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And just like that, it all went away…

At the bottom of the Emeralds refreshingly feisty coverage of last night’s fiasco business as usual, there is one tiny little paragraph which changes everything. It goes a little something like this:

No one took minutes during the meeting, a violation of the Oregon Public Meetings Law and Student Senate rules as laid out in the Green Tape Notebook. Gulley and SunOwen also ignored part of Hatch’s presentation to watch a slideshow of photos on SunOwen’s computer.

Says it all, doesn’t it? In short, the entire meeting will be ruled invalid, and good riddance. Now that we all know how the game is to be played, there’s no need for niceties. The executive clearly would rather have reliable votes than experienced candidates, and in doing so is ignoring the undeniable mandate for reform in the last election. New senators need to have real experience to be able to give students the reform the have asked for, and the sitting senators shouldn’t be ashamed to make demands.

This was a great introduction to the ASUO, because the usual absolute bullshit went down, but this time we’ve been given an opportunity to set it right. Like everyone’s hero says, “Fool me once…” Finally, credit has to go to Jill Aho of the ODE… best single paragraph in the ODE ever.

  1. Vincent. says:

    I still want a Sudsy shirt.

  2. Neil says:

    I may have been on the edge of a stroke, but I had my Sudsy shirt on.

  3. Meghann says:

    What a great thread.

    I think the award for ‘best comment’ should go to Jan for “What a shocker

  4. Jacque says:

    Thank you Ted, you hit it right on the head the Exec wants to cover its ass because they KNOW what will happen. I heard that they are the ones actually writing up the minutes which is in itself kind of laughable… sigh…

  5. Rosenberg says:

    Hey Ted, I withdrew my senate seat applications long before the application process was closed. So I was never even considered a candidate by Emily’s administration. I’ve decided to spend most my time working on the book exchange project next year.

    I want to respond to your post. But it’s just very late. It has a lot of good stuff, and requires a nice, long response.

  6. Niedermeyer says:

    Jon: Let’s see if Con Court gets the memo, huh? According to Open Oregon’s “quick reference guide” to OPML,

    Minutes must indicate:

    * Members present.
    * All motions, proposals, resolutions, orders, ordinances and measures proposed and their disposition.
    The result of all votes by name of each member (except for public bodies consisting of more than 25 members). No secret ballots are allowed.
    * The substance of discussion on any matter.? You
    * A reference to any document discussed at the meeting.

    The issue here is, why risk breaking the law trying to get all that shit right, when you can just do the meeting over? The answer is because A) the exec overplayed its hand, and will not be able to replicate the results of that meeting, and B) it seems that in the ASUO, laziness often trumps concern for for the law, and it’s too easy to just not sweat this kind of stuff. The exec wants it’s inexperienced but loyal footsoldiers in the game, and let’s face it, they want it so at your expense. Why aren’t you out to get these people, Jon? This makes about as much sense as your unwillingness to confront Gulley after he called you a racist on the cover of the Emerald. Why help a bunch of cynical careerists and machine politicians who have kicked you again and again when you can stand up for what is fairly obviously the right thing to do?

    You may not be a Senator any more, but then again, Emily’s most likely going to have to find at least a few new names after last weeks shenanigans… she’s gonna have to pick experienced people too, because nobody but nobody is gonna trust her “fresh new eyes” nonsense now.

  7. Rosenberg says:

    I was going to blame it on my drinking problem. But I knew the Commentator wouldn’t see that as a problem.

  8. Jacque says:

    The fact that the general counsel is advising the ASUO to “do minutes from recollection” seems like REALLY poor advice to me but what the hell do I know. If the state legislature did that what would we think of them????
    What I love about you Jon is that you are able to admit when you are wrong or make a mistake! I still love ya!

  9. Rosenberg says:

    I’ve been officially off senate since Wednesday, but the general counsel advised the ASUO to do the minutes from recollection, which is what I did. But you’re right Ted, that doesn’t make up for proper minutes taken during a meeting. I apologize for the bad information. It wasn’t intentional. I really thought the information I received was correct. And it wasn’t.

    Either way, it was my responsibility to make sure someone was present to take minutes at the Wednesday meeting. And I did not do that, which was a poor mistake.

  10. Rosenberg says:

    Looks like you’re correct, Jan and Ted. The citation of ORS 351.070(1)(d)
    and (e) would seem to make my argument void. I stand corrected.

    The advice I received seems to be wrong, which is too bad, because it’s what I’ve been basing everything off of.

  11. P says:

    Excuse the typo in my last message. I was attempting to talk to someone as I typed, and happened to type what I was saying (“file”) instead of what I intended to type (“follow”).

  12. P says:

    Two things:

    First of all, the ASUO DOES have to file Oregon Public Meeting Law. Jan’s right. As an independent body that allocates fees, you are a public body under the law. You have to follow the meeting and open records laws, and everyone in the ASUO should know that.

    Second: I’m just curious if anyone in the ASUO is aware that Dave Frohnmayer wrote the open meeting law when he was Attorney General. There’s no excuse for the legal counsel to be unaware that you have to follow the law.

  13. Llaura says:

    Jon buddy, you’re frustrating me. A few errors during your short tenure were understandable, but this in addition to half a dozen other gross offenses pushes you over the top. To avoid your public embarassment, I won’t share them with everyone but you know what they are.

  14. Danimal says:

    I spoke with assistant general counsel on the phone about this several weeks ago. When I asked if our body is required to follow OPML, excluding the constitution, the answer I got was

  15. Blaser says:

    Well, and think about what happened to Sara Hamilton. She lost her job because she turned in the agenda 24 hours before the meeting instead of 48, which Emily is now using as an excuse to not even interview her when she applied to be appointed back to the same seat she lost. If you actually followed the green tape, all qualified candidates should be interviewed to determine who is the best qualified for the job, but I guess this could also be thrown aside as a “minor technicality” aka a bylaw we can bend to get the outcome we would prefer.

    I love how people will use the “it’s just a technicality” defense when it suits them, but when someone like Sara is up on the chopping block, people who consistently violate the green tape mysteriously take a liking to the rules in their strictest form.

    What really irks me here is that the whole problem with the ASUO is that the rules are not as strict as they should be. They are general, and leave much room for interpretation. While this would not be a huge problem if you had competent people to better define these rules on Con Court for bodies like the Senate, let’s face it, the ASUO is filled with children who would rather play politics than act like an adult and perform their duties like a professional. I really hope the new Senate can start off on the right foot next year and refuse to approve the minutes from an illegal meeting.

  16. Niedermeyer says:

    Yeah, Jon, the very fact that you are even trying to justify what happened shows me that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I think it’s fantastic that lawyers tell you that there are grey areas in the law, but were you elected to tromp into those grey areas, or to play things by the book? Are you aware that the ASUO has something of an image problem? Is patching up a clear error via email and recollection really “the right thing to do” ala your inspirational Golda Meir quote? Oh, and do the Senators who were appointed at the meeting in question get to help make up and vote on what the minutes should have been?

    Jon, buddy, this whole thing stinks, and I know you know it. It’s too bad too, because Emily clearly doesn’t have your back in the slightest (weren’t you the most qualified candidate for the seat you applied for?) and yet here you are playing her bagman. I’ve always respected your opinion even when we disagreed, but I don’t know how to trust someone who makes an error like this, and then defends it by saying that it’s “a legal gray area, so sue me.” Sounds like the Gulley defense to me…

  17. Jacque says:

    I like how “accurate” minutes are going to be created after the meeting based on peoples recolecction and vote sheets. That seems kinda scandalous. Go ASUO.

  18. Jan says:

    That’s interesting that the attorney general’s office couldn’t give you a clear answer, because the attorney general was pretty clear when he wrote:

    “The power possessed by student governments under ORS 351.070(1)(d)
    and (e) to recommend incidental fee assessments and allocations to the Board of Higher Education makes the student government committees that prepare and make the recommendations governing bodies subject to the Public Meetings Law.”

    I’m not angry at you personally for interpreting the law your own way, although I must admit it seems preposterous to argue that ASUO, with its state-mandated ability to control funds, wouldn’t be considered a “governing body.” But whatever, I hope somebody gets sued. I’m sure a Circuit Court judge will be completely swayed by the ASUO’s total disregard for the spirit of open government. Too bad Eddy Morales isn’t around anymore, he could throw his cell phone and beat up the judge’s wife. Or maybe somebody could play the race card — no shortage of that going on these days.

    Swearing at people is uncalled for? Sorry, I can’t help it. I’m a journalist, for fuck’s sake.

  19. Rosenberg says:

    And I just checked your information, Jan. It is correct as you cited it: according to the Student Press Law Center (, Oregon student governments are subject to public meeting laws. Now keep in mind this is one interpretation. What if an attorney says something different? Is the Student Press Law Center’s interpretation more correct? This is why lawsuits occur. One person interprets the law one way, and another person another way – and ultimately, judges have to decide. We have two different sources. Personally, I will always follow the advice of my attorney over a third party source.

  20. Rosenberg says:

    Hey Jan,

    I spoke with assistant general counsel on the phone about this several weeks ago. When I asked if our body is required to follow OPML, excluding the constitution, the answer I got was “probably not.” It wasn’t definitive, but that’s what I’ve been going off of. So it’s not like I’m making things up. I appreciate your information.

    I also called the Attorney Generals’ office. They didn’t have a clear answer for me, but were very clear when they said that campus elections don’t fall under election laws. The fact is, these questions aren’t so simple and clear cut, and even when people try to get legal advice on these issues, lawyers struggle with interpretions. This doesn’t mean you need to get angry at me for following one interpretation.

    You may also remember that several weeks ago, both of the ASUO’s main attorneys made it absolutely clear the we were not allowed to spend over-realized funds on construction projects. But we did anyways, and the President signed off on it. Legal issues aren’t so clear cut.

    Now I’m gonna ask if you want to talk more about this, you send me an email at jrosenb1 (at) uoregon (dot) edu instead of swearing at me. Swearing at people is uncalled for, especially when it’s done anonymously.

  21. Sean says:

    I’m right! It WAS just a bad dream conjured up by sleep deprivation from finals week.

  22. Jan says:

    Actually, your assertion that ASUO doesn’t fall under Oregon Public Meeting’s Law is false. Basically, Oregon law mandates that the State Board of Higher Education recognize the right for student governments in Oregon to allocate and collect certain student fees. This, in essence, makes the student government an advisory body under Oregon Public Meeting’s Law, which covers “any state, regional, or local governmental board, department, commission, council, bureau, committee, subcommittee, or advisory group created by the state constitution, statute, administrative rule, order, intergovernmental agreement, bylaw or other official act.” Because student government is specifically given funding rights under Oregon state law, it therefore falls under public meeting’s law. Also, the state Attorney General has already ruled that student governments are considering “governing bodies.” (see below)

    From the Student Press Law Center:

    Or. Rev. Stat. 192.610 – 192.695 (2001). Oregon’s Public Meetings Law states that the governing bodies of all public bodies are required to hold open public meetings. A “governing body” is any body with the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public body on policy or administration. The phrase “public body” refers to the state, its political subdivisions and any agency thereof including committees, subcommittees and advisory groups. Oregon statutes specifically require the state Board of Higher Education to consider the recommendations of student governments in the allocation and collection of certain student fees. Or. Rev. Stat. 351.070. A student government, therefore, is a governing body authorized to make recommendations to a public body on policy or administration. Moreover, the attorney general has ruled that the power of a student government to recommend incidental fee assessments and allocations to the Board of Higher Education under Oregon law makes them a “governing body” subject to the Public Meetings Law. 44 Op. Att’y Gen. 69 (1984).

    What a shocker — another ASUO representative who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

  23. Rosenberg says:

    Hey Ted,

    The lack of minutes was unexpected. We normally have someone at every meeting present to take minutes. When this person cannot show, they are charged with finding a replacement. I assumed there would be a replacement, so I’m probably to blame for not checking.

    But the meeting does not have to be overturned. In fact, no laws have been violated. First, let’s make something clear: Oregon Public Meeting Laws do not apply to the ASUO Senate in a real legal sense – we’re a campus government (this is what I’ve been told by lawyers.) They only apply to senate so far as the ASUO Constitution is concerned. And did we violate the constitution? Not unless minutes are turned in within 48 hours. I have forwarded a set of minutes from vote sheets and recollection to senators to revise for final approval. If these minutes are completed and passed, then there was no violation of the GTN. If they are not passed or completed, then there was a violation, and it is at the discretion of the current Chair how to handle the situation.

    Be careful about assuming that the Emerald has the whole story. The facts above should clear things up. There’s no reason to be critical of the new senators. They have been doing a fantastic job.

  24. T says:

    Steve Wilsey’s presentation was sub-par, to say the least. He mentioned viewpoint neutrality and Southworth numerous times, but kept stressing that they did not mean what the PFC thought they meant

  25. Miles says:

    Idiots abound. A proclaimed asshole named Steve Wilsey gets into the PFC, the racist Diego Hernandez gets into the PFC as well.

    Here’s to hoping for a 0% benchmark on the PFC and a clear punch in the face to Nate Gulley.

  26. Niedermeyer says:

    I love the paragraph, but it seems like the no minutes taken part should have been closer to the headline. Still, it’s gonna make the spew and the grievance(s) so much easier… just throw in the whole paragraph.

    At this point I almost wouldn’t be surprised to see Con Court excuse away OPM Law, GTN, etc. I’m almost curious to see them try… must be a schadenfreude thing. Anything goes when it comes to Con Court, but not taking minutes is not a trivial matter. Expect the entire meeting to be overturned.

  27. Jacque says:

    I LOVE PARAGRAPH Jill Aho needs a medal… I mean mad props and I hope now that new and old senators alike will really take seriously their duty to not just vote the easy way but vote the RIGHT way, they raen’t always the same! Please pass that message along to them!

  28. Vincent. says:

    Glad to know we’ve got such consummate “professionals” running our student government. Not that this will have any effect on the final outcome of what’s clearly been long pre-arranged in the Senate.

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