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Archive for the '2011 ASUO Elections' Category

“Perceived” Rights and Smoker Ethics

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

After getting off of work in the dungeon that is the Knight Library basement, I stepped into the afternoon rain. I pulled a pre-rolled cigarette from my pocket (Bugler brand – mangy, disgusting Bugler) and lit it. Standing off to the side so as not to spread smoke, an elderly woman shot me the evil eye before stopping in front of me: “There’s no smoking on campus. Go smoke across the street.”

I stared at her until she left.

This kind of situation has become all-too-common since the Healthy Campus Initiative, in partnership with the UO Health Center and the administration (with a special guest funding appearance from the ASUO), implemented a campus-wide smoking ban at the beginning of the Fall. The idea of a smoking ban isn’t anything new; the Smoke Free Campus Task Force (SFTF) issued a report in 2008 that sought to

tak[e] up the matter of campus smoking policy with the understanding that the issue is fueled by strong personal convictions for perceived personal rights, both the right to be free from the effects of secondhand smoke and the right to choose to smoke cigarettes (STFT Report, emphasis mine)

The rest of the report either references student support from polls drawn from other universities, or flat-out neglects student responses in order to reference various studies, policies, and polls from other universities. Under “Synthesis of Survey Findings of UO Faculty, Staff, and Students,” the report states that

Many survey respondents are ready to support the move to a smoke free campus… [and] also were confident that this could be accomplished with designated smoking areas… (Ibid.)

Oh, hey, there’s a reasonable point. But no! The STFT simply cannot concede, because “enforcement becomes very difficult and compliance suffers as a result.” You don’t say.

No matter what the administration does, what programs it implements, what funding it pulls or pushes, students will push against it. Lord knows the Commentator will. The Healthy Campus Initiative tried to remedy this student disconnect with the “STFU” posters, a internet-conscious campaign that seemed to confuse people more than encourage quitting (check out this post about the issue from our very own Editor Emeritus Sophia Lawhead).

Another argument is that it unfairly targets lower-income UO workers. Even those filthy hipsters at the OV agree with us on this point. Making workers go off campus for a 15 minute smoke break is not only inconsiderate, but damaging to already-strained labor relationships.

“All I wanted was a non-fat, cream-jizzed latte with peasant tears in it!”

So why bring up this almost-5-year-old report, you may ask? Because Frances Dyke and company never really cared about what students thought. The UO has become a brand, and it needs to sell itself in order to keep flagging state funding and private donor contributions steady. The publicity surrounding the ban has relentlessly focused on the “progressive” aspects of the program without attending to the opinions of students or faculty – and if so, only through narrow data samples used to prop up their point.

But the effects of secondhand smoke are serious. I completely understand the goal behind the smoking ban. Cigarette butt litter continues to be a problem, and has only been exacerbated by the ban — take a look at the 13th and Kincaid entrance to campus if you don’t believe me. Families with young children and people with respiratory problems are also rightfully concerned.

The only way to fight this ban, then, is to implement a personal smoker code of ethics to demonstrate smoker commitment to a healthy campus and personal freedoms. Here’s mine:

  1. Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
  2. Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
  3. If someone asks you to smoke off campus, politely decline or simply don’t say anything at all. You’ll be finished if and when they call DPS.
  4. Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
  5. Throw butts in the trash.
  6. If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
  7. Overall, recognize that your activity is looked down upon. Take pride in this.

It’s not perfect, but it works for me. The Commentator will continue to fight this arbitrary ban with articles, letters, appeals, and upcoming events like Tobacco Appreciation Day. But the ball is in smokers’ courts. We at the Commentator will do our best to point out the massive cavalcades of bullshit directed at students who make the choice to smoke. This smoking ban is just another attempt at nannying the student populace; the administration never does anything without direct benefit to them, and they’ve fucked smokers to bolster their public image under the pretense of “knowing what’s best.”

The whole campaign feels like yet another pat on the head, another assumption about our intelligence, actions, and responsibilities. But we’re not kids anymore. We’re adults, students, workers, and yes, smokers. So smoke ’em if ya got ’em. It’s going to be a long, long battle.

ASUO Elections Finale: Ben and Katie Victorious

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Ben Eckstein has ben elected ASUO President for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Detailed results are available here. New ones are here, see update.

Three committee seats and one Senate seat which will require a general election next week.

The Ben and Katie slate won every other race it contested.

All ballot measures were approved.

More to follow.

UPDATE: ASUO Elections Coordinator Will Price informed the Commentator that there were some errors in the original results sheet. Only Senate Seat 13 (Business) will require a general election.

Grievance Watch, round three (plus some info on email spam)

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Elections Board has put out their opinion on one of the grievances, filed by Students United against Ben & Katie for launching their website prior to the start date of elections. The ruling states that Ben & Katie must refrain from campaigning from 12:00pm today until 3:00pm today.

Ben & Katie Campaign Manager Ben Bowman replied with this email to the Constitution Court at 10:49am:

Constitutional Court,

As we will submit shortly in an appeal, the Election Board lacks the authority to enforce the sanction discussed in the their decision, and therefore, this decision should be immediately overturned.

However, given the time-sensitive nature of this ruling (as the election ends today), we ask for an immediate stay of the decision as we submit our arguments. Given the exigent circumstances, we request that the Court stay the Elections Board ruling until it can review our appeal and deliver a decision.

Thank you,

Ben Bowman

Students United Communications Director Ben Ordonez replied to the Constitution Court at 11:56am:

Honorable Justices of the ASUO Constitution Court,

I have been notified by Ben Bowman, acting in his official capacity as a representative of the Ben & Katie 2011 ASUO Elections campaign, that he will be appealing the ASUO Elections Board Decision (1E.B).

As per 2011 ASUO Elections rules, the Court has already reviewed the content of the original grievance, which was filed by Ben Ordonez on March 27, 2011. The court declined rule and promptly referred said grievance back to the ASUO Elections board for decision.

As Ben Bowman has acknowledged “the time-sensitive nature of this ruling (as the election ends today)” in his message to the Court that was delivered by e-mail at 10:49am on Thursday, March 31, 2011.

I recognize the right, as enumerated in the 2011 ASUO Elections Packet, of any official ASUO campaign entity to appeal a decision issued by the ASUO Elections Board to the Constitution Court. I do not question the right to a proper appeals process that is in accordance with 2011 ASUO Elections Packet and the GTN.

However, I urge the Court to act in a timely manner. Mr. Bowman has already explicitly stated that he, and therefore also the Ben & Katie campaign, does not recognize the right of the Elections board to enforce any official ruling it may issue. This is clearly stated in his message to the Court that was delivered by e-mail at 10:49am on Thursday, March 31, 2011 in which he states the following: “the Election Board lacks the authority to enforce the sanction discussed in the their decision, and therefore, this decision should be immediately overturned.”

The ASUO Election board ruled that the Ben & Katie campaign shall be prohibited from campaigning from 12pm-3pm on Thursday, March 31, 2011. If the Court chooses not to act, Mr. Bowman has indicated that he will disregard the ASUO Elections Board decision. If the Court chooses to act, but not by 12pm on Thursday, March 31, 2011, Mr. Bowman has successfully negated the punitive action taken by the ASUO Elections Board.

Again, I urge to court to consider the appeal filed Mr. Bowman in a manner that is both timely and appropriate. As the election will be ending today, Mr. Bowman and the Ben & Katie campaign will have escaped an official punishment for rules violations that was legitimately ruled upon by the ASUO Elections board, demonstrated that the ASUO Elections board is powerless to enforce its own rules, and set a dangerous precedent that allows delay tactics in order to render official regulatory ASUO bodies impotent if the Court does not act in a timely manner.

I thank the Court for its time in reading this message.

With Sincerity and Respect,

Benjamin Ordonez

Constitution Court Associate Justice Megan Benevento replied to all at 12:30pm:

Mr. Bowman and who it may concern,

Until the Constitutional Court receives a formal appeal, the ruling of the Elections Board stands. We are adamant that if the ruling of the Elections Board is disregarded then there will be consequences which will be imposed in your appeal.

We recognize that elections are time-sensitive and thus encourage you to submit your appeal expediently.

Thank you,

Megan Benevento
Associate Justice
ASUO Constitutional Court

Basically, Ben and Katie are saying that the Elections Board has no right to enforce its own rules. This also came up during the 2009 ASUO Election, when the Elections Board tried to kick the Oregon Action Team off the ballot and Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes intervened to force them back on the ballot. I’m curious to see what happens with the appeal here.

In other grievance news, Ben Bowman on behalf of the Ben & Katie campaign has filed a grievance against Students United for handing out free campaign paraphernalia in housing. Apparently they were also offering a raffle for a $25 iTunes gift card. That grievance can be found here.

Finally, the Ben & Katie campaign is allegedly out spamming again. The deptcomp people are not pleased and are referring emails to abuse[at]uoregon[dot]edu. According to an email from one of the Information Services people on the listserv, “Action is being taken to address this issue.”

ASUO Elections – Day 4

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

ASUO Elections Coordinator Will Price had no comment regarding the Elections Board decision against Ben and Katie, the slate led by Ben Eckstein and Katie Taylor. Commentator Editor-in-Chief Lyzi Diamond will have the full details of the board’s decision shortly.

At approximately 2:15 PM local time,  Lindy Mabuya, candidate for Senate Seat 3 (PFC) was spotted by a Commentator staffer walking along University Street towards the Student Recreation Center clearly displaying a Ben and Katie campaign t-shirt, in violation of the Elections Board’s ruling.

Stephen Murphy, independent candidate for President, was seen near the EMU amphitheater distributing flyers which said “Do you love black people? Stephen Murphy loves black people.”

Kevin Cronin, notable as petitioner in In Re ACFC Member Andrew Quinlan (27 C.C. 2010/2011), sent a mass email out to “undisclosed recipients” this morning urging them to vote for Ben and Katie candidates and in favor of all ballot measures.

Photos from the week’s insanity will be up in a little bit. Two and a half hours to go!

Disclaimer: Stephen Murphy is a contributor to the Oregon Commentator.

Grievance Watch, round two

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Another grievance has been filed, this time by the Ben & Katie campaign (red shirts) against Students United (purple shirts).

The grievance is in reference to an email that was sent out by Melissa Abel, who is the president of the Panhellenic Council, to all fraternity and sorority presidents asking them to endorse Sinjin and Kaitlyn for ASUO Exec.

That grievance can be found here. The grievances mentioned in my previous post about grievances can be found here, here, here, here and here.

Candidates’ Debate Displays Issues, Insanity

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

EUGENE – The dim lights in the LLC Performance Hall kept all but the ten people seated at the front of the room cast in darkness. From the viewers left, Curtis Haley, Nick Warren, Nick Dreyer, Sen. Kaitlyn Lange, Sinjin Carey, Katie Taylor, Ben Eckstein, Stephen Murphy, Sophia Lawhead and Cimmeron Gillespie were arrayed in a long thin line in the front of the room, ready to address the issues of the day in the 2011 ASUO Primary Candidate’s Debate.

Candidates had the opportunity to present their platforms to students and answer questions from the elections board, students, and the media.

Some platforms were less than expected. Haley and Warren used their time to encourage the ASUO to create a more difficult process for getting on the ballot. “The fact that I am speaking right now is a travesty,” said Haley.

Dreyer declined to comment on his platform, or answer any questions during the debate, with each utterance of “pass” being accompanied by an accentuating strum of a guitar from his brightly dressed herald, whom the Commentator could not identify.

Lange, speaking for her and Carey’s Students United slate, explained that their campaign was based on “tradition” and wanted to see a more unified, more sustainable student body.

Ecketein, speaking on behalf of the Ben and Katie slate (of which Taylor is also a member) focused on “making education affordable.”

Murphy discussed the need for a more welcoming, inclusive campus environment. He also, repeatedly during the event, express support for OSPIRG and for the policies of current ASUO President Amelie Rousseau.

Lawhead explained her plan to, upon election, auction the office of ASUO Vice President and promptly resign, leaving the highest bidder as ASUO President.

Gillespie stated that “Tuition is too damn high!” He went on to outline his plan to reduce tuition by eliminating the university’s administrative positions, including the university presidency.

While the event included much serious discussion of issues, there were some heated moments. Lawhead, who was usually flippant in her remarks, took a turn for the serious when a question concerning the future of the Department of Public Safety came up. Lawhead demanded a quick solution to the question and stated that “I think its absolutely ridiculous that anyone should feel threatened on this campus.” Gillespie accused her of tacitly supporting an armed police agency on campus, an assertion that Lawhead angrily denied.

It seemed clear by the events’ end who was serious about the position they sought and who was not. This view was punctuated when, in response to a question about candidates’ plans if not elected, Dreyer asked an audience member for a cigarette, then left the room, followed closely by his herald.

Candidates’ reactions to the debate were mixed. Lange said she “was disappointed that there wasn’t an actual debate between the two serious candidates. I thought it could have been more engaging.”

Carey was “a little disappointed that some of the joke candidates took up a lot of the time.”

Lawhead explained to the Commentator that she felt her performance “left them all satisfied.”

Murphy said “I’d like to think I did alright.”

When asked for comment, Dreyer told the Commentator to “fuck yourself.”

Neither Gillespie, nor a representative of Ben and Katie could be reached for comment.

Disclaimer: Dreyer, Lawhead and Murphy are employees of the Oregon Commentator. Dreyer currently serves as Art Director, Lawhead as Layout Director, and Murphy as a Contributor.

ASUO Elections – Day 2 (UPDATED)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

ASUO Elections Coordinator Will Price has not yet returned phone calls regarding the Elections Board’s handling of pending grievances.

Rainfall seemed to only slightly damper campaign activities today. Student’s United’s Brian Allen, currently ASUO Outreach Coordinator, was seen sporting a multi-color umbrella hat earlier today.

According to the Oregon Daily Emerald‘s blog, Publisher Ryan Frank contacted officials from both Students United, who had been stamping copies of the ODE with pro-SU messages, and Ben and Katie, whose filers were found in copies of the ODE yesterday. Both campaigns were apologetic, denied official knowledge of the activities and promised to take steps to prevent them in the future. Editor-in-Chief Nora Simon discussed the situation, and outlined the paper’s plans to provide fair, unbiased elections coverage.

A full news story will be  posted tonight after the Candidate Debate. A Recap of tonight’s special Senate Meeting will also be posted later either tonight or early tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Commentator, was able to contact Price, who said he would forward information on the grievances filed thus far tonight. He also stated that the Elections Board will be deciding the grievances tomorrow.

Grievance Watch

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

[For your reference, the elections packet with rules and effective dates can be found here. The ASUO-produced voter guide can be found here.]

Grievances be flyin’.

In addition to the grievance from Sen. Ian Fielding that Rockne mentioned below, there have been five grievances filed by the Students United (purple shirts) campaign thus far: four against Ben and Katie (red shirts) and one against Curtis Haley and Nick Warren.

The one against Curtis and Nick is for their name — Students Untied — for its closeness to the name Students United. The Students United campaign claim the similarity in name was intentional, given that Haley and Warren filed for election 13 days after Sinjin Carey and Kaitlyn Lange.

Then, there are four against Ben and Katie:

  • One for launching their website before the first day of spring term;
  • one for announcing their candidacy at an Alpha Phi Omega meeting on February 24, 2011, as well as soliciting on a listserv;
  • one for stuffing fliers inside copies of the Monday, March 28 issue of the Oregon Daily Emerald;
  • and one buying uostudentsunited.com prior to the election and redirecting the traffic to votebenandkatie.com.

That last one is actually kind of hilarious. But I digress.

From what I understand, there has been limited contact between Elections Coordinator Will Price and the Students United campaign. I will post up the text of the grievances as an update to this post later today.

ASUO Elections – Day 1 (UPDATED)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

According to ASUO Elections Coordinator Will Price, a number of grievances have already been submitted to the Elections Board regarding campaign activities. Price was unable to indicate the number of or subject matter in the grievances filed thus far, but indicated that he would be able to do so at a later date. The Commentator will be following up.

Meanwhile, the two main slates, Students United and Ben and Katie were out in force today, talking to students and trying to pull in votes. Lined up on opposite sides of the intersection at 13th and University, candidates form both slates made their pitches. Independent candidate Cims Gillespie was also sighted.

“I’ve met a lot of interesting people,” said Lindy Mabuya, who is running for Senate Seat 3 (PFC) on the Ben and Katie slate.

ASUO Programs Administrator Sinjin Carey, running for ASUO President on the Students United State, shared a similar sentiment. “It’s been a really busy day, a really exciting day.”

Tomorrow evening will see the Executive Candidates hash it out in a public debate at 7P.M. in the LLC Performance Hall. Naturally, I’ll be there.

UPDATE: Sen. Ian Fielding forwarded a copy of the grievance he filed with the Constitution Court against OSPIRG and Ben and Katie to the Commentator. Fielding alleges that OSPIRG’s co-campaigning with Ben and Katie, including their sharing of campaign space and OSPIRG petitioners campaigning for the Ben and Katie Slate. The final paragraph of Fielding’s grievance reads:

I urge the court to immediately order OSPIRG to stop actively campaigning for Ben Eckstein and Katie Taylor’s campaign. Due to the egregious nature of this violation, and the many others they have committed, I also recommend some other form of penalty be applied such as the disqualification of their executive ticket.

Additionally, filers printed by an OSPIRG affiliated organization endorsing the Ben and Katie slate, and including the endorsements of a number of campus figures, including ASUO President Amelie Rousseau, were found in some copy’s of yesterday’s Oregon Daily Emerald. Sources close to the Commentator indicated that these flyers were placed their by Ben and Kate staffers, though this could not be confirmed.

Clusterfuck: Accomplished.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

An Excel spreadsheet distributed by an ASUO campaign may have serious consequences for students both involved and not involved with the election, the Commentator learned today.

Members of the Ben & Katie campaign (red shirts) have been sending out emails to UO listservs and text messages to individual students and faculty/staff starting as far back as Saturday. Some of these actions are against elections rules, but based on previous elections, will probably go un-prosecuted.

One of the emails that was received by the Deptcomp listserv (Computing Department) contained something much more concerning than just a “vote for me” pitch: an attached Excel spreadsheet with over 24,000 uoregon email addresses.

According to the Deptcomp listserv, a representative from Information Services is gathering information to lodge a formal complaint with the Office of Student Affairs or Student Life.

In my time at the University of Oregon, a candidate has never been kicked off the ballot — and not for lack of the Elections Board trying. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

On a side note, I hear Students United (purple shirts) is filing somewhere in the ballpark of nine grievances. And I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

ASUO Elections Issue now online!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The ASUO Election issue is now online! Check it out for ballot measure endorsements, candidate interviews and other articles that will make your spine tingle and your toes numb. Or something. You can download it by clicking the link in the sidebar, or clicking here.

The Expansion Issue is also in the sidebar for your viewing pleasure, or you can download it here.

And I’ll be posting the full text of our ballot endorsements today, but suffice to say that you sould VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY OSPIRG.

The most horrible time of the year.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

For those not in the know, ASUO elections started today. In about an hour and a half I’ll be putting online our ASUO Elections issue, with interviews, ballot endorsements (VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING) and other goodies.

My ASUO elections season started with opening today’s Ol’ Dirty and having two fliers fall out: a Ben & Katie flyer (red shirts, bright yellow flier) and a pro-OSPIRG flier (hot pink). I thought to myself, “Is the Emerald endorsing Ben & Katie?” I then thought better of myself.

It’s really just as well, though, as it was the only election-related item even remotely connected to the paper, save for a couple letters to the editor regarding ballot measures. That is to say that on the first day of ASUO elections, there is no article about ASUO elections.

Keep it classy, Emerald.

I haven’t yet been down to 13th and University, so I can’t attest to that craziness, but Emerald copy editor Thomas Kyle-Milward just informed me that four grievances have already been filed. Apparently Ben & Katie (red shirts) allegedly started campaigning two days early, calling people to ask them to vote. This is the pro-OSPIRG slate, so all communications from the PIRG are also likely from this campaign.

There are seven executive candidates:

Only two of them seem to be serious. And real casual, ballot measure #6 just says “Constitutional Amendment:”

I bet it’ll pass anyway. That’s how much people care about ASUO elections. Either way, we at the Commentator are excited, and extensive coverage will be provided by Mr. Rockne Andrew Roll and a cast of others.

Let the games begin.

ASUO presidential candidate Cimmeron Gillespie refuses to speak to the Commentator

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Here was his reaction when I requested an interview for the upcoming ASUO elections issue. The “they” in question is the Commentator:

They supported the Pacifica Forum last year, so I can’t acknowledge them. They’re apologists for fascists … I will not partake in any interview with them.

There was a sentence where the ellipsis is, but my notebook didn’t catch it. Gillespie is running for ASUO president.

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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