Archive for February, 2012
Former ASUO Senator Chris Bocchicchio has filed a grievance with the ASUO Constitution Court requesting the removal of ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor from office.
If this comes as a surprise to you– please, just crawl back under your rock, and emerge only after you’ve read this.
In his formal complaint, Bocchicchio states:
According to the ASUO Green Tape Notebook, VP Taylor has a week to respond to the grievance. She was quick, however, to talk to the Ol’ Dirty, and quick to attack those who have called for her removal– because Bocchicchio isn’t the first.
ASUO Senator Kaitlyn Lange called for VP Taylor’s removal last month to no avail.
“I think it is disturbing and enlightening that both of the people asking for my recall are former or current employees of Division of Student Affairs,” Taylor told the ODE. “I also think it is sad these people are wasting Con Court’s time for personal or political gain.”
In light of your marriage to former OSPIRG chair Charles Denson, VP Taylor, do you really want to go callin’ shit “disturbing and enlightening?”
“I would like to know what either of these people have done for students,” Taylor continued. “I am working for students’ best interests.”
By “working for students’ best interests” you mean refusing to disclose a blatant conflict of interest, then providing a tie-breaking vote that allocates over $100,000 of students’ money to this same conflict of interest—- right?
Well, just so we’re clear, Bocchicchio’s complaint is NOT A CALL FOR IMPEACHMENT, but a request for Con. Court to do their job:
For now, we’ll just have to wait and see. Like Bocchicchio, the Oregon Commentator looks forward to the day when the ASUO will actually fulfill its purpose.
In a shocking and heartening turn of events, someone out there doesn’t want to throw money at OSPIRG’s feet, and the right people decided to listen: on February 26th, the Con Court ruled in favor of Rudin on his viewpoint neutrality grievance against Bowman, according to the ODE. The stage is now set for the ACFC to vote again on the matter of OSPIRG’s funding.
The necessary majority within the court found Bowman’s pro-OSPIRG statements violated viewpoint neutrality, a precedent set by the Supreme Court which the ASUO is obligated to follow. The ACFC will now be required to hold another vote on whether OSPIRG will receive that whopping 97% increase, which will be held Wednesday.
In response to the decision, Rudin noted, “I was pleased that Con Court agreed with what I have been saying all along, that we must allocate student fee money based on services provided, not viewpoint of the organization.”
Opposition to the decision seems to already be pouring into the inbox of the ODE Opinion office, with people gnashing their teeth over the fact that OSPIRG isn’t going to have their $86k budget nearly doubled without a little oversight. We here at the Commentator, however, congratulate Senator Rudin for taking away the ACFC’s rubber stamp for the time being. We might be able to put the money we would’ve otherwise had to pay OSPIRG into some hot stripper’s thong, yet.
For a full breakdown of the of the Ben v. Ben extravaganza, look no further.
I know that we’ve all been very curious about Moss St. and all of the construction, so I decided to pull a Nancy Drew and figure out what was up to help feed the fires of wonder that all us young scholars have (pro tip: I had a little help), and I come back successful!
There’s good news and bad news, do you remember how there were apparently 311 parking spaces that were lost to the construction of the new residence hall? Neither do I, because I was a senior in high school when that was happening, but apparently it’s a thing, and the University is trying to replace those lost spots.
The good news is, the construction on Moss St. will help replace 94 of the lost 311 parking spots. Also, the University has created parking on Villard St. and has made a whole parking station called “Walnut Street Station.” Kinda catchy. More good news, the University has been working closely with Moss St. Children’s Center to make sure the new parking isn’t going to make it more dangerous for all those little tots running around.
The bad news? All of these parking projects have cost $3 million dollars. I guess that to such a powerful university, that undoubtedly has budgeted and planned for this, that isn’t really bad news. I’m just kinda broke right now and $3 mill would pay my tuition like a hundred and twenty times over.
Last Wednesday, deep in the depths of the labyrinth that is McKenzie Hall, free pizza was served and debate over athletic department transparency was had.
In a comforting demonstration of student and faculty concern, SCORE, the UO’s very own Student Coalition on Reprioritizing Education, held a Discussion Panel on UO Athletic Department Transparency. The discussion was a part of SCORE’s “campaign to secure a yearly financial contribution from the Athletics department back to the university to help students.”
The Oregon Commentator wasn’t there of course, but the Ol’ Dirty Emerald tells us that the discussion panel included a few “special guests:” Nathan Tublitz and Bill Harbaugh — both on the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee of University Senate — and Laurel Hess of the women’s club rugby team and Lena Macomson of the women’s varsity tennis team.
Harbaugh called the UO’s predicament “a nightmare.”
Tublitz declared that “We are an academic institution, not a business.”
Speaking on the UO Athletic Department’s disregard for Club Sports, Hess said: “They don’t want a relationship with us on any level.”
And Macomson vowed to meet with athletic director Rob Mullens to “discuss issues surrounding transparency in order to get the student-athlete opinion heard.”
SCORE coordinator Andrew Rodgers was pleased with the discussion, calling it an “open and intricate dialogue on the issue.”
Look, there’s nothing intricate about it. All I got from that is the University of Oregon Athletic Department is an, unaccountable, conniving pain in the ass–which it isn’t.
It’s a an expensive, unaccountable, conniving pain in the ass.
And speaking of expensive, unaccountable, conniving pains in the ass, the ACFC and ASUO met with Garrett Klassy– Executive Director of the Duck Athletic Fund– to discuss student ticket fees on Tuesday.
Klassy requested a 3% budget increase. The Athletic Department already receives $1.5 million from student fees for tickets, and the %3 increase would have amounted to an additional $48,000.
Did you know that the UO Athletic Department generated $88 million in 2011?
Let’s go over that again: THE UO ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT GENERATED 88 MILLION DOLLARS IN 2011 AND ASKED THE ACFC FOR AN ADDITIONAL $48,000.
Well, as reported in the ODE by the lovely, the luxurious, Emily Schiola: ACFC decided in a 4-0-0 vote on a zero percent increase. [ACFC Chair and ASUO Senator Ben] Bowman mentioned that since they have to turn in their budget to ASUO Senate by Thursday, Klassy will have to come back before then and explain if athletics is willing to agree with this decision.
“We don’t have more funds to allocate to the student-ticket program,” ASUO President Ben Eckstein said. “$48,000 is a big deal to the ASUO. I don’t think we can accept a deal that doesn’t reconcile this difference.”
So there you have it, Athletics. Through ACFC and ASUO we’re denying you $48,000. Through SCORE we’re congregating and talkin’ shit.
Baby steps, maybe. But steps nonetheless.
So watch yourself. With that bible reference up there I think I’ve earned us the support of the Christian Deity. And even if He doesn’t exist– we’ve got a whole lotta’ morality.
Good ol’ secular morality. Something that you will never have.
SCORE is holding a Rally next Thursday, March 1 at 7pm at the Matt Knight Arena to bring attention to the issue of Athletics’ lack of financial accountability and transparency. People will be in line for the game which starts at 7:30.
Here is a sneak preview of the Sex Issue, (in stands this week!) several scintillating stories from our always-sexy staffers. Enjoy!
Students at UC Riverside organized as Fix UC have formally proposed their own tuition reform proposal to the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal is called the “UC Student Investment Proposal,” and it calls for free tuition.
Why does this matter?
Well, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald found that, “Without a doubt, the Oregon University System finds itself facing the same conundrum that the California system and countless others are currently experiencing: Keep raising tuition or sacrifice the quality of the education.”
The article quotes ASUO President Ben Eckstein, saying “a movement like this would be absolutely acceptable. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see a ‘Fix OUS’ movement at Oregon.”
Then there’s Diane Saunders, the director of communications for OUS: “The kind of program that Fix UC proposes might stratify who attends your university,” she said. “For those who might have higher incomes, it may be too much to pay in the long run.”
Oh, whoops. You don’t even know what she’s talking about. I forgot to explain how exactly Fix UC’s proposal works! Well I’ve taken a few answers from Fix UC’s FAQ page for some elucidation on their whole “free tuition” thing:
1. Wait, so like. Why is it called UC Student Investment Proposal? I thought this had to do with like, tuition and shit.
Fix UC: Under the proposal, the University of California would invest in its students to attend the university with no up-front costs, with the expectation that they will graduate and financially contribute once they enter a career.
This “investment” would be the University of California collecting %5 of their students’ income for 20 years after graduation.
Oh and let me remind you: In Oregon, if your income range is over $7,601, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is %9, with a top rate of 11% kicking in at an income level of $250,000.
So just imagine, if the OUS were to adopt this, you’d be sending away %14 of the fruits of your labor until you were forty or so.
That’s right, now read the next question.
2. Hey, hold on. My dad’s fucking loaded, so I don’t want to pay like that. Can’t I just like, pay the tuition up front like we do now under this proposal?
Fix UC: No. An option to pay an up front fee would run contrary to one of the core concepts behind the proposal.Graduates of the UC will maintain a connection with their university not just for the time they spend there, but for a lifetime. A UC education is not a product, and its value is a complex one. The proposal requires a rethinking of the role of education in people’s lives, not simply as a product in the form of a degree…
This may just be the History major talkin’, but this sounds a lot like a little thing called indentured servitude. You know, that labor system prevalent in Colonial America during the 17th century, where poor immigrants would sign contracts committing several years-worth of their labor and wages in return for free ship fare..
Like indentured servitude, Fix UC’s proposal seems kind of, I don’t know, binding maybe. The “%5 of your income” isn’t like a loan you can simply pay off once you have the money. It’s a tax. It’s a fee that rises as your income rises. AND IT DOES NOT GO AWAY.
What if you graduate and and end up working at Best Buy for 20 years?
What if you graduate and become extremely successful?
Or even worse yet, what if you graduate and become exponentially more successful each year, for 20 years, like most people?
When asked about his thoughts on Fix UC’s proposal, University of California president Mark Yudof told NPR, “In its current form, frankly, it’s unworkable.” Yudof did say, however, that he was “impressed” when students presented the idea at a recent meeting of the UC Board of Regents, and that his “best number crunchers” are reviewing the plan.
Like Yudof, the Oregon Commentator is admittedly impressed as well. Why? Well, simply because Fix UC emerged out of the staff of a student publication, just like us!
On Fix UC’s About page, it cites “after publishing editorial after editorial on the subject of the budget cuts and their impact on students, the editorial board of the Highlander newspaper at UC Riverside began developing an out-of-the-box, long-term solution for the University of California that addresses its most fundamental shortcomings.”
It’s true. Chris LoCascio, President of Fix UC, is also the Editor-In-Chief of UC Riverside’s newspaper, the Highlander.
Now I can’t say that our own Editor-In-Chief, Sophie Lawhead, will ever write a highly-debatable tuition proposal for a public university system in her spare time. But I will tell you that she will never let herself become editor of anything called the Highlander. I also cannot say that us on the OC editorial board will ever collectively develop some “long term solutions” to any “fundamental shortcomings.” In fact, I can personally attest that that will never happen. But please know, we want lower tuition too. We all do. And if we had to write a tuition reform proposal, it would look a little like this:
The Oregon Commentator’s OUS Tuition Reform Proposal:
1. Cut out some of that Oregon University System bureaucracy.
2. Cut out some of that mother fuckin’ Oregon University System bureaucracy!
State politics, everybody. Who’s ready for some?
Well a week ago in Salem, the Oregon House of Representatives tabled Senate Bill 1550– a bill that would have prohibited carrying firearms on school and college campuses
Yes, prohibited even if you had a concealed handgun permit. And no, this wouldn’t have any affect on whether or not DPS will be able to carry guns.
The body cited that “all gun-related legislation is over for the current, abbreviated session.”
Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick, who proposed the bill, said that she wudn’t even surprised her bill didn’t move forward. She explained that “the short legislative session should be devoted primarily to budget adjustments and major policy issues that have more urgency to them.”
Guns on campus?
Take your time.
The best part is that on Wednesday, the Oregon state House demonstrated what they do find urgent enough to pass: a bill prohibiting the release of information listed on concealed handgun license applications.
This is the third time since 2009 that the Oregon state house has passed a bill that protects this information– ensuring that the applications “remain confidential and [the information] is not released to the public.”
“The bill would protect very personal information about people who are trying to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher, who proposed the bill.
Dammit, Oregon State Legislature. I really wanted access to the personal information of these gentlemen.
For those of you who don’t know–yet still for some reason care*–about the shockingly boring** catfight currently underway at the ASUO, we at the Commentator are here to give you a quick rundown.
- As we reported earlier this month, Senator Ben Rudin called out Senator Ben Bowman for a lack of “viewpoint neutrality” in regard to the funding of OSPIRG. That escalated to the filing of an official grievance on February 3rd where Rudin recommended that “In light of the viewpoint discrimination exercised in the OSPIRG vote in ACFC on January 31, I am requesting that the Constitution Court declare that vote invalid, issue an injunction against including OSPIRG in the final budget approved by ACFC, and allow OSPIRG to appeal its request to Senate.”
- On the 9th, Bowman responded to the accusations by claiming that Rudin did not cite any ASUO laws or the Green Tape Notebook in filing the grievance, according to the ODE.
- On the 10th, Rudin revised the grievance. As part of his new claim, he referred to ASUO protocol which states that Senators must abide by federal and state law, and a decision by the Supreme Court stating that viewpoint neutrality must be employed in cases where mandatory student fees are concerned.
- Bowman subsequently stated that viewpoint neutrality wasn’t a factor in his decision, because he was specifically interested in the organization’s worth to students (editor’s note: none), rather than the ideological positions they hold.
That is the standing of the issue leading up to this week’s Senate meeting. Hopefully something a bit more interesting will happen soon, possibly involving hair-pulling.
(In the same timeframe, Rudin filed an unrelated grievance against Ben Eckstein for failure to fill Senate Seat 13 within 30 days. Rudin withdrew this grievance on the 13th.)
*The Commentator is well aware that no such individual exists; the only people who care about the workings of the ASUO are ASUO Senators, and campus publications.
**Seriously, not even any jello fights or mud wrestling.
On November 21st last year, GoDucks.com unveiled the University of Oregon’s plans to “expand” the Casanova Center.
Because apparently, this shit doesn’t suffice:
Well, way over yonder and across the bridge, construction has indeed begun, among that pretentious little colony of sports complexes along the northern bank of the Willamette. And it’s turning out to be nice and underhanded. Just the way Oregon Athletics likes it.
Yesterday, The Ol’ Dirty Emerald confirmed that “expansion is under way, yet no University administrators or athletics officials know much about the project.” In fact, the ODE’s Sam Stites was denied his request for an on-site walk-though and interview.
That’s because it isn’t a University project.
Instead, the UO has leased out the land to a company called Phit LLC — which is actually Phil Knight, disguised as a building development group. What happens is this: “Phit” picks the contractor and the architecture firm, then erects this new Casanova Center. And when it’s all finished, the land will be given back to the UO as a gift.
We are sooooo sneaky!
According to the ODE, “Both Williford and Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt said they don’t know the cost of the project. According to the permit applications filed with the City of Eugene, the total value of the project came to $63.3 million. The site work alone — rerouting site utilities, demolition of portions of the Casanova Center, pathways and the relocating of the cooling tower — cost $1.75 million. With the expansion planned for adding an extra 130,000 square feet, the cost per square foot is $484.”
Despite the UO Athletic Department’s “lack of transparency” regarding the expansion, or what I really like to think of as the UO Athletic Department’s “blissful, grateful, ignorance and submission” to the expansion, GoDucks.com is quite explicit in their description of the anticipated Casanova Center. The expansion will include:
1. “a new 25,000-square-foot weight room”
Because anything less than 25,000 square feet would have been, well, practical.
2. “an enhanced grass football practice field as well as the addition of two new synthetic turf practice fields – and a full-service dining facility”
Because practice makes perfect, and perfection requires on-site dining, of course.
3. “a lobby and reception area– which is expected to rise to a height of six floors at some points — that will celebrate the proud history of the Ducks’ football program, and will accentuate the achievements of past and present Oregon football coaches, individual players and teams.”
Oh thank God. Because honestly, if the UO is lacking in anything at all, it’s recognition for the football team. Am I right? AM I RIGHT though?
4. “a centralized football operations center– the heart of the facility– will be cloaked in black metal and glass and will include nine dedicated football position meeting rooms, two (COUNT ‘EM, TWO) team video theaters, offense and defense strategy rooms as well as a larger conference suite for the entire coaching staff.”
Wait, hold on. The athletics department has a heart? And the heart of the athletics department is a football operations center? And this heart is cloaked in black metal and glass?
5. “Additional amenities that will include a players’ lounge, a recruiting center to host prospective student-athletes, dedicated areas to accommodate professional scouts, a media interview room as well as an advanced video editing and distribution center.”
Look, are you going to make me convince you of the necessity of these amenities ?
As for the aesthetics of the new Casanova Center, bitches get ready! This shit’s bein’ built by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF). Big surprise right? They’re the same guys who built the Jacqua! I was reading this Portland Architecture blog, and boy, get a load of this. The new building is going to be “a series of glass and metal boxes meant to evoke the nature of football itself.” What!
“The idea of the building is about collective strength that comes from individuals,” Sandoval (ZGF Architects partner Gene Sandoval) said. “So it’s a series of stacked boxes, like Lego boxes, that make a form. We want to celebrate each piece and make it sing. In some ways that’s analogous to a team: they all have different positions, but it’s about making a congruent entity.”
The building will be clad in glass and metal, hoping to strike a balance between protection and openness. “The exterior envrolope takes on the notion of armor and pads, so it’s going to be a black suit of armor,” Sandoval added. “But it’s translucent armor. It’s glass. There is this sort of play between strength and accessibility. We’re formidable but open. All the ground floor is glass and all the meeting rooms. It’s about texturing and layering.”
I’m sorry, it seems I’m suddenly overcome with the pathos and the profundity of those statements. I’m at a loss for words.
Completion is targeted for Summer of 2013, but for the meantime, here are some painted renditions of the new center, from the future.
Basically, at the during the OSPIRG budget hearing last Tuesday Bowman said “I am in support of OSPIRG because I want to leave a better world.”
This showed what anyone who follows the ASUO already knows: Bowman has a big, fat hard one for the PIRG. He should’ve kept those inappropriate feelings to himself, because Rudin is now calling for the vote made last Tuesday to be considered invalid.
The decision will go through Con Court, and most likely nothing will happen, but hats off to you Rudin, we at the OC appreciate your gesture. Like that cup of lukewarm water that your one-night-stand left by the bed before they absconded into the night, it’s the thought that counts.