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Archive for the 'Blowing Stuff Up' Category

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.

GUNZ

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

From left to right: Photo of Joseph Kelley in Utah J.C. Penny taken by Cindy Yorgason;President Obama presenting his proposals in a photo posted on NewsWhip.com; “Pioneer” statue on UO campus carrying his rifle.

 

The following post contains views and opinions that are my own (Nicholas Ekblad) and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Commentator as a whole.

 

Now, I spent about half of my childhood in The-middle-of-nowhere, Arizona and the greater half in rural eastern Oregon. I was taught by my father how to use a gun and how to use it safely. My father did not make light– ever– of the power and responsibility of a holding a firearm in hand. I firmly believe in the Second Amendment, though it might surprise a lot of people to learn that I support “gun control” in its general sense (READ: the control of guns is as necessary and already as prevalent as the control of, say, the license to drive a motor vehicle)(fully automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1936). That being said, here is my take on Obama’s proposals to congress.

 

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Public Records [2.0]: A fairytale come true

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Once upon a time, in a land very near and dear, the University of Oregon:

On January 1st, 2011, former Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella emailed a request for ASUO Senators’ email correspondence (i.e., those emails sent to and from senate@uoregon.edu or asuosenate@lists.uoregon.edu) to Public Records Officer Liz Denecke. As reading this previous post will inform you, Denecke responded via email to CJ’s request saying that in order to fulfill such a request, it would cost him a whopping $428.36– “about half” being used to cover the costs “producing the documents”  and “the other half [...] for redaction, and that cost is estimated conservatively and will likely cost more than the estimate.” Denecke’s explanation continues, stating that such emails “will be student records, subject to the protection of student privacy laws. That will require a great deal of redaction and you may end up with documents that do not tell you what you want to know.” Denecke would later tell Ciaramella over the phone that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the students in this case, calling for intensive redaction of student names (i.e., the ASUO Senators’ names) and anything unrelated to ASUO business. Hence such expensive estimated compensation for the production of this Public Records Request. Because of this, Ciaramella abandoned the pursuit, deeming it stonewalled.

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STFUpdate: Tobacco, Fines and You

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

As of September 1st, UO campus and all University owned property are now tobacco and smoke-free. In my previous post, I wrote that DPS will not be issuing tickets or fines to enforce this ridiculous, hot-air, self-back-patting policy. I cited an old Commentator post as having this information. The policy must have been updated since that post, however, because upon actually reading the policy’s representative website and Oregon Administrative Rule 571-050-0005, I have realized that the policy is exceptionally vague. According to OAR, emphasis my own:

(2) Prohibitions. [...] An employee who violates this rule may be subject to discipline. A student who violates this rule may be subject to sanction under the Student Conduct Code.

(3) Citation  and Appeals. Anyone else who violates this rule may be issued a citation for thirty dollars ($30). Any complaints about citations issued or appeal of an issued citation may be directed to the Vice President for Finance and Administration or that person’s designee. [...]

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Thursday, April 12th, 2012

 

Get yours today! Call 541-346-3721

Ol’ Dirty’s Attempt to Save Trees Deemed Outragiously Racist

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

On March 6, during an intramural basketball game, a fight broke out between opponents from each team. Becky Metrick covered the story the next day in Daily Emerald, which can be found here. Today, the Emerald‘s front page features an article by Josephine Woolington covering the meeting organized by Kendaris Hill (former president of the Black Student Union). According to the concerned students of the Black Student Union, the Ol’ Dirty‘s placement of the photo (probably the first or third one in the series here) of Amin Tufa being taken into custody by DPS officers was inappropriate. The picture was placed on the front page next to an unrelated headline regarding crime in the West University neighborhood.

Let me just say a few things:

1. Black people have been on the front page of newspapers before! It’s not a new thing.

2. Crime happens. And if it happens next to or on campus, perhaps it should be covered in the campus newspaper, no?

3. I sure as hell did not immediately pin all of the crime conducted West of campus on Tufa when reading the headline. That would be racial profiling.

4. Finally, Black Student Union… You do know that the editor-in-chief of the Emerald is black himself, right?

Editor-in-chief Tyree Harris as quoted by Woolington in today’s Ol’ Dirty: “The story was clearly questioning everything involved in the situation. [...] Nobody in the newsroom was trying to portray this story in a stereotypical way.” I agree with Harris’s assertion that the stories were indeed questioning the situation.

Apparently, the Ol’ Dirty better think twice before putting a picture of a black man next to the word “crime” in a cramped newspaper– lest they hurt somebody’s feelings. Ol’ Dirty, why must you be so environmentally conscious so as to save space by putting your stories so close together! Haha, I kid, but basically, these complaints translate to: “It confuses people when the word ‘crime’ and a picture of a black man appear together but do not relate nor coincide!”

So, perhaps the next step is to start giving each story a 1.5 inch border between it and any other story, making the newspaper a more safe and pleasant thing to read. However, complications may arise with the Climate Justice League. Seems like Ol’ Dirty is in some hot water! The links to the ODE stories are above– Your thoughts?

The Internet Goes On Strike

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The internet blackout has begun, and Wikipedia isn’t the only one participating in the blackout. sopastrike.com has a full list of all participating websites, which is, to say the least, impressive.

The above, meanwhile, is an actual screenshot of Google’s current homepage. Yikes.

The Adminstration Cares

Monday, January 9th, 2012

See they sent us an email:

Dear Students,

Welcome back. This week you have several opportunities to engage in the process of choosing the next president of the University of Oregon. George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System (OUS), and Allyn Ford, OUS board member and chair of the presidential search committee, will be here to discuss the search and receive questions and comments from the audience.

  • GRADUATE STUDENT FORUM: Tuesday (Jan. 10), 5:30 pm, EMU Walnut Room
  • UO SENATE (all faculty, staff and students welcome): Wednesday (Jan. 11), 3:00 pm, EMU Ballroom (will begin with remarks from Interim President Bob Berdahl)
  • CAMPUS FORUM (all faculty, staff and students welcome): Wednesday (Jan. 11), 5:00 pm, Gerlinger Lounge
  • STUDENT SENATE: Wednesday (Jan. 11), 7:00 pm, EMU Walnut Room

If you have any questions about any of these sessions, please contact Tim Black in the President’s Office, timblack@uoregon.edu, 541-346-5023.

So free venting and no one will remember or care about anything you say? But they’ll listen? Sounds like a bar with a lot less alcohol. I’ll be at Rennies along with the rest of the student body if you want to join.

 

Science Sunday!

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

NASA has discovered a black hole with a “heartbeat.” This is the smallest black hole ever found, and according to Zeenews.com:

 

The “heartbeat” pattern is caused by the regular cycles of matter accumulated into the black hole from its neighbouring star.

“Just as the heart rate of a mouse is faster than an elephant’s, the heartbeat signals from these black holes scales according to their masses,” said Diego Altamirano, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam, who worked on the NASA project.

The heartbeat was referring to the intermittent X-ray bursts as gas is sucked from stars, forming a disc around the black hole, where it’s heated by friction to millions of degrees, hot enough to emit X-rays. Astronomers have named the new discovery – IGR J1091-3624.

 

Though it is only speculation, many experts believe that Chancellor Pernsteiner’s heart may in fact reside inside the tiny black hole.

Vote or Die: The EMU Addition

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Today starts the beginning of a five-day opportunity to vote on the EMU and Student Rec Center (SRC) renovations. I’m sure many of you have been getting annoying emails all day telling you how you should vote. I’m not going to do that. I don’t care how you vote and neither does the Commentator, but it is important to know what you’re voting on.

 

The first question is asking if you are okay with paying $35 a term to renovate the SRC There will be a juice bar, which I know is a big selling point to the lovely Sophie Lawhead. So keep that in mind.

 

The second question is asking if you’re cool with paying $65 a term to renovate the EMU. So that’s 35 plus 65. I write words, I don’t do math so figure it out for yourself.

 

Number three is about stipends. You can read my stipend post or read something educate yourself on that issue.

The next section took the Senate 10 hours to write so pay close attention.

 

If the EMU remodel is approved, should any student groups have their square footage space reduced in the new EMU?

Basically do you think the Insurgent deserves less space, probably? But be careful here because you might get beat up by the Women’s Center.

 

Should the EMU governance board continue to have a majority of non-elected student members?

Should average Joes help design the new building?

 

If the EMU remodel is approved, should the facility be closed during construction?

Would you like all hell to break loose for two years? Or you can think of it as a massive game of musical chairs. Everyone likes musical chairs.

And that’s really all my jurisdiction. The rest is about sports and stuff so you would have to consult someone who cares a little more, like the people in the drowning glass building… Happy voting!

Ben Eckstein: Confidential

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

What does ASUO President Benjamin Eckstein think about the termination of President Lariviere? That is an excellent question and even though I interviewed Eckstein about the matter I am still left wondering. Below is a summary of the interview. The amount of time it takes you to read is the amount of time the interview lasted. He should get an award for being diplomatic.

Because the majority of the EMU was closed for Thanksgiving the interview took place in the back room of the ASUO office. In the office, there was a pepper shaker but no salt shaker, which I found suspicious but decided to ignore it and start the interview.

Eckstein started out by saying that him and Lariviere have had their disagreements but he respects Lariviere very much and has every intention on working with him if he is allowed to stay. So forth and so on.

Then he mentioned that there are smart people on both sides with good points, and this is a good discussion to have at the state level because it is important.

I thought I had him when he said it’s good it is happening, but he meant that it’s a big issue and should be handled by the state.

After a little prodding (I reminded him that he is a politician and he has to have more to say about the future of his university) he said that he is going to do everything in his power to make sure that students are being held at the forefront of all these decisions because they are they ones being affected. He wants to “give them a seat at the table when decisions are being made.”

He said, “Students should be meaningfully involved and consulted.” He wants to make sure that  people who usually don’t have a voice in these kinds of circumstances have a say in things that will be directly impacting them.

When asked about his testimony, he said it will basically be about students. It seemed like he had students on his mind.

I will try to crack this nut again after the decision is made. But for now, well played Eckstein.

OUS Proposes Larivere’s Immediate Termination, and the President Gets White Knighted

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

According to an official statement by the OUS released earlier today, the board will be “[voting] in a public meeting on Monday, November 28, 2011 regarding the status of the employment agreement of Dr. Richard Lariviere as president of the University of Oregon.” In layman’s terms? They’re going to be voting on whether to fire him that day or not.

The blog We Love Our Pres, created yesterday in support of President Lariviere’s reinstatement, has posted the letter in full, which can be read here. Obviously, they’re not happy about it.

They’re not the only ones, either. In the twenty hours since Lariviere sent out the catalytic email announcing that his contract would not be renewed, support for the President has come flooding in the way only Eugene knows how to flood.

From the Register-Guard:

Thirty-six department and program heads of the UO College of Arts and Sciences signed a letter to the board and other state leaders to “express their unequivocal support” of Lariviere and to urge “he be retained.”

[...]

Leaders of the University Senate, which includes faculty, students and staff, met in an emergency session Wednesday.afternoon [sic] to plan action over the next week or two They [sic] immediately started a petition for Lariviere’s reinstatement — collecting 1,600 signatures in the first two hours — and shared information on Facebook and Twitter.

“The very people who obviously are directly connected with the president have had no voice, no voice in this matter,” said Robert Kyr, University Senate president.

[...]

“This is a terrible decision for the university and the State of Oregon that promotes mediocrity rather than rewarding visionary leadership,” said Julia Mee, the [Alumni Association's] board president. “We urge the board and governor to immediately reverse their decision and reinstate him.

Portland Business Journal highlighted supporters even higher up the chain, with State Senator Floyd Prozanski (or, apparently “Senator Duck” as he likes to be called) coming to Lariviere’s defense:

“I didn’t fully agree with all of the perspective that he brought as president but I honored the man for being able to stand up and say what he believes in,” Prozanski said. “If he’s being canned because he showed some independence, that is wrong. We should be able to have this dialogue between reasonable people, especially in higher education.”

Even the esteemed academics Chip Kelly and Phil Knight provided their individual takes on the matter; Kelly told The Oregonian that he was “really surprised” to hear the news, while Daddy Knight got a bit more creative:

It deeply saddens me that some people in power in our state continue to drive Oregon into a death spiral with their embrace of mediocrity. [This is an] astonishingly bad decision…It’s yet another application of Oregon’s Assisted Suicide law. For the Chancellor and the State Board of Higher Education, a “team player” is someone who falls in line with their acceptance of mediocrity, and the one who strives for excellence does not fit in.

Lariviere is even getting support from people who arguably see him as The Enemy. The United Academics of the University of Oregon, the chief organization behind attempts at faculty unionization at the UO and no friend to Lariviere, said even they would prefer Lariviere over the devil they don’t know:

No one in United Academics expected that President Lariviere would be an ally in the move toward collective bargaining at the University of Oregon. On the contrary, we expected a tough and vigorous negotiation with him. But we would much rather negotiate with a president who understands our priorities and goals for the university’s future than with one who does not.

They went on to note that, “President Lariviere’s termination serves as a reminder that in the absence of a binding contract, faculty, researchers, and teaching staff will remain confined to a limited and ineffectual role in shaping the university’s future.”

Lastly, The Register Guard reports that UO students have taken their own special brand of action: “Students started a Facebook page, Lariviere for UO president, that had more than 800 likes by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and was drawing messages of support from business people and UO employees.”

So there you have it. Faculty, the University Senate, the Alumni Association, senators, football coaches, billionaires, the AAUP, and a smattering of the student body want to keep Lariviere around, and are gnashing their teeth at the equally gnash-y OUS. It may all come to a head next week with the board’s vote and, shockingly enough, this shit might end up getting crazier.

As for the man himself?

“[After this] There is a very good likelihood I’ll be teaching Sanskrit,” Lariviere told The Oregonian. “That is a prospect that has a lot of appeal.”

The University Senate’s petition to reinstate Lariviere can be found here. The Lariviere for President facebook page, if you’re really that interested, can be found here.

Update: UO Matters has an interesting roadmap of reactions and motivations here.

Update: OUS Cans Richard Lariviere

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Yep. You read that right. As of 4pm today, Lariviere has been handed his pink slip.

According to the Williamette Week, Kitzhaber affirmed the decision alongside the OUS, sounding the death knell for President Lariviere tenure. Elaborating on an email sent early Tuesday to UO students, staff, and faculty by the man himself, The Register-Guard has noted that it is “[Larivere's] intention is to remain in his position until the end of his current contract.”

It’s not news that Lariviere isn’t the OUS’s favorite man: they were none-too-happy about the faculty and administrative raises he helped institute back in September, and practically blew their fancy curled wigs (or whatever the fashion in Salem is these days), when Lariviere bypassed them and took the New Partnership plan straight to the state.

While restraints have previously been placed on Lariviere’s ability to act without board approval, the decision not to extend his contact whatsoever is an unexpected move–and not one that has universal approval. State Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene), for instance, spoke to his worries about the matter in an interview with The Register Guard:

It’s of great concern to me that his contract is not being renewed … he was a great fighter for students, and his proposals would have raised up to $1 billion to support the university long-term…I’m very concerned about our capacity to get a topnotch president in here, who will pursue good policies and initiatives.

It is yet unknown who, if anyone, has been selected to take up the President’s position at the end of the academic year. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that not much of anything is known right about now. The only certainty is uncertainty.

In the meantime, UO Matters has summed up their ideas on this bombshell, and what we should all do about it, in a refreshingly non-sanitized manner:

Dr. Pernsteiner wins. UO loses. My first thought is there is no way in hell I want to work for George Pernsteiner without a strong faculty union on my side. So let’s start one – where and when can I sign that card check?

Williamette Week has their take on the story here, and The Register Guard has an even more detailed analysis here.

Personally, I’ll miss the hats.

OUS misses deadline to appeal gun ruling, announces decision to not appeal a week later

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Nearly a week after the passing of the Nov. 2 deadline for an appeal on the September ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals that invalidated an administrative ban of firearms by the Oregon University System, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner has announced that they will not seek to appeal the ruling.

After the initial ban in September, University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere sent an email expressing veiled disapproval, but remained unclear about any attempt to appeal the case. ASUO President Ben Eckstein voiced his desire at the time to appeal the “flawed” and “dangerous decision.” Yet no plans to appeal ever surfaced, as Pernsteiner claimed that, “We do not want to go through a long and costly process that may produce the same outcome.”

In wake of the announcement, OUS Director of Communications Di Saunders noted that, “Instead we are putting our efforts into looking at polices already in place to limit gun use on campus.” The current focus for the OUS is ensuring that guns are kept out of certain buildings, already including dorms and sports arenas, but could be extended to classrooms and other buildings.

The announcement comes as no surprise to anyone who realizes that missing a deadline means you’re shit out of luck either way. My guess is that George knew an appeal was hopeless and hoped he could get by with his balls intact when no one noticed him pussy out on everybody. Either that, or he was a little wary of aggressively trying to take away the rights of citizens who choose to defend their liberties with lethal force. It will be a sad day when game day at Autzen will no longer allow the longstanding tradition of Puddles shooting off a round into the opposing team’s marching band section for every Oregon point scored.

Dead Gaddafi for Halloween

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

I am thinking of dressing as dead Muammar Gaddafi for Halloween. But I want your opinion. Would it be too soon? What about dressing as slutty dead Muammar Gaddafi?