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Archive for May, 2006

$18.45M Bid Placed on Westmoreland

May 24th, 2006 by Ian

According to a May 24 UO press release, Michael R. O’Connell Sr. of Eugene has placed a $18.45 million bid on Westmoreland. Incoming ASUO President Jared Axelrod and a number of other student officials first learned of the bid only a few hours ago.

The timing is suspicious, to say the least. This bid comes on the last day of this year’s ASUO and the second to last meeting of the University Senate. In previous interviews, both Axelrod and current ASUO President Adam Walsh had mentioned the likelihood of a Westmoreland bid coming when University governance was in such a transitionary phase. In a hurriedly created motion, the University Senate voted 15-14 (with President Peter Keyes casting the tie-breaker) to send someone to the OUS Board to voice opposition to the sale.

So what does the future hold for Westmoreland if the OUS State Board approves O’Connell’s bid? For the next academic year current tenants will be allowed to remain, albeit under the management of noted slumlord management company Bell Real Estate. The University has guaranteed that it “will provide financial assistance to eligible current residents who wish to remain” until June 2007 if rent costs increase. After June 2007, O’Conner will be free to do whatever he wishes with the property.

One question remains: if the current Westmoreland situation is financial untenable, then why does O’Connell plan “to operate close to the status quo?” If Westmoreland remains managed in a similar fashion as it was under the University, then hasn’t O’Connell made a terrible investment?

University Senate Debates Diversity Plan

May 24th, 2006 by Ian

The University Senate is at this moment debating whether or not to adopt the Diversity Plan. Senate President Keyes has declared that all debate will end by 4:45, once again proving that when it comes to the University Senate, expedience always takes precedence over reason.

Those interested in attending can come by Columbia 150.

UPDATE: The plan has been adopted by a vote of 32-6.

“I Feel It Is Our Responsibility To Take Action…”

May 23rd, 2006 by Ian

This is extremely long and wordy, so those of you with short attention spans can skip right to the comments section, engage your caps lock key, and start with the fire and brimstone. The rest of you: please be patient.

UPDATE: Tonight’s Student Senate meeting will take place at 7:00 pm in the EMU Fir Room.

On Gabe Bradley’s Sweetheart

May 23rd, 2006 by Ian

I’ll say this for ODE Columnist Gabe Bradley: he can write some hilariously awkward columns.

My girlfriend is 10 years older than I am. When we met, she thought I had a boyish charm. Then she found out that it’s not boyishness; it’s just boy. When we go to bars, it’s always a question of whether the bartender is going to see me first and card us or see her first and not card us.

We were hanging out last weekend and she said, “This is totally a Gen-X thing to do.” I would have pointed out that I am a member of Gen-Y, but it can be hard to have a conversation over the ticking of her biological clock.

Maybe This Hasn’t Been A Complete Waste Of Time

May 22nd, 2006 by olly

I must admit that when I asked for all future Christian proselytizing in our comment section to be done in rhyming verse, my expectations were not that high. (Although I’m sure there are some inadvertent haikus there, written in ALL CAPS.) Imagine my delight, then, at finding this today, courtesy of Heath:

O prudent men of Catholic faith
Cease from your plaint of wrong
And save up all your vitriol
For wicked Bishop Spong

Who, Wednesday come, at half past sept,
Will preach upon your grounds
His déclassée apostasy
In pleasant but vain sounds.

If you would please our Lord above,
Forget the “art” they ran,
(Which does but show that Christ was here,
Both fully God and man.)

Instead but love our Mother Church,
Reject Spong’s heresy,
Hearken to our Lord Cantuar,
(Archbish, M.Phil, Div.D)

Déclassé apostate that I am, I have no idea what he’s talking about, but somebody please give that man a medal.

This is Different, We Swear!

May 22nd, 2006 by Timothy

Pira Kelly, noted local loon, “defends” herself in an ODE guest commentary today. She attempts, quite laughably, to draw a distinction between calling for the defunding of The Oregon Commentator by a bunch of ignorant, pissed-off idiots and the more recent calls for the defunding of The Student Insurgent by different ignorant, pissed-off idiots.

They printed ableist, racist and homophobic slurs on a campus that is so hostile to students with disabilities, students of color and queer students that even minimalist and inadequate administrative attention to campus climate requires massive protest.

Well, aside from all of that being blatantly untrue, it doesn’t really change the principles involved any. Even were I to grant, out of some misguided sense of sportsmanship, that her claims are correct it would still be illegal to defund the Commentator for them. I guess from a world-view where oppossing affirmative action is “racist”, or where one can be positively for same-sex marriage but still a “homophobe”, or where satirizing Joe McCarthy creates a “racist environment“, Pira’s foolish attempts to justify calling to shut others up make sense. From the final paragraph:

In a special note to Tyler Graf, editor emeritus of the Commentator: I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to accomplish by defending our publication. Stock up points so that the next time you stomp on someone we’ll feel so indebted to you that we won’t call you out? How The Insurgent collective interacts with you and the Commentator is not my decision, but as an individual I am not ever going to allow injustice to happen because the perpetrators came to my defense with empty rhetoric when it was convenient for them.

Firstly, congratulations to Tgraf for provoking such ire from a pinko. Secondly, The Commentator is defending The Insurgent precisely because we have principles. It is more important to us that everyone be free to openly exchange ideas than that those ideas are ones we agree with, or even if they’re even logical. There is a lot of case law surrounding this issue, Pira, and more importantly a matter of deeply held principle on the part of the Oregon Commentator and its staff. Individuals should never, under any circumstances, be legally punished for expressing their opinion regardless of how stupid, hurtful, offensive, or improper some other person or group of people might find it. That’s one of the greatest insights to come out of the Enlightenment, and one of the most important freedoms to protect. That you can’t understand something so beautifully simple exposes a horrendous flaw in your judgement, and shows you to be one of the most duplicitous sort: one who will gladly grant government authority to take retributive actions against those with whom you disagree, but then has the audacity to complain when others demand that same authority be leveraged against you.

Frankly, you make me ill, but I will defend to the death your right to do so.

Dear Everyone,

May 21st, 2006 by Timothy

Please understand the following things:

1) The is the blog of the OREGON COMMENTATOR we are not, in fact, The Student Insurgent.

2) We have covered this purely as newsworthy, we’ve little to say on the content of the cartoons. Personally, I liked Coppertone Jesus, but beyond that found them mostly juvenile and dumb.

3) Before commenting on the relative merits of funding such speech via the incidental fee, please read and understand Rosenberger v. Rector, NEA v Finley, and especially Southworth v Board of Regents. This is at least a decent sample of the case law involved, grok this before mouthing off.

4) If you’d like to evangelize to the Student Insurgent in addition to us, email them or feel free to give them a ring.

The Saga Continues…

May 21st, 2006 by Michael G.

More Insurgent in the press today:

The Register-Guard prints an opinion piece giving some praise to the Frohn for his handling of the situation thus far. I guess the choice quote is:

During the Muslim riots, critics never missed an opportunity to point out that such violence was virtually unthinkable in the Christian world, given Western traditions of religious pluralism and freedom of expression.

But the Muslim hysteria was designed to produce the same result as the pressure being applied to Frohnmayer by angry Christians: complete suppression of the offensive speech.

The Sunday Oregonian also printed a commentary about the Insurgent affair that has some decent background and mentions some of our contribution to the whole affair. Sadly, author Steve Duin doesn’t add much to the debate.

Even More Passion Of The Christ

May 21st, 2006 by olly

Aroused Jesus just can’t get no love. We’ve had Bill Donohue, aghast at his improbable bright red erection; we’ve had Bill O’Reilly go so far as to call for Frohnmayer’s head over the matter. Now we have an Action Alert! from – it was only a matter of time, really – the American Family Association.

There is a new angle here: the AFA is protesting the depiction of Jesus as a homosexual. (They also seem to be implying that the Jesus-on-cross-with-boner image falls into this category, which is baffling.) Money quote:

The Insurgent would never show a naked graphic of the Rev. Martin Luther King kissing another man, both sporting erections. But offending Christians was of no concern to the Insurgent or to University President Dave Frohmayer. [sic]

Thanks, American Family Association. Thanks for that image. I just snarfed my coffee.

Anyway, brace yourselves for another wave of incoherently angry protestors. Ain’t we got fun?

Mao In Dress: More Offensive Than Jesus With Hard-On?

May 20th, 2006 by olly

I pass this story along without comment.

(Hat tip: Tim Blair.)

Prof. Kleshchev on Biases at UO

May 19th, 2006 by Ian

A guest commentary by Math Professor Alexander Kleshchev on political acceptance at the UO appears in today’s Register-Guard. It’s a good piece– definitely worth the read.

Frohnmayer Revises Insurgent Statement

May 19th, 2006 by Ian

UO Public Relations has begun forwarding a revised statement from President Frohnmayer regarding the Student Insurgent. What follows is directly from a forwarded email:

Dave Frohnmayer has made an addition to his original statement (sent 4/26/06) and we want to make sure that all constituency groups receive the updated statement. You’ll see a double asterisk (**) at the beginning and end of the paragraph that was added.

The student publication, The Insurgent, recently published content of offensive nature in their publication. We have received numerous inquires about the publication and the offensive content. Below is the President’s response to these inquires and a copy of the letter to the editor the President submitted on April 12, to the daily student newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald.

Statement/response by President Frohnmayer

Thank you for your note about the student publication, The Insurgent. I share your concern about the offensive nature of the content contained within the publication.

I understand why it may seem as if the University should have prevented publication or should take some action against those responsible for the publication. The Student Insurgent is not owned, controlled or published by the University of Oregon and is funded with student fees. Therefore, the University cannot exercise editorial control over its content.

**Further, neither the University itself, nor the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, can exercise control over content by using a threat of removal of fee support. The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on this matter. The Rosenberger and Southworth opinions restrict a public university’s ability to make decisions about incidental fee allocations on the basis of the content or viewpoint expressed by a recognized student group. Simply put, neither content nor viewpoint is a lawful basis for denying an allocation of incidental fees to a student group.**

The best response to offensive speech often is more speech. Wednesday, April 12, the daily student newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald, published the enclosed letter from me reminding the campus community of the need to engage in responsible civic dialogue. I am strongly opposed to speech that makes individuals feel that they or their beliefs are unwelcome or belittled, and I can assure you I will use all permissible means to respond to publications such as the recent Insurgent.


April 12, 2006

To the editor:

We are again called upon to explore the tension between the rights born from the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and the sometimes offensive content protected under this umbrella. I applaud the Emerald’s April 6 editorial calling on the campus media to strive for an educated, civil dialogue concerning significant ideas and current events.

While I am an ardent supporter of free speech, I also have strong beliefs that this freedom should be exercised with maturity and good judgment. Our campus community, including our media, must be part of a civil dialogue that respects the rights and beliefs of our entire campus community even while it questions and challenges some of those beliefs.

As stated thoughtfully in the Emerald’s own editorial, our media should not focus on creating controversy for controversy’s sake, but should instead seek to raise significant societal issues in ways that promote campus debate rather than making individuals feel that they or their beliefs are unwelcome and belittled.




In my opinion Frohnmayer should have cited Southworth (and Rosenberger) when the outrage started to build, not now after it has reached a crescendo. Hell, he should have mentioned it last year when the Commentator faced defunding due to a penis joke.

Closed (minded) Caption

May 19th, 2006 by Niedermeyer

Although there were protestors at Ward Churchills speech last night at the EMU Ballroom, and the Commentator was on hand to record and report on the speech, despite what the Ol’ Dirty Emerald seems to believe, they were not one and the same. In an instance of journalistic laziness (or sleep-deprivation), a photo in which Ward Churchill is being interviewed by The Commentator is captioned as “Students Claire Herbert, left and Michael Brown argue with protestors outside the EMU Thursday. Members of College Republicans held a protest before and during Ward Churchill’s speech.” In fact, I was in the middle of interviewing Dr Churchill when the picture was taken, and was sitting directly in front of him with a voice recorder, just to the left of the photo frame.

I am willing to give the Emerald the benefit of the doubt, and assume the caption was the result of a simple oversight. Having been present for the entire time that Dr Churchill was sitting on the bench where he is depicted, I can concretely say that there were no “protestors” as such for that 40-some minute time period. I understand that any publication is uninterested in mentioning another publication, but the caption is at best patently false, and at worst implies that The Commentator was somehow affiliated with the protestors, and not participating in an amicable interview.

The Insurgent Controversy: A Primer

May 19th, 2006 by Ian

A number of people have emailed us recently asking what the controversy surrounding the Insurgent is all about. We’ve had a number of posts going into detail about the issue and its accompanying brouhaha, so here are the important ones:

  • Most importantly, we posted a .pdf of the issue here. (Note: link contains picture of the Insurgent’s cover, which many find offensive.)
  • After the Insurgent released its controversial issue, the University suddenly remembered that student groups were not eligible to use the University’s bulk mailing rate.
  • UO Student Zachary White was the first to file a grievance against the Insurgent. Here‘s the first post of our coverage on that, and here‘s our coverage of when the ASUO ruled against him.
  • Soon enough, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League learned of the Insurgent’s issue and began complaining.
  • The Commentator’s own Tyler Graf (who appeared on the O’Reilly Factor tonight) wrote a guest commentary in the Daily Emerald, the UO’s campus daily.
  • And just yesterday, the ASUO once against ruled in favor of the Insurgent, by turning down the “Students of Faith” group’s grievance.
  • And here are the first five pages of the newest Insurgent issue. They’ve been scanned in by hand, but we included the parts relevant to the controversy surrounding their previous issue.

NOTE: For those of you just tuning in, the Insurgent and the Commentator are two different publications. We are conservative/libertarian. The Insurgent is anarcho-syndicalist/marxist/crazy. We find this situation funnier than they do.

Wilbur on Churchill

May 19th, 2006 by Ian

I don’t know ODE Reporter Nick Wilbur very well, but I really do enjoy most of his stories. (Sorry student government types!) His article on Ward Churchill today is a great example of why:

He often asks his students, “What is it you do free of regulation?”

“You are free in this country,” Churchill said. “Absolutely free in this country. Free to do absolutely what you’re told.”

From sleeping to bodily functions, he said, there are rules for every activity a person can engage in.

He told the audience to try sleeping in a park.

“Try sleeping out there tonight; see if there’s not rules,” he said.

He added that he tells his students, “stand up there and take a dump on the floor. There are rules for (that), too.”

Repression by the state and educational institutions reinforce each other in maintaining that “order,” he said.

Fucking fascists! The right to shit on the floor is clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights, right next to the right to piss on a police officer! And hell, it’s even implied in the fifth amendment, if you want to play semantics.

Although I couldn’t make it due to my daily crazy asshole quotient being filled, there were some people from the Commentator at the speech so we’ll hopefully have another post or two on the subject later today.