Every week, students like you and me congregate in the Walnut Room under the title of ASUO Senate. Every week, they make decisions that most of us probably don’t care about. Every year, I’ve paid little to no attention to this shit. But this year, I am condemned to attending these Senate meetings and relaying the information unto you. It was pretty boring at first, but things got heated and interesting with the censure of Constitution Court Justice Cedar Cosner. So here goes my first ASUO Senate meeting:
Matthew Miyamoto is acting as Chair until the election of a President or something. He calls the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. This was followed by introductions and silly one-word recaps of summer. The agenda was approved.
Ben Bowman announces the Emerald‘s Launch Party, which starts at 8:00 p.m. Apparently there is a VIP party at 6:00 p.m. which includes a free meal? You’re not invited; he only invited the Senate and then the audience.
Justice Shultz came in and discussed the new rules for Constitution Court. They can probably be found somewhere, but apparently the “the most startling changes will be with [how] resolutions [are passed].” Senator Bacon expressed concern of the composition of Academic Senators with respect to categorization of senators and how that effects the acknowledgement of constituents. The number of Senate seats has something to do with this.
More announcements. Oh my fucking god, can’t these announcements be emailed?
Athletics Commission update:
The AC representative says that a new point system for students is to grant the most frequent attendee gets season tickets.
If anyone out there has questions, concerns or suggestions about the ticket distribution model, email email@example.com; the current distribution model is under review. Then she says some shit about new Nike swag. Two free shirts at a Pit Crew event or something.
PK Park “Pond” (student section) at baseball games to be expanded.
Public Forum time:
So much damn rustling I can’t fucking understand some of these mumbling people.
After it quiets down, Emma Newman wants an official time of the public forum so that she may inform students of the opportunity. Senator Bowman then moves to change the public forum from 30 minutes to 10 minutes as the extended window is never used and usually throws off the agenda.
Special requests time:
UO Sustainability Center wants $2500 to attend a conference in LA. Apparently, the UO Sustainability Center “will be given a unique opportunity to present and interact with students all over the world,” and plans (among other things I would hope) “to present what happens on Earth Day at the University of Oregon.” The words “unite” and “collaboration” were in there somewhere. The $2500 is meant for transportation, reservations and the conference itself. Senator Ben Rudin moves to approve the request but hesitates, unsure of the surplus amount. Nobody knows. Assuming that the surplus fund has “more than” $2500, the senate seconds and approves the request.
Moving on to committee nominations. *Yawn*
Nominations are made and votes are administered. Some committees are yet to be formed and a vote is needed. The efficacy of the Ethics and Efficiency Committee is called into question. Hedlund believes that nothing was gained last year from said committee. The validity of an Outreach committee was also called into question. Discussion seemed almost unanimously leaning toward not creating either committee but they were both created anyway.
Committee nominations conclude and an Executive Session is called to address the proposed removal of Justice Cedar Cosner. Audience is asked to leave. Media can stay but not allowed to report.
Daily Emerald reporter Ian Campbell requests to report as usual since media was not informed of the Executive Session at least 7 days before the meeting. By Oregon law, the only other situation that calls for an open session (in the context of government censure) is if the accused requests it. Campbell’s request was valid and Justice Cosner did not contest. (Way to be a journalist, Campbell! You schooled me on that one.)
Senator Lindy Mubaya presents her case against Justice Cosner citing his non-fulfillment of duties as the cause. She starts by outlining her intention of “righting a wrong” and continues with a retelling of a series of events that happened during a Valentine’s Day party on February 11, 2012 at the residence of Cosner, Elections Coordinator at that time. Mubaya accuses Cosner of knowingly furnishing a space for which unethical campaign fund-raising to take place. She cites certain pieces of “evidence” (her very own word-choice) such as her presence at said party, her own witnessing of money exchanging hands and her own subsequent witnessing of text messages allegedly sent between certain accused peoples and anonymous informants.
When asked to clarify by Senators Bacon and Needham, Senator Mubaya says, “I did not see the money put into the campaign,” confirming that she saw money exchanged between Ben Bowman and his friend Harlan. Harlan is also accused by Mubaya to have texted an incriminating phrase to “someone” (anonymous) about “getting away with it” allegedly referring to the fact that money raised at said Valentine’s Day party was to be used in the Ben/Lamar campaign.
At these allegations, Ben Bowman takes considerable offense. He is reminded multiple times by Miyamoto to stay on topic, which is questions for Mubaya regarding her presentation. However, Bowman’s concern with the allegations is that the allegations themselves are off topic. Pointing out that the issue at hand is Cedar’s validity as Con Court Justice, Bowman says that if it is his own character being called into question, then by all means call it into question. But now is not the time.
Finally, Bowman gets to his question: ”Were you under the influence of anything at this party?”
“No,” replies Mubaya.
Bowman again recalls the question of tonight’s session, Cosner’s character, not his own.
“You seeing an exchange of money is absolutely false, that makes my blood boil.” Bowman
Moving on to the claims of Justice Cosner’s defense, he maintains that these allegations were merely accusations in their origin and still are today. Cosner questions the idea that this anonymous person(s) may have such intimate knowledge of his own knowledge without him knowing who they even are.
Justice Cosner continues, saying “If I didn’t fulfill the duties [as Con Court Justice] of my position, then this is the incorrect forum.”
Cosner was able to confirm that the money went to the party’s DJs and other expenses, but was unable recall the exact dollar amount of the expenses and income of the party.
Possession of the floor is shuffled some more and people talk and yield some more. Convoluted excuses are given by Senator Mubaya as to why she failed to bring actual “evidence.” In closing, Mubaya states, ”I do stand by this, you can ask me five days from now or 10 years from now. I will still stand by this. I feel better now.” Cosner reiterates that the accusations are irrelevant to the grievance filed for tonight’s session and understandably suggests that he is innocent until proven guilty.
Senator Steiner is annoyed by the excessive use of the word “logic” and believes that applying the transitive theory is inadmissible evidence.
Headlund wonders aloud why the Senate is even discussing this. Cosner was Elections Coordinator at the time in question and the allegation is of the non-fulfillment (Con Court Justice) nature.
Senator Ewing does some estimates with the V-Day party numbers. With estimated expenses and attendees, it is hard to see the party as an efficient evil under-table plot to raise campaign funds.
Bacon wonders aloud why the Senate is even discussing this.
Others introduce their redundant opinions about an overwhelming “lack of evidence.”
Wise feels that Mubaya wasted an hour his time just to “feel better.”
Bowman talks about his character again.
A few others chime in about “not bashing Mubaya.”
Rudin says something irrelevant and unhelpful.
Nick Ekblad wants to blow his brains out.
Finally, a paper ballot to vote on whether to remove Justice Cosner from Constitution Court.
Recess to count votes.
Results are unanimous in maintaining Cosner’s position as Justice.
New polo shirts for the ASUO, $25 each, sourced from a local company. Miyamoto requests that people pay out of pocket. Yay.
And I’m out.