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A Call to [Informational] Arms

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

UO Matters points out the tendency of the Oregon Commentator to be blunt, citing the “beery indifference to the law of defamation” that Dave Frohnmayer loved so much about us.

Not all of us were given the gift of subtlety:

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Senate Jan. 30th

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Goin  live at 7pm!

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“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.

ASUO Senate Update 9/26

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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?

KEZI9 Covers ASUO Phishing Scam

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

So, we’ve all heard about the ASUO phishing scam, but just in case you were too lazy, busy or hungover to read anything about this fucked up shit, here is the story via this KEZI9 Youtube video to save you some time.

Former ASUO President and current UO Law Student Sam Dotters-Katz in the video: “I think that we’ve gone beyond student government at this point, when you have federal crimes being implicated against members of the student government.”

Word up, Sam! Indeed, this kind of shit simply doesn’t fly. This is what is wrong with America. My only further comments are, “YES THIS GOES BEYOND STUDENT GOVERNMENT,” as well as “HOW SELF-RIGHTEOUS DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RIG A COLLEGE ELECTION???”

Furthermore, “FUCK YOU, YOU HYPOCRITICAL PIECE OF SHIT, SUPPOSEDLY FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY. THE RULES APPLY TO YOU AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE, NO MATTER HOW ENTITLED YOU THINK YOU ARE!”

Face-palm. Goddamn.

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

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

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

Let me just say a few things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adminstration Cares

Monday, January 9th, 2012

See they sent us an email:

Dear Students,

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

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

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

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

 

Black Friday

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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:

JoAnna Wendel: You are on notice.

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Hi there. My name is Shaggy 2 Dope Utsler and you may know me as a member of multi-platinum rap group Insane Clown Posse. My reason for writing this post is to warn JoAnna Wendel that I will not put up with her nonsense anymore. Wendel is a columnist for the campus newspaper here at the University of Oregon (her work can be viewed here). Her column, simply put, is virulent. It concerns science. I have made my opinions on science known before. They can be viewed in longer form here. To wit: the lies of scientists, all of whom are motherfuckers, are making me increasingly pissed. This means you Wendel. So every time you see fit to make me pissed by spreading your lies, I will publish a refutation of said lies on this blog. It is not enough, but I hope to do a public service in this way. And public service has always been the watchword for the Insane Clown Posse.

Tuition. It’s going up. Again.

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Hey guys, tuition is going up. Again. By 9 percent.

The increases would leave the University of Oregon with the highest annual tuition and fees of $8,879. The university estimates that tuition and fees combined with room, board, books, supplies and other costs would put the total price tag for next year at $21,846. For an out-of-state or international student, tuition and fees would triple to $27,700, pushing the annual price to about $40,700.

Oh, so that’s why we have so many Californians on campus.

Still think the status quo is a good idea?

Under the governor’s proposed budget for 2011-13, the Oregon University System is expecting to get about $743 million from the state, $222 million less than it had requested. The proposed tuition increases would raise an additional $60 million next year, bringing the system’s total tuition revenue to $803.6 million for 2011-12.

Oregon needs solutions. Put down your picket signs and start thinking outside the box.

Obama Uses “Autopen” to Sign Patriot Act

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

An autopen.

Firstly, why the fuck is there even such a thing as an autopen? As I type this, spell check underlines that word with the squiggly red line of blunder.  According to Frank James of NPR, “It is apparently the first time in U.S. history this has been done.”

Frank Jame’s article cites this part of the Constitution:

“Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.”

The automatic signature was affixed to a bill extending the Patriot Act. Georgia Representative  Tom Graves of Georgia sent a letter to Obama, asking him to confirm whether he takes the constitution seriously.

…Just kidding, Tom Graves didn’t say that. But he did sort of call him out. This whole happenstance is excruciating political bullshit. Read the article outside, or next to a toilet. There are pictures of the autopens, too. They show six different kinds.

It would seem to me that having such a device would eventually debase, maybe even eliminate the importance of a signature. However, Obama is in Europe and that’s why it was done. He even signed a document authorizing the use of the autopen while abroad. So, I guess I understand that.

But the fucking Patriot Act?

Goddamnit, Obama… Goddamnit.

Nanny bill runoff

Friday, April 15th, 2011

This installment of Oregon news briefs is all about nanny bills. Special thanks to the Oregon Legislature for plenty of fodder via their vaguely-sexualized obsession with getting involved in other people’s lives.

Despite the fact that we already have anti-littering laws, cops are complaining of a lack of enforcement when it comes to flicking cigarette butts on the ground. Their plan: make a new crime, and classify “unlawful disposal of a tobacco product” as a separate littering offense that would carry a $90 fine. Current laws do cover cigarette butts, but are seldom enforced, possibly because “offensive littering” carries potential jail time, and is sometimes considered too harsh.

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HAHA- girls in the library shouldn’t have their boobs hanging out

Monday, March 14th, 2011

This guy had the best response to the aforementioned racist UCLA video

p.s. Thanks to the both of you (Wallace and the guy above) for giving us all something to laugh about during finals week.

An ode to Chip Kelly’s balls. (Sneak preview of new issue!)

Monday, January 10th, 2011

“Win The Day”

Going for it on 4th and 3
That’s the way to victory
12 and 0 before this week
Refusing to accept defeat
Faking punts and running wide
Switching plays from side to side
To praise the man, no that’s not all
These vict’ries rest on Kelly’s balls.

Holiday Stories of Stupid

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

As families come together for the holiday season, it’s important for us to remember the less fortunate among us. Even as we share in the joy and love of this time of year, there are still those poor souls who quite obviously don’t have two brain cells to rub together to warm themselves during these cold winter nights. So let us pause to remember those who, but for the grace of common sense, we could easily be this December. Like these idiots:

Airport security officers in Lafayette, Louisiana who, after seeing an “odd and not readily identifiable” package in a scanning machine, evacuated the terminal and closed the airport while they figured out what it was. It turned out to be a headlamp and some frozen chicken. Bonus points available if Homeland Security bans meat products in checked baggage. (Thanks for this one to The Daily Advertiser)

Administrators at a high school in Haymarket, Virginia who couldn’t give the same reason twice for why they slapped ten unsuspecting bros with detention and other punishments for giving candy canes to their fellow students. Their stated motivations varied from preventing litter to student safety (administrators alleged that the candy could be fashioned into a weapon.) Furthermore, one official seemed to thing that the “Christmas cheer” the students were spreading could cause other students to commit suicide. (Thanks to WUSA-TV)

The editorial board of The New York Times who proclaimed President Obama’s legislative agenda during the 111th Congress to be a rousing success. Except for the part where Congress, driven by a heavily marginalized Republican Party, basically held him at gunpoint to massively rewrite his health-care proposal, refused to pass the Dream Act, forced him into extending the vast majority of the tax cuts he campaigned against, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” not because they wanted to, but because the Federal Judiciary was about to do so for them. Yeah, guys… quite the grand achievement on the national political scene.

St. Paul, Minnesota school officials who are apparently banning not only the sale of, but the possession and consumption of candy and other sweets during the school day. As told by The Star Tribune: “’All my friends say, ‘This really sucks,’’ said Misky Salad, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Chelsea Heights Elementary. ‘A lot of us feel it should be up to us to determine what we should do with our bodies.’” Look forward to kids in St. Paul ducking into bathrooms to “hit some M’s (M&Ms)” and sitting out back drinking Coca-Cola from a brown paper bag.

Everyone involved in the arrest of a 13 year old who was caught writing on a piece of paper with a permanent marker in class one day in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The boy’s teacher, thinking the marker would bleed through the paper and stain the desk, and citing an obscure ordnance against the possession of such markers, promptly called the police who transported the suspect to a juvenile detention facility, while taking the marker into evidence. It pains me to decide who is more absurd in this instance: the teacher who called the cops, the officer who actually arrested this kid, the police chief who had not fired that officer yet, or the local lawmakers who voted to ban Sharpies. Stories like these make me feel better about covering the ASUO because it really could, in all reality, be a lot worse. Ok, maybe just a little worse. (Thanks to The Smoking Gun)