Archive for the 'Education' Category
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Is it getting hot in here? Or is it global warming? If you’re asking Nicholas Drapela, it’s probably just Nicholas Drapela. This total hottie, according to RateMyProfessor, was fired from his teaching (professing?) position in the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University. And not for the fact that “rape” is literally in the middle of his name, but because he spoke out against the University on a controversial issue.
Drapela challenged global warning, and claimed there was a conflict of interest among the University and science community to perpetuate the theory. The administration refused to give a reason for firing him but the motives were clear to those familiar with Drapela and the University’s stance. “I was probably the most visibly-outspoken critic of the Global Warming doctrine at OSU,” he said in an email to WattsUpWithThat.com. “I gave several public talks on the topic and did research in the area which I regularly posted on the web. I was also on a few talk radio shows in the area. I think they finally just said, we can’t have this.” Apparently Drapela’s spicy good looks couldn’t save him from termination, and he now has to look for other work in the godforsaken city of Corvallis.
Let’s keep in mind that the validity of global warming is not at all the issue here. What is important is the ability to show a dissenting opinion without fear of persecution. Both sides to a controversial issue should be respected in higher learning centers, and at OSU (zing!). We may poke fun, but ousting a well-liked and qualified person for having a differing opinion or agenda isn’t unique to OSU, lest we forget the Hat. I recommend that OSU students follow our example and don’t let this kind of action from their administration go unchecked. It may not bring their professor back, but it would show that if a respectable staff member gets fired for questionable reasons, the administration should prepare for a shirt-wearing shitstorm of moderate proportions.
A photo of free speech for professors.
EDIT: Thank you, “The Old Man,” for the correction.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
UO economics professor William T. Harbaugh, the immortal being behind the beloved, anonymous, whistleblower blog UO MATTERS, was awarded the First Freedom Award by the Society of Professional Journalists of Oregon and Southwest Washington this past Saturday.
The Ol’ Dirty covered this on Monday, but its Commentator policy to be a day late, a dollar short, okay?
The SPJ’s First Freedom award is given annually to an individual who has upheld the principles of the First Amendment. Harbaugh has long been a beacon of the First Amendment, most notably when he illegally published the Oregon Public Records Manual on his official uoregon website. The upheaval this precipitated compelled the attorney general’s office to make the manual available on the internet for the first time ever.
Harbaugh’s recognition is long overdue and largely understated. Y’all should know that the UO Matters blog is updated several times a day, and his posts are usually these quick, fuck-you-exposés about UO athletics and administration that require a kind of efficiency and genuine concern that we will never (maybe a few years ago we came close) have. Knowing he’s out teaching economics and doing this in his spare time both worries and impresses us. UO Matters is invaluable to the entire, “engaged” university community, but is especially invaluable to drunk, disoriented student journalists like ourselves. We’re the ones constantly referring to UO Matters for direction and content, so finding the Commentator website listed under UO Matters’ “Resources” is an honor and probably some sort of mistake.
Bill, you are the resource. As renowned sultans of hate speech, there aren’t too many people we love to love. And let’s just say that you might be one of those people.
So here’s to you, Harbaugh. And for the record, UO Matters will forever be bookmarked on my Firefox browser.
Friday, May 11th, 2012
Last Tuesday, or perhaps it was Wednesday, I was riding my bicycle home down Alder St. While passing The Lorax, I noticed a man strapped to a light post, climbing up. He was perhaps 25 feet high. He seemed intent on his task, sliding the straps and pulling himself up.
I rode past, not thinking much about it. Then, Thursday afternoon, I saw a press release with his picture in front of the capitol building. He is part way up a flagpole with a banner hanging under him that reads, “Schools or trees? We want both.” According to OregonLive.com, Perry Graham, who climbed the flagpole in Salem, is a member of the Cascadia Forest Defenders. On their website, the group expresses their desire for Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Oregon Land Board to “decouple public school funding from state forest management.”
The land board approved a plan for the Elliott State Forest last October which notably increases logging and clear-cutting with the revenue contributing to the Common School Fund.
By chance, I met Perry at a friend’s house about two hours ago. He, our mutual friend, and other friends were hanging out, discussing our midterm woes and other things when he brought up a photograph one of his fellow protesters took using his phone.
Myself: “That was you? I saw you practicing the other day!”
Graham: “On Alder?”
Myself: “Yeah! How high were you in the picture?”
Graham: “Probably about 60-70 feet.”
Myself: “How was that?”
Graham: “It was really surreal. I strapped myself to the pole and I was like, ‘Oh fuck, I’m on the pole. Oh fuck, I’m climbing up. Oh fuck, there’s a cop right there.’ ”
Myself: “What were their reactions?”
Graham: “I didn’t talk to them. I had a liaison communicating information.”
Myself: “Oh, I see. Was that because you were so high up that they couldn’t, like hear you without yelling? Or because you didn’t want to talk to the cops?”
Graham: “I mean, kind of both”
Myself: “Right. So, how long did you train for this?”
Graham: “I practiced for about 5 weeks before and pretty intensely the last week.”
Perry Thompson Graham, 23, climbed about 80-feet up the pole at 7:45 a.m. He stayed aloft for about 90 minutes before he came down voluntarily.[…] After his arrest, Graham was taken to the Marion County Jail. He will be charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and criminal mischief, according to a police press release.ell, Wednesday morning, climbs flag pole in front of the capital building in Salem.
The flag was still hanging when Graham descended the flag pole. Apparently, rented equipment was needed to remove Graham’s protest banner from the flagpole.
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
If you haven’t yet, skim it now. More nods and firm handshakes for Sam Stites and the ODE for its front page exposé: the cost of the Ducks Football, Inc Rose Bowl trip last January.
Well the magic number is $1,599,307 and the magic word is muthafuckinexcessive.
$220,107 was spent on transporting the 212-piece armada of players and staff for nine days. That’s $1038 per immortal football being.
Oh wait. Food and lodging for the fleet was $404,356. That’s an additional $1907 per person.
So in all we’ve got $2945 per footballer.
But more curiously is how much the Athletic Department spent on transporting an “official party” to accompany the armada: $123,851 for the transportation of 56 people. Now that’s $2211 per “official party member.”
Food and lodging was $95,483 for the civilian gaggle, an additional $1705 per person.
2211+1705=$3916 per official accompanying partygoer.
The ODE tells us that “the official party consists of athletic department officials, representatives of the University’s third-party rights holder IMG, and 6 students whose names were redacted from the list.”
It included UO Provost Lorraine Davis and “family” along with OC darlings Ben Eckstein and Katie Taylor.
I'm Lorraine. Yeah, it was all-expenses paid. Thanks bitches. xoxo
Ah, it’s all so clear now. Thank you, Sam Stites. Thank you, dearest ODE.
The numbers y’all found gives much elucidation on as to why the Athletic Department can gross $88 billion but can only afford to..
1. Pay only 3% overhead back to the UO when other departments like University Housing pays %7
2. Run the athlete-only Jacqua Center on intended-for-students general state funding until this lucky break
3. Not set up an academic scholarship that was agreed to be started in 2006
4. Try and weasel the ASUO into giving them a budget raise, then subsequently deny any chance of more student tickets at Autzen
Because now I know that the Athletic Department has more important things on their tab. Like paying for lavish, all-inclusive $3916 So-Cal getaways for our greedy, beloved Athletic Dept bureaucrats, some “third party rights-holders,” and students like Katie muthafuckin’ Taylor.
Read the tab itself here.
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has drawn up a proposal for the possible establishment of those independent, institutional boards for every school under the Oregon University System that we’ve been a hurtin’ for.
We have so vainly sought after this elusive concept of an “independent governing board” after the OUS fired our much-missed President Richard Lariviere.
Well the fact that a proposal has been proposed should be a sign of progress, right? Wrong. Read the excerpt that describes the institutional board’s role in the hiring and firing of university presidents below, and read the entire proposal right hurr.
OUS recommends a system in which the institutional board hires and
reappoints the president with the advice and consent of the OSBHE.
Presidential evaluations should be a joint effort between the institutional
board, the Chancellor, and the OSBHE member serving on the institutional
board. Termination should be the responsibility of the institutional board after
consultation with or with the advice and consent of OSBHE.
Alright OUS. We wanted an institutional board so we could do these things without your advice and consent. Why are you so fucking unaccommodating? Give us autonomy, or give us death.
Anyway, blah blah blah, they will vote on it in June. Read some statement from some OUS bureaucrat named “Di,” here.
Monday, April 9th, 2012
Updated 4/9/12 – 3:35 PM
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 Court ASUO Elections Board does about this. Since these grievances concern the devil himself, let’s hope the Court Board likes a good exorcism.
Demons be gone!
*This post is a regurgitation of this ODE article, so read the original. Love you Emily!
Friday, March 16th, 2012
Students out there drowning in their own little puddle of the almost $1 trillion United States student loan debt might see a little bit of metaphorical sun this year in the form of student loan forgiveness. HR 4170, or the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, will “provide that if a student loan borrower equal to 10% of their discretionary income for a period of ten years, the balance of their federal student loan debt will be forgiven,” according to the bill’s author, Rep. Hansen Clarke. In his speech to the House, Clarke asserted that in addition to assisting students with sometimes crippling financial burdens, this bill will help stimulate the economy by freeing up funds for millions of individuals, which would in turn help the American job market (I believe the technical term is an “economic tripple whammy”). An official press release on the Clarke’s website further filled out details of the bill:
“This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by giving borrowers the option to enter the 10/10 loan repayment plan. Borrower’s discretionary income will be defined as any annual income exceeding 150 percent of the poverty line for an individual or family. This bill would also allow graduates who enter public service professions, such as teachers and first responders, to have their loans forgiven in five years instead of ten as well as cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4 percent.”
“It’s time for Congress to stand up for the rights of student loan borrowers,” Clarke claimed on the House floor to conclude his proposal. “It’s time to forgive these student loan debts.”
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed as this bill starts its long and vicious journey through the House. I know I would personally love to stimulate the economy by picking up a few more six-packs than I could otherwise.
A video of Clarke’s speech to the House can be found here.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Last Wednesday, deep in the depths of the labyrinth that is McKenzie Hall, free pizza was served and debate over athletic department transparency was had.
In a comforting demonstration of student and faculty concern, SCORE, the UO’s very own Student Coalition on Reprioritizing Education, held a Discussion Panel on UO Athletic Department Transparency. The discussion was a part of SCORE’s “campaign to secure a yearly financial contribution from the Athletics department back to the university to help students.”
The Oregon Commentator wasn’t there of course, but the Ol’ Dirty Emerald tells us that the discussion panel included a few “special guests:” Nathan Tublitz and Bill Harbaugh — both on the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee of University Senate — and Laurel Hess of the women’s club rugby team and Lena Macomson of the women’s varsity tennis team.
Harbaugh called the UO’s predicament “a nightmare.”
Tublitz declared that “We are an academic institution, not a business.”
Speaking on the UO Athletic Department’s disregard for Club Sports, Hess said: “They don’t want a relationship with us on any level.”
And Macomson vowed to meet with athletic director Rob Mullens to “discuss issues surrounding transparency in order to get the student-athlete opinion heard.”
SCORE coordinator Andrew Rodgers was pleased with the discussion, calling it an “open and intricate dialogue on the issue.”
Look, there’s nothing intricate about it. All I got from that is the University of Oregon Athletic Department is an, unaccountable, conniving pain in the ass–which it isn’t.
It’s a an expensive, unaccountable, conniving pain in the ass.
And speaking of expensive, unaccountable, conniving pains in the ass, the ACFC and ASUO met with Garrett Klassy– Executive Director of the Duck Athletic Fund– to discuss student ticket fees on Tuesday.
Klassy requested a 3% budget increase. The Athletic Department already receives $1.5 million from student fees for tickets, and the %3 increase would have amounted to an additional $48,000.
Did you know that the UO Athletic Department generated $88 million in 2011?
Let’s go over that again: THE UO ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT GENERATED 88 MILLION DOLLARS IN 2011 AND ASKED THE ACFC FOR AN ADDITIONAL $48,000.
Well, as reported in the ODE by the lovely, the luxurious, Emily Schiola: ACFC decided in a 4-0-0 vote on a zero percent increase. [ACFC Chair and ASUO Senator Ben] Bowman mentioned that since they have to turn in their budget to ASUO Senate by Thursday, Klassy will have to come back before then and explain if athletics is willing to agree with this decision.
“We don’t have more funds to allocate to the student-ticket program,” ASUO President Ben Eckstein said. “$48,000 is a big deal to the ASUO. I don’t think we can accept a deal that doesn’t reconcile this difference.”
Yes, this is a bible reference. And no, I don't want to hear it.
So there you have it, Athletics. Through ACFC and ASUO we’re denying you $48,000. Through SCORE we’re congregating and talkin’ shit.
Baby steps, maybe. But steps nonetheless.
So watch yourself. With that bible reference up there I think I’ve earned us the support of the Christian Deity. And even if He doesn’t exist– we’ve got a whole lotta’ morality.
Good ol’ secular morality. Something that you will never have.
SCORE is holding a Rally next Thursday, March 1 at 7pm at the Matt Knight Arena to bring attention to the issue of Athletics’ lack of financial accountability and transparency. People will be in line for the game which starts at 7:30.
Monday, February 20th, 2012
Students at UC Riverside organized as Fix UC have formally proposed their own tuition reform proposal to the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal is called the “UC Student Investment Proposal,” and it calls for free tuition.
Why does this matter?
Well, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald found that, “Without a doubt, the Oregon University System finds itself facing the same conundrum that the California system and countless others are currently experiencing: Keep raising tuition or sacrifice the quality of the education.”
The article quotes ASUO President Ben Eckstein, saying “a movement like this would be absolutely acceptable. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see a ‘Fix OUS’ movement at Oregon.”
Then there’s Diane Saunders, the director of communications for OUS: “The kind of program that Fix UC proposes might stratify who attends your university,” she said. “For those who might have higher incomes, it may be too much to pay in the long run.”
Oh, whoops. You don’t even know what she’s talking about. I forgot to explain how exactly Fix UC’s proposal works! Well I’ve taken a few answers from Fix UC’s FAQ page for some elucidation on their whole “free tuition” thing:
1. Wait, so like. Why is it called UC Student Investment Proposal? I thought this had to do with like, tuition and shit.
Fix UC: Under the proposal, the University of California would invest in its students to attend the university with no up-front costs, with the expectation that they will graduate and financially contribute once they enter a career.
This “investment” would be the University of California collecting %5 of their students’ income for 20 years after graduation.
Oh and let me remind you: In Oregon, if your income range is over $7,601, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is %9, with a top rate of 11% kicking in at an income level of $250,000.
So just imagine, if the OUS were to adopt this, you’d be sending away %14 of the fruits of your labor until you were forty or so.
That’s right, now read the next question.
2. Hey, hold on. My dad’s fucking loaded, so I don’t want to pay like that. Can’t I just like, pay the tuition up front like we do now under this proposal?
Fix UC: No. An option to pay an up front fee would run contrary to one of the core concepts behind the proposal.Graduates of the UC will maintain a connection with their university not just for the time they spend there, but for a lifetime. A UC education is not a product, and its value is a complex one. The proposal requires a rethinking of the role of education in people’s lives, not simply as a product in the form of a degree…
This may just be the History major talkin’, but this sounds a lot like a little thing called indentured servitude. You know, that labor system prevalent in Colonial America during the 17th century, where poor immigrants would sign contracts committing several years-worth of their labor and wages in return for free ship fare..
Another day, another dollar
Like indentured servitude, Fix UC’s proposal seems kind of, I don’t know, binding maybe. The “%5 of your income” isn’t like a loan you can simply pay off once you have the money. It’s a tax. It’s a fee that rises as your income rises. AND IT DOES NOT GO AWAY.
What if you graduate and and end up working at Best Buy for 20 years?
What if you graduate and become extremely successful?
Or even worse yet, what if you graduate and become exponentially more successful each year, for 20 years, like most people?
When asked about his thoughts on Fix UC’s proposal, University of California president Mark Yudof told NPR, “In its current form, frankly, it’s unworkable.” Yudof did say, however, that he was “impressed” when students presented the idea at a recent meeting of the UC Board of Regents, and that his “best number crunchers” are reviewing the plan.
Like Yudof, the Oregon Commentator is admittedly impressed as well. Why? Well, simply because Fix UC emerged out of the staff of a student publication, just like us!
On Fix UC’s About page, it cites “after publishing editorial after editorial on the subject of the budget cuts and their impact on students, the editorial board of the Highlander newspaper at UC Riverside began developing an out-of-the-box, long-term solution for the University of California that addresses its most fundamental shortcomings.”
It’s true. Chris LoCascio, President of Fix UC, is also the Editor-In-Chief of UC Riverside’s newspaper, the Highlander.
Now I can’t say that our own Editor-In-Chief, Sophie Lawhead, will ever write a highly-debatable tuition proposal for a public university system in her spare time. But I will tell you that she will never let herself become editor of anything called the Highlander. I also cannot say that us on the OC editorial board will ever collectively develop some “long term solutions” to any “fundamental shortcomings.” In fact, I can personally attest that that will never happen. But please know, we want lower tuition too. We all do. And if we had to write a tuition reform proposal, it would look a little like this:
The Oregon Commentator’s OUS Tuition Reform Proposal:
1. Cut out some of that Oregon University System bureaucracy.
2. Cut out some of that mother fuckin’ Oregon University System bureaucracy!
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle (pictured) and Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead have been in a sham marriage for two years. They have never so much as been photographed together.
Look, it didn’t occur to us until now that this would be an issue, but our editor-in-chief and publisher emeritus have been married for two years.
Better financial aid packages are available to married students and, though Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle’s schooling was paid for because he is a member of the US Army Reserve, Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead would not have had the money to attend the University of Oregon if her sham marriage to Coyle didn’t up her financial aid.
Coyle has said he thought the marriage would be a romantic union when he entered into it. Lawhead admits she perpetuated that illusion.
The Commentator is unapologetic about this situation. It’s a matter of class. Some of us have rich parents who can pay our way through school. Others need to defraud the government. It’s all in the game.
Lawhead said her relationship with Coyle “has not had any impact” on the Commentator’s affairs.
“This year, I have been more removed from the Oregon Commentator than I ever have,” Lawhead said.
We wouldn’t have even mentioned it except that it seems this kind of thing is such a big deal to everybody.
Friday, January 20th, 2012
In the midst of monsoon Hailey (I named it, you’re welcome) we might all be wondering “Why did I choose to come to Oregon for school?” There are thousands of Universities in this country, and even more in the world, so why would we choose a school where we have to wear scuba gear to class? Why would I go to school in a place where I sincerely worry about tripping and drowning every time I cross the street?
Here’s why: University of Oregon is a great school. Recently ranked in the top 100 “best values” in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, UO is recognized for “its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price and overall great value.”
We go to UO, because it apparently rocks. Out of over 500 schools evaluated, it was chosen as one of the top 100. It was also in the top 108 of over 4,000 schools for “very high research activity,” according to the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Lastly, UO is one of only two schools in the Pacific Northwest in the Association of American Universities.
At this point, you might be wondering who built this great pedestal on which we rest upon. Who worked so hard to make us better than the average university? Richard Lariviere, folks.
Monday, January 9th, 2012
See they sent us an email:
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, email@example.com, 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.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
I say let’s vandalize George Pernsteiner’s house and personal effects until he reinstates Kim Jong Il as living human being and leader of North Korea.
Monday, December 19th, 2011
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.