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Con Court Can Lick Our Collective Nuts

I thought I’d post our editorial from the Elections Issue, for those who were too lazy to read it. Here’s the ODE’s editorial from today on the same issue.  

We apologize for the crude headline. We don’t literally want the justices to lick our collective nuts, so we hope they don’t take it seriously. Likewise, we won’t take what they say seriously.

Con Court recently made a ruling and denied a motion for reconsideration that sets the precedent that ASUO candidates cannot advertise with the Oregon Daily Emerald, and by default, the Oregon Commentator.

Election Rule 6-12 states that no candidate “shall employ, for any purpose relating to such election or ballot measure, any University facility or resource to which other electors do not have equal access.”

Con Court’s tragicomical interpretation of the rule in this case is that since the Emerald, a contracted service independent from the University, could potentially deny a candidate ad space, candidates do not have equal access to it and thus breaks the election rules. A footnote in the court’s opinion says, “This is just an interpretation of the Election Rule 6.12, not a determination of the validity of said rule.”

Sam Dotters-Katz and Johnny Delashaw, Exec candidates with the Oregon Action Team slate, signed a contract with the Emerald for 10 half-page color ads and several smaller ads. After the ruling came out, a grievance was filed to the Elections Board about the ads. The Hearings Committee admitted it cannot “invalidate contracts between candidates and the Emerald,” but said it “must balance the electoral advantage provided by advertisements in the Emerald with the disadvantage suffered by all other candidates.” The solution that was pulled out of someone’s ass is that if a candidate or slate runs an advertisement in the Emerald, they “may not appear on campus wearing or carrying clothing or accessories that endorse or refer to the advertised campaign.”

If anyone breaks this rule, the Hearings Committee can remove them from the ballot.

By the Con Court’s theoretical reasoning, candidates should also not be allowed to ride the bus on route to any election event or meeting. The Lane Transit District, which contracts with the ASUO to provide transportation services for students, is its own company, and has the right to exclude people from LTD buses and facilities. Of course, the LTD would never deny someone service because of a political affiliation in an ASUO election. In the same way, the Emerald and the Oregon Commentator would never deny someone advertising for any political reason, only if said advertisement is deemed offensive. (Actually, in the OC, pretty much anything goes as long as we get our dough). Both publications have run several candidate advertisements in the past. This ruling not only infringes upon free speech rights – Con Court can’t tell us what to print [boobs, penis, Jesustitty-fucking-Christ] – it also takes much needed revenue away from both publications. The Commentator was negotiating with Dotters-Katz and Delashaw to run a paid back page ad for their campaign. In protest, the Commentator has decided to donate space for their advertisement. In good sporting nature, we have also donated an ad to their opponents.

As OC Editor Emeritus Ted Niedermeyer said, this is “just more proof that Con Court badly needs to be gutted and replaced with people who are not connected with the good old ASUO interests. I have literally never read an opinion by those clowns that has made a tiny bit of sense, and yet they basically have absolute power over the ASUO.”

But what has become clear in all of this is that the Con Court is composed of illiterate pudding heads. If any of the candidates actually sued the Con Court over their ruling a real judge would laugh in the Court’s face. Not only is it unconstitutional for a government to try to regulate what a newspaper can print, but what the Con Court and Elections Board did is also silly and irrational. “Well we say you can’t run ads, but if you do, you aren’t allowed to wear your T-shirts.” That last sentence just about sums up the ASUO’s actual influence on campus. They try to make these grandiose statements about government, diversity and making a change, but in the end they come off as petty gnats arguing about who can wear what T-shirt.

The real losers in all this are the students. Once again we have the body that’s supposed to be looking out for the students’ best interests looking out for themselves. During election season we hear a lot of promises: more transparency, lower costs, sustainability. But it’s all noise. The real ASUO doesn’t care about any of those things. All the ASUO cares about is the preservation of the status quo. Since the inception of the Commentator 25 years ago we have been railing against the same shit: the incompetent self-serving circus that is and always will be the ASUO. Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe we’re pissed off and drunk. But the thing is, you should be too.

  1. […] give the benefit of the doubt to any ruling coming from the elections board, and their ruling once again seems completely arbitrary and nonsensical. However, I have trouble being outraged because, […]

  2. […] Which is funny because the posters that the OAT are allowed to give away cost more to print than a pack of ramen. Of course, there’s still a long ways to go before elections get as absurd as last year. […]

  3. […] That’s the gist of it. Now here’s the opinion part: Amendments I and IV are desperately needed. Con-Court and the Elections Board are an embarrassment. This was proved amply enough last election season, when things got certifiably FUBAR. […]

  4. […] of the Oregon Daily Emerald Laura Powers is filing a grievance against Con Court for their recent ruling declaring that ASUO candidates can’t advertise with campus media. Powers is appealing the […]

  5. Ian says:

    Great editorial.

  6. Matt Petryni says:

    It’s corruption at the highest levels of the lowest government!

    Thanks for reposting this, Ossie, it’s an excellent editorial.

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