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Archive for April, 2012

Stayin’ Alive: Eckstein/Taylor Executive in the Clear

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

In an unsurprising turn of events, the ASUO Constitution Court decided Friday that they cannot—or will not, rather—remove Ben and Katie from office.

It’s finally official. The ASUO Executive can literally get away with anything.

The Commentator would like to officially congratulate Ben Eckstein and Katie Taylor for the utter devoid of punishment they have received after maintaining a year’s worth of unremitting, unsurpassed cunning and deceit.

The crux of the Court’s decision is below, and you can read the entire decision here.

 Without much more than circumstantial evidence,

this Court simply lacks any persuasive basis with which

to reach a factual conclusion of the Respondent’s intent.

While the Court could speculate as to the Respondent’s

intent, it is the Petitioner’s burden to produce such

evidence. Therefore, this Court cannot conclude that

the Respondents committed an egregious violation

because there is insufficient proof of the Respondent’s

intent in committing the fraudulent act.

ASUO Senate – 4/25/12

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Boards on Boards on State Boards on Institutional Boards on Hiring Presidents

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has drawn up a proposal for the possible establishment of those independent, institutional boards for every school under the Oregon University System that we’ve been a hurtin’ for.

We have so vainly sought after this elusive concept of an “independent governing board” after the OUS  fired our much-missed President Richard Lariviere.

Well the fact that a proposal has been proposed should be a sign of progress, right? Wrong. Read the excerpt that describes the institutional board’s role in the hiring and firing of university presidents below, and read the entire proposal right hurr.

OUS recommends a system in which the institutional board hires and
reappoints the president with the advice and consent of the OSBHE.
Presidential evaluations should be a joint effort between the institutional
board, the Chancellor, and the OSBHE member serving on the institutional
board. Termination should be the responsibility of the institutional board after
consultation with or with the advice and consent of OSBHE.

Alright OUS. We wanted an institutional board so we could do these things without your advice and consent. Why are you so fucking unaccommodating? Give us autonomy, or give us death.

Anyway, blah blah blah, they will vote on it in June. Read some statement from some OUS bureaucrat named “Di,” here.

 

Dotters-Katz v. ASUO Executive: A Hasty, Winded Recap

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Sunday, April 22.

The ASUO Constitution Court heard the Dotters-Katz v. ASUO Executive grievance publicly today, and the OC couldn’t cover it live on the blog because there weren’t any fucking outlets in the room. Not sorry.

The grievance was filed by former ASUO President and current UO law student, Sam Dotters-Katz, against our current, beloved ASUO President Ben Eckstein & Vice President Katie Taylor. You can read our earlier coverage of the allegations here,  but the grievance is basically an attempt to compel the Con Court to “invalidate the office” of the current ASUO Executive due to the “egregious misconduct” that was the sneaky, conflict-of-interest contribution Charles Denson made to the Ben & Katie ASUO presidential campaign of last year.

Anyway, the ASUO Constitution Court put on quite the show. They wore robes and had DPS officers present. It was all very pseudo-official.

We were all wondering why this was happening in the first place. Because if you know anything about anything, you would know that grievances are filed on the reg amongst the ASUO but never are these grievances heard publicly, and hardly is the Con Court ever seen. So to start, the Court explained that the hearing was being held because of “the merit of the petitioner’s claim, and the stature of the respondent’s office.”

The introductions of both Sam Dotters-Katz—who will be referred to from now on as “SDK”—and Ben Eckstein—who will be referred to from now on as “Beckstein”—were short and disjointed due to the heavy interruption by the Court. I can assure you that both SDK and Beckstein were visibly upset that they couldn’t hear themselves talk for the fifteen consecutive minutes they were expecting to have to do so.

I love the ASUO more. No, I love the ASUO more! Dammit, counselor, I LOVE THE ASUO MORE! No, I do!

I.

This first part of the hearing was conducted with the burden of proof on the petitioner (SDK). It went a little like this.

1) The Court asked about the statements Beckstein made in this Ol’ Dirty Emerald article. SDK says they’re proof of guilt. Beckstein says that his statements were speculative.

2) The Court discussed the varying definition of “fraud.” SDK used a Webster’s definition. Beckstein used a 5-part US Legal Dictionary definition, claims that SDK would have to prove that respondents were guilty of all five facets of the definition.

3) The Court asked when both petitioner and respondent found out about Denson’s contributions: SDK heard it through “the rumor mill” in the days before the ODE article came out. Beckstein found out a short time after the transaction had been made. Our favorite response came from VP Taylor, who cited “I read about it in the paper like everyone else.” God we love her.

Then there was a brief recess because Chief Justice Schultz said it was “getting hot in here.”

 

II.

The second part of the hearing was framed in a way in which the Court could hypothesize the guilt of the ASUO Executive. Listed below is what was touched upon.

1)     The Court asked respondent about the detrimental effects on the election that could have been caused by Denson’s contributions: Beckstein asserted that contribution transactions wouldn’t have been known to voters, and that the Ben & Katie campaign was openly pro-OSPIRG so nothing was hidden.

2)     The Court asked respondent whether or not Denson intended to change the outcome of the election with his contributions: Beckstein says that “even if he had that intention, he couldn’t achieve that end by making a contribution.” And if the election results were indeed affected by his contribution, Beckstein cited ASUO Elections Coordinator Cedar Cosgrove to argue for the “ambiguity of the elections rules.”

3)     The Court asked petitioner about the suggested remedy for this injustice: SDK made clear that he was not asking for “impeachment for non-fulfillment,” but for the Court to “invalidate” their winning of office. SDK went on to say something like “If compromising election information comes up later, they candidates aren’t immune to the rules, just because they kept a secret for so long or because there’s a month left in their term.” Beckstein rebutted saying that SDK was asking for “the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters.”

4)     The Court asked respondent a GOOD QUESTION that was along the lines of, “Had Katie & Alex been elected this year, and had their little political sabotage problem come to light far after their instatement into the ASUO Executive (in the way that this claim has), should they be removed?” Beckstein said he couldn’t answer because the facts were too different and because he was not part of the campaign. The Court rephrased the question to be more general, along the lines of, “Is there any circumstance in which violation of election rules can constitute removal of office?” Beckstein said yes, but not in this case. Beckstein went on to say, “The ASUO Constitution is supreme over election rules once a President and Vice President have been instated in office.” SDK thanked the Court for the questioning, and thought that Beckstein’s statement was crucial by admitting that there is indeed circumstances in which an executive office can be invalidated at a later date for violations of elections. With this, SDK urged the court to invalidate the current executive.

***

 The end was the best part.

As we approached adjournment, Beckstein argued that SDK’s grievance had political motives. Associate Justice Melka-Benevento apologized and admitted that it was her first year as a Justice, therefore it was her first year in the ASUO. She didn’t know what he meant by political motives. She even asked for him to define it. Of course, everyone else in the room knew what Beckstein meant. Everyone else in the room was an active member of the ASUO or campus media. But this poor, naive, Justice of the Court couldn’t even fathom the fact that our student government is fueled by political motives. I write about this shit on the daily and even I can’t fathom it.

The significance of this doesn’t lie in whether or not SDK has political motivations. The significance lies in the embarrassing truth that the actions of our student body President and Vice President were so serious, and the petitioner’s claim had so much “merit,” that the Constitution Court felt it necessary to hold what was essentially a public trial. Our President and Vice President are being tried for egregious misconduct and the Court is deliberating their removal.

They will deliver their decision by Friday, so yeah. We’ll letchu know then.

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: We Are Oregon Sweeps General Election

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It’s over!

Laura Hinman and Nick McCain will assume their positions as ASUO President and ASUO Vice President at the end of the term.

Read some statements here.

DRINK

This happened?

 

Beckstein Saves $132,175

Friday, April 20th, 2012

After receiving a bitchy email and having a personal confrontation with the man himself, I’ve decided to report the only good thing that has come from Ben Eckstein’s presidency FOR TWO REASONS:

1)      The Commentator fiercely champions fiscal responsibility.

2)      Beckstein will be publicly humiliated at the upcoming Dotters-Katz v. ASUO Executive trial this Sunday (4pm at the Law School, but we’ll be covering it live here on the blog!) … and we are capable of feeling a very mild strain of remorse.

So here’s what happened.

During negotiations to lower the amount the ASUO pays back to the administration, ASUO Prez Ben Eckstein caught the UO in the act … of overcharging the ASUO by %1 in overhead assessment rates.

The ASUO was being charged %6 when it should have been %5.

6% X 13,217,538 = $793,052
5% X 13,217,538 = $660,877

$793,052 – $660,877 = $132,175

Jamie Moffit, the UO’s new Vice President of Finance and Administration, will be payin’ us back the difference.

*Factoid: Athletics pays %3 overhead while the ASUO pays %5.

Dear Beckstein,

Thanks for saving students the ASUO $132,175. I’m sure your executive staff and the ASUO Senate will somehow manage to allocate this money to some project we’re morally opposed to/the majority of students won’t know about. Nonetheless, thanks a bunch.

P.S. We’ll be Team Sam D-K on Sunday.

Sorry ‘bout it.

xoxo,

the OC

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: Vote Vote Vote + Futile Update

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Elections are finally sputtering to a halt. We can tell because notable ASUO proceedings have been pushed to page three of the printed Ol’ Dirty Emerald today. But before we update you on that, we wanted to encourage you waste your time by participating in our ineffectual student democracy before 5pm tomorrow. But most of all, we wanted to seize the opportunity to post this cute vintage pin-up thing.

Yes, we at the OC like to convince ourselves that people actually turn to our blog for this stupid ASUO shit, and thus, here is what we hope to be our final 2012 ASUO elections update. Enjoy.

1)      Irrelevant for the most part, last night Lamar Wise was reinstated as ASUO Senate President by the ASUO Senate. Last week, Con Court removed Wise in response to Senator Lindy Mabuya’s grievance that charged Wise of non-fulfillment.

The ASUO senate body made this decision after considerable efforts to “address the elephant in the room” that was Wise’s removal from office. And by “considerable efforts” I mean circular discussion about Wise’s character, an awkward weighing of the value of “cultural competency training,” and brief shit-talkin’ about current Senate VP (and only other Senate Prez nomination) Harlan Mechling.

*It is being said, yet has not been confirmed that this decision has been invalidated due to lack of senate quorum..

  Also!

 2)      Manny Garcia has removed himself from the current ASUO Elections ballot. He had the nerve (and the bizarre good fortune) to continue to run for a position on the Student Planning Construction Committee (SPCC) on the Ben & Lamar slate after the Katie & Alex campaign was dissolved.

As we had forgotten to report earlier, Blake Sedgley, the campaign manager of We Are Oregon, filed a grievance earlier this week that petitioned Garcia’s presence on the ballot after Garcia had admitted to having taken part in this.

We’re not offering any commentary on the implications of the Ben & Lamar campaign ever allowing Garcia to run on their slate … because it doesn’t make any sense / we don’t care.

ASUO Senate – 4/18/12

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Katie Taylor Hates the ODE

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Sure, we all love throwing ODEs in the trash, but at the end of the day, its just plain wrong. Katie Taylor’s “liking” of this meme is just another example of her total lack of respect for “Your school,” and “Your voice.”

 

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: Ain’t That Peculiar ? Not Really.

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Today I was solicited by the Ben & Lamar Campaign. Before I was able to unleash the hard, blunt Commentator brush-off, I was handed their new campaign handout listing their new campaign slate.

I scanned the list of names and realized that many members of the extinguished Katie & Alex slate have curiously assumed positions on the Ben & Lamar slate. I was agape.

Well, no I wasn’t really agape. This is the ASUO fucking elections. If I’ve learned anything at all these past few weeks, it’s that there are no surprises with these people.

Honestly, though. You’d think that Ben & Lamar would want to, I don’t know, disassociate with every Katie & Alex slate member—considering the fact that their campaign was infiltrated by them and all. But like I said. ASUO Elections 2012, ain’t no surprises. Ain’t no surprises..

But absorbing the enemy’s tagline too? C’mon, Ben & Lamar. Where’s your pride?

I do realize that this red rover, red rover, send so-and-so right over kind of thing is not that big of a deal—in the sense that 1) some of those poor, former Katie & Alex slate members probably had no idea that Mr. & Mrs. Charles Denson were going to ruin everything—like they do— and 2) the Ben & Lamar campaign and the Katie & Alex campaign share(d) many of the same, lofty platform promises.

Maybe I’m just not seeing it. Maybe this comes naturally. Maybe it’s comin’ free and easy.  Maybe this whole thing is just very progressive and inclusive! Maybe this is the obvious next step after undergoing political sabotage by a rival campaign.

Ah yes! You’re the ones who hacked into my Gmail account, tampered with my campaign materials, cost me an immeasurable loss in votes, and contributed to my initial loss in the primary election? Please, join my team.

Or maybe it’s just what I think it is: weird, absurd, contradictory, alarming, ironic, paradoxical, inconsistent..

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep sayin’ it—we’re the only ones who care about it anyway.

It’s true! We’re basically a team of election transparency-seeking angels over here at the OC. In fact, we’ve literally created a table that maps this shit out just for you, so you can see the peculiarities yourself.

And if you’re lookin’ for a good laugh, you can read today’s Ol’ Dirty article where Ben Bowman literally says shit like “There is a unified progressive campaign now,” and “We are coming together to create one big party so we can defeat the conservatives,” right here.

Finally, for your reference and voting pleasure this week, here’s that table.

Position PREVIOUS Ben & Lamar Slate Katie & Alex Slate NEW Ben & Lamar Slate
PFC Eric Lee Erica Alexia Ledesma Erica Alexia Ledesma
PFC Samantha Harmon Elizabeth Luh Elizabeth Luh
ACFC Kevin Sullivan Naduah Wheeler Kevin Sullivan
ACFC Kelsey Green Taylor Simon Taylor Simon
DFC Colin Bourdin Kelsey West Kelsey West
EMU Board Clara Broderick Holly Hopkins Clara Broderick
EMU Board Chris Torgeson Michael Reeves Chris Torgeson
ASPAC Alex Worth Carli Barnum  Alex Worth
SRC Board Katherine Casey, Jan Raether Andrew Stove Katherine Casey
SRC Board Cody Koenig Michael Schmidt, Marina Claveria Marina Claveria
Senate Seat 1 Nina Nolen Jesse K. Fukawa Nina Nolen
Senate Seat 2 Andre Lubash Hussein Abu-Hamden Hussein Abu-Hamden
Senate Seat 4 Jeff Mullen Alexandra Flores-Quilty Alexandra Flores-Quilty
Senate Seat 5 Greg McAteer Caienna Bierwirth Caienna Bierwirth
Senate Seat 7 Christina Hardesty Lindsay Damiano Christina Hardesty
Senate Seat 9 Azia Calderhead Luis Armenta Azia Calderhead
Senate Seat 12 Alex Burns Casey Drobnick Casey Drobnick
Senate Seat 14 Harlan Mechling Michael King Michael King
Senate Seat 15 Estella Taylor Eric Koechlin Eric Koechlin
Senate Seat 16 Megan Gleason Nicholas Schulze Megan Gleason
Senate Seat 20 Austin Palacios Allie Sasek Austin Palacios
SPCC Taylor Johnson Manny Garcia  MANNY GARCIA?????

The Rational Debate Issue Available Now

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Down with print. Internet forever.

Read it here now. On stands soon.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

 

Get yours today! Call 541-346-3721

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: Con Court Does Good, Invalidates That Entire Election We Just Had

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Decided April 11, 2012. Opinion by ASUO Con Court Justice Schultz:

Since the effects of the “Katie and Alex” campaign’s
egregious misconduct is immeasurable and unknowable,
the Court concludes that the only fair remedy is to
invalidate the Primary Election results, for the ASUO
Executive race only. To this extent, all three ASUO
Executive candidates who participated in the Primary
Election, excluding Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester, shall
be permitted to run in a new election commencing Week 3
of Spring Term.

While the ASUO Elections Board ruled to simply replace Katie & Alex with Ben & Lamar on the upcoming ASUO General Election ballot, the ASUO Constitution Court does something important for once and pulls rank on the Board’s ruling, annulling the first primary election altogether. Now another primary will be held during next week (Week 3), including all of the same executive candidates as before, except for Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester. Everybody be cool, they’re still out of the race.

This decision comes as a result of a petition for review filed by Blake Sedgley, campaign manager of the We Are Oregon executive campaign. We Are Oregon was actually requesting that only the votes for Katie & Alex be invalidated. Had this been granted, We Are Oregon would have earned %54.7 of the votes, and actually would have won the whole goddamn thing. Here’s the excerpt from Sedgley’s grievance:

Petitioners [We Are Oregon] urge the Constitution Court to overturn Respondent’s [ASUO Elections Board] determination that votes for Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester be unallocated. Petitioners ask that Constitution Court declare the votes for Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester invalid.

Well in a surprising, intrepid turn of events, the ASUO Constitutional Court makes a coherent decision to throw out all executive votes, deeming the entire executive primary invalid. Here’s the relevant part of the Court’s decision:

In this case, the
election results were skewed by the misconduct of
members of the “Katie and Alex” campaign. But the
Petitioner [Sedgley, We Are Oregon] suggests an unacceptable remedy: the
disenfranchisement of hundreds of student voters.

While the applicable federal prohibitions against such
treatment is bountiful, the Court need look no further
than Bush v. Gore. There, the Supreme Court concluded
that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment guarantees to individuals that their ballots
cannot be devalued by “later arbitrary and disparate
treatment”. 531 U.S. 98 (2000). The Petitioner literally
asks this Court to recognize some votes and deny equal
weight to others based on the voter’s selection.

Shoulda’ known that George W. Bush was gonna work his way into this somehow!

And to address the reason why I’ve italicized “executive” just prior to the excerpt– the Ol’ Dirty Emerald addresses this decision today in their mildly-opinionated editorial, where they get all hot-and-bothered about the fact that the Court only overturned the votes that were cast for executive positions, and allowed the votes that were cast for senatorial positions to remain valid:

Though the Executive primaries were restarted, the senatorial primaries (with victors from the Katie and Alex campaign, including a certain Manny Garcia) will not be revoted upon.

Considering that students generally vote across slates, and that the phishing scam likely gave many senators on the Katie and Alex slate an advantage over their competition, a revote should have been ordered for the senatorial primaries as well.

Did the senators running under Katie and Alex’s slate have access to illegally acquired phone numbers from their competition? If Katie and Alex hadn’t made it through primaries, would their senators? We don’t know, but the immeasurability of this hacking scam is reason enough to reset not only the executive primaries, but the entire ASUO election.

Man, ain’t nothin’ like reading an ODE opinion piece. It’s almost as if I can hear the bitchy eleven year-old who wrote it.

Heeeeeeeyyyyyyy that doesn’t count !!!! Nuh-uhhhhh !!!!!! Re-do !!!!!!

Look. We’re a hopeful bunch here at the OC, and while we still wait in vain for a cruel-and-unusual-yet-still-appropriate punishment to be cast upon Mr. & Mrs. Denson and friends, unlike the Ol’ Dirty, we’re just not that concerned with the future-less future Senator Manny Garcia, or the possibility of Katie & Alex slate having access to “illegally acquired phone numbers from their competition.”

Leave the commentatin’ to us, Ol’ Dirty colleagues. We keep our expectations of all ASUO branches nice and low, then focus on the bigger implications– like the fact that this decision is proof that the Con Court lives and functions as it should.

It’s about fucking time.

 

 

ASUO Senate – 4/11/12

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

KEZI9 Covers ASUO Phishing Scam

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

So, we’ve all heard about the ASUO phishing scam, but just in case you were too lazy, busy or hungover to read anything about this fucked up shit, here is the story via this KEZI9 Youtube video to save you some time.

Former ASUO President and current UO Law Student Sam Dotters-Katz in the video: “I think that we’ve gone beyond student government at this point, when you have federal crimes being implicated against members of the student government.”

Word up, Sam! Indeed, this kind of shit simply doesn’t fly. This is what is wrong with America. My only further comments are, “YES THIS GOES BEYOND STUDENT GOVERNMENT,” as well as “HOW SELF-RIGHTEOUS DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RIG A COLLEGE ELECTION???”

Furthermore, “FUCK YOU, YOU HYPOCRITICAL PIECE OF SHIT, SUPPOSEDLY FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY. THE RULES APPLY TO YOU AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE, NO MATTER HOW ENTITLED YOU THINK YOU ARE!”

Face-palm. Goddamn.