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Archive for May, 2006

Emerald Puts Content on Website

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Sure, they’ve sort of done it in the past with the Westmoreland story. But ODE Senior Photographer Kai-Huei Yau bucked the trend by posting content intended for tomorrow’s paper, *gasp*, today. Will Thursday’s Ol’ Dirty readership drop due to this breach of protocol? How will advertisers react? Has journalism itself been sullied by this act of Internet reporting? Finally, what do the SPJ guidelines have to say on the matter? The blogosphere is abuzz with questions!

But seriously, it’s a pretty funny little piece. And to the Emerald‘s credit, they’ve treated the recent day’s attention whoring in the EMU Amphitheatre with about the same level of respect that it deserves: none.

Once “Harassment” and “Obscenity” Have Failed, Let’s Just Move On To “Treason”

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Will our long national nightmare never be over?

Step one: follow link. Step two: observe argument that Insurgent violates “harassment” clause of Student Conduct Code:

Harassment is prohibited at the University based on race, gender, religion and other characteristics if it involves “specifically insulting another person in his or her immediate presence with abusive words or gestures when a reasonable person would expect that such act would cause emotional distress or provoke a violent response,” according to the code.

Step three: regard text within bold tags. Step four: go about your day, leaving the Insurgent unmolested, because there is no fucking way that they have violated this portion of the Student Conduct Code.

Meanwhile, Senator (and law student) Wally Hicks provides a quote that’s either sinister or hilarious, depending on your tastes:

With Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito on the bench, I would hesitate to assume anything right now with regard to obscenity… Obscenity is always arguable to some degree or another.

Get it? They’re conservatives! So of course they’ll be on board for this idiotic fishing expedition! Make no mistake, it is in the best interests of nobody for the ASUO to start selectively enforcing a nebulously-defined obscenity standard. Even if Hicks is correct that the Insurgent could be judged “obscene” – and I don’t think he is, or at least I hope he isn’t – this would set an incredibly bad precedent for the University.

I wrote this post’s headline as a joke, but now it’s making me wonder: it would be amusing for someone to file a grievance asserting that the Insurgent actually is guilty of treason. I’m starting to think it would receive serious consideration, particularly once someone explains to Dallas Brown that organizing a public execution might get him on the news.

Get me Rent-A-Taser!

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

The University of Oregon’s own Department of Public Safety (which ‘the Ol Dirty informs us “is like a police department for the campus,” a claim akin to saying the ASUO is like a government for students) is trying to get themselves some Tasers. According to this Emerald article, the “attempted murder” of two DPS officers who were nearly drowned in the Millrace by a 52 year-old man two months ago both is and is not the motivating factor in the move to “explore the possibility of arming campus public safety officers with Tasers.” It appears as if “Our pepper spray didn’t work this one time” is all the argument that DPS has to make to bring a “less-lethal” weapon which raises serious medical questions to our campus. Hopefully the Administration realizes that making DPS feel more like “real cops” is not worth the inevitable fiasco when some undertrained campus goon zaps the wrong kid, or someone with a heart condition.

Mike Adams on Diversity at the UO

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

There’s a superb column over at townhall.com by UNC-Wilmington Prof. Mike Adams, who recently spoke at the UO. In it, Adams mentions both the Insurgent controversy and the UO’s Five Year Diversity plan. To quote Glenn Reynolds, “read the whole thing.” This is good stuff– I’m real sorry that I missed him when he came to town. Hat-tip to Andy for the linkage.

Jared Axelrod begins term on the right foot

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

…by vetoing a ridiculous special funding request which was approved by the Senate on 5/24. My guess is that Senate will slightly amend the funding request and Axelrod will subsequently approve it, but I guess we’ll see about that. It is worth noting one interesting tidbit from Wilbur’s story:

Axelrod said he’s not pushing for a particular action by the Senate, which will address the event’s funding at Wednesday’s meeting.

One of Axelrod’s complaints during our Executive election interviews was that the Walsh administration often tried to influence the PFC and Senate with the threat of veto. Perhaps he’s attempting to avoid this behavior by not pushing for precise changes to the funding request? Just a thought.

UPDATE: The brand spankin’ new Senate has ended up overriding the veto and approving the Ozomatli request for $16,000 rather than the original $20,000.

Walk Out Reaction & Amended Insurgent Resolution

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Student Senator Dallas Brown has a guest commentary in today’s Emerald decrying the walk out his fellow senators staged. In it, Brown claims that fellow Senator Wally Hicks created a resolution which “makes significant arguments regarding a question that ultimately encompasses the entire purpose of student government.” That question being, of course, whether or not student government can punish a student publication for its content. A .pdf copy of that resolution, which was to be introduced at the 5/24 meeting but was tabled since it was submitted late, can be found here. Here’s an excerpt:

At no point has the Court indicated that to remain “viewpoint neutral” the ASUO is compelled to fund any and all funding requests that come before it. Therefore the Court has permitted the ASUO to exercise some kind of standard to reject requests for funding or to reconsider its prior awards. The Rosenburger Court provides guidance that the requesting program must contribute to the mission and goals of the university. The inference therefore is that the body which governs the incidental fee (the ASUO) has the discretion to decide whether the level of a group’s contribution is sufficient to warrant the award of incidental dollars.

Southworth also states, “it is not for the Court to say what is or is not germane to the ideas being pursued in an institution of higher learning.” Southworth, at 232. The Court has therefore left the question of what is germane to the university’s mission and goals to be decided by the school itself. By extension the ASUO therefore retains that discretion through its mandate to govern the incidental fee.

To summarize our position, the Supreme Court’s requirement of “viewpoint neutrality” permits the ASUO to de-fund the Insurgent if it judges that the group does not contribute to the mission and goals of the university.

This is a rather limited interpretation of Southworth, and it’s surprising that someone as bright as Hicks wouldn’t see that this would essentially eliminate the meaning of the term “viewpoint neutrality” thanks to two loopholes:

  1. The mission and goals of a University (or student government) can be interpreted in an extremely liberal fashion. If a student senate was filled with religious conservatives, for instance, what would stop them from decreeing that a publication geared towards homosexuals did not help the “physical and cultural development” of that university’s students? And anyway, this University’s own mission statement says that one of its guiding principles is “the conviction that freedom of thought and expression is the bedrock principle on which university activity is based.” That is hardly a ringing endorsement of censorship.
  2. It also seems that Hicks attempts to separate the University administration from the ASUO, thereby empowering student government in an area which Southworth explicitly says the University administration must remain neutral. The ASUO and University administration cannot, however, be separated since the ASUO must have approval from UO President David Frohnmayer on final budgets and consult him if there are any major administrative or personnel modifications to student groups. As the Clark Document states:

    Responsibility for the administrative structure, personnel administration, and reporting relationships of major programs funded by student incidental fees resided within the University Administration. Any recommendations for realignment of major programs or other considerations of what constitutes optimal reporting relationships should be the outcome of proper consultation and wide support between student government and the University President. Such modification requires approval of the President.

    Consequently, any action the ASUO takes in regards to funding is, in effect, an action taken by the University administration. If the ASUO but not the University President were allowed to defund groups based on legal content, then the UO President would, in effect, be able to defund groups based on content since he or she could withhold approval of final budgets until the offending groups were disciplined. The two entities are simply too entwined to have their rights legally distinguished from each other in this case.

Despite this, Brown does make a very valid point near the end of his commentary:

The ultimate irony is that all but one of the dissenting senators approved of the agenda (my discussion item included), defending the right for us to present. Somewhere among the many recesses throughout the night, these senators were influenced to walk out of the meeting without even giving an excuse for their departure.

Indeed, the motion to add the debate (and not the resolution) to the agenda passed overwhelmingly, with Sara Hamilton (who later walked out) seconding it. And then a number of these same Senators decided to walk out rather than participate in the discussion they had voted for. What’s the deal?

Y’all Are Number One!

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

And this time, it’s actually something good. Via Marginal Revolution, comes this paper showing that Oregon is the least corrupt state. The Corruption Capital? Alaska.

The Passion of the O’Reilly

Monday, May 29th, 2006

From what I’ve heard, erstwhile student Senate opportunist member Dallas Brown will make an appearance on the O’Reilly Factor tomorrow. One should expect mucho bellyaching, handwringing, and harrumphing about the state of the Incidental Fee and the impotence of our so-called student leaders (except for Brown, who is clearly as potent as Long Dong Silver, or Boner Jesus for that matter). One should not expect Brown to make the observation that “you can be a honky and still be hung like a donkey,” which was my first impression upon seeing Don Goldman’s rather flattering portrayal of Jesus’ giant, pink manhood. That is, unless Brown is drunk or high.

Nevermind. I’m sure the program will be entertaining, as it should feature footage from last week’s dramatic student Senate debacle. My prediction: O’Reilly will call David Goward a coward six or seven million times. This is a very conservative estimate.

For those who missed the original telecast, Media Matters has posted it on its website, alongside its reaction to O’Reilly’s arguments. Early in its critique of O’Reilly, Media Matters gets it right: The Insurgent is not an “official” student newspaper, nor does the administration or any other governing body have control over its content. Truly well put, Media Matters. But a few paragraphs later, the argument turns to the ol’ rhetorical bodyslam: hypocrisy. To the good folks at Media Matters, Bill O’Reilly is a hypocrite because he is criticizing the Insurgent for their Jesus cartoons but not us for our reprinting of the Mohammed cartoons.

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Comments System Upgraded

Friday, May 26th, 2006

I’ve made a slight change to our comments system in order to help visitors identify comments that are not from who they say they’re from. One of the problems with our comment system is that anyone can enter any username and any email address, so it’s relatively easy for people to pretend to be, for instance, Jared Axelrod. Well, we aren’t removing that ability– anonymous comments are here to stay. But we are enabling people to register on our site and be identified as who they say they are when they post. These users will be delineated by a red asterisk next to their name. So how do you register?

  1. Many systems apparantly recognize our registration emails as spam, so you will first have to temporarily disable any spam filters you may have operating. University users can click here.
  2. Next, click the register link under the Meta section on the right side of the page. Write in the name you wish to be known by and an email address. If possible, use an email address with your name in it so that we can be sure it’s actually you. Your address will remain private and we will never under any circumstances give it to a third party. The only publicly-visible personal information will be your username and your website address (if you specify one.)
  3. Next, check your email. A password will have been sent which you can later change.
  4. Now reenable spam filters.
  5. Finally, click the login link under the Meta section of our website.
  6. After logging in you will be able to post comments without filling in your information every time.

Any “imposter” accounts created will be deleted. If there are any questions, please feel free to reply to this thread or email us.

UPDATE: We’ve received word that some people are not receiving a password through the mail due to the University’s spam filters. If you’ve signed up but not received your password then you should contact us and we’ll give you a generic password that you can change. If you wish to sign up through a University account then first disable spam filtering so that the registration email can go through, then register, then reenable spam filtering. We’re working with our hosting provider to get this resolved, but this should fix things in the meantime.

ACLU Considers Restricting Board Members’ Speech

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Stumbled upon the story on Captain’s Quarters and reported by the NYT:

The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization’s policies and internal administration.

“Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement,” the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals.

It goes on… the tales of infighting on the board are rather fun. It’ll be interesting to see if the ACLU, which usually defends free speech (granted, they generally only defend speech they don’t disagree with), will impose restrictions on the speech of board members. They’ll certainly lose credibility among some people, but the unwashed masses will probably never notice.

5/24 Student Senate Meeting Audio

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Audio of the meeting can now be found here (60mb .mp3). I don’t have time to look through and find all of the relevant parts, but the Senate votes to have a five minute recess 2:15:00 in. It’s at this point that the walkout happens and things actually get interesting. A number of people from the Insurgent whine, two ASUO members symbolically resign, the David Goward/Dallas Brown pissing match continues unabated, Don Goldman performs in front of the cameras, Adam Walsh has a nice little speech, and Brown and Goldman chat. Wonderful stuff… although that really isn’t the case for the middle two hours of the meeting. The audio quality will likely be pretty rough for most of it.

Diversity: 1, Quality of Education: 0

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

I came away from yesterday’s University Senate meeting awestruck by the steamroller of diversity in the name of political correctness here on campus. The biggest rift created by this plan is between the humanities and sciences, not between proponents and opponents of diversity. Even the main opponents of the plan are in full support of the promotion of diversity on campus, but not of the subjective, loosely-defined criteria of “cultural competency” and “critical mass.” The core of the opposition to the plan has been from Math and Economics department professors who stated that this plan would not further the aims of diversifying the campus. Some professors quietly said it was a power grab by the President’s Office.

The meeting was accompanied by a large sect of students wearing black clothes and red armbands who hissed at speakers opposing the plan. I recorded the speakers’ discipline and stance (in order of speaker): Sociology, English, College of Education, CIS, Business Administration, History, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Political Science, and English.

Opponents’ disciplines: Economics, Math, Math, Math, Chemistry, Math, Economics, Math.

A number of math professors were from former Soviet states; they spoke of how destructive notions such as cultural competency had been to their lives before coming to America. One professor broke into tears as he described the possibility of “Cultural Competence Officers” in every classroom. Math Professor Huaxin Lin spoke of how the plan implied that Asians were “overrepresented” on campus. Another math professor in closing his speech reminded us that this plan treats some “more equal than others.”

Are the gulags under construction? Not yet – but according to those who lived under communists, this is the genesis.

Rumors Of My Multiple Amputations Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

After the jump, I’m going to flog this dead horse a little more.

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Micro Frohn Check

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

I ran across this blog in comments, and it reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to mention.

Few would argue that Harvard and UC Berkeley are two of the most liberal institutions of higher learning in the land, and Mr. Frohnmayer is a graduate of both. His indoctrination into the left-wing mindset would have begun during his undergrad years at Harvard and then would have been reinforced during his law degree studies at the most liberal of American institutions; Berkeley.

Leaving aside for a moment the substance of this seemingly never-ending Insurgent debate, Frohnmayer really does have my sympathy here. It’s certainly true that he could have taken a more proactive stance in distancing himself from the Insurgent – but frankly, the idea that he was going to be held personally accountable for its content isn’t one that would have occurred to any of us a month ago. Statements like

Mr. Frohnmayer is, in every way, the type of far left wing person who loathes Christians, loathes conservatives and loathes those advocating family values.

show a perplexing disregard for the Frohn’s distinguished legal career, generally amiable disposition towards all and sundry, and, uh, the fact that he’s a Republican. While it would surely add to the hilarity if Frohnmayer were an Insurgent-reading anarcho-halfwit and a charter member of PETA, the truth is somewhat more prosaic. He’s a good guy who doesn’t deserve to be getting called out by the American Family Association over this kind of nonsense.

(And yes, I suppose I would feel slightly more sympathy if he hadn’t taken so damn long to get involved the last time a mob of lunatics tried to shut the Commentator down based on a spurious claim of “hate speech”. However, it’s possible that he still bears a grudge over this.)

5/24 Student Senate Meeting

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

It’s 7:10 and the meeting’s beginning. Senator Dallas Brown has made a motion to add his resolution regarding the Insurgent to the agenda, which Senator Sara Hamilton has seconded. I’ll be doing occasional updates through the comments section as the meeting progresses.

UPDATE: There is no longer a motion for a resolution on the table. Instead there is time set aside for the Senate to discuss the Insurgent.

UPDATE: A majority of the Student Senate has walked out of the meeting rather than discuss the Insurgent’s content. The members who did not walk out were Wally Hicks, Dallas Brown, Kyle McKenzie, Toby Piering, and Natalie Kinsey. Booo to the members who walked. While I don’t think the Senate should have attempted to handle the matter, it’s unreasonable to just walk out of a meeting rather than drop discussion through the proper process. As far as I can tell, Senate can talk about the issue’s content without violating Southworth. Indeed, the Senate itself debated the Emerald’s own coverage of Senate on May 10. (This is admittedly a slightly different scenario since the ODE is a contracted group rather than a student group.)