Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category
February 1st, 2013 by Tyler Millette
Thursday night, the ASUO had a budget hearing for the Oregon Athletic Bands. There has been a phenomenal amount of drama surrounding this, so here’s a quick recap:
In November, they had proposed a total defund of the bands, with no reason given. As our budget hearing got closer and closer, we still had no reason and our cause started gaining more and more support. Feeling the pressure from the students, our families, and many members of other Pac-12 marching bands, the ASUO released their “reason” for defunding. They stated it was a scare tactic, trying to get either the Athletic Department or the Administration Office to pick up their portion of the funding.
Last night at our budget hearing, the ASUO reiterated over and over how the bands are appreciated, they just didn’t think we were receiving our funding from the appropriate departments. They felt that we should be less reliant on student incidental fees, and receive a larger amount of our budget from the departments that “actually utilize the bands”. The Oregon Athletic Band representatives, with included Loren Clupny, Melinda McConnel, Abbie Ortman, Dr. Eric Wiltshire, and Sarah Dodson, were attempting to convince the Department Finance Committee that the bands are utilized by all of the university students, and so we should keep receiving our ASUO funding. They represented the bands with outstanding pride, respect, and professionalism.
Many other people spoke on behalf of the band, including current students, band alumni, music GTF’s and even a National Officer of Kappa Kappa Psi, the honorary band fraternity. Heartfelt stories of people’s time in the Oregon Athletic Bands were recounted, arguments made regarding our connection to the students and ASUO, and statements explaining how the arts are a vital part of any educational institution. As a three year member of the Oregon Marching Band, I felt that we were well represented by a wide variety of speakers. In the end, our speeches made no difference. To me, it was apparent the DFC had their plan before the meeting had even begun.
The final result of the budget hearing was surprisingly positive for the bands, though it left an uneasy feeling in some of our stomachs. They ended up granting the band about 124,000 dollars, a cut of 13.5%. The DFC and ASUO President Laura Hinman guaranteed to work with the Oregon Athletic Bands to secure funding from the Administration, and if they can’t get that funding, the ASUO will step in and grant our full budget request. Basically, the Oregon Athletic Bands should receive their full funding for the 2013-2014 year, but at this point it is unclear where it will be coming from. Their proposal also includes plans for a phase-out of the ASUO budget, with the cuts being picked up by Athletics and the Administration.
At the meeting, I felt that the ASUO Executives and the DFC were trying really hard to say things that made us happy, while proposing a deal that seems somewhat risky. Only time will tell whether or not this will work out well for the Oregon Athletic Bands in the long run.
I want to make a personal shout out to few people who I feel had an outstanding impact on the result of this budget hearing. Dr. Eric Wiltshire, for his continued work with the Oregon Athletic Bands. He works countless hours outside of his academic schedule to ensure the success of the bands. Loren Clupny, for his dedication to the Oregon Athletic Bands Council, and phenomenal speech at the budget hearing. Abbie Ortman, President of the Mu Pi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, who has devoted 6 years to the Oregon Athletic Bands, and continues to fight for the*m in many ways. Melinda McConnel, Oregon Athletic Bands Council President, for her loyalty and commitment to the bands. She worked her butt of this week to secure our budget, and I know she will continue to work hard to make sure the success of the Oregon Athletic Bands is ensured for years to come.
This last person is a truly outstanding, phenomenal, one of a kind individual. Sarah Dodson, our Administrative Coordinator for four years. Sarah has put in hours upon hours of overtime to make sure things run smoothly for the Oregon Athletic Bands. Without her striving work ethic and exceptional commitment, the bands could not do what we do. My compliments towards Sarah come at a very unique time. This evening, Sarah announced she is resigning from her position. For four years, she has dedicated a huge portion of her life to the continued success of the Oregon Athletic Bands, and my personal experiences with her have been amazing. When I had problems that needed solving, Sarah worked tirelessly with me to fix the issue, and I know she would do the same for anyone involved in the Oregon Athletic Bands I want to wish her luck in her future endeavors, and I know that she will be incredibly successful in whatever she puts her mind to. Sarah is a truly exceptional individual.
January 30th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
Goin live at 7pm!
January 29th, 2013 by Ben Schorr
Overpriced campus area housing and beer should be the only costs of partying (not including physical costs like hangovers and those damn mystery bruises), but Eugene City Council doesn’t see it that way. Yesterday they approved the Social Host Ordinance, legislation that raises fines for party goers, in an attempt to cut down on underage drinking and rowdiness.
Apparently the council wasn’t swayed by student’s enthusiastic turnout against the bill.
We’ll see how the stats look in a few years, but it’s safe to assume that college kids will be college kids, and bigger fines will do nothing but give more money to the city of Eugene. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but paying to party certainly does.
More about the ordinance can be seen in this previous blog post and in our November issue.
Cough it up!
January 22nd, 2013 by Ben Schorr
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.
December 11th, 2012 by C.W. Keating
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.
November 20th, 2012 by Ben Schorr
November 1st, 2012 by Ben Schorr
Order of questioning has been decided by rock, paper, scissors. Click below for more.
October 24th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad
As a trial run for finals week, the EMU will be open until 3:00 A.M. tonight and tomorrow night. Study up!
October 18th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad
Pink is a color. Students line up in the EMU amphitheater to learn more.
July 5th, 2012 by Ben Schorr
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission tries to monitor the distribution of alcohol, so they are the inherent enemy of the Oregon Commentator. But recently we’ve been given a much better reason to hate them; they appear to be a bunch of goddam racists. A lawsuit was filed this month that claims employees left a noose at a black coworker’s desk. The worker, Gene Summerfield, said he has also been victim to racial slurs, and has seen employees greet each other by “Heiling Hitler.” He filed a complaint about racist behavior before but was dismissed due to the one year statute of limitations. This is way beyond office shenanigans. This is shameful.
On the next episode of the Office, Ryan leaves a burning cross in Stanley’s cubicle.
OLCC Public Affairs Specialist Christie Scott said in an email to KOIN news, “The [internal] investigation did not substantiate claims of a derogatory comment and found no conclusive evidence that the loop of twine mentioned in the complaint was intended as harassment.” Then what the hell was it intended as? Do people just leave shit like this around for no reason? Was it a gift? A poorly made, but thoughtful, necktie? A makeshift leash for Summerfield’s dog? An extremely ineffective belt for Summerfield’s children?
Unfortunately, some attention whores have marred credibility of similar complaints in the past, but these accusations against the OLCC are not alone. In 2000 Robert Larry spoke to the Portland Mercury about his frequent run-ins with the OLCC. Larry, a black man, believed that his unfair treatment was no coincidence. Five years later Rami Makboul, Oregon club owner and out-right racist (he leaves out that second part on his business card), claimed that when he said black people didn’t belong in downtown Portland, an OLCC agent spoke the same way. In 2007, Reneé Majeski stated that the OLCC wouldn’t give a liquor license to a Mexican store owner in Bend because they feared Mexican gang involvement. Majeski also said that previous businesses in her venue, which attracted more white people, had similar problems to her business (noise, crowds, etc.) but weren’t bothered by the OLCC.
Things aren’t looking good for the OLCC. Or, should I say, for non-whites who have to deal with them. Racial discrimination should never be tolerated; however it’s especially outrageous when perpetrated by an organization that has control over Oregon businesses. But at least now we know the real reason why they were trying to ban malt liquor. Fuck…sorry.
So, OLCC, us Commentators will never like you because some of our biggest principles involve lots of alcohol, everywhere, all the time, and civil rights. And we hold a grudge. But maybe you can earn some respect back from the public if you don’t let this racist shit slide. And while you’re at it maybe loosen up Oregon’s laws regarding alcohol. No? Okay, it was worth a shot.
July 5th, 2012 by C.W. Keating
As anyone with a working University email address already knows, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently sent out an email detailing two separates rapes that occurred near Autzen Stadium and Chase Village. The tentatively-worded email states that
“Police have learned from second and third hand sources that there may have been three separate rapes within a five-day period near Chase Village and Autzen Stadium, beginning Thursday, June 28. No female victims have come forward or wish to file a report, so the information is unverified…
In one incident on June 29, a woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife. The suspect is described as a black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.
A second-hand report EPD has received is that two additional female victims have been raped on unknown dates, but within the same week, also in the same general area. One of these two incidents involved a similar suspect: black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.”
Besides being a horrifying and disturbing event, the incidents described in the email also point out the relative ineffectiveness of DPS and the overbearing presence of a “rape culture” around the UO. These are big claims to make, but stick with me here.
Based on the amount of “Campus Crime Alerts” I receive in my inbox on a weekly basis, it’s fairly clear that DPS is unable to “provid[e] a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.” While the emergency call boxes that litter campus are a great idea, it’s DPS’ inability to do anything other than dole out prevention tips and “Campus Crime Alerts” that really calls their authority into question. Not to mention the subtle fostering of a rape culture, where women are seen as “victims” rather than “survivors” and are perceived as “asking for it” because of their clothing or body language.
Just look at the passive voice in the first description: “A woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife.” Not “a man raped her” or “a man assaulted her”: she was raped. While this may seem like a minor syntactical kvetch, this kind of passive voice fails to accurately highlight the criminal nature of the act. You wouldn’t say “A store was robbed by an escaped convict.” You would say “An escaped convict robbed a store.” Instead, the attacker is placed in the background, and thus escapes scrutiny.
But it’s not all bad. The groups listed at the bottom of the email — Womenspace, SASS, the White Bird Clinic, the Counseling Center, SafeRide, and SWAT — are all excellent resources for survivors. Yet this doesn’t seem to be enough to change the prevalence of the University’s rape culture. There are many places that foster this kind of misogyny, undercutting the excellent work done by the aforementioned groups. Greek Life is an especially obvious target for such criticism, but you can find signs of rape culture anywhere. From the shouted “bitches” and “whores” within Taylor’s to the intense consumption of pornography, this mindset is everywhere around Eugene.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love porn. But all these factors have combined together to create a strangely patriarchal cocktail, one that views women as objects to be seized or sold. Women don’t deserve to be treated that way. And before the snarky comments come pouring in, remember that this isn’t about some bullshit in Washington D.C. or a genocide in some faraway country. This happens to people you know and love every day: your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and even your family.
Rape is wrong no matter what your political beliefs. The failures of the University and DPS only stand as a testament to the kind of incompetence our school is slowly (and sadly) becoming known for.
July 2nd, 2012 by Ben Schorr
While browsing uplifting images on Buzzfeed (sometimes…I just need to) I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of an Oregon business. I was even more pleased to see it was posted recently, therefore making more relevant fluff.
The storefront is Plaza Cleaners in Portland, Oregon. This policy has been around for years, but they just recently gained modest international recognition due mostly to the BF post. With Oregon’s unemployment rate at 8.4% (14th highest in the nation) this kind of compassion is invaluable. Plaza Cleaners, keep doing ya thing.
June 29th, 2012 by Ben Schorr
Drink up more than usual, friends! Today we rejoice as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission discontinues plans to ban cheap drinks in parts of Oregon. The OLCC was trying to make downtown Portland an “Alcohol Impact Area,” (not as fun as it sounds) giving the city of Portland the ability to prohibit businesses from selling disorderly-conduct-causing drinks like malt liquor and inexpensive wine.
So why am I drunk off of a 40 of Mickey’s in downtown Portland as I type this? Many personal reasons actually, but what I mean is, why are they still available downtown? Because it’s been determined that the OLCC doesn’t have the authority to establish AIAs to be recognized by Oregon state law. Cheap booze will live to be drank another day (or should I say, every day) but the city will try to push similar legislation next year.
This conclusion was reached just recently, but the plan has been supported by the organization and Portland officials for two years, and it’s sentiment can still be seen in the community despite the loss. Many businesses have stopped selling the controversial beverages voluntarily, even though the overall reaction of shop owners was mixed when the plan was first proposed.
Due to loss of alcohol related sales, Apu gets a side job.
One of the major arguments for enacting the ban was the supposed success in Seattle, cited by Theresa Marchetti in her original proposal. While the statistics look nice, other sources show that results varied and were ultimately disappointing as people simply found different ways to get intoxicated.
Banning sales of cheap alcohol not only infringes on responsible drinkers and store owners, but it could have some very detrimental results. History has shown that if a person wants a drink, they’re going to get a drink. I see two possible outcomes of this ban. 1) It simply moves riff-raff to another part of the city. Unlike downtown, most parts of Portland are more family-oriented and have more children residents. If we have to have it, let’s at least keep the belligerency in downtown. 2) It creates non-OLCC recognized suppliers in troubled areas. We could be looking at a full on hobo mafia here.
Movements like these have good intentions but generally become a hassle for law abiding citizens and lack worthy results. For example, Portland city commissioner Randy Leonard pushed legislation to lock up spray paint in 2008. It made sales of spray paint to the average Portlander very tedious, and outright banned sales of spray paint to people under 18. Yay graffiti is done! Actually, no significant results have been seen, but you still have to fill out that goddam clipboard in order to paint your bike.
Speaking of geographic memory devices that sexualize fictional characters, anyone in the “Harry Potter Fuck Me Hard” neighborhood can attest that parts of Eugene have staggering alcohol related crime rates as well. Downtown Portland would have been the first AIA in Oregon, but if it passes next year, will it be the last?
Little do these prohibitioners know, Thaddeus T. Rumplebottom was waiting in the sewer with his mouth open.
Past OC articles on the subject
June 15th, 2012 by Ben Schorr
Well, we got a new guy. After a four month confidential search process with 22 board members, the powers-that-be decided on Michael Gottfredson. The decision was announced today, June 15, and he will begin his presidency on August 1st, replacing interim president Robert Berdhal. This all follows the sketchy removal of Richard Lariviere. We don’t have any reason to make fun of this new guy yet, but watch yourself Gottfredson. We were called sophomoric and embarrassing by our last president, and we don’t plan on giving up the title.
To be fair, Gottfredson has very noteworthy credentials. He’s taught as a criminology professor, a subject that he has a PhD in, and taught law and sociology as well. He’s served as provost and executive vice chancellor for UC Irvine since 2000, doing a swagtastic job (their words, not mine). He’s got jokes too. During a visit to campus, Gottfredson boasted that UC Irvine has never lost a game to the Ducks, omitting the fact that UCI has no team. Okay, maybe you had to be there. But the point is, this guy’s not too shabby so far.
Gottfredson has been going around campus meeting officials and student leaders. He had a “friendly introductory meeting” with Nike founder and UO donor Phil Knight, in which Gottfredson signed away his soul and first-born. The only thing that would make this any more true to the UO would be if they called it an “introducktory meeting,” and the crowd from Taylor’s had shouted “Scoo Ducks!” sporadically throughout the conversation.
Despite giving humorously brief answers in interviews, Gottfredson has been nothing but enthusiastic about receiving the position. He says he will work to improve the lives of citizens, and that this is his life work. For us at the Commentator this is a win-win. If Gottfredson is successful it will be beneficial for our community, the future of our school, and the well-being of students. But if he fails it’s more fun to write about. Still, this guy seems cool, so far. So, Gottfredson, we wish you luck.
Plus, look at him having fun with an ethnic student!
June 13th, 2012 by Ben Schorr
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.