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ASUO Flippity Floppity

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Remember these things?

photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Perceived” Rights and Smoker Ethics

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

After getting off of work in the dungeon that is the Knight Library basement, I stepped into the afternoon rain. I pulled a pre-rolled cigarette from my pocket (Bugler brand – mangy, disgusting Bugler) and lit it. Standing off to the side so as not to spread smoke, an elderly woman shot me the evil eye before stopping in front of me: “There’s no smoking on campus. Go smoke across the street.”

I stared at her until she left.

This kind of situation has become all-too-common since the Healthy Campus Initiative, in partnership with the UO Health Center and the administration (with a special guest funding appearance from the ASUO), implemented a campus-wide smoking ban at the beginning of the Fall. The idea of a smoking ban isn’t anything new; the Smoke Free Campus Task Force (SFTF) issued a report in 2008 that sought to

tak[e] up the matter of campus smoking policy with the understanding that the issue is fueled by strong personal convictions for perceived personal rights, both the right to be free from the effects of secondhand smoke and the right to choose to smoke cigarettes (STFT Report, emphasis mine)

The rest of the report either references student support from polls drawn from other universities, or flat-out neglects student responses in order to reference various studies, policies, and polls from other universities. Under “Synthesis of Survey Findings of UO Faculty, Staff, and Students,” the report states that

Many survey respondents are ready to support the move to a smoke free campus… [and] also were confident that this could be accomplished with designated smoking areas… (Ibid.)

Oh, hey, there’s a reasonable point. But no! The STFT simply cannot concede, because “enforcement becomes very difficult and compliance suffers as a result.” You don’t say.

No matter what the administration does, what programs it implements, what funding it pulls or pushes, students will push against it. Lord knows the Commentator will. The Healthy Campus Initiative tried to remedy this student disconnect with the “STFU” posters, a internet-conscious campaign that seemed to confuse people more than encourage quitting (check out this post about the issue from our very own Editor Emeritus Sophia Lawhead).

Another argument is that it unfairly targets lower-income UO workers. Even those filthy hipsters at the OV agree with us on this point. Making workers go off campus for a 15 minute smoke break is not only inconsiderate, but damaging to already-strained labor relationships.

“All I wanted was a non-fat, cream-jizzed latte with peasant tears in it!”

So why bring up this almost-5-year-old report, you may ask? Because Frances Dyke and company never really cared about what students thought. The UO has become a brand, and it needs to sell itself in order to keep flagging state funding and private donor contributions steady. The publicity surrounding the ban has relentlessly focused on the “progressive” aspects of the program without attending to the opinions of students or faculty – and if so, only through narrow data samples used to prop up their point.

But the effects of secondhand smoke are serious. I completely understand the goal behind the smoking ban. Cigarette butt litter continues to be a problem, and has only been exacerbated by the ban — take a look at the 13th and Kincaid entrance to campus if you don’t believe me. Families with young children and people with respiratory problems are also rightfully concerned.

The only way to fight this ban, then, is to implement a personal smoker code of ethics to demonstrate smoker commitment to a healthy campus and personal freedoms. Here’s mine:

  1. Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
  2. Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
  3. If someone asks you to smoke off campus, politely decline or simply don’t say anything at all. You’ll be finished if and when they call DPS.
  4. Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
  5. Throw butts in the trash.
  6. If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
  7. Overall, recognize that your activity is looked down upon. Take pride in this.

It’s not perfect, but it works for me. The Commentator will continue to fight this arbitrary ban with articles, letters, appeals, and upcoming events like Tobacco Appreciation Day. But the ball is in smokers’ courts. We at the Commentator will do our best to point out the massive cavalcades of bullshit directed at students who make the choice to smoke. This smoking ban is just another attempt at nannying the student populace; the administration never does anything without direct benefit to them, and they’ve fucked smokers to bolster their public image under the pretense of “knowing what’s best.”

The whole campaign feels like yet another pat on the head, another assumption about our intelligence, actions, and responsibilities. But we’re not kids anymore. We’re adults, students, workers, and yes, smokers. So smoke ’em if ya got ’em. It’s going to be a long, long battle.

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. [...]

(more…)

STFU for smoking.

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Well,  it’s that time of year. The STFU time of year. Summer is ending, the leaves are changing and students will be shut the fuck up. No, not us respectable students. Only those lower than us who beleaguer our campus with the dangerous, abhorent drug tobacco will be put in their place by this policy change. The Smoke and Tobacco Free University policy  will take effect tomorrow September 1st. Put away your bics and Zippos and take out your evil eye and pointer fingers. However, DPS will not be able to take out their ticket books.

The implementation of this policy calls for the use of an $800,000 grant from PacificSource. As aptly explained in an old post of Lyzi Diamond’s:

The $800,000 grant that was received from PacificSource was actually received by Paula Staight, the Health Promotion Director at the UO Health Center, and is to be spent over five years. The grant will allow the Health Center to hire one full-time and two part-time employees to work on three aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Food, Movement, and Tobacco (specifically the eradication of). There will be no campus-wide policy attached to the smoking ban (see: you can’t get fined or face disciplinary action for smoking on campus).

As I understand it, ciggy recepticals, like the one in the photo above, will be removed within a two-year period as part of the policy change. Though I only care enough to wait and see, I am curious as to why that would really be advisable, why they would actually even consider this. Sure, let’s marginalize those lower than us, but if we are not going enforce the policy with legal repercussions, what’s to stop these dirty people from dropping cigarette butts all over the place? Shan’t we keep Oregon green?

Lyzi linked the Smoke Free Task Force report, but here’s the link for convenience. I just want to say that I see this policy change as one that intends to construct an environment that condemns certain people (who are making personal decisions that only effect them). Tobacco is legal (as other drugs should be, because the government has no business dictating what goes into any individual’s body)(you’d think that this goes without saying, right?). And being a mostly college-admitted community, can we not assume that most UO students are aware that tobacco is harmful to their health? If this policy aims to educate students about the dangers of tobacco, what does this say about our students? This is more of a look-down-our-noses thing than it is an educational thing.

It seems like a slippery slope. Perhaps such discrimination stops with these trouble-makers, but can we be sure? I for one will be organizing another Smoke-In with my cohorts at the Commentator. Join us on the dark side. Of the lung.

Passive tactics may be futile in enforcing impending smoking ban, study shows

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

In case you’ve been living under a rock or something, the University of Oregon will become a smoke-free campus starting in the fall of 2012. Based on the information provided to the Oregon Commentator thus far, the ban will not be actively enforced, as it is at the University of Iowa, but will be a campus culture change, complete with the removal of smoking stations (ashtrays), the installation of “no smoking” and “smoke-free campus” signs and an implicit and explicit understanding that this is a smoke-free campus, with our peers staring us down until we put out our cigarettes.

But GOOD’s culture team points us to a recent study done by a researcher at Oxford University which shows that no-smoking signs actually encourage smokers to pull one out and light up. From GOOD:

“When I say ‘don’t think of a pink elephant,’ I’ve just put the thought of a pink elephant in your head,” says Earp. “No smoking signs in particular are everywhere. If you’re a smoker walking down a street you’re likely to pass five or six of these signs in windows or on doors. If you have a chronically positive attitude to smoking this could boost your craving.”

And from the Daily Mail article linked to above:

Mr Earp added: ‘What’s interesting is the ironic effect of the negative image. No smoking signs are meant to discourage an activity but what happens is you get a kick back so that the very item that’s supposed to be prohibited becomes more desirable.

‘My hunch is that having all this “don’t do this” information out there may have ironic consequences.’

If the forward movement on the UO smoking ban is indeed going to involve an insurgence of signs and peer pressure, the ASUO, Paula Staight and the UO administration may want to rethink their tactics. If the goal is to get students to quit smoking, perhaps they should funnel some of that $800,000 PacificSource-donated healthy campus initiative money to education on tobacco and smoking rather than a passive-aggressive, peer-pressuring ban.

Maybe allowing students to think for themselves based on provided information may actually be more effective than telling them how to live their lives.

At Iowa, smoking ban not terribly effective

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

From The Daily Iowan:

University of Iowa freshman Will Tapella said he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day — and he usually lights up outside Burge Residence Hall.

While smoking is banned on the University of Iowa campus, the 19-year-old said he has never received a citation. Generally, he said, there is only one police officer who has said anything to him outside Burge.

Smoking on the UI campus has been illegal for more than two years, but people lighting up on campus is still a common sight. The Smokefree Air Act went into effect July 1, 2008, and smoking on the UI campus became an offense carrying a $50 citation.

But the number of citations for smoking in a prohibited area has decreased since the ban was enacted. According to UI police, officers wrote 25 citations in 2009 for smoking in a prohibited area. Since the beginning of this year, they have written eight.

Public safety officers at UI say this is because more people are aware of the policy, but students are not so sure.

“I have never seen the police handle a situation,” said sophomore Nolan Petersen, 19. “It’s like a myth. I always hear of kids getting smoking tickets, but I’ve never seen it.”

Other students — both smokers and nonsmokers — agreed.

“This is a non smoking campus, and I see a lot of people smoking,” said freshman Kayla Beck, 19. “I’m concerned about their health and those around them.”

Since the ban, signs have gone up around campus including all building entrances and exits, in parking structures, and at other key points around campus. The signs list the fee for smoking on campus and a number to report someone.

Some Iowa students think that increased enforcement is the answer.

Some Oregon students (this one in particular) think spending a large chunk of a million dollars on a smoking ban that may or may not even be enforced at all is a waste of money and an infringement on student rights.

But maybe that’s just me.

Smoking ban unveiling rescheduled

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


My august colleague Lyzi had been under the impression that the unveiling of the campus tobacco-free policy would be today at 9:45 a.m. At the appointed time and place, though, I appeared, along with Emerald news-honcho* Kat Flanigan and Emerald dead-eyed shooter Ivar Vong, to find it deserted by relevant parties.

Flanigan made a quick call to UO spokesperson Julie Brown**, who informed her the event is actually scheduled for tomorrow***. Disappointment for all, then, as I had been very excited.

Footnotes below the fold. The video above is included solely for your viewing pleasure.**** (more…)

More on Smoke-Free Campus

Monday, November 15th, 2010

In watching Scott Zoltan’s video on the smoke-in and smoke-out last week (disclaimer: I am interviewed in the video) and talking to some ASUO folks, I have some new info and thoughts:

1. The smoking ban will be implemented over two years with a full policy coming in fall 2012. In the time up until policy implementation, smokers will not be cited for smoking on campus. However, in two years when the policy goes into effect, there may be citations or another form of punishment.
2. The UO administration is unveiling their tobacco-free campus policy tomorrow, Tuesday, November 16th at 9:45am in the Taylor Lounge in the EMU. At this point I’m not sure what that policy is, but there will be talks by Jim Bean (speaking for UO Admin as Lariviere is in surgery), the President of the American Cancer Society, and potentially the CEO of PacificSource Health Plans. I’ll relay more information about this as I learn more.
3. The grant for the Healthy Campus Initiative was secured by Paula Staight for the UO Health Center. The policy is being implemented by the UO Administration. These projects have been going on for about six years. The Rousseau executive has not made one attempt to talk to students about the policy or ask their input, which would be their only role in the process at all. (Well, I guess they made signs.)
4. Another interesting thing: in this two year period, smoking stations will be taken out. It would not surprise me at all if in two years cigarette litter is a reason cited for following through with an enforceable policy. By any means necessary, right?

From the video:

Zoltan: One of the questions that remains is whether or not the smoke-free campus will be an enforceable policy change or if it will remain a symbolic measure. Some campuses, such as Lane Community College, have given public safety officers the authority to issue citations for smoking.
Rousseau: It’s a possibility. I’m not in favor of it necessarily, because I think that when you can have that peer-to-peer communication and that community enforcement, that’s always going to be better and more positive.
UO President Lariviere: I think the only reason that we haven’t had one before, if I understand correctly, is that people confused a ban with the enforcement of the ban, and there was a fear that we were going to turn ourselves into a police state where where we’re chasing down people with cigarettes or snuff in their pocket. That’s not the case. What we simply want to do is send a message to everybody — faculty, staff, the community that come onto the campus, students, everybody — that tobacco is bad for you. It’ll kill you. And we don’t encourage it, in fact, we discourage it aggressively.* I think the medical evidence is so clear and unambiguous that there isn’t any reason institutionally that we shouldn’t simply make this statement.

*Cue Commentator Staff Writer Rockne Roll, smiling and smoking a cigar.

Rousseau’s comment doesn’t mean anything.

President Lariviere’s comments, however, reads as though the policy will not be enforceable, even in two years time. And if anyone’s going to be around at that time, it will hopefully be him.

With luck, tomorrow’s unveiling/press conference yields more answers than we have now.

Silly of the moment.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

In response to The Great American Smoke-In tomorrow (noon in the EMU Amphitheater), ASUO President Amélie Rousseau has organized a Smoke-Out. (Is she going to get us high? I don’t think so.) [Emphasis in original.]

Hi all,

A tobacco-free campus is a comin’! We are excited that this campus policy change will soon be announced.

The ASUO and the Clean Air Project are organizing a UO smoke-OUT, this Thursday 12-1 in the EMU amphitheater. The smoke-out is in response to the ‘Coalition of On Campus Smokers’ smoke-in event at the same time. We will meet at 11:45 am by the silver chair in the EMU to distribute signs and t-shirts. Even if you can’t come for the whole time, please come for a bit!

We will be participating in a discussion and passing out information about health effects of tobacco, reminding people that 75% of students believe that the right to breathe clean air should take precedence over the right to smoke.

We are also having a sign-making party at the ASUO office, Wednesday from 4-5 pm, where we will be creating some beautiful, positive messaging! If you are artsy/have neat handwriting, please come!

Best,

Amelie Rousseau
ASUO President
asuopres@uoregon.edu
EMU Suite 4

I’m not even going to go into precedence of rights. You guys are smarter than that.

Also, I like that it was us taking action that influenced the ASUO to take action. This is already a victory.

But the most interesting part of all this is Rousseau’s claim that they are going to be “participating in discussion.” FINALLY. The most fascinating part of this smoke-free campus business is that we are the only ones who are talking about it. The Executive has made no effort to engage students in the discussion, and it took an event put on by the Oregon Commentator and the Coalition of On-Campus Smokers (which is barely a real thing) to get them to do anything at all.

So many of the things Rousseau has done this year were shady in some way or another. Why won’t the ASUO be honest and open with the students who elected them? Is it so hard to have an open forum to talk about things? What are they hiding? What are their intentions?

Point being, I’m glad she’s going to have a discussion. It’ll be the first of her administration, and it’s long overdue.

If you’d like to engage in that discussion, please come tomorrow at noon to the EMU Amphitheater. I don’t care if you go to the smoke-out or the smoke-in. It doesn’t really matter. Just force the ASUO to have the conversation.

[Author's note: To quote a friend, "That's, like, something Reese Witherspoon's character would do in Election."]

Great American Smoke-In Thursday

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The Oregon Commentator and the Coalition of On-Campus Smokers (COCS) proudly present:

The Great American Smoke-In
Celebrating freedom in all aspects of our lives.

Thursday, November 4th
12:00pm-1:00pm
EMU Amphitheater

We will be smoking in the EMU Amphitheater (cigarettes, cigars, hookah, etc.) for about a half-hour, then walking around and picking up cigarette butts and other tobacco trash. Lord knows they’re going to need us after taking out the smoking stations around the EMU. Gloves and trash bags provided. And I should have extra cigarettes to share.

The point here is that smokers are responsible students at the University of Oregon. We clean up after ourselves. We are leaders in the community. We work here. We live here. And we’re going to live our lives the way we want to.

(If you plan on attending, please click both links above!)

Thoughts on Smoke Free Campus

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

First of all, some corrections and clarifications:

The $800,000 grant that was received from PacificSource was actually received by Paula Staight, the Health Promotion Director at the UO Health Center, and is to be spent over five years. The grant will allow the Health Center to hire one full-time and two part-time employees to work on three aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Food, Movement, and Tobacco (specifically the eradication of). There will be no campus-wide policy attached to the smoking ban (see: you can’t get fined or face disciplinary action for smoking on campus).

General concerns:

Likely because there is not going to be any sort of sweeping campus policy change and there will be no additional costs to students, there seemed to be very little general student involvement this year regarding this policy. (This is also a trend in the Rousseau administration.) In the past, the Smoke Free Task Force has held open forums where students / faculty / staff can voice their concerns, but as is the case with most open forums, when there is no direct policy being critiqued, they draw little audience. It is also important to remember that a large number of people who use this campus are not students. As someone who frequents campus late at night (KWVA, DDS, library, etc.), I’ve noticed that a large portion of the custodial staff are in fact smokers. Granted, this shift will not likely affect them as there is no policy attached to it, but it is important to think about.

The Smoke Free Task Force Report [click for PDF] does provide a number of reasons for instigating a smoke-free campus, but it is important to remember that virtually all data regarding second-hand smoke refers to indoor concentration. I have yet to see any data on cigarette smoke in the ambient air. I’m tempted to refer to automobile exhaust — do people really think that all those carcinogens really stay in the ambient air forever? I’m not referring to atmospheric concerns — those are kind of irrelevant when talking about campus smokers. Someone, please, show me some data.

By moving smokers to the edge of campus, aren’t we going to create a wall of smoke that every student will have to walk through to get to campus? Doesn’t that also create a safety issue? And what about students who live on campus? If you get a craving at 2AM, and you have to walk out of your home (dorm) to smoke, out of DPS jurisdiction over onto Franklin or in the East Campus Neighborhood, how will that affect the student and those who live in that area? If anyone thinks people are going to change their behavior because of a sign and a few dirty looks, they are mistaken. Perhaps in a few years, when there is no institutional memory left, things will be different. For now, kids will be kids, and forcing them to change their lifestyle to something you perceive to be better is kind of overstepping your bounds (I’m talking about all parties involved, here).

A not-smoking-related concern: there is $800,000 going to a movement that has no teeth? Does that seem like a waste of money to anyone else?

Moving on:

This policy will have no affect on smokers on campus as of this date. If kids want to smoke, they will smoke. If someone gives me a dirty look while I’m smoking, I will offer them a cigarette. I do like that student smokers will not be fined for smoking on campus. The biggest concern I had before was that smokers would be treated as second-class students. This new policy still contains that attitude, but in a less official way.

I’m not trying to say that smoking isn’t bad for us — it is. But if I want to go base jumping, or operate a baler, or ride a motorcycle, that is my choice. Do those choices affect other people? Sometimes, yes. But until you have definitive proof that me smoking a cigarette in the ambient air poses a serious health risk to students — or that students can’t walk ten feet away from me — then perhaps the UO Health Center and the ASUO should stay the hell off of my rights — and my lungs.

Extra Credit: http://insideoregon.uoregon.edu/hot-topics-blog-smoking-on-campus/

Smoke Free Campus — happening.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

At tonight’s ASUO Senate meeting, President Rousseau announced that the ASUO is moving forward with a smoke-free campus policy. The Executive received an $800,000 grant to be spent over a number of years from PacificSource Health Plans as part of their Healthy Campus Initiative. The plan would be implemented over two years, starting with a “Great American Smoke Out” in November. The money from PacificSource will go to the hiring of three staff members, one full time and one part time, to deal with creating a healthy campus. Rousseau stated that a Tobacco Free Campus would be the primary issue those people will work on, specifically a promotion and education plan. Rousseau mentioned adding signage promoting a smoke-free campus and taking down the smoking stations, but there would be no enforcement of the policy other than peer pressure and a culture change. The idea is to educate new students that UO is a tobacco-free campus, so that is their expectation when they become students. Rousseau also mentioned that Oregon State University is implementing a policy in January, and she would love to do it first.

Other campuses in the country do this, including Arkansas and Kentucky. Should Oregon be added to that list? Comment it up, kids, I want to know what you think. Then I’ll tell you what I think (although I think you already know).

P.S. Smoke-in next week. More details with the next post.

Ding dong, the witch is dead . . .

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Ol’ Dirty’s Back to the Books issue is on stands today, and new campus and federal politics reporter Franklin Bains has stretched his legs with not one, not two, but three boring articles about the ASUO intended to introduce coverage of the topic. I’m going to summarize each article quickly:

1. Rousseau has big plans for first few weeks of fall term: ASUO President Amélie Rousseau wants to do more legislative work (see: get a job with the Oregon Student Association or United States Student Association after graduating). She’s going to try and go talk to Greeks, because she wants “to do a better job of reaching out to students who don’t usually get heard.” The ASUO is registering voters, like every year. Amélie appointed her boyfriend, Robert D’Andrea, to the highly controversial Political Director position that she created just for him, but he has since resigned, “saying that his presence detracted from the ASUO’s ability to deal with important issues.” [More on this later in the post.] She moved money designated for the 2009-10 budget for use in the 2010-11 budget, which no other student program has been allowed to do, ever. AND, finally, she is “attempting to implement a smoke-free campus to protect students and staff from the adverse effects of secondhand smoke.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” Rousseau said.

First of all, great justification, Amélie. Seriously, top notch.

The Oregon Commentator has long held the opinion that a smoke-free campus is an absurd and draconian response to the issues created by students being able to exercise their rights on campus. The City of Eugene and the state of Oregon both have laws surrounding smoking near doorways and places of business — sometimes individuals must smoke ten feet from the door, sometimes 25 feet — that are as of this point not enforced by the Department of Public Safety on this campus. To create a smoke-free campus at this point would be putting the cart before the horse and simply an attempt by President Rousseau to say that she actually did something while holding the position. There are other problems associated with a smoke-free campus, including student safety and, y’know, policing adults consuming tobacco products in the ambient air.

The Oregon Commentator and the Coalition of On-Campus Smokers regularly organize smoke-ins in the EMU Amphitheater. Look forward to announcements of a fall term smoke-in around week two or three.

2. Who’s who at the ASUO: Descriptions of ASUO President Amélie Rousseau, ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora, Summer Senate Chair Kaitlyn Lange, ASUO Legislative Affairs Coordinator Sara Marcotte-Levy, and Former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea. From that section:

After Rousseau created this executive post in May, she announced this month that Robert D’Andrea would be stepping down from his position. D’Andrea said his involvement detracted from the ASUO’s focus on campus issues because of the controversy surrounding his appointment. D’Andrea’s appointment drew some criticism from the ASUO Senate for appointing her boyfriend because of how it might affect the running of the ASUO. Rousseau insisted that D’Andrea’s appointment to the post was based on the years of experience he had at the Emerald as an ASUO reporter, news editor and opinion editor. D’Andrea worked as a campaign manager for Rousseau and Arora in the 2010 ASUO election. As political director, he would have assumed some of the strategic functions similar to the chief of staff, while also directing other members of staff in media communication . Nevertheless, he will still be involved with campus groups.

What this article neglects to mention is the fact that since becoming ASUO Political Director, Robert has assumed the position of chair of the Working Class Caucus in the United States Student Association. For those playing along at home, many a former ASUO politico has gone on to get a position in the Oregon Student Association, United States Student Association, Fund for Public Interest, or other similar political organizations that seek to fund themselves from student money and support. In fact, some say it has a hand in who gets elected each spring. Robert is no different, and assuming he is still a student come fall term, I’m sure we’ll see him continuing on in this position.

3. ASUO’s importance exists in representation of students: An article outlining the structure of the ASUO, its various finance committees, and who technically has power over whom.

The one comment on that article, by “Thom,” states:

This article explains the ASUO’s functions, but falls flat on explaining the importance of such functions to the everyday student. The ASUO is a disconnected group of children playing esoteric games with other people’s money.

Thank you, Thom. I couldn’t agree more.

Video Blog: Smoke-In and Cigarette Cleanup

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Thumbs Down [Update]

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The first winter term edition of the Daily Emerald came out today, inexplicably without any editorial or opinion column whatsoever (where’s my D’Andrea retrospective on the last decade?) What the paper chose to run on its opinion page was instead an enlarged section of its “Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down” blurbs.

Now if you’re not familiar with the section, they are essentially uncredited (read: without a byline, standing as the general editorial stance of the newspaper) paragraph blurbs about news stories the Emerald approves or disapproves of. My favorite of today? This one:

Thumbs Up for No Smoking – North Carolina, the nation’s top tobacco-producing state, went smoke-free inside bars and restaurants Jan. 1. If it can happen there, it’s hard to imagine why smoking would be allowed anywhere else. Say, on campus, for instance.”

Glad to see the Emerald still has the wonderful editorial slant that disallows private business owners to make decisions for themselves. And if they had it their way, students as well.

It’s good to be back.

[UPDATE] The second edition of the Emerald came out today, and despite their 5-person paid opinion staff, the entire opinion page had borrowed columns from Portland State’s The Vanguard. I wonder if the Vanguard staff collected a stipend for that?