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Belgium Educates ASUO on Viewpoint Neutrality

The following is a letter from Belgian pundit Neil Brown, former Senator of the ASUO.

Dear ASUO,

Wow. First, I would like to congratulate Nick on being a what appears to be a beacon of sanity in what appears to be a Senate that has completely gone off the tracks. I really regret that I was unable to serve with Nick. I just wanted to advise everyone to grow up.

The people who gripe the most about viewpoint neutrality are the people who appear to understand it the least. I’m referring to those who think viewpoint neutrality means one should discard every meaningful factor in regards to determining funding and simply focus on what makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. My friends, that is the polar opposite of viewpoint neutrality.

For all of our legal minded friends out there let’s have a small discussion of what viewpoint neutrality really means. There are two major Supreme Court cases dealing with student mandatory fees and viewpoint discrimination. Rosenberger v. Rectors of the University of Virginia and Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin system v. Southworth. I’m not a lawyer, but I do happen to be literate and can read that both cases define viewpoint neutrality as the absence of viewpoint discrimination. That begs the question, what is viewpoint discrimination? Viewpoint discrimination is not unique to college campuses, but is applied to all sorts of first amendment restrictions. For example, the city of Eugene could potentially ban the posting of political yard signs during this election cycle because they too often interfere with a driver’s ability to see. This regulation would not be viewpoint discriminate and therefore would be viewpoint neutral. However, if Mayor Kitty decided to ban the posting of only Republican yard signs then you have a case of VD and you are not viewpoint neutral.

I don’t see why viewpoint neutrality continues to emerge as a controversial topic, it seems pretty straight forward to me. Viewpoint neutrality simply consists of applying a consistent level of scrutiny and accountability (or lack thereof) on the whole campus. I guess it isn’t as easy when one is trying to manipulate the term to get extra cash for a certain set of friends.

One more thing before I go back to going real work and protecting our great nation from foreign enemies. I read all of the Donnie Kim stuff. Let me first say Donnie is a good guy and form what I can tell he is reasonable man that did a reasonable thing. If you don’t like so called “back door politics” resign and don’t ever get into politics again. Other senators asking you to vote a certain way or sharing their opinions with you is part of the gig. No money or favors are being traded. Nothing illegal is going on. I’ve heard back door politics spewed in the ASUO like Richard Daley is offering real estate deals to Dan Feldman for approving the Oregon Marching Band’s $200 special request for new uniforms. Talking with other senators and trying to sell each other on certain plans isn’t back door politics, it’s politics. And again, like viewpoint neutrality, it seems to me like some of the people pointing the fingers are either unaware what they are talking about or are hypocrites.

Your humble servant,

Neil Brown

PS I apologize for any typos, I’m using a French keyboard with a French spell checker. If you’ve tried to use one, you know what I mean.

PPS Diego, do us all a little favor and suck it up.

  1. Katelyn Runyan-Gless says:

    Let’s be real the ASUO is a joke and should be abolished (and while I haven’t actually thought out this opinion, I’m fairly sure it’s genius).

  2. Neil says:

    True enough Ted. At least like Don Quixote I can say my short comings are simply quixotic,not mean spirited.

    Scarlett says hi.

  3. Niedermeyer says:

    Hey Neil, always good to hear from you buddy. Take it from me though, unless you are physically present to threaten people with violence, the ASUO tends to kinda slip through the fingers. Take my advice and let Arkan take a turn playing Don Quixote for a while.

    Oh, and give Scarlett a pinch on the ass for me!

  4. Sean Jin says:

    Sorry I should have edited it. Haha. I was just excited for the first ever OC post from Belgium.

  5. Neil says:

    Upon further review I realized that that response was full of typos. Its almost 5am here and I haven’t been to bed yet. Plus I am on a french keyboard.

  6. Neil says:

    Thanks for that Patrick, I appreciate the sentiment. I haven’t been that up to date on why Steven resigned/may resign, but he was always someone I considered to be fair and level headed, even when we disagreed. And that really goes to the heart of the issue, no one says we should all agree or that we should never have arguments. I just simply ask for a little mutual respect and a sense that what a person is saying has some grounding in the realities of logic. Hell, I’m a dreamer what can I say.

    Also I should apologize for the quality of the writing in this post. It was hastily written and I didn’t expect it to be a full section in its self (I had originally posted it as a comment to an earlier article). Again forgive the typos are poor choice of words and syntax. Notably in the first paragraph and the over use of the preposition “for” in the Dan Feldman section. Comme l’on dit en Belqiue, je m’excuse.

  7. Patrick says:

    Oh Neil. I kind of wish you were around for PFC this year. Who thought I’d be saying that? You’d also be really proud of Steven.

    My only concern about “viewpoint neutrality” is when comments are made like this group deserves money for a reason other than that they support the University physically and culturally.

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