Due to it’s timely matter, The Commentator has decided to publish this piece online. It will also appear in our physical publication later this month.
On Monday, January 6th columnist Kevin Sullivan published an opinion column in the Daily Emerald that left a rather sour taste in my mouth. Of course, I’m not much of one to read the Emerald regularly (because I already know how to have fun in the snow in Bend and find an instruction manual for this not necessary), but when I happened upon Kevin’s most recent opinion piece “Athletes should be held accountable like you and me” I knew a response from The Commentator would be necessary. Of course, here at The Commentator, we couldn’t agree more with Kevin’s notion that athletes are a favored bunch throughout our national universities (and especially here at UO). Kevin, we commend your effort to put these athletes in their place and ensure that everyone is held accountable for their actions.
The problem with Kevin’s piece is his insight into the Jameis Winston rape case that was closed a little over a month ago in December. Writes Kevin:
Imagine a case of sexual assault. A 9-11 call surfaces after a month of the case being in the mainstream news but a year after the survivor first reported the rape. The survivor has already identified the man who had raped her and DNA evidence had proven that he indeed had sex with her. This guy was obviously convicted right? Wrong.
Now hold it right there, Kevin. Why should this guy obviously be convicted? Based on the story you just told, I reached the conclusion that the man should obviouslynot be convicted! We’re supposed to think that DNA evidence proving that two people had sex is evidence of rape? Because there’s no such thing as consensual sex, right Kev?
“I’m not here to argue against the innocence of Winston [...] I’m here to state the truth“writes Kevin right after conclusively referring to Winston as “the man who had raped her“. Welcome to America, where all are guilty until proven innocent… good thing our justice system doesn’t operate on the same rules that Kevin does. All I’m saying is that we have words like “alleged” so that journalists can refer to the accused without definitively calling them, as Kevin does, ”the assailant“. Throughout his piece, it is clear that Kevin has made his mind up about the Winston case. He repeatedly refers to the accuser as “the victim” and contextualizes the story in a way that makes it obvious to us all that the tenant of “innocent until proven guilty” is only applicable until an Ol’ Dirty Emerald columnist decides that it is not. And all this in a piece where Kevin calls out the media for not properly framing a story and for “poorly reported stories“. Kev, we’re all beginning to drown in the irony here.
Of course, I cannot disagree with your main point that the accuser received a lot of hate from FSU fans and the public alike. Yes, that happened, but it does not determine whether or not Winston is guilty or not. Let’s be honest this rape allegation will always be tied in with Jameis Winston’s name as well. The truth is, there just was not enough evidence to convict Jameis of anything. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t a rapist, but (without concrete evidence) we will never know what happened. Of course, since Kevin is already sure of his verdict, we invite him to pour through the case evidence that the state attorney released.
The point is, while there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with our judicial system, it’s ethically wrong to debase the innocent until proven guilty that our justice system is based on. Kevin, until you’re ready to present concrete evidence that Jameis Winston is a rapist, we cannot refer to him as one. And when you do have that concrete evidence, we highly encourage you to fax it over to the Tampa police so the case can be reopened.
It was not only Kevin’s absurdly definitive reporting of Winston’s guilt that infuriates us here at The Commentator. It seems like it would also be relevant to point out here that the opinion piece misreported a couple things. Writes Kevin:
[O]ne insightful anchor on “Good Morning America” put it on Dec. 12, “I just want this one to go away.”
Let me repeat that.
One of the anchors from ‘Good Morning America,” the leading morning show in America, said that he wanted the story of the Winston case to “go away.”
Good thing you repeated this twice, Kevin. Does that mean we can charge you with two accounts of false reporting? Take a look at the video that is being referenced, and I think it will be as clear to you as it was to me- Stephanopoulos says “They just want this one to go away.” Of course, by changing this one critical word you completely change the intention of Stephanopoulos’ comment. I see what you did there. Clever, Kev. Very clever.
Of course, why stop here? Let’s also get a source for those statistics you’re referencing. Writes Kevin: “the percentage of women who falsely report rape is very low and not any higher than any other false reporting of other crimes” I’ll forget about how terribly phrased this sentence is for a minute, so I can present some statistics:
Since 1996 “unfounded” rape accusations are reported by the FBI to be around 8%, while other index crimes have been around 2%. Of course, “unfounded” does not necessarily mean “false allegation”. It is almost impossible to discover the true percentage of false rape accusations, but many estimate that they are higher than index crimes. Of course, I’m guessing Kevin found his statistics in ”Against Our Will”. Nice. Very reliable source, Kev.
“Football should not trump [...] our judicial system” writes Kevin in conclusion to his article. Let us remind you, Kev, that bad journalism should not trump our judicial system either.
Alright, kiddos, that’s all we’ve got until we hear back from Kevin. In the meantime let’s all remember that everyone accused of rape is guilty, especially if there isn’t enough evidence to prove it.
A Neighborhood Watch leader follows a suspicious character in the neighborhood and after being assaulted, and having his skull repeatedly bashed into the concrete, shoots and kills the assailant. Most people reading that would probably respond differently than the way some have responded to the media circus and lynching of George Zimmerman. What about this situation is worthy of the hype and uproar that has been thrust upon us for the last year? Nothing! The same situation happened elsewhere only it was a black Neighborhood Watch person and white assailants and surprise surprise, no uproar.
The Stand Your Ground law has been paraded about as another villain in this event, yet it had nothing to do with the event. Unfortunately, not even our supposed constitutional scholar president is able to understand a very simple law. Stand Your Ground says that if you are legally allowed to be somewhere and someone threatens your life you are able to defend yourself without first retreating. In other words if I pull a knife or gun on you while you are walking down the street you can use deadly force (read gun) to defend yourself. You do not have to turn and run. You can stand your ground, hence the name of the law. Now in the Zimmerman case, his head was being bashed into concrete. Retreating is not an option at that point. This was purely self defense. He was not able to retreat once his life became endangered. Mr. Martin was not unarmed, he was using the concrete as a weapon.
The ugly part of this was the race baiting that went on by those in the media and the White House. “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.” I seriously doubt that a child of a president would be thugged out, smoking weed, and getting suspended from school for criminal activity. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson just showed their ability to profit off a tragedy as usual. Why is it that this was considered a white on black crime when Zimmerman is half Peruvian? Oh but Barack Obama is black even though he is half white. In the eyes of some race is the only issue and no matter what it must have played a role. It was the fact that Martin was black, not that he looked like a thug in an area that had seen a spike in break ins, that got him followed.
Now onto the head shake aspect. It is sad to see how many people suck at the teat of celebrities that they blindly accept and follow what ever their favorite celebrities spout. Zimmerman is an evil bastard and Trayvon Martin was a poor innocent thug. No one stopped to question why this case was being pushed over numerous other cases where a black youth was killed. They just continued on with the talking points of the hypocrites who think it is wrong for you and I to defend ourselves while they have armed security guards to protect them.
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.
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:
Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
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.
Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
Throw butts in the trash.
If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
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.
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?
In reading The Daily Caller this morning, I couldn’t help but notice a pair of ironically “punny” events. It’s like we’re living in a crappy movie. It’s too perfect. Don’t deny they don’t get you thinking about the apocalypse. It’s a chilling trend we see– indeed less severe than the recent outbreak of cannibalism, these events are all too coincidental:
1) ASUO Constitution Court rules “these matters are best left to the ASUO Elections Board for adjudication.”
And also! Both related and unrelated..
2) ASUO Constitution Court rules to remove VP Candidate Lamar Wise from his position as ASUO Senate President as a result of a grievance filed by ASUO Senator Lindy Mabuya.
A Statement from the Katie & Alex Campaign:
“We made it a standard to run a clean campaign and I am extremely disappointed that this isolated incident has occurred where two individuals exercised extremely poor judgment. It saddens me immensely that this has occurred, as the rest of the Katie and Alex team, as well as the Ben and Lamar team, ran an amazing outreach drive to engage students on extremely important matters. The individuals responsible for this have been removed from the campaign.”
Ben Bowman and Lamar Wise of the Ben & Lamar campaign, along with Sam Dotters-Katz of the YES (Your EMU SRC) campaign, have filed grievances against the Katie & Alex campaign; they claim to have been hacked by Chuckie-D himself (Former OSPIRG Chair Charles Denson, spouse of VP Katie Taylor), and that their campaign materials were fucked with.
Wait what? Ben & Lamar’s management team confronted the Katie & Alex campaign, and “at least five” members “came forward with this information and all showed remorse except for Denson*.”
Hacked how? Wise says he lost access to his Gmail after opening a phishing website disguised as a Google Calendar component. Dotters-Katz says his email was also tampered with.
Fucked with how? Denson apparently used “find and replace” to jumble 12,000 phone numbers on a contact list of possible Ben & Lamar voters. The grievance states that hundreds of volunteer hours were wasted making calls to the wrong people. Dotters-Katz had a similar complaint, claiming that contacts of the YES campaign were either deleted or tampered with. Among the deleted was a list of student leaders in support of the campaign.
So who exactly? The grievances name Katie Taylor, Charles Denson, Kerry Snodgrass, Molly Bennison and Andrew Rogers as the people aware of the act.
Sam Dotters-Katz is calling this an “unprecedented act of cyber espionage.”
The Ben & Lamar campaign is calling for an immediate injunction on the election.
As for us at The Oregon Commentator, we’re calling for Katie Taylor and Charles Denson’s expulsion from planet earth. That’s right. We’re tired of writing about them. Did you think we were actually surprised by this? They’re simply living up to what we’ve called them out on being all along: the devil’s spawn. Look, this isn’t an absurd accusation. They’re a young married couple! Why else would they devote themselves to a life’s work of student manipulation? It just doesn’t make any sense.
We’ll just have to see what the ASUO Constitution CourtASUO Elections Board does about this. Since these grievances concern the devil himself, let’s hope the CourtBoard likes a good exorcism.
Demons be gone!
*This post is a regurgitation of this ODE article, so read the original. Love you Emily!
As you all know, the shit show that is ASUO Elections will take place immediately following our return from Spring Break. What you don’t know is that the shit has already hit the fan.
On the ballot, you will be asked if students should be able to vote directly on the funding– or defunding– of incidental fee programs.
You can imagine the subsequent upheaval among, well, us. And among the ASUO themselves.
Here’s what Former ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz has to say about this:
The constitutional amendment about students voting for direct fee allocations is potentially the most damaging attack on the constitution I have seen. It would mean the budget process means nothing. They would literally be able to have a vote to defund the daily emerald.
Yeah, or students could defund The Commentator. Let’s not hold them to it..
Sen. Rudin has already submitted a “Petition For Review” to the ASUO Constitution Court. He says:
If this ballot measure is allowed to stay on the ballot and gets passed, it will be a disaster of epic proportions for the ASUO. It would mark the end of viewpoint neutrality and the end of separation of powers.
Well here it is y’all, Sen. Ben Rudin’s petition. Pay close attention to #4 !!!!
1. Name of person against whom grievance is filed: N/A. Petition for review, not a grievance
2. Question presented for review: Whetherthe direct-funding ballot measure that proposes amending ASUO Constitution §15.5.2 to allow initiative funding complies with the ASUO Constitution
3. Constitutional provision relevent to the controversy:
ASUO Constitution §15.5.5: The proposed ballot measure must be consistent with the ASUO Constitution
ASUO Constitution §2.3: No agency or program shall make any rule or take any action abridging the privileges and immunities of any person or program under the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State of Oregon, or the rules of the University of Oregon, or the ASUO Constitution
Viewpoint neutrality, as handed down by the Supreme Court in the Southworth decision as an interpretation to U.S. Constitution Amendment I: When a university requires its students to pay fees to support the extracurricular speech of other students, all in the interest of open discussion, it may not prefer some viewpoints to others.
“To the extent the referendum substitutes majority determinations for viewpoint neutrality, it would undermine the constitutional protection the program requires. The whole theory of viewpoint neutrality is that minority views are treated with the same respect as are majority views. Access to a public forum, for instance, does not depend upon majoritarian consent. That principle is controlling here”
[A] university’s student association “violated the First Amendment by using an advisory student referendum to determine how to allocate funds from a mandatory student activity fee among student organizations.” According to the Amidon court, use of a student referendum reflecting the student body’s majority opinion has “no place in the funding allocation process, which requires that `minority views [be] treated with the same respect as majority views.’” Amidon, 508 F.3d at 102 (quoting Southworth I, 529 U.S. at 235).
4. Statement of Facts:
1. On March 19, 2012, President Eckstein submitted a ballot measure to the Constitution Court that asks, “Should students be allowed to vote directly on funding levels for certain incidental-fee funded programs?“
2. On March 19, 2012, the ballot measure was approved by Con Court, without prejudice
The courts have been clear ever since Southworth that funding decisions for recognized student groups and advocacy organizations cannot be determined by a vote of the student body because it allows the majority of students to engage in viewpoint discrimination against minority views. The initiative by President Eckstein, if approved by the voters, will result in funding decisions being based on just that.
Furthermore, if this initiative is approve and implemented, it will force the elected branches to fund whatever the majority of voting students think should be funded and make impossible the elected branches ability to make funding decisions in a viewpoint neutral way. Funding an organization because the majority agrees with its viewpoint is viewpoint discrimination. If this initiative is approved, the elected branches will be force take actions that abridge the privileges and immunities of students at the University of Oregon, in violation of §2.3.
5. Remedy requested: Because this ballot measure enables viewpoint discrimination, it does not comply with the ASUO Constitution, so I am asking the Constitution Court order it removed from the ballot.
6. Exigent circumstances: Spring Break is coming up at the end of the week and elections are right after. This needs to be decided before elections.
Bd. of Regents v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217, 233 (U.S. 2000)
12 Horrible Christmas Gifts To Help Say, “I Hate You” Though, we’re still not sure why these are bad ideas. I mean, we got #4 for the Ol’ Dirty. Also, really, I can think of worse things: a life’s subscription to the Ol’ Dirty, used underwear, rotten moldy apples….these people are just not very creative.
Good news for relationships worldwide, scientists may have discovered how to give us better memories. Translation: your girlfriend is going to remember that thing you said you for years and years. And that other thing too. You might as well just break up with her now, seeing as you don’t even remember what it was.
Wednesday, the current home of University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, Agate Hall, was adorned with a giant banner stating, “WE STAND WITH THE HAT.”
Apparently, the decision was made at a SOJC faculty and staff meeting Wednesday afternoon.
In hanging this banner, the SOJC is speaking not just for SOJC staff and faculty but for its students as well. That building represents the SOJC as an entity and the banner is an official stance in support of President Lariviere.
Yet, as far as I am aware, students weren’t consulted. As far as I am aware (and I checked, but I admit, I got upwards of 25 emails Wednesday about Lariviere via grad list emails), I did not get an email inviting me to the meeting. If the SOJC was going to take a stance, they should have been transparent and made sure there was clear and thorough communication with students. Furthermore, students should have had a voice in the matter.
There seems to be an argument that we should trust the people that attended that meeting and SOJC Dean Gleason to make that decision for us but I find it invalid.
Trusting Dean Gleason to speak for us is the same as trusting the CEO of a big company to speak for its employees (note: I very much respect Dean Gleason and the SOJC staff, they are all very thoughtful people who wouldn’t take something like this lightly). He’s not necesarily in tune with my interests, he hopefully doesn’t think exactly the same way as I do, there is a possibility that he could be wrong and I didn’t elect him to represent me. This isn’t a normal, write-it-off kind of event, this is the President of the university and a banner on the front of our building. We should be encouraged to do as journalists do and explore all sides of the story. We should be presented with information from both sides. We should have a discussion or a talk with several guest speakers. We should sit down and talk with the President. We should be independent thinkers, and having our leaders stand behind an issue discourages that and encourages us to jump behind the cause rather than thoughtfully defend our positions.
Let’s stop and think, what has Lariviere done that’s bettered the university? And equally, how has he hindered progress? Honestly, at this point, I can’t tell you, I have a lot of research to do. But it is quiet curious that this just popped up, it makes me think that we might be missing some information.
The jury’s out for me on Larieviere’s reinstatement, but I reject the idea of let those in power speak for the masses. Every voice is important. The SOJC mobilized too quickly to get a comprehensive feel for the reactions of its students.
Here’s the question I’m left wondering–where did the money for the banner come from? Even if it was a small amount, it still matters. If the banner was paid for with student fees then if there are students who oppose President Lariviere’s reinstatement, they should be allowed a banner as well.
The Commentator is working on securing a photo of Agate Hall.
Update December 4, 2011: UO SOJC Dean Gleason said in an email that the banner was paid for with faculty money. He also said that he made it clear to the faculty that he was not directing the project.
There’s been a bit of a debacle with President Lariviere here at UO. In an email to students, faculty and staff this morning, President Lariviere announced he intends to finish out his contract which ends on June 30, 2012.
Full email here:
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
Earlier today I informed the chair of the State Board of Higher Education of my decision to not resign my position at the University of Oregon. Instead, I am committed to serving as president through the end of my contract on June 30, 2012.
As you know, on Monday I was informed by the State Board of Higher Education that my contract as president will not be renewed. In the hours since news of the State Board decision became public, I have been heartened by the outpouring of support I have received for the work we are doing to reimagine public higher education in Oregon. While the positive comments from members of the campus community and beyond help to galvanize my commitment to this outstanding institution, I hasten to remind you that this is not about me. We must all redouble our efforts to bring about positive change to the governance, funding and accountability of Oregon’s public universities.
Again, I want to thank you all for the excellent work you do. I am, indeed, fortunate to be able to call you colleagues.
This is a public service announcement: With all this riffraff about the 1%, don’t forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving: standing in line outside a chain-store at 1 a.m. the morning after, eating left-overs and looking like Rudolph because it’s freezing.
Just please don’t have as many Red Bull and Eggnog’s as these guys: