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OC and Daily Emerald Expelled from IAC Meeting

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Last Wednesday, the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) held a meeting at which AAD for Finance Eric Roedl was scheduled to give the IAC information about the athletic department’s budget and some projections about the next 6 years.

The UO Senate voted last week to require the Athletic Department to start paying back some of its subsidies, like that of the Matthew Knight Arena property, so this meeting had attracted myself from the Oregon Commentator, and two Daily Emerald reporters.

Right away there was tension in the air. This was the last IAC meeting of the school year and the AD still hadn’t released minutes from the previous meeting. Glen Waddell was met with an awkward silence when he asked about the delay in preparing the minutes.

“I’ve been really busy and haven’t gotten around to it,” the stenographer said.

Bill Harbaugh then asked IAC co-chair Andy Karduna if he had followed up on the request to the AD for the syllabus for the College of Education FHS 110 class that the athletics department requires all new players to take.

Karduna replied that he hadn’t, and had no plans to ever do so.

I had been under the impression that the IAC meeting was open to the public, as it was – until AAD Roedl realized that the media was present. And so began the discussion of whether or not to allow the media to stay during the presentation of revenue projections.

Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential… sensitive information”. When asked why projections would be “sensitive information”, those believing it to be sensitive did not want to discuss specifics because the reporters were still in the room.

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ASUO Flippity Floppity

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Remember these things?

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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.

McDermed Lacking Pertinent Information

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

It is clear that the University of Oregon Police Department do not care what the students want.

Interim Police Chief Carolyn McDermed, Captain Pete Deshpande and Kelly McIver are putting on a series of sham forums in order to coo us into thinking our voices are heard.

Even Kelly McIver admitted to the lack of student input on Tuesday during the second public forum regarding the armament of UO police officers. An audience member, citing a Register Guard article, stated:

“In 2011, students voted against arming police in a campus referendum.”

Hearing this, McIver, the Communications Director, said “There wasn’t much advertising.”

Nobody in the room was able (or willing) to confirm whether there had been a campus referendum or not.

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Chief McDermed Contradicted by Community Icon Officer Randy Ellis

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The arming of UOPD is problematic in a number of ways. As the Register Guard points out, the East 13th Avenue police substation of EPD is in danger of losing funding– something the businesses and residents of the area don’t want.

Wait, area businesses and residents are in favor of EPD’s presence on East 13th Avenue? Not necessarily. What they favor is the man behind the badge, officer Randy Ellis.

As the RG reports, EPD’s only remaining substation is run by Ellis. The experienced officer has been patrolling the area between Kincaid and High for about 20 years. Back in the early 1990s, 13th Avenue was a drug-addled, trick-turning, vagrant-fest. Ellis turned that all around with his intimate foot patrol.

Ellis, quoted by the RG:

“As far as I’m concerned, technology is overrated,” Ellis said. “I don’t like it. You don’t talk to people.”

This bears a striking contrast to the perspective of Interim Police Chief McDermed when asked about patrol time spent walking/biking versus driving: “Our cars are our offices.”

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UOPD Interview with Photos

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

About 15 people gathered in the EMU Walnut Room Tuesday for coffee and discussion of the arming of UOPD. Interview here. Below, a photo essay by Oregon Commentator photographer Jazmin Avalos.

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Favoritism and Plagiarism in the Ol’ Dirty?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

I don’t use Facebook and haven’t perused the UO Confessions page, but this link was sent to me: I’ll let this speak for itself.

“Let me tell you about the state of the Emerald right now. A article regarding UO Faculty was written and the UO administration got fired up. They then chewed out the Editor-in-Chief of the Emerald, who has been described by various employees of the Emerald as being tyrannical. The EiC proceeded to blame the online and print news editors, as well as the reporter who wrote the story. The issue was that the writer didn’t incorporate the administration’s side of the story in the article. The managing editor, who is responsible for approving the stories, was then subjected to harsh and unfair criticism by the EiC. The managing editor, fed up with the lack of leadership at the top, put in her two-week notice a few days later. The EiC then “dismissed” (fired) her on the spot. Both the online and print news editors, who have written some of the Emerald’s most read stories in the last two years, then resigned. As of yesterday, after being fed up with management and the way things are being run, the author of the original article resigned. The news desk is now down to two people. On top of this, the EiC is seriously considering hiring a former friend he worked with at Lane’s newspaper as managing editor. This individual worked for the Emerald during the summer and PLAGIARIZED stories. He is the leading candidate for the job despite two other current Emerald staffers who have applied. Welcome to the chaos of Revolution 2012.”

 

ASUO President is Again ASUO President

Monday, February 18th, 2013

On February 15th the UO Con Court effectively said “Never mind,” responding affirmatively to a motion to reinstate ASUO President Laura Hinman.

The Con Court decided that Hinman’s nonfulfillment of duties, which is the reason she was pulled from office in late January, had been remedied by ASUO Vice President Nick McCain. The petition for reinstatement cited Hinman’s appointing of Pat Chaney to the elections board, followed by Chaney’s recommendations of four other applicants and finally by McCain appointing those recommendations on February 7th, during Hinman’s forced absence.

The completion of an elections board resolved the initial dispute brought to the Con Court, which was a grievance filed against Hinman by Joanna Stewart. The full Con Court opinion can be read here.

And they all lived happily ever after, despite the excruciating budget hearings and God knows what else.

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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Deja Vu at the Campbell Club

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

A little bit of deja vu as the UO looks at expanding the powers of our campus police force:

When a “telephonic search warrant” was issued by a municipal court judge to enter the Campbell Club after lack of compliance with police, residents then decided to cooperate.

As reported by the Ol’ Dirty:

After police finished their search, 14 residents were taken into custody and stayed the night in the Lane County Jail after being charged with prohibited noise — where six of those 14 were also cited for interfering with police in addition to one resident cited with resisting arrest. Another nine residents received citations in lieu of custody for prohibited noise, and eight minors received MIP citations.

See the old post by former Commentator CJ Ciaramella detailing a similar raid from about 5 years ago.

The Fight for Transparency Continues

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

“Oregon’s public records law is internally contradictory and ambiguous,” Senior Assistant to the President, Dave Hubin says.

Did you know that the UO has a faculty Senate? They meet once a month and even have committees devoted to certain aspects of governance. All meetings, including those of Senate and its committees, are open to students. I attended one yesterday– it was all very new and scary to me. Wondering how their efficacy compares to the ASUO Senate?

At a Senate Transparency Committee (STC) meeting, Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh (head of the committee, who’da thunk it?), lined out some important questions for Dave Hubin at an STC meeting. Some of them were addressed.

The first: Why is Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton no longer attending the STC meetings?
Members urged that Thornton’s position necessitates her participation in matters of transparency.

Hubin explained that the Public Records Office is of least authority since Richard Lariviere charged him with overseeing the Office, having it report directly to the Senior Assistant.

“Because it reports directly to me, it makes sense for me to represent the Public Records Office in this venue,” Hubin said.

“I think it’s great you come to these meetings, but if you are representing the Public Records Officer, you need to be prepared to answer detailed questions,” Harbaugh said.

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UOPD Firearm Forum, Gun Rant

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Almost 40 (a generous estimation) people not affiliated with the newly named University of Oregon Piggy Department gathered in Great Global Scholars Hall last night and a public forum started around 6PM. The subject? The arming of UO Police Officers.

Jamie Moffitt explained that amidst budget cuts with EPD and lessened support, the growing campus community has heightened needs.

Public information officer and communications director at UOPD Kelly McIver maintained that armament is part of the mission to keep the campus safe. He also reiterated a few times that UOPD will generally refer students to the Office of Student Conduct, rather inject legal troubles into their lives.

“Police are not here to police students,” McIver urged. Fun fact according to officials: 88% percent of the suspicious persons investigated by UO Public Safety last year were people unaffiliated with the UO.

Interim Police Chief Carolyn McDermed said it’s really all about relationships. Building a relationship with the community in order to best serve their needs.

The Register Guard has a good play-by-play.

Yes, as of January 1st, 2012 the men and women public-safetying our campus are suffering an inferiority complex. Currently, the UOPD has eleven sworn police officers with thirteen public safety officers aiding them. Only a “couple of” (which I can only assume to mean at maximum but also minimum two) officers are on duty during its 24/7 operation.

In the spirit of the Great Global Scholars Hall, I must ask, “Qué tipo de mierda es eso? Súper inefectivo!”

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Senate Jan. 30th

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Goin  live at 7pm!

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ASUO vs. Athletics- At the Cost of a Marching Band

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The ASUO Executives have proposed a funding cut to the Oregon Athletic Bands (OAB) budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The proposed cut is deep, potentially taking away $150,000 (which is nearly all of the ASUO’s contributions). This $150k amounts to nearly 1/3 of the total OAB budget- which, by the way, is an ASUO recognized Student Organization. The ASUO Executives feel that the OAB should be funded by Athletics, not student incidental fees. There hasn’t been much of an argument presented (ASUO President Nick McCain’s letter can be found here).

Basically, I think this is absolutely ridiculous. We are a student group, and meet all the qualifications to be funded by the ASUO. There has been a tremendous out pour of support (much of which can be found here). This is essentially a game of chicken between the ASUO and Athletics, and we, the Oregon Athletic Bands, are caught in the middle.

Any student at the University of Oregon should realize how much of an impact the OAB has. Convocation, an event every student is supposed to attend, is also one of the first University events a student will attend, and the marching band plays Mighty O, and leads the entering class in the singing of the pledge song.

We are an organization, by the students, of the students, and most importantly, for the students. Please come support the Oregon Athletic Bands at our budget hearing on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 PM in Columbia 150. We appreciate all the support we can get! If you cannot attend, feel free to send a friendly note to the ASUO. Go Ducks!

Nike, Intel, Oregon & Friends

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Students and faculty at the UO know the power Nike has in Oregon. Even Google knows it. The sports empire has its well-fitted and flashy foot in the door of Oregon’s economy but, like the athletes it equips, faces heavy competition. Intel, a company that employs more Oregonians than any other, is disputing a bill that would give more tax breaks to Nike. Not-so-coincidentally, the bill being supported by Nike cuts out Intel.

The bill allows companies to lock in their tax structure so changes in their business won’t result in tax hikes. However, it doesn’t apply to companies that saved over five million dollars through the Strategic Investment Program. Last year Intel saved 22 million dollars thanks to the SIP.

The process behind how the guideline was added remains a mystery, but it’s clear that this is a skirmish for Oregon’s monetary favor between two titans. Both Nike and Intel promise expansion within Oregon in the near future, but this bill could directly affect their incentives and progress. In turn, Oregon jobs and industry. Governor John Kitzhaber has stated that he doesn’t support the SIP based exclusion, but what form the final legislation will take is still unclear.

What is clear is that’s one fine piece of mustache.

“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.