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Archive for August, 2012

STFU for smoking.

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Well,  it’s that time of year. The STFU time of year. Summer is ending, the leaves are changing and students will be shut the fuck up. No, not us respectable students. Only those lower than us who beleaguer our campus with the dangerous, abhorent drug tobacco will be put in their place by this policy change. The Smoke and Tobacco Free University policy  will take effect tomorrow September 1st. Put away your bics and Zippos and take out your evil eye and pointer fingers. However, DPS will not be able to take out their ticket books.

The implementation of this policy calls for the use of an $800,000 grant from PacificSource. As aptly explained in an old post of Lyzi Diamond’s:

The $800,000 grant that was received from PacificSource was actually received by Paula Staight, the Health Promotion Director at the UO Health Center, and is to be spent over five years. The grant will allow the Health Center to hire one full-time and two part-time employees to work on three aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Food, Movement, and Tobacco (specifically the eradication of). There will be no campus-wide policy attached to the smoking ban (see: you can’t get fined or face disciplinary action for smoking on campus).

As I understand it, ciggy recepticals, like the one in the photo above, will be removed within a two-year period as part of the policy change. Though I only care enough to wait and see, I am curious as to why that would really be advisable, why they would actually even consider this. Sure, let’s marginalize those lower than us, but if we are not going enforce the policy with legal repercussions, what’s to stop these dirty people from dropping cigarette butts all over the place? Shan’t we keep Oregon green?

Lyzi linked the Smoke Free Task Force report, but here’s the link for convenience. I just want to say that I see this policy change as one that intends to construct an environment that condemns certain people (who are making personal decisions that only effect them). Tobacco is legal (as other drugs should be, because the government has no business dictating what goes into any individual’s body)(you’d think that this goes without saying, right?). And being a mostly college-admitted community, can we not assume that most UO students are aware that tobacco is harmful to their health? If this policy aims to educate students about the dangers of tobacco, what does this say about our students? This is more of a look-down-our-noses thing than it is an educational thing.

It seems like a slippery slope. Perhaps such discrimination stops with these trouble-makers, but can we be sure? I for one will be organizing another Smoke-In with my cohorts at the Commentator. Join us on the dark side. Of the lung.

Oregon wary of boxes, mystifies strategist Karl Rove

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

According to this post on Politico.com by Alexander Burns, political analyst, consultant and strategist Karl Rove “has his eye on an unlikely state for the GOP to target in future presidential elections…” In the post, Burns quotes Rove’s thoughts on Oregon at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast in Tampa on Monday, according to reporter Jennifer Haberkorn:

Oregon, which mystifies me. Oregon, as you may recall, was a battleground in 2000 and this time around there is a little bit of evidence that Obama has some difficulty there.

I think part of it is that you do have this sort of weird element … centered around Portland that looks at Obama as a dangerous reactionary. But you also have something going out there, sort of this libertarian, Western, iconoclastic I’m-not-going-to-be-put-in-a-box. But something’s going on in Oregon. They’ve got a 30-30 statehouse. And Republicans came within 15,000 votes of winning the governorship and yet it’s the most unchurched state in the union. So it’s a weird conglomeration. Oregon might be next.

Hopefully the mystifying elements of this weird conglomeration will persist, or Rove and Portland will have some hashing out to do– wait, what’s this? Is that Rove?

Sharing things; not just for hippies anymore.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Reparations are in sight.

Here is a new development on campus by which I was pleasantly surprised. There now exist two bicycle repair posts complete with basic tools to tune up and adjust your bike. The new Swiss-army-style repair posts can be found at two locations on campus– one in front of the library, the other on the corner of 13th and Kincaid. I commend the idea of making a cycle commute easier, safer and more economical yet. How good it is to see little things like this being done that benefit community as a whole.

2 Referenda Down, 1 “Communication Strategy” To Go

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Friday’s teleconference between an OUS committee, ASUO President Laura Hinman and the vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes raised questions about hiring an outside firm to campaign for the passing of EMU renovations in October.

Because of the high cost of the proposed EMU renovation, $135 million, and the minimal student involvement in its planning, University of Oregon students have voted down the referendum. Well, now the administration, yes the suits in Johnson Hall, have hired RBI Strategies & Research using auxiliary funds to direct a political campaign designed to procure a yes vote from the student body this fall, which would raise tuition fees for each student over $100 per term.

According to an AP post on OregonLive.com, the firm worked on presidential campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and Al Gore.

The campaign proposal is especially interesting, asserting the need to have certain phrases in mind considering “what we say about opponents”, including “narrow-minded,” “stuck in past,” “stubborn,” “opinions based on misconceptions,” etc. “Keeping up with the Pac-12″ in student buildings is cited as a selling point as well. This is wholly conniving in the context of college students and a bill of $135 million… But that’s not the best part.

The proposed campaign slogan of RBI (a Denver-based campaign firm) touts a strong declaration: “Our Legacy. Our Pride. Our Union. Vote YES.”  They plan to spend $20,000 to $30,000 on T-shirts, drawstring backpacks, banners, table tents, stickers, and other items to grease up these wheels.

Luckily, Chief Administrative Officer Kirk Schueler called the marketing report contracted by the EMU Renovation Task Force “very biased,” addressing the lack of focus on student voter turnout, according to this Daily Emerald post.

As quoted in the Oregon Live post mentioned above, Lamar Wise pointed out (and rightly so), “When millions of dollars are on the line, and students are paying for it, their voice should come first.”  Wise also cast off the notion that the UO should need to “keep up with the Pac-12″, comparing it to “keeping up with the Joneses.” ZING.

So, let us all hope that this new “communication strategy” steers more toward the “educational campaign” that it should be and less toward the “political campaign” that RBI wants it to be. After hearing concerns last Friday, vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes and the EMU Renovation Team will reconsider the proposal of RBI, or perhaps even its hiring, at the expense of the students.