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

Taken aback part deux

Take Back the Campus was what it was. I’m a little embarrassed at my own ignorance of the situation; I thought it would be more of an open forum. Silly me. It was obvious that a lot of work went into this. But just because one works hard doesn’t mean the results will be good. There were numerous petitions made, cameras, Zane Kesey was there, many (so many!) student presenters and the rest of the works. Yet, not much was accomplished with all these resources.

There were about 100 students who attended. I figure at least half were ASUO insiders and about half of the rest left half-way through. Some of the speakers were good, some were not. Depending upon the audience, some ideas were good and some were not. All together the forum informed maybe 25 students about issues that have been in the newspapers for weeks and months.

When it was all said and done, there was one dissenting voice. When the presentations were over and it opened up to “an open forum,” Ryan McCarrel asked to use the podium. In the past few weeks, he has been creating discussion via e-mails with political science students about apathy. He had a prepared statement, which he was not allowed to finish, about the need for change. Now imagine the irony of it all. On the chalk board “MAKE CHANGE” was written huge and “APATHY” with a slash through it was there too. McCarrel spoke about the problem of widespread apathy within the student body, and the desperate need for a change to better the student body as a whole. Sen. Nate Gulley yelled out “bullshit”. Sen. Patrick Boye interrupted to call out the Oregon Commentator (not sure why; we hadn’t said anything). It was obvious that those in charge did not want to have a discussion about change or apathy. They wanted to finish their job and go home.

Here is the speech that McCarrel didn’t get to finish.

Power or Politics: The ASUO, and the Need for a Separate Student Association –

Forgive me for my ignorance of the inner workings of the ASUO and other groups on campus, as I’m sure you will soon become aware of and will no doubt use to discredit many of my claims after I’m done – However ill informed I may be – I speak a simple truth, one in which, through a mass email on apathy, I have found many people share – that is the ASUO is not adequately representing the student body.

I give credence to many of Emily’s successful trips to Salem and acknowledge the contributions members of the senate and student groups have given to the community. In no way is it my intent to make personal attacks, rather, I feel that I must explain how the institution itself has failed to speak for the majority of students on campus.

Power, Or Politics?

There are many members of the ASUO that are not present tonight, for fear that one of the organizers of the event is going to run for president, and that by coming to an event sponsored by him or her, they will inadvertently be supporting their ticket – This is an example of what I call, the Politicization of the ASUO.

The discussion students are having, particularly in the Daily Emerald and Senate, about protecting our right to control incidental fees, has convinced us of a false truth. That is- that financial control equals the actualization of power, and progress for students. Unfortunately, the debate over incidental fees takes a disproportionate amount of time, or political capital, if you will, as it focuses the attention of our elected representatives on lobbying for and representing student groups on campus, of which relatively few students participate in. Because these groups inherently compete for financial resources, and sometimes have ideological conflicts the ASUO becomes further politicized. The focus on the  groups well-being detracts the required attention the greater student body deserves, and demands from our representatives.

Because the ASUO has financial control over incidental fees, and because it represents groups rather than students, our elected representatives become politicized. Instead of seeing progress, we find ourselves engaged in endless debates that alienate the student bodies interest in the institution itself, and seemingly fails to produce tangible results.

Therefore, I feel we must create a new institution that is freely accessible to the student body. By free, I mean no elected representatives, no specific titled interest groups – such an institution will only illicit inaction from the majority of students. Let me be clear, I do not advocate dismantling the ASUO – it serves a purpose – and student groups are obviously an important part of our community -however it has effectively distanced itself from the greater student body.

This student body feels apathetic, not because we do not care, but because we feel that we have lost, or never had, an ability to influence the UO, and it demands the right to be heard.

Thus, this new institution must have certain characteristics:

FIRST – It must serve as a medium between faculty and students. Here at the UO we have no adequate means of addressing our grievances to professors and administration. A collective effort is more able to demand change and results from the faculty – Evaluation reports, no longer suffice – we must have a means to articulate our interests, that will effectively cross the generational divide. The administration and faculty is not our enemy – there is no big brother – there is only an institution that fears change. We must act in a way that makes them respect us, not fear our creativity.

SECOND – It can never be given control over the financial welfare of other groups, nor can it become institutionalized by the UO- by doing so we would inherently be giving up our guarantee  that our collective voice is not being mitigated by the interests of the university. Additionally, by removing this process, the student association will be able to focus on issues that matter to the vast majority of students, by not becoming a politicized institution.

THIRD – It must be freely accessible to students, and it must maintain a high level of transparency to retain a sense of legitimacy. To make this institution successful we must retrieve a disconnected student body from their sense of dis empowerment. We must make every student at the UO feel as if he or she has a place where they can voice their interests, that they will be heard, and more importantly, acted upon. Therefore, the institution cannot be founded on elections, or membership in an interest group – by freely accessible, I mean freedom from  an institution that by its nature, requires formal involvement.

FOURTH- It must not become a national organization. National and statewide organizations alienate local students who feel as if their impact in such a large organization is mitigated, and as if their own individual comments are lost within a preexisting network.

FIFTH – Most important, we must realize, that this generation is different from our predecessors. We think, learn, and act in different ways than the student activists of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Leaders today must facilitate involvement of their generation, not ask for it – we must use our creative ambition to develop new unique ways to demonstrate our interests.

This is not a fully developed nor thought out plan, and any input is obviously appreciated.

A few things I feel need to be acted upon –

We should create a student forum – online perhaps- that holds the university accountable to our grievances. By leaving a paper trail we will be able to address certain issues that have gone unsolved, and appeal to the university to act on them.

This forum would also easily allow students to participate and voice their concerns. By acting on their contributions, we will retrieve the student body from the feeling of apathy, disinterest, and dis empowerment.

Lastly, it would provide a space in which students could freely talk to professors, without the traditional student professor, power relationship.

I, and others, also believe that tests and papers should never have a students name on it until after grading. Instead, it should be by ID number only.

There of course, are far more important issues that are being discussed now, that must be acted upon as well. 

I believe that these, and more significant changes, can only occur if we have an unique institution that acts with students, not in the name of students – that is not politicized -that is not ideologically predisposed to any certain belief – and that will always remain open and transparent.
I would like to thank the organizers of this event for providing an open space to discuss the important issue of student involvement. I am now open for any questions or comments.
Ryan McCarrel
UO Undergraduate
… and interested student

Interesting. Seems like Ryan came to the event expected a more open forum too.

  1. Chris says:

    Timothy: Obviously I am because Time Cube actually = Pavel Goberman

  2. Niedermeyer says:

    Also, feel free to substitute the appropriate form of the word “drink” wherever you see the word “work.” Except for the joining the media part.

    That is all.

  3. Niedermeyer says:

    Ryan: I wasn’t trying to put you on the defensive. I was trying to explain the fact that “wanting to help people conceptualize a new meta narrative for our generation” doesn’t help anything beyond your own ego. Here’s a new meta narrative for our generation: get over the navel-gazing, “must change everything,” christ-complex and do a little god damn work. If you don’t want to do any actual work, join the media. Either way, get a handle on the fact that there is nothing more irritating than feel-good bromides spouted by someone with no practical knowledge at all of their topic.

    As creepily self-serving, misguided and venal as the current crop of ASUO tools are, they are all doing something. McLain may be a temperamental careerist with whom I disagree on nearly every point, but she works like a maniac. Ditto most of the other squinty dweebs who occupy Suite 4. Anyone who wants to have any kind of impact on things has to work for it. Period.

    Thanks a lot for turning me into a cranky old man. Best of luck with meta narrative construction.

  4. Timothy says:

    Chris: You are obviously educated stupid.

  5. Ryan says:

    Although representation isnt my word of choice… it might be that there’s no word for what I’m thinking of… access maybe…

  6. Ryan says:


    In every organization there are (at least according to one class) tough minded individuals, and open minded individuals. Starting a respectful conversation with the more open minded individuals, that will then approach some of the more tough minded individuals is the best way to achieve change in my opinion. Not by making accusatory remarks, and putting people on the defensive. Also, I really cant run, didnt want to anyways, I’m going to South America here in a few weeks. All I want to do, is try and help people conceptualize a new meta narrative for our generation, hopefully that includes more involvement, and better representation.

  7. Chris says:

    Time Cube = Don Goldman?

  8. Timothy says:

    It’s fun if you’re drunk enough.

  9. Niedermeyer says:

    Ryan: I think the point that is trying to be made here is that you’re generally on the right track, but that you need to take a practical approach to all this rather than an idealistic one. I’m in the middle of cooking right now and gan bian si ji dou waits for no man, so I’ll make it this simple. Read, read and read some more. Read a few years of OC and ODE archives and you’ll have the historical context to understand all this a bit better. I feel your enthusiasm, but this issue aint about generational change. It’s about tough-minded individuals calling the bullshit as it is, and putting in long hours to make things a tiny bit better before their four short years at babysitting 2.0 are over. Sounds like fun, huh?

  10. ThunderLove says:

    Hear the Thunder, feel the Love

  11. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Do not mock the time cube, Timothy you are obviously educated stupid, and your opposite mind cannot grasp the reality of the cubic day.

  12. Timothy says:

    Ryan: Do you have the knowledge of cubic existence, four cubic days in one rotation of the Earth? Seriously, I think it’s really germain to what you have to say about rationality. Also, are you familiar with Aaron Shakra?

  13. Drew2 says:

    Frankly I like to blame all my unfixable problems on lawyers and beauracrats so that I can drink with a free conscience.

    Our voice is being heard. We’re just too stupid to realize that it’s called Facebook, attendance figures and forecasted operating costs.

  14. Ryan says:

    Niedermeyer, Thank you for actually having a discussion about my ideas.

    1. I believe the media takes too much effort for the majority of students, and has institutional restraints to expressing ideas as well. This is unfortunate, but again, my goal is to create something, i’m not sure what, that will facilitate involvement, not ask for it. This is a really important distinction from most forms of student activism/opinions/involvement that we have today including the media, groups, and ASUO. Which again I find value in all of these preexisting institutions, but feel as if our generation needs to create something new that works with our unique capabilities and interests. Unfortunately, I dont have a clear idea of what this would look like. Its sort of like being able to identify symptoms of a disease, without being able to find the cure.

    2. I think every rational instinct in my body agrees with you. Unfortunately, rationality is a construct that comes out of agreeing with previous assumptions that have created what we exist in today, not what we wish to create in the future. Therefore, my “heart” if you will, wishes this wasnt the only way, and is still trying to find other avenues.

    3. It’s too bad that we need to luck to try and institute change, but its true.

    Thank you for commenting on my ideas, not the reaction to them the night of the event. If you would like to continue this discussion that would be really great as I’m always interested in other points of view and other ideas.

  15. Niedermeyer says:

    Good stuff, Ryan. A few thoughts on the subject:

    1- A parallel institution to document grievances? It’s called the media. It sounds like you’d be a good fit for the OC, but you want to get this stuff mainstream you should consider writing a scathing weekly ASUO column for the ODE. Either way, the only way to change things is to call the situation as it is as publicly as possible.

    2- The goals you set out will only be realized through reform of the ASUO. And the entrenched interests you correctly identify will fight this every step of the way. This reform will only happen through the bullet or the ballot, and for obvious legal reasons I recommend using the latter (admittedly less appealing) option. Serving in the ASUO will likely be the single most aggravating experience of your life, but it is also the only way to guarantee that someone will at least try to impliment reform. If you wade into the mess though, be sure to bring friends you can count on. Otherwise you’re screwed.

    3- Good freaking luck. Maybe someday we’ll be able to retire the “things only Ted cares about” tag on this blog in favor of an “ASUO Reform Movement” tag. Nothing would make me happier.

  16. Sean says:


  17. Jake says:

    I make a motion to eliminate the *ASUO knock* from the commentator blog from this point forward.

  18. Sean says:

    *ASUO knock* for Ryan.

  19. Ryan says:

    I’m a PoliSci major, a lot of them are in my classes. Oh, and I’m not running so it wasnt a campaign speech. Most of what I know about the ASUO comes from the fact that I read the Daily Emerald during my lunch. lol people are so convinced that my ideas for some negative purpose. All I wanted to do was talk to people about the fact that an institution that has blocks to being involved, and takes enormous efforts to act with or in, is not the type of institution that will facilitate the involvement of most students.

  20. Patrick says:

    I still have no idea why I mentioned the Commentator. In fact, I was hoping one of you guys picked up on that because it was kind of out of place. Probably because by that point everyone else had left and the only people I recognized were CJ and Sean. More or less, I was irritated, tired, and really not into hearing someone’s campaign speech. I guess some people feel like the entire night was a campaign speech. I’m probably naive enough to actually think that it was supposed to be about being united as a student voice.

    Anyone else find it problematic that Ryan McCarrel knew so much about people running for ASUO Executive but still claimed to be an outsider student who doesn’t know much about the ASUO? I mean I honestly have no clue who is running (I have my guesses and I know about the Oregon Action Team slate thing ran featuring Derek Nix) so how does this outsider know more than me. Wouldn’t that make him an ASUO insider?

    Anyways, filing begins in the morning and everything will be clear. Thank God I never had to run.

  21. Dan Anderson says:

    This speech was actually just a chance for the raging lunatic Ryan to begin his candadicy, and the speech called for such radical things as the abolition of the ASUO, the impeachment of president bush, and other such nonsense. Ryan was a complete idiot, and he should have never been allowed to speak

  22. Sean says:

    Ossie, why do you care about accuracy? Our flagship publication, the Emerald, doesn’t.

  23. Ryan says:

    Vincent, I’m glad you asked, because that’s the greatest part about the theoretical debate/discussion individuals could have that help to create such an institution. That’s part of thinking outside the box in a way.

  24. Ossie says:

    To be accurate, he was cut off once and then allowed to continue and then he agreed to continue the debate at a later date. And Gulley’s remark was a fake cough not a yell.

  25. Lee says:

    Is Ryan running? That’s a well written speech, it’s too bad he was heckled. Especially at a meeting that was supposed to encourage students to share their opinions. I missed this mostly because I heard it was nothing more than the usual pre-election politics, which it appears to have been.

    I do believe though that the ASUO is accessible and any student who is concerned with the ongoings of the University is welcome to run for election or get involved via other outlets offered on campus. Writing for the Commentator and Insurgent are both good options.

    On another note both of my roommates responded to McCarrel’s mass email with:

    “Who cares?”

  26. Vincent says:

    One part that really leaves me wondering is this:

    Therefore, I feel we must create a new institution that is freely accessible to the student body. By free, I mean no elected representatives, no specific titled interest groups

    Who will this institution consist of, if not elected officials? Appointees? Volunteers?

    Did I just miss something?

  27. Jake says:

    at what point did they cut him off?

  28. Sean says:

    He should be.

  29. Ossie says:

    Also, afterward I was told that many people were wondering if Ryan is a writer for the Commentator. No he is not.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.