Ryan McCarrell shows the ACFC just what a complete, condescending prick he is.
Last night’s ACFC meeting was another long, boring 3 hour affair in which an all pro-OSPIRG attendance–save for myself and Sen. Demic Tipitino–tried once again to get the ACFC to fund OSPIRG as a contracted group.
The night began with a slip-up by OSPIRG member Tara Celentano. Celentano was trying to answer a question regarding student involvement with OSPIRG when she said, “I joined a month ago and I’ve already met 30 people. When I’m down in the Survival Center, I meet new people from OSPIRG every day.”
ACFC Chair Alexander McCafferty responded with, “I don’t want to be nit picky, but it was my understanding that OSPIRG no longer was allowed to do business in the Survival Center.” Celentano stuttered that she still hung out there, obviously recognizing her mistake. At that point in time, Sen. Tipitino choked on his Fire n’ Spice from laughing.
Things got sticky during public testimony, as Ryan McCarrell (above) got all fireside chatty with the ACFC and pulled his chair right up to the ACFC’s table. The meeting was held in Fenton 110, a classroom that seats probably about 100 people. McCarrell made a complete ass of himself, and in my opinion, was incredibly condescending to the ACFC. McCarrell was eventually told to move back from the table by ACFC Chair McCafferty.
The night’s conversation circled around and around, with a motions being made to fund OSPIRG at $30,913 twice. Both times, it failed. The conversation of the evening, in general, centered around the fact that ACFC members were not going to fund OSPIRG’s $117,000 request, citing that organizations need to grow their budget, and that they were uncomfortable sending so much of student money to pay for non-student advocates.
As for the $30,000 and $60,000 alternate funding models specifically, it was finally decided by the ACFC that these funding levels would essentially restrict the overall effectiveness of OSPIRG, and therefore the return would not be beneficial as a contract, “A funding level of $30,000 will leave OSPIRG ineffective on this campus,” said Sen. Hailey Sheldon.
OSPIRG is currently being floated on an $80,000 budget from the state-PIRG to continue work on campus. Ryan McCarrell asked the ACFC to fund them at that level instead. Sen. Sheldon disagreed, “An $80,000 budget still includes a limiting of their services. Partial funding for OSPIRG includes the caveat that says we will have to fund them, fully, eventually.” What Sheldon was implying was that the money in the state-PIRG would eventually run out, and not be able to give the university-PIRG that $80,000–to run effectively–on a yearly basis. If OSPIRG needs $117,000 then anything less would not allow them to operate effectively.
It was suggested several times the the ACFC approve an $80,000 or $30,000 budget for OSPIRG, and then deliberate on the actual contract services later. Essentially, OSPIRG supporters were promising to the ACFC that they’d comply with what they wanted and the ACFC could write the contract how they wished, just as long as OSPIRG got the funding.
Sheldon disagreed with that idea, “Giving $80,000 to OSPIRG and sending it to contracts would be completely arbitrary and set a precedent that we’re not going to make here.” Chair McCafferty nodded in agreement.
Sen. Zachary Stark-Mac Millan told the ACFC, “You’ve said several times that you have problems with funding them fully, but haven’t yet told us what your exact concerns actually are.” Of course, that was right after Hailey Sheldon had just finished talking about her very concern, “At only $30,000 it’s a dollars and cents thing, regarding tangible results on this campus.”
Former Emerald opinion editor Robert D’Andrea stood up at one point and passionately told the ACFC that, “This is a service worth duplicating.” Since we were discussing the allocation of University of Oregon student money, I asked D’Andrea afterwords whether or not he was a registered, Incidental Fee paying student at the University of Oregon. He declined to comment.
The biggest twist of the night was when OSPIRG’s biggest supporter on the ACFC, Ben Eckstein, told the OSPIRG members about his disappointment, “You’ve given us everything that we’ve asked for in the last 4 days. That doesn’t represent compromise, unfortunately, it just represents due diligence.” He said later, “The ACFC has done a great job of being proactive here, of finding compromise.”
Eckstein asked the ACFC members if they thought any other alternative models were viable. Not one member responded. ACFC member Phil Gong ended up motioning to adjourn, and Chair McCafferty seconded. The vote ended with Eckstein, mercifully, ceeding his vote. The end tally was 4-1-0, with Joey Freedman being the lone ‘nay’.
At a lower, $30,000 level, OSPIRG’s funding model accounted for off-campus, non-student organizers salaries first. This was obviously the sticking point during the night, and as I have mentioned before, was one that OSPIRG members did not seem to understand. If OSPIRG had proposed a budget that sent UO students to Salem, or gave them event money for anti-disposable water bottle rallies or other like-minded, student and campus-oriented line items, they may very well have gained funding. But doing that is asking OSPIRG to change their entire corporate structure, and isn’t something that the OSPIRG people seem to understand or willing to do.
Either way, Phil Gong told me he thought OSPIRG’s downfall wasn’t their lack of flexibility, it was their actual changes to their budget, “The problem was really that they would have been rather powerless at a decreased funding level. We asked them to bring us some different evidence [of their effectiveness] that they didn’t bring last time, and they just got up and said the same stuff.”