s calendar via the Public Records Office. It took them two months to produce this PDF with redactions and cost Harbaugh $108.
In very related news, the state of Pennsylvania decided last month that the public is entitled to the calendars of public officials in their entirety. This is shocking to reporters here at the University of Oregon, as the Public Records Office and UO chief executives like to interpret Public Records Law according to their personal discretion, rather than according to a transparent and concise procedure. This is acknowledged as lawful by UO Administrators because, as stated by Dave Hubin, “Oregon’s public records law is internally contradictory and ambiguous,” justifying the personal discretion used by those involved in preparing said “public” documents.
As Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center states in his post on April 30, 2013 (see Pennsylvania link above), what applies to a state governor can be applied to chief executives of public universities. The post continues, stating,
“Pennsylvania law, like all state open-records laws, presumes that the public should have the maximum possible access and that any exceptions to access should be narrowly interpreted. That is, appropriately, what the Commonwealth Court did April 23 in Office of the Governor v. Scolforo.”
I have requested Gottfredson’s calendar since January 8, 2013, the cutoff date of the last request. Since this University of Oregon no longer claims to be “Oregon’s flagship university” and is en route to losing its research status granted by the Association of American Universities, I suppose the Administrators won’t really see any pressing need to save the UO brand by improving transparency. Research? Who needs that? That’s what OSU is for.