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Archive for January, 2011

OSPIRG Contract Hearing Relocated, Will Be Without Public Comment

Monday, January 31st, 2011

EUGENE – The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee has relocated its hearing on the OSPIRG contract to 221 McKenzie Hall. The change was requested by OSPIRG Board Chair Charles Denson, according to ACFC Chair Sen. Brianna Woodside-Gomez. Woodside-Gomez also told the Commentator that there would not be opportunity for public comment during the hearing.

Woodside-Gomez explained that she had been contacted by Denson, who asked if other rooms were available. Denson said that the scheduled room, 107 Esslinger Hall, would not accommodate the number of supporters who would be in attendance, Woodside-Gomez explained. She continued to say that Denson told her that he had contacted university scheduling, that a room was available and that Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan could book the room for ACFC, which was done.

Woodside-Gomez also stated that public comment would not be allowed during the hearing, which is the last hearing OSPIRG will have before their contract, as part of the total ACFC budget, will be voted on by the ASUO Senate. “I just don’t want this to get out of hand, I want this to go quick,” said Woodside-Gomez. She continued to say that OSPIRG had already had ample opportunity to make its case to the committee. “We’ve been lobbied constantly… They’re sending us public testimony through email.”

OSPIRG’s hearing at its new location will begin at 5 P.M. Wednesday, February 2.

OSPIRG raids event at Mills Intl. Center for signatures.

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Apparently some OSPIRG petitioners went to a coffee hour event for international students at the MIC and send their petition around in a way that made some people upset, including me after reading about it. I wish you could make this up. From today’s Ol’ Dirty:

“It was not an event that was targeted for them to come and politically try and push their agenda on to people. It was a social event, meant to be talking, learning about international culture,” [University junior Janessa] Nelson said. “I don’t think they were fully telling the students what they were, who they were, what it was for … they speak English, but maybe not the best English, and to have them sort of be pushed into signing something, they weren’t really spending a lot of time with them.”

And the fun continues:

“There were like three of them (OSPIRG petitioners), and they kind of spread out across the room, and they were all signing; it just seemed really rude to me. We’re there to have coffee and have fun with each other,” [University sophomore Daniel] Hartley said. “And it also just seemed weird, because over half of these people are not citizens of the United States … I know half of them didn’t understand what they were doing.”

Are you that desperate for signatures that you have to crash an event at MIC and get them from people who are just learning about this country and this university? This is the worst kind of manipulative politics. If I was put in that situation under the same conditions as those students and then, after the fact, was given the information I have at my disposal now, I would feel taken advantage of. Whoever’s idea this was has some explaining to do.

A New Vision

Friday, January 28th, 2011

With our dreams of a real life Sudsy Suit now actualized, we set out sites on a new goal: A bear chair.

American Hero: Vikki Myers

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

When Vikki Myers decided to take a tiptoe through her twolips, little did she know that a cop was about to come down on her self-sex session. Myers, 44, was staying at the Red Roof Inn with her children, and showing utmost care for her young, snuck out to the family minivan to show her vag a little TLC. However the coppers saw fit not only rudely interrupt a most patriotic act but also slap her with a $165 fine and a minor weapons charge for failing to have the proper ID card for her 9mm handgun. Vikki says she had just moved to Illinois, where the “crime” occurred, by way of Texas, where driving with a loaded handgun is often encouraged as a safety precaution.
Many are calling Vikki Myers a gross old harlot who should be able to control her sexual urges, but, personally, this writer finds her to be an inspiration. Why should we let society tell us when and where to sex oneself? If we all decided to make it a priority in our lives the result could only be a more relaxed, happy, and focused nation. We could all learn a lesson from Vikki Myers; not only her from commitment to getting off, but also the importance of properly registering all firearms.

New Partnership Town Hall: A revised return on investments.

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Yesterday’s town hall meeting regarding the new partnership proposal — which some people know as the “OMG I hear Phil Knight is gonna buy UO” proposal — featured President Lariviere, Professor John Chalmers (from the college of business, finance is his deal), as well as a veritable mob of students and other faculty. The meeting began with an overview of the proposal, what it hoped to accomplish and what changes would be made, aided by many pretty graphs.

Lariviere stated that this proposal has three main goals: governance reform, increased accountability, and a new funding agreement with the state. The governance reform would come in the form of a new board that would feature government-appointed members as well as a student and a faculty seat, all with voting powers. This is also alleged to be at least as accountable as the current system, with hopes it will improve accountability.

While those aspects will have some impact, I am willing to bet the key question here that the majority of people who care are asking is, “How will the change in funding affect the UO?” I have heard a good deal of speculation on the subject, although most of it has been from people who heard the words “private funding” and began screeching about how some company will bankroll the UO on the condition it becomes, “Phil Knight’s Football-Tossing Learnatorium” and all non-athletes will be forced to study in the rain while they bulldoze the residence halls to make room for more stadiums. While I suppose that is technically possible, come on; it’s not like that sort of thing can’t kind of happen now, especially if the school receives less and less funding from the state due to budget cuts. According to the figures presented at the meeting, UO has about the same level of funding as it did 20 years ago, which adjusting for inflation means roughly 43% less. Allegedly the tuition hikes as of late are because of this level of state funding, and if this trend continues, similar increases are on the way.

The new proposal would have the state take the money they would normally give as funding to the University and instead use it to fund bonds that the University would match with private donations, and all of these proceeds would go to an endowment estimated at $1.6 billion. The University would use the interest on this endowment to fund its operations in addition to further state funding, the end goal being reduced reliance on state funding. The state would not hand its money over until the University produced matching funds from private donors, and there would be no impact on state funds until 2013 at the very earliest.

The main reasoning behind this is aside from private donations, what the University does not receive from the state it must gain through tuition costs. This proposal would, in theory, alleviate what Lariviere called, “an unfair burden on our students and their families,” and allow the University to more accurately predict its funding each year. Based on fancy presentations from aforementioned finance professor, predictions show that with this proposal, even a good amount from the expected mean would be slightly above expected state contributions. Basically, if this goes as planned, it would almost certainly be at least a minor improvement, with the expectation being roughly twice the state funding UO would receive.

The proposal going as planned will involve two bills passing — Senate Bill 559 and Senate Joint Resolution 20 — as well as fundraising going well. The one concern that surfaces repeatedly is that private fundraising would indenture the UO to some corporation, and indeed, our beloved Cimmeron Gillespie raised this question during Q&A, asking if there had been, “any thought put to the ethics [of fundraising]?” Lariviere pointed out that many public institutions, even without proposals such as these, are presented deals that are not in their best interests, and so they simply turn them down.

Seriously, guys, think about this for a minute: if the University was going to sell itself into some faceless corporation’s arms it probably would have done so by now. The whole reason for this partnership is to generate more funds. The school has had to jack up tuition to pay for things, and if there had been an unscrupulous way to get tons of funding before they would have taken it. They haven’t before, it’s not like the proposal presents some new opportunity to do so. The only question is how much more will the new partnership would generate compared to staying with the current method of funding, and all of the numbers seem hopeful.

TL;DR: This is probably a kinda good to really good thing to happen, and tuition will get really shitty if things stay the way they are. Unless somebody really screws something up, we can probably put faith in the fact that if Lariviere is telling us things rather than clamming up, he’s telling the truth.

Three’s a crowd: ASUO Senate Recap, 26 January, 2011

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

News:

EUGENE – The ASUO Senate moved two steps closer to full membership last night as three newcomers were confirmed as members of the body during its regular meeting in the EMU Walnut Room. With the Executive appointing Kerry Snodgrass to Seat Three (Programs Finance Committee) and Lamar Wise to Seat 10 (Department Finance Committee) and the Senate selecting Christian Erichsen to fill the “Freshman Senator” Seat, only one vacancy (Seat 12: Architecture and Allied Arts) stands between the Senate and its second full roster this year.

After dispensing with special requests at the beginning of the meeting, the Senate quickly moved to Snodgrass’s confirmation. Sen. Laura Hinman pointed out the need for PFC to fill out its ranks, and Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan states  “I’m really impressed with your experience within the ASUO already.”

Snodgrass fielded questions on viewpoint neutrality and diversity, saying that diversity “is coming at an issue with different perspectives.” After limited discussion, she was confirmed unanimously.

Wise, appointed to the open DFC Seat, was also confirmed easily. Wise has been a regular at the Senate’s meetings thus far this year, a point which did not go unnoticed by Sen. Brianna Woodside-Gomez, who said that “we see you as a very dedicated individual.”

Wise’s hearing was not without some conflict. Hinman noted that she thought that more qualified candidates were available and that, while she did not consider Wise unqualified, she also didn’t think he was the right choice. She announced that she would abstain from voting on the confirmation, which was unanimously passed.

After the meeting, she told the Commentator that she had discussed the matter with ASUO President Amelie Rousseau. “President Rousseau thought he was the most appropriate choice for this body. I respect her decision, but disagree,” Hinman said.

Erichsen, candidate to be the very first Freshman Senator was presented to the body by Sens. Max Barkley, Hinman, Blake Sedgley, and Evan Thomas. Erichsen said that as an out-of-state student, he felt he could effectively represent the needs of what he described as a large out-of-state contingent within the freshman class. He also summarized his stance on viewpoint neutrality by saying he would assess programs “based on the content of their programs not the color of their pamphlet.”

Questions arose during the hearing over the definition behind the Constitutional requirement that the Freshman Senator be an “intern.” Sen. Chris Bocchicchio suggested that he would seek an opinion from the Constitutional Court as to the meaning of the term. He later confirmed this to the Commentator, saying “We can debate it all we want but Con Court has the final say. They’ll be hearing from me soon.” In the interim, the Senate was impressed with Erichsen’s qualifications, and approved him unanimously. After a brief series of officer and committee reports, and a short discussion of public records custodianship, the meeting was adjourned.

(more…)

Things that come in threes: ASUO Senate, 26 January 2011

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

1: Special Requests

2: Senate Appointments

3: Topics in this blog post

The first two will be very true this week during the ASUO Student Senate’s meeting tonight at 7 P.M. in the EMU Walnut Room. Check the three-packed agenda here, and then play along at home with our trio of reporters. (ODE Campus Politics Reporter Franklin Bains, OC Senior Sports Correspondent/ Sign Guy Stephen Murphy, and yours truly, OC Managing Editor/ASUO Correspondent Rockne Andrew Roll)

It’ll be three times the fun!

OSPIRG Canvassing For Ballot Measure

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Probably recognizing they will be unable to receive a contract for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group is on campus collecting signatures for a ballot measure to appear during the ASUO election during weeks one and two of spring term. The text of the ballot measure is as follows:

Should the ASUO fund the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) at a level that allows OSPIRG to hire professional staff to advocate on behalf of students locally, statewide, and nationally in places like the State Legislature and Congress?

OSPIRG is a statewide, student-directed and funded organization that strives to fulfill the public service mission of the University by combining student activism and professional staff to do advocacy, organizing and research for the public interest on campus, statewide and nationally to lower healthcare costs, stop global warming, protect public health, make textbooks more affordable, and increase public transit. OSPIRG is controlled by an all-student Board of Directors.

A YES vote is a non-binding statement that the ASUO should fund OSPIRG at a level that allows OSPIRG to hire professional staff to advocate on behalf of students locally, statewide, and nationally in places like the State Legislature and Congress on issues such as those described above.

A NO vote is a non-binding statement that the ASUO should not fund an OSPIRG program, as described above.

First of all, this is the exact same ballot measure that was on the ballot last year. Word for word.

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Former UO Adjunct Professor Bill Hillar Arrested In Maryland

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

ABC is reporting the arrest of former UO Adjunct Professor Bill Hillar in Millersville, Maryland. Hillar was under investigation for defrauding students into believing he was a member of the US Army Special Forces and that the movie “Taken” was based on his life.

You can read the story here. According to the site, it will be updated as the story unfolds.

In Memoriam

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Our latest issue comes on sad wings, as students, faculty, and families mourn the deaths of two University of Oregon Students: Collin Phillip La More, 21, of Tigard, and Ellis Michael Heyer, 21, of Amherst, Mass.

On Saturday morning La More, Heyer, and friend Nicholas John Ries, 21, of Portland, were traveling east on Highway 58 in foggy and icy conditions when Ries apparently lost control of the car.

The vehicle landed in the eastbound shoulder and struck a tree on the passenger side. Apparently, the car caught fire 10 minutes after the crash as Oakridge Fire Department teams arrived.

Ries, who sustained serious but not life threatening injuries, was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend. A nurseing supervisor said he was not at the hospital sunday.

It is not yet clear what killed La More or Heyer, but our thoughts are with these student’s families.

Interview Issue Online!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

After nigh on 30 hours awake, the Interview Issue has graced your web browser with more fun and excitement than you could ever expect from 22 pages of text. Inside:

  • Learn about your ladyparts with UO Nurse Practitioner Colleen Jones!
  • Nerd out about the ASUO with English dramatist Henry Fielding and Houston Rocket Aaron Brooks!
  • Read about Students for Life President David Lach! You don’t have a choice!*
  • A man who needs no introduction . . .
  • Get paranoid with Zach Vishanoff and An Tae Sik!
  • Lament the one that got away!

It’s a REAL THING. Get it here. Enjoy or die!

*Get it? Get it? See what we did there?

Interview Week: Zach Vishanoff

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Editors’ note: Welcome to Interview Week. It’s like Shark Week, except with transcripts rather than terrifying cartilaginous fish. So in other words, slightly more terrifying. The Interview Issue is being frantically rushed into existence as we speak and we are all excited about it. But the thing about interesting conversations is that they don’t come into being at the leisure of the printed page. They’re lengthy and often overrun their allotment. We couldn’t fit everything in the Interview Issue, so some of our most interesting pieces are coming at you through the World Wide Web this week. Enjoy or die!

This is the first interview in that series, by me with the activist Zach Vishanoff (pictured it above), maybe the most interesting person in the orbit of the UO. In the finished magazine, extremely small excerpts from the interview will appear at the top of each page. The entire interview lasted about half an hour. While it was happening, Vishanoff talked about the decade he has spent opposing the UO’s development and expansion. The reader may draw his or her own conclusions from the text of the interview. As with all of our interviews, we assume no legal responsibility for the factual content of our subjects.

Vishanoff also insisted it is important to note he consumed a great deal of coffee prior to the interview.

Great thanks are due for Ross Coyle, who transcribed this interview, and Rockne Andrew Roll, who provided the camera. It’s possible that there might have been some unseemly transition between Microsoft Word and the blog in terms of the integrity of the text. If that’s the case, I apologize for it and let me know. The interview is below the fold, and there will be a video in due time.

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Seriously awesome.

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Ol’ Dirty photo editor Ivar Vong just put up these neat toys on the ODE blogs. Essentially, they’re visualizations of student fee funding allocations per group for the 2010-11 school year for PFC, DFC and ACFC. (I hear EMU will be up there in a moment.) Infographics are way cool, especially interactive ones. And useful.

Student Fee Infographic

Unanimously Fast: ASUO Senate Recap, 19 January 2011

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

News:

Unanimity was the name of the game for the ASUO Student Senate Wednesday evening as they moved quickly through a light agenda during their weekly meeting in the EMU Walnut Room. With Sen. Evan Thomas taking over the chair for the evening, the body dispensed quickly with a $4000 special request from the Multicultural Center and the confirmation of Katherine DuPont to the open At-Large seat on the Programs Finance Committee, both by votes of 12 to zero.

The MCC made its request to help pay for the upcoming appearance of noted civil rights activist Angela Davis. The MCC had already raised $5000 of the funds necessary to pay Davis’ honorarium, a figure which included donations from the Women’s Center and the ASUO Executive. After minimal discussion, the request was unanimously approved. Davis will appear on Saturday, January 22, at 7 p.m. in Columbia Hall, room 150.

Senators next considered the appointment of Katherine DuPont to the PFC. DuPont had been previously appointed to Senate Seat One, but her appointment was rejected by the Senate, which later confirmed Sen. James Dos Santos to the slot. Questions about her course load and outside jobs, which had hampered her confirmation last time, were easily dispatched during this hearing. “ I plan on giving 110%. I’m here to help them,” explained DuPont.

PFC Chair Noah Wolf-Prusan told the Senate that her confirmation was important. “We really need Katherine… We need an extra body on the committee.” The PFC has been faced with two empty seats since Sen. Erin Altman’s resignation last week, putting pressure on the committee during crucial budget hearings. After making sure that her schedule had sufficient availability to accommodate the work of a PFC member, DuPont was confirmed unanimously.

The Senate then discussed potential revisions to the model by which stipends are allocated to ASUO officials, including Senators, Executive staff members, and others. While a number of senators thought a raise was in order, many were also open to the idea of an altogether new way of paying those working in student government. “We should definitely look into a tuition discount model,” said Sen. Janet Brooks, discussing a system wherein students within the ASUO would be provided with reduced tuition, instead of cash payments, in exchange for their service.

Many were concerned that the current stipend level was pricing students out of the opportunity to serve. Others, such as Sen. Kristina Harding, were worried that such an increase in compensation would cause a significant increase in the Incidental Fee. The concept was left open, to be returned to at a later date. After quick updates from officers and committees, including Sen. Chris Bocchicchio’s announcement that he intends to challenge the Constitution Court’s proposed rearrangement of constituencies for academic senators, the meeting was adjourned early , marking a second week running that Senate did not run over its allotted time.

A scheduled confirmation hearing for Lamar Wise, appointed to Senate Seat 10 (DFC), was postponed after it was discovered that the forms had not been filed in time.

(more…)

Confirm This: ASUO Senate Meeting Tonight

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Two long awaited confirmations, a special request from the MCC, and a discussion of stipends will be dispatched by the ASUO Student Senate in their meeting tonight, 7PM, in the EMU Walnut Room. Check the agenda here, and play along at home here.