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Archive for March, 2007

OC Archive Updated

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

The Commentator back issue archive has been updated to include issues released since Hate 2006. Please do let us know if there are any remaining problems or (post Volume 22) missing issues.

Elwood: “Portland Anarchists.” Jake: “I hate Portland Anarchists.”

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

The good people (er, person) over at Welcome to Blog have a great post up comparing the Portland media’s reaction to recent anarchist activity with that of the “rightosphere”. As one would expect from Blog, the writing is excellent:

My pet theory: for Portland, anarchists setting things on fire is passe. Oh, sure, it was all really, really exciting back in ’99 during the WTO fallout but in ’07? It draws a collective roll of the eyes. Their actions on Sunday smack of Marilyn Manson or a random shock celeb trying to top themselves well after their fanbase has moved on.

Sorry, guys. It’s over. I know, I know. Given all the local attention the Schumacher Furs protesters received, it isn’t fair. But, hey, you made the Drudge Report. That’s got to count for something. Middle America is still outraged by your antics. Have you considered taking this act out on the road? Just start in Pendleton and work your way east until you hit Savannah.

I’ll take anarchists holding up signs and burning flags over anarchists breaking shit and acting like pissed off soccer fans. Frankly the idea of anarchists organizing a protest is incredibly funny to me. Although, when anarchists do break shit it gives the police an excuse to break them, which I enjoy even more. So I guess I’m torn on this one.

Not censoring blog posts isn’t defamation, and neither is posting public email.

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

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Supreme Court Considers Bong Hits

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

The Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case of an Alaska teen who was punished by his school principal for displaying a 14-foot “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner at a school-sponsored Olympic torch parade. Morse v. Frederick, as the case is known, could be a definitive ruling on the free speech rights of public school students. Unsurprisingly, career moral crusader Ken Starr is arguing against the students speech rights, and is opposed by a strange coalition which includes the ACLU, Christian conservatives and a gay rights group. Jesus has yet to comment on the issue, citing “official X-Box duties.”

Positive Sides of the Water Outage

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

As noted yesterday on the ODE website, there’s been a severe water outage on campus for the past two days. Many buildings on campus, including Knight Library and the EMU, have had such low water pressure that flushing toilets or using water fountains is impossible. As of 10:00 AM this morning, Facilities Services still does not know what the problem is being caused by. And as one would expect, there’s no notice on the UO or Facilities Services websites that there is a significant problem on campus. After all, you wouldn’t want to let prospective students know that the University can’t keep its basic infrastructure maintained.

But while a lot of negative nancies are looking at the downside to this (oh boohoo, you can’t use the restroom– that’s what Pioneer Cemetery is for you sissy), we at the Commentator like to look at the positive side of things:

  • A water outage? Sounds like a good cost-cutting measure. Who needs running water when you can have Ozomatli, a new basketball arena, and multiple days of remembrance? Spending money on infrastructure while there are special interests to satiate is hurtful and racist.
  • It’s good for the environment. Every time you commit a hurtful and selfish act of defecation, millions of bacteria and countless gallons of water are wasted. Flushed away, if you will. This is water that could have gone to something useful, like a pizza party.
  • Water is primarily used in gendered restrooms on campus. These gendered restrooms, which are based on the old, puritan, binary genitalia’d model of society, were hurting our campus to the core. If these patriarchal devices can no longer be used then they can no longer oppress.

There, now don’t you feel better that you have to walk half a mile just to take a piss?

Graf on Amateur Hour

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I haven’t been linking to former OC Editor-in-Chief (and current ODE Opinion Editor) Tyler Graf’s columns this year because, well, complimenting the Emerald comes about as easily for me as playing Waltzing Matilda on a clarinet does to a Border Collie. But Graf’s article on St. Patrick’s Day in today’s paper is damn funny and worth reading if you’re anyone but ‘Nick Schultz’ or ‘Evan’, if only for the fact that he managed to slip a potato joke in past the censors.

Fiscal Conservativism Does Not Equate To Racism

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

The intent of our blog interview series is NOT to ambush candidates, however something in our last interview struck a nerve for me which is impossible to ignore, especially in light of the recent unpleasantness. In a comment under his interview, Nick Schultz writes “Too bad there won’t be a victory for hard-core conservative minded people, such as your self. Perhaps you could find some fascist to run for PFC and cut programs from multi-cultural groups.” This echoes Gulley’s charges of “racism,” and frankly I can’t stomach this any longer. This needs to be discussed, because it is poison.

Fiscal conservatives in the ASUO are not racists. I have been to nearly every Senate meeting this year (search our blog archive) and I have never heard a Senator advocate for targeting “multi-cultural groups.” I have also spoken in private with every Senator that Gulley attacks, and never once have they betrayed hate in their hearts for anyone.

Demanding accountability for how funds are spent, and showing concern for the level of the fee is not racist, it’s responsible. The people who do the most damage to the campus climate are those who put a dollar amount on racism. The suggestion that if a certain group gets X dollars then ASUO is cool, but that if the group gets less than X dollars, the ASUO is racist, is poisonous and just plain wrong. It makes responsible governance and social harmony incompatible… and for what? More pizza? Another speaker?

As the head of a group that got an 11% decrease, I can say it will not affect our ability to fulfill our mission statement, nor will it decrease our ability to serve campus. If we are more or less successful from year to year, it is because we have more or fewer people who believe in the value of what we do, not because of the dollar amount of our budget. And yet, other groups blackmail elected officials with the spectre of racial divisions and disrespect for the dead (as in the LGBTQA case this year), for a few bucks. And the officials are the assholes when they resist this pressure? This makes them racist? People need to seriously check themselves, because there is nothing noble about this strategy. It’s petty, it’s venal, and the ASUO cannot effectively do its job if its members are going to be called racists as their reward for ensuring that the I-fee is spent responsibly.

OC Election Interview Series: Senate Seat 3: Nick Schultz

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

This is the second in our series of online interviews with candidates for ASUO office. Nick Schultz is running for Senate Seat 3 (PFC), and today he takes a crack at our stock questions. (more…)

The Tourney Begins…

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Ah, the best sporting event of the year has arrived. Here are the teams in the OC pick ‘em league:

  • Ernie Kent’s Mexican Villa (Oregon in Sweet 16, Florida to win it all)
  • Welcome to Drinkin’ Island (Oregon to win it all)
  • Ted’s bracket of correctness (Oregon in Elite 8, No pick to win it all?)
  • Cromulent Juxtaposition (Oregon in Championship game, Vandy to win it all)
  • Hoosier Looser (Oregon to win it all)
  • Mothering Huts (Oregon in Elite 8, Kansas to win it all)
  • Ozzy Hoya (Oregon in Final Four, Georgetown to win it all)
  • Hoop Nightmares (Oregon in Elite 8, Georgetown to win it all)

GULLEY TO FACE ETHICS HEARING: Student Senate Report 3/14/07

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

I would like to take this moment to remind you to enjoy your upcoming spring break, because not everyone will. A certain ASUO Senator will be be hard pressed to enjoy his binge-drinking, frolicking-in-the-sun good time, because when he gets back, it’s ETHICS HEARING TIME!

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Schwoeffermann Enters Executive Race

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Former Emerald columnist Ty Schwoeffermann has added his name to the long list of candidates for ASUO Executive, running with Paul Kammerzelt. The campaign filed paperwork yesterday, designating McCall Hall as campaign manager.

Schwoeffermann has courted controversy all year, with columns on interracial dating, the athletic department, and an angry outburst at a PFC meeting. Details of his platform have not yet surfaced, but we look forward to hearing them.

Philly Diner Owner Uses 2nd Amendment to Defend Life and Property

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Philly Diner Owner Jason LeeA Philadelphia restaurant owner shot and killed an alleged robber and wounded another when they attempted to hold up his breakfast diner. When the men entered the diner and ordered everyone to the ground, Jason Lee, 45, grabbed his licensed revolver and put it under his apron as he got down. One man ordered the diner cashier to open the register and threatened to count to ten and shoot her if she didn’t open it. The cashier was shaking badly so Lee’s wife stepped in, and Lee used the distraction to get up and fire at the robbers.

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Gulley Fires Back

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

With our conflict of interest grievance against him dismissed, Senator Nate Gulley is firing back. In the Emerald’s coverage of the court’s ruling, Gulley is quoted as saying:

“Having the grievance against me unanimously dismissed is exactly what I expected. Nobody knows the rules better than Constitution Court and they obviously understand that I didn’t break any. Hopefully we can all keep our focus on votes that are actually contentious, like the racist attacks Senators (Jacob) Daniels, (Kyle) McKenzie, (Sara) Hamilton, (Athan) Papailiou, (Natalie) Kinsey, (Jonathan) Rosenberg, (Ashley) Sherrick, (Karen) Trippe, (Jeremy) Ebner, and (Jacqueline) Justice continue to make against programs.

Ok, wait, full stop… racist attacks? That’s it, Nate Gulley is officially this year’s apotheosis of Everything That Is Wrong With The ASUO. For the record, the Senators he is attacking include an African-American, a Jewish-American, a Korean-American, and a first-generation Greek-American…. but they are the racists. Also for the record, this is the dude accusing over half the Senate of racism.

this is the dude making accusations of racism
Gulley: Pretty fly for a douchebag.

This is the oldest play in the ASUO douchebag book: accuse anyone who disagrees with you of racism, even if you are just another pudgy white dude from Cleveland. Only in the ASUO does someone get off the hook for an ethics breach on a technicality, and then have the gall to attack everyone else on Senate. Oh, and he also said I could kiss his ass. My only reply to that is that he is so busy making himself look like an ignorant twit that I’d only get in the way if I tried to help.

Con Court Denies Conflict of Interest Charges Against Gulley

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

It’s official: there is no law in the ASUO constitution against blatant conflict of interest. The Constitutional Court of the ASUO ruled today that Senator Nate Gulley was not in violation of the ASUO constitution when he voted  “aye” on a special request for $2,000 which paid for him to travel to Washington DC as a member of a United States Student Association delegation. The courts ruling  denied the grievance filed by myself, by ignoring the obviousness of the violation  and by shunning the numerous constitutional interpretations which could have done justice to the situation. The courts ruling was timid and inconsistent, picking and choosing precedent in order to avoid the obviousness of the violation.

 

The cornerstone of my grievance was article 4 S 6, which states Conflict of interest prohibited. No member holding an elected position on the Student Senate, the ASUO Programs Finance Committee, the Athletic Department Finance Committee, or the EMU Board may vote on the budget of any ASUO or EMU program in which they will be holding a paid position during the year the fiscal budget is in effect. This section shall be construed so as to prohibit conduct that creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, as well as an actual conflict of interest.” The opinion of the court begins by stating that “Article 4 § 6 of the ASUO Constitution is perhaps one of the most confusing and vague passages of the entire document” due to its narrow prohibition in sentence two, and broadly interpretable clauses in sentences 1 and 3. The court then goes on to overrule its own precedent from 1997(Berwick v. Wisch), in which the broad interpretations were used to find a Senator guilty of” the appearance conflict of interest,” simply ruling that “The Court finds the conclusion reached in this case to be in error.” What follows is a lengthy history of section 4 S 6, which in effect limits the broad clauses (sentences 1 and 3) to cases covered by the narrow definition (sentence 2). Lengthy analysis of the history and evolution of section 4 S 6 simply obfuscate the fundamental point: IF THEY ONLY APPLY TO THE ONE EXPLICIT PROSCRIPITION, WHY IN THE FUCK WERE THESE BROADLY INTERPRETABLE CLAUSES PUT INTO THE CONSTITUTION IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Yes, Mr Justices, the narrow clause has been altered, but the broad clauses have always been there, for the simple reason that the framers wanted to be able to proscribe obvious cases of conflict of interest without enumerating every possible permutation of such conflict. By overruling existing precedent which allows the Con Court to use these broad clauses as the framers intended, Con Court effectively legislates these clauses out of our functional jurisprudence. 

 It goes without saying that the ASUO Con Court has precedent which rules both ways on this. The court cites several cases in which the “narrow only” definition is upheld, including most recently the case of Mann v. Morales, in which then OC Editor Thomas Mann charged that IFC member Armando Morales had violated Article 4 § 6 of the ASUO Constitution during a meeting of the IFC by arguing in favor of, and voting for, an increase in the budget of the USSA, a group which he was the vice chair of. Mann maintained that although Morales was not being paid in cash for his position in the program, he had participated in a trip to Washington D.C. partially funded from the programs budget and this was a form of payment. Furthermore Mann argued that Morales violated the third sentence of Article 4 § 6 by creating at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Apparently, the wierd parallels were more than the Con Court could overlook, and upheld the decision in that case, that the court “is not empowered” to change the admittedly “very narrow definition of a conflict.” Mr Mann, if you are out there, we need to have a beer sometime… this shit is crazy.

My grievance also charged Gulley with violating Senate Rule 2,3 which requires meetings be run according to Roberts Rules of Order. This was included to provide more examples of conflict of interest than are found in the ASUO constitution, thus giving extra weight to my emphasis of the broad clauses of ASUO Constitution 4 S 6. Needless to say, the Con Court simply looked to the wording to find any way to do nothing about the situation. Roberts only states that “members should abstain,” and that they cannot be compelled to vote, despite my argument that the “should” language is only intended to explain the following section which includes situations which require this non-binding language. It goes without saying, that Gulleys actions do not fit into this “exceptions clause,” suggesting that he should be held to account.

I could go on and on about this, but let’s face it: the only difference it will make is a dramatic spike in my blood pressure. When I was drafting the grievance, I was shocked by the lack of explicit ethics rules on the books; now that I have put in the work to build the case, I am really not surprised at all that the Con Court simply preferred to pass the buck. The opinion they issued doesn’t begin to  address the fact that Gulley’s conflict came in a vote on a special request, which should have a much more stringent ethical standard for the simple fact that it involves  Senate literally handing out cash. This whole situation is doubly frustrating for me, because unlike some (most?) of the Commentariat before me, I have consistently offered the ASUO the benefit of the doubt and my sincere optimism for the institution, only to end up here. As someone who sits on two Senate committees, and spends more time trying to make things right on this campus than some Senators (without a fucking stipend, thank you) while raising awareness and giving constructive advice and criticism on this blog and in the magazine, I am totally disgusted with this system that I have struggled to help reform. The ASUO desperately needs a body of ethics rules, and guess who’s gonna have to write them up to get it done? Think Senators are gonna leap up and volunteer for this? No fucking way.

 

Appropriation Committe Hears Proposals

Monday, March 12th, 2007

The ASUO Senate Appropriations Committee spent more than three hours listening to proposals about what to do with the over-realized fund Sunday night.

The Committee, formed by Senate Bill 23, is in charge of appropriating the over $1 million in over-realized funds.  The funds are to be divided “toward a project or projects that have a positive, lasting impact on a majority of the student body at the University of Oregon.”

In the EMU Board Room, groups presented on such varied topics as the student recreation center, campus radio, the School of Music and campus recycling.

Among the most expensive proposals, the rec center asked for more than $300,000 to cover their deficit.  The representative for the rec center argued that if the deficit is not taken care of now, the money owed will compound and grow exponentially.

However, if the rec center received money from over-realized it would only cover their budget for the ’07 and ’08 fiscal years.

The most passionate presentation was given by Campus Recycling.  They asked the committee for $287,960 in order to purchase five new biodiesel vans.  The current vans used by Campus Recycling are nearly 40 years old and are “unsafe.”  The new vans would also double the current fuel efficiency of the vans in use by Campus Recycling now.

The theme of the night was one-time expenditures and sustainability.  The campus radio proposal to expand their space and the School of Music’s proposal to update room 198 were among the most well-received because they did not require further investment in the near future.