Ol Dirty has the details this morning, and it’s cringeworthy stuff. In the sweep of PFC history, the unapologetic threats and political manipulationthis year are probably about par for the course, but I’ll be damned if they don’t piss off something fierce. Keep in mind as you read the following rant that a) the Commentator got an 11% cut this year, and b) I’m not a social conservative, dammit.
First up (as the Emerald covers it) is the LGBTQ Alliance, who got a 2.33% decrease, was especially unhappy about the fact that the PFC only gave them $84 for the Transgender Day of Rememberance, and asked for another $266 for the event. Now, let’s keep in mind that these folks probably see their elected budget officials the same as we do: a bunch of idiots with way too much of others peoples money… the difference between them and us is that they are smart enough (or self-interested enough) to manipulate said idiots out of some cash. Here’s the line-by-line on how this is done:
First, insult the amount of money they have already given to you. It’s not their money, they just have to give it away.
The PFC originally allocated $84 for the event, which Opey Freedle, the board representative for the Oregon Student Equal Rights Alliance, said is not even enough to purchase candles for a vigil.
Freedle called the $84 allocation “crumbs” and said that at the original budget hearing, at which the group received a 2.33 percent budget decrease, the PFC told the LGBTQA it should be privileged to not get a bigger cut.
“I reject that,” Freedle said. “You’ve afforded us $84 to remember the lives of people who have been killed. This is a community that doesn’t have privilege.”
Now, it just so happens that $84 will buy over 300 Fire Elemental Tea Lights from Stregas Lair, and those are”DESIGNED USING THE TRADITIONAL COLOR OF FIRE, SCENTED WITH THE OILS THAT CORRESPOND WITH THE ELEMENT FOR MAXIMUM MAGICAL INTENT TO BOOST THE CANDLES SPELL POWER.” Don’t tell me you can’t get enough non-magical candles with that amount of money. But wait, is this really about something else?
In the original budget hearing, the LGBTQA received a budget decrease because it did not spend enough of its money in the 2005-06 school year.
LGBTQA representative Kawa Kuller said that the unspent money was due to a speaker canceling at the last minute for an event held at the end of May. She said that at the original hearing, the point was made that if the speaker had not canceled, the group would have spent the money and would not have had to take a budget decrease.
Kuller said the speaker’s cancellation was beyond the group’s control.
LGBTQA Director John Joo said that the PFC broke “viewpoint neutrality” in the original budget hearing when PFC members told the group that the Multicultural Center also had a speaker cancel at the last minute and was still penalized for not spending that money.
Damn you viewpoint neutrality, as soon as I think I know you, you turn into something else! Listen, viewpoint neutrality means that budgets can’t be cut or increased based on their message. As long as the PFC just “looks at numbers” it can compare budgets as much as it likes. Asking for an increase because the community you represent doesn’t have privilege would not be viewpoint neutral. Because that’s asking the PFC to make a decision that has nothing to do with numbers, also known as a decision based on their viewpoint. Look, there’s plenty that’s not perfect about the system, but you have to talk to the Supreme Court to get it changed… and it might help to understand this basic distinction once you get there.
As great a disservice to the campus as it is to try to get elected officials to ignore the ruling of SCOTUS, I would venture that the greatest disservice here is to the very people that Freedle, Joo, Kuller, et al claim to represent. So caught up are they in “activism” that they see everything in terms of line items and dollar amounts. Now, my flavor of Kool Aid says that Trans people who have been killed for their identity are martyrs to the cause of individual liberty, and their memory should be honored, but putting a dollar amount on that honor eliminates the point of the excercise. For $25 you can buy 100 of Strega’s magical candles, ask a few talented speakers to donate their time, and invite thousands of people and groups using the free programs listserv, and you have all of the ingredients for a beautiful and meaningful memorial. To hold the deaths of those you wish to honor over the heads of PFC members whose only crime was to try to apply budget rules consistently is about as disrespectful an act as one can imagine. The PFC gave them $66 more dollars, and were threatened with a grievance for their trouble.
Dear OSPIRG, how I hate you. Please go away and die somewhere. You are totaly cynical, yet piously defensive when called out. I don’t understand why liberals like you. Even when I was a liberal I hated you. I’m sorry you didn’t think $1,681 increase was enough, but I’m even sorrier the PFC didn’t defund you entirely when you came back whining for more. Fuck you. Love, Ted.
Meh. You have smaller budgets and you aren’t politically-correct extortion artists. Here’s some advice: when shit really does happen for your group, don’t ever expect the PFC to have your back. Rallying people around your group, making your work relevant, getting more from volunteers, finding allies in the community, these are the things that will get your group back on track. The PFC will only ever be good for a splitting headache until it gets reformed, and possibly after as well.