The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

OC Election Interview Series: Senate Seat 3: Neil Brown

Editors note: This is the first in a series of email interviews with candidates for ASUO office. All candidates are encouraged to contact us at ocomment[at]uoregon[dot]edu for their interview questions.

Our first interview is with Neil Brown, who is running for Senate Seat 3 (PFC).

OC: What made you decide to run?

Brown: A lot went into my decision to run. I feel that when students look back on their years at the UO what will stand out won’t the lectures or long research papers. What will stand are the good times we have around campus. It will be the groups we were part of, the events we attended, and the people we met. I hope that, as a senator, I will be able to encourage the growth of student groups and organizations who put on the events that help to make campus such a vibrant and memorable place.

OC: What would you most like to accomplish, if elected?

Brown: I want to make the UO more affordable, more accessible, and more enjoyable. The ASUO has a big part to play in helping to lower fees to students. I hope that we can work towards things like lowering textbook prices and keeping the incidental fee stable. I am also looking forward to the opportunity to work with state legislators to increase the amount of funding higher education receives. I think we should add more transparency and accountability to the budget process. Students should have greater access to how their money is being spent and more input in the process. Lastly, I want to student groups to grow and continue to make the UO the diverse, interesting place that it is.

What’s more is that I know we can do this. I’ve interned in Salem. I know that there are people who are willing to do more for students; they just need someone to ask. I know how much it sucks when you buy a book for $75 and have to sell it back for $10. I’ve been part of student groups that get shortchanged. I know how much that hurts those involved. I hope that, as a member of the ASUO, I will be able to translate my experiences into positive change for the average student.

OC: Are you part of a slate?

Brown: Yes, I am running as part of Sara Hamilton and Athan Papailiou’s Campaign for Change. I think Sara and Athan, besides being incredibly qualified and well suited for the executive positions, have made a big statement by reaching out to the student body as a whole to run on their slate. Bringing fresh faces into the process will, without a doubt, make the ASUO more representative of everyday students’ interests (as opposed to just the handful of ASUO insiders) and therefore more in touch with the needs of students.

OC: You are running for one of only two Senate seats that are actually contested… what makes you stand out?

Brown: First of all, I think that we will see a lot more of those seats filled and contested when we get to the deadline. It’s still early. What sets me apart is my familiarity with different segments of campus and my commitment to making student government work better for everybody. I think we can do that by addressing the problem of contracts competing with student groups and brining more accountability to the process.

OC: You are running for a PFC Senate seat. First, are you crazy? Second, what can be done about PFC?

Brown: Crazy? I might be. PFC is a complicated situation. I think the first step to addressing the situation is to bring a lot more transparency to the committee. A good start would be to publish a PFC handbook that would clearly define the committee responsibilities and define some of the more contentious terms such as viewpoint neutrality.

I also want to create a separate mechanism for awarding contracts. I don’t think that large contracts (like the Rec) should compete with student groups for funding. It puts student groups at a disadvantage and complicates the PFC process.

OC: What do you see as the most pressing problems with the ASUO?

Brown: The ASUO can become very isolated from the student body. I think that many of the problems the ASUO faces are a result of bubble that sometimes forms around the organization. That’s not to say the problem lies solely with the people in the ASUO. It’s been my experience that most people who work in the ASUO are great people trying their best to do what is a very difficult job. A lot of the problem is derived from the cumbersome bureaucracy and lack of transparency in the entire process. By lifting the veil on the process we can give more students access to the ASUO is doing and bring them into the process.

OC: In this section we ask candidates to pick one from each of the following, and provide a brief justification for their choice.

Brown: Budweiser. It’s American. It’s cheap. It goes down smooth and gets you drunk. What else is there?

OC: Elvis/The Beatles
Brown:Tough choice. I would take young Elvis over the young Beatles, but the older Beatles over older, fatter Elvis. None the less, Suspicious Minds was a great song.

OC: Fried Rice/Chow Mein
Brown: Fried rice because the little bits of vegetables provide an illusion of nutrition when I am scarfing down orange chicken.

OC: Football/Basketball
Brown: Another tough choice. I like college basketball better than college football. I mean, after all, I grew up in Indiana. However, pro football (i.e. the Super Bowl XLI Champion Indianapolis Colts) wins over pro basketball (i.e. the 29-31 Indiana Pacers).

OC: Sunni/Shia
Brown: I’ve lived in a predominantly Sunni country (Morocco) so I have a little more affinity for that branch. You also have to respect the traditionally democratic institutions of the Sunni faith. On the other hand, the Shia have a proud history of resilience in the face of difficult odds since their break away in 656. And let’s face it, Persians (majority of whom are Shias) are cool people. Honestly, I think the best thing for Muslims and the world is for these two faiths to reconcile their difference and learn to live side by side. It’s possible.

OC: Whiskey and Coke/Rum and Coke
Brown: Whiskey and coke. Whiskey is great on its own. It is great with coke. It is also good with perrier (try it, I promise). Rum is for pirates.

OC: Beerpong/Flipcup
Brown: Flipcup is a lot faster and everyone can get involved. More importantly, I am a pretty mean flipcup player and suck at beerpong.

OC: Hemmingway/Fitzgerald
Brown: Hemmingway lived a much cooler life. He fought fascists in Spain, went big game hunting in Africa, fished off of Cuba, and as I understand it, spent most of his waking hours drinking. He was the Hunter S. Thompson of the lost generation. Fitzgerald spent much of his life trying to impress some rich girl he met in high school (think Jay Gatsby and Daisey). In terms of their work, The Great Gatsby is probably one of the greatest American novels of all time. Right up there with Twain’s Life on the Mississippi and anything Steinbeck ever wrote. Hemmingway does have more depth, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Sun Also Rises are all great books.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.