The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator
 

Archive for the 'ASUO' Category

Pay No Attention to the Lawyer Behind the Curtain

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I know I said the Tater Awards release was my last post, but I just need to call attention to some things.

Over two months ago, the Oregon Commentator went through the legitimate avenue to transfer funds into a new line item labeled “Public Records Requests”. Apparently the ASUO Senate was unaware (as was I and the rest of the Commentator staff– go figure) that “state money” cannot be used to investigate the “state”. I learned this only very recently as the UO Administration and the ASUO professional staff alike are determined to stonewall and ultimately stifle the Oregon Commentator. It’s as if their entirely subjective moral compasses are only functioning when they see one of our staff members walk in the door.

Conveniently for General Counsel Randy Geller, President Gottfredson, and the Athletic Department, the mandatory I-fee (student money), is considered property of the state and the $999 we secured to investigate these snakes in the grass is now unusable and will go to waste.

On a related note, FERPA is being used to redact student names from President Gottfredson’s calendar. WTF? is exactly right.

As happy as I am to declare this string of debacles “Not My Problem Anymore”, I feel sorry for the returning and incoming students. Good luck and good beer to all! You are going to need it.

Con Court Leak Compromises ASUO Government

Monday, May 6th, 2013

An email was just sent to our editorial staff anonymously. The author of the email alleges that there have been a number of instances where information regarding Constitution Court decisions had spread around the ASUO office prior to any sort of opinion being released. When the Court chose to remove Laura Hinman from office, she was apparently aware before it was official. Again before her reinstatement, she alluded to her former staff that the ruling would be overturned. Most recently, the decision by the Court to overturn the spring ASUO election was known to members of the United Oregon campaign over a day prior to the knowledge being made public. The anonymous author concluded, signing as A Very Concerned ASUO Representative:

I urge you to confront Chief Justice Nick Schultz over these allegations, as if the court is compromised, it threatens the stability of the ASUO government for as long as the leak remains.

Honestly, for something with so little stability already, it’s hard to want to care. However, confronting Schultz can’t hurt. Got anything to say, hombre?

Elections Bull 2013 Round 2

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

*ANNOYED GRUMBLE*

Get ready for round two of ASUO elections.

There’s a reason I haven’t focused energy on elections business this year: It’s all bullshit (and I’m graduating, suckers). There is this hope, a pipe dream, that things will be fair and civil. But those possessing the wherewithall to execute a campaign either have a large enough following without you, or are so worried about their position that they grasp at straws and make asses of themselves.

Andrew Rogers filed a filed a grievance against United Oregon for giving away t-shirts or something. Then it was deemed that both parties had acted inappropriately so the whole shebang has been invalidated.

Well, it looks like we get to experience the shit show all over again. This happened last year. I say everyone just write in Sudsy O’Sullivan this time. Vote Sudsy in and Ol’ Timey Prospector is guaranteed a senate seat!

Sudsy tees are definitely not free, though, you ingrates.

In conclusion, the Constitution Court holds that the 2013 ASUO Election results are invalid. Therefore, the Court stays the results of the election and permanently enjoins enforcement of the primary election results. Accordingly, the Court orders the Election Board to schedule and administer a new election in whatever timeframe is deemed appropriate by the ASUO Elections Board. This matter is hereby remanded to the  ASUO Elections Board for implementation consistent with the opinion.

 

Meanwhile, the Dissenting opinion says:

Because Oregon election law does not specifically apply to the elections of student association officials, neither the United Oregon or Ducks for a Difference campaigns should be found in violation of state law for distributing t-shirts without charge. In addition, due to the undue academic burden that extending the 2013 ASUO Election would create, invalidating the election would not provide for the advancement of ASUO members’ interests and should therefore not be prescribed in this instance.

ASUO Flippity Floppity

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Remember these things?

photo

They’re coming back. On Wednesday April 3, 2013 the Associated Students of the University of Oregon did something utterly hilarious. They decided to spend $1,960 on another feel-good measure, but this time, it’s all flippity floppity. Almost $2,000 was authorized to be spent on– *DRUMROLL*– cigarette butt receptacles!

Wait, it gets better! They are being installed off campus! 

These receptacles were ripped out of the ground 7 months ago on the student’s dollar and now they are needed again, because our University still looks all trashy. Who is surprised? Not this Commentator.

Yes, totally unforeseen by the ASUO and supporters of the Healthy Campus Initiative was the fact that a toothless ban on smoking wasn’t going to stop smokers. All it did was alienate and inconvenience people. Their response was to take their smoking to the UO borderlands where half-smoked cigs fall to the ground or flow into the sewers.

So the ASUO Executive branch put forth a special request to the Senate on Wednesday, asking for $1,960 to be spent on designated cigarette butt receptacles to be installed at two major campus entrances. These receptacles are to be multi-purpose trash bins (or something) with signs. The requesters explained that the sign would depict not just cigarette butt disposal, but other trash as well (in order to discourage littering while not endorsing smoking).

The motion to fund this back-patting flippity flop passed like a hot potato. I can’t say I disagree that the University needs these smoking stations, as they will come to be with people congregating all about them, basking in the last few puffs of their cigarettes. But now when people enter the UO, they’ll see smokers and their butts littered around an all-to-obvious trash can and have to walk through all their smoke.

I guess that’s better than having a designated smoking area ON campus but AWAY from the main flow of traffic right? 

I would say I told you so. But I’d probably be told to Shut The Fuck Up.

Senate 4/3/2013

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The Women’s Center, Jewish Student Union, Survival Center, Students for Global Health, NASU, ASUO Exec and Safe Ride will be making special requests at the ASUO Senate meeting tonight. Should be a good one. Click the link directly below to be taken to the live blog starting at 7pm.

(more…)

ASUO President is Again ASUO President

Monday, February 18th, 2013

On February 15th the UO Con Court effectively said “Never mind,” responding affirmatively to a motion to reinstate ASUO President Laura Hinman.

The Con Court decided that Hinman’s nonfulfillment of duties, which is the reason she was pulled from office in late January, had been remedied by ASUO Vice President Nick McCain. The petition for reinstatement cited Hinman’s appointing of Pat Chaney to the elections board, followed by Chaney’s recommendations of four other applicants and finally by McCain appointing those recommendations on February 7th, during Hinman’s forced absence.

The completion of an elections board resolved the initial dispute brought to the Con Court, which was a grievance filed against Hinman by Joanna Stewart. The full Con Court opinion can be read here.

And they all lived happily ever after, despite the excruciating budget hearings and God knows what else.

Senate 2/13 [UOPD Firearms Forum]

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

We had technical difficulties. Sorry, no live blog. Police Chief Carolyn McDermed, Captain Pete Deshpande and UOPD Communications Director Kelly McIver were present.

Alright, so McIver gave us the rundown on why guns will make better Police Officers.

Senator Hedlund was the first and only person on the speakers list. He wondered what the UOPD reps thought about putting the decision to arm up for student-wide vote.

McIver argued that would be divisive. Senator Ben Bowman agreed.

Also, if we did that, warned McIver, then UOPD would just go above us and get approval from the State Board of Higher Education.

(more…)

Senate Jan. 30th

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Goin  live at 7pm!

(more…)

ASUO President Yanked From Office

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

ASUO president Laura Hinman has been removed from office for nonfullfilment. To be candid, the reasons behind the removal are disappointing, considering the bar set by ASUO scandals in recent years.

The UO Constitutional Court ruled in favor of a grievance filed against Hinman, stating that she failed to appoint an elections board by a specified deadline. The ruling can be seen here. The grievance was filed by Joanna Stewart, manager for the notorious Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester campaign.

Vice President Nick McCain will take over the position, though a petition to reinstate Hinman began shortly after the court decision.

The ASUO executive has not yet made a statement on the matter.

The Con Court doesn’t look anything like this…why?

Edit (2/18/13): An update on this issue can be seen here.

More Like EMU ReferenDUMB, Am I Right?

Friday, December 21st, 2012

It’s 10pm on a Friday night, which might be our last night alive, but here we are again discussing the debacle that is the EMU Referendum .

Student and USSA member Lucero Castaneda (the n having one of those squigglys above it that WordPress is reluctant to allow) has filed a grievance against ASUO president Laura Hinman, claiming a biased approach to the EMU referendum. For those of you who haven’t followed the sketchiness, this post from before the EMU referendum vote and this post from after can help catch you up.

The rule Castaneda accuses Hinman of violating is as follows:

The ASUO Elections shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the best interests of the student body. The elections shall be conducted in a fair, orderly and impartial manner, and the educational atmosphere of the University shall not be compromised, by any member of the ASUO involved in the electoral process.

Castaneda wrote; “The EMU Renovation Task Force…engaged in a heavy-handed pro-yes campaign on the EMU referendum. This is clearly indicated in the memo between the Task Force and the political consultant firm they hired, RBI strategies.” Click here for the memo.

She also says that Hinman’s membership in the EMU Renovation Task Force establishes her unfair inclination on the issue. The example provided is the ASUO’s education campaign, which Castenado says contains “slanted language and pro-renovation opinions presented as fact.” Students wishing to learn about the issue were directed to this website; judge for yourself.

Castaneda then cites Hinman’s selective approach to student involvement:

Campus outreach during the week of the referendum disproportionately targeted Greek life. No student union or other student group with space in the EMU was notified of the referendum, yet several fraternities and sororities were visited by members of the ASUO Executive and encouraged to vote in the referendum. Why would [Hinman] go out of her way to travel to the homes of students belonging to fraternities and sororities to encourage them to vote, but not attempt to contact students already present in the EMU? The reason is that [Hinman] perceived Greek students to be more likely to vote yes, and students belonging to groups within the EMU more likely to vote no.

Castaneda suggests that, because the methods to achieve a “yes” vote on the EMU renovation appear to be biased, a second vote is in order. “The most logical remedy is to invalidate the results of this referendum, and hold a second referendum on the same question, this time under the jurisdiction of a duly appointed elections board.”

“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.

“Win” acheived by EMU Task Force

Monday, November 26th, 2012

 

 

With 4,006 total votes in the last EMU referendum, the decision to renovate won by 1,811 votes.

Outlined in red above is the advice of RBI strategies to the EMU Task Force. It was also included in the public records released a week ago. UO Matters has the scoop. This surly Commentator will belatedly  summarize the sickening disregard for public records law. It was only after the elections that the redacted “public” documents were released, here.

The emails of Holmes, Gottfredson and Lariviere are heavily redacted per ORS 192.502 (1, 2, 8, 9). The names of the members of the EMU Task Force are redacted as well as about four page-sized chunk.

What’s more, they illustrate “the opponent” as narrow-minded, yet politically active and engaged with opinions born out of misconception.

The heavy elision of this material must be protested. Surely they can’t be hiding behind FERPA for this?

I aim to find out. In the meantime, file a complaint with the Board of Education. A modest example of a complaint:

The Office of Public Records at the University of Oregon redacted a slew of information from emails sent via a public account regarding public affairs. It is very possible that FERPA was used to justify redacting these documents when they were indeed not educational documents at all.

In the end, I am glad I won’t be here to pay for a shiny new EMU that I won’t be using.

Grievance filed over EMU referendum

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Special Elections are currently open (my apologies for the late post) and the EMU referendum closes this Friday. Students are urged to educate themselves with the propaganda (self-described as unbiased, but is also outdated? WTF…) that has been distributed to the campus community electronically through emails and verbally by “students on 13th Avenue”. There are a lot of nice pictures and compelling arguments for WHY and WHEN the EMU should be renovated, but there has been little discussion about HOW. It makes sense to renovate the EMU (like the unbiased propaganda said), but there is a big rush and neglect of appropriate action in its planning.

The main problem I see with the proposed renovation is that students are expected to start paying for it beginning Fall of 2014, regardless of year in school. The project is EXPECTED to be finished by the start of the 2016 school year. I’d bet anybody who thinks that deadline will be met $20 bucks that it won’t. The “unbiased” information disseminated is ambiguous as to whether or not the EMU will be in service during the renovation (my guess is that, for the most part, no). Granted, the per term fee has been reduced from $100 to $69 per student, a significant reduction. Furthermore, I concede that it really isn’t that much skrilla (really a mere fraction of the formidable amount we already pay in tuition) to sacrifice for a better-functioning building with more study space. It should also be noted that private donations will account for $35 million of the project. However, that leaves $100 million put on students, starting Fall 2014. Those expecting to graduate in spring of 2015 or 2016 will be paying for something that they will not use, while being unable to use the current one that they will probably still be paying for! And who knows when it will be finished.

And the emails regarding RBI Strategies, of which I have requested the digital records, have yet to be made available.

In related news, concerned student Sophie Luthin filed a grievance against ASUO President Laura Hinman Wednesday afternoon. Her grievance cites non-fulfillment and illegal implementation of elections by the ASUO President. Accusing her of failing to appoint Elections Board officials and instead implementing the EMU Referendum herself, Luthin calls for the removal of Hinman from office.

 

Pay Attention: EMU renovation and Social Host Ordinance

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Two (or three) things students should be aware of these coming weeks:

  1.  A supposedly “informative kickoff meeting” for the EMU referendum vote will be taking place TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY), November 7th at 3pm in the Mills International Center. Learn more about the renovation and how you can get involved. The ASUO Executive’s plan for the following week of voting will be addressed, as well as how students will be educated and informed. Students can’t have a voice if students don’t attend!
  2. The Eugene Social Host Ordinance can lead to a $1000 fine for having gatherings of five or more with alcohol served or consumed, noise complaints, littering ect. There is a petition to oppose it. There will be a rally in the EMU amphitheater on November 19th, 6:30pm and those opposing the ordinance should certainly show up at the Eugene city council meeting at 7:30pm in the Bascom-Tykes Room at Eugene Public Library (100 West 10th Avenue). They need 100 students in order to show the city council that the student body opposes this ordinance. There will be limited transportation provided for students to reach the Eugene Public Library. Anyone interested in helping campaign for this event should contact Senator Lamar Wise in the ASUO.
  3. And, oh yeah… you have about 2 hours to vote in the general elections. That’s important, I suppose.

College Red vs. College Blue

Monday, October 29th, 2012

This Thursday November 1st, the College Republicans and the College Democrats will be holding a debate. A number of topics will be discussed, including energy policy, economic recovery, health care, marriage equality and women’s economic rights.

ASUO Academic Affairs Director Harlan Mechling has told me that the event has been picking up steam. What’s more, the presidents of either group both hold positions in the ASUO, so things may get a little spicy.

Again the debate will take place this Thursday at 6:30 pm in McKenzie 129.