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Non-student Swipes $64,050 of Student Money for Hair Show

Back in March when the ASUO Senate heard over-realized fund requests, the Black Women of Achievement student group received $64,050 of student money for a hair show. This seems like a hell of a lot of money for a hair show, but it’s par for the course for the ASUO. However, we recently obtained a letter from former ASUO Executive Emily McLain to President Frohnmayer that brings to light some startling information. From the letter, dated March 23:

[T]he ASUO Executive has concerns regarding the $64,050 BWA proposal. Our concerns are twofold. The first is that there are organizational concerns regarding the ability of the group to spend the full amount approved for them. This is noteworthy because if a group does not spend money allocated to them it can have disastrous effects on the next budget for the organization. Our other concerns are of a more confidential nature. Individuals within the group have not been in student standing who are acting on behalf of the group. Moreover, some members of the group have expressed concerns to our administration regarding the nature of this proposal and the support, or lack thereof that this proposal has within the organizations involved. This is confidential because we handle student issues through the ASUO Programs Administrator and also our ASUO Programs Coordinator. The ASUO Executive worked to resolve this situation by speaking with some members of the group and gathering information. The timing was simply too hsort to finish this work. Because our concerns and information arose after the process was finished we recommend that Liora Sponko, the ASUO Programs Coordinator, be consulted to work with the group to determine whether these funds will be used or whether they should be denied. Because of the uncertainty of this proposal happening as well as the confidential nature of some concerns we cannot approve this proposal. Though, pending the consultation with the ASUO Programs Coordinator and Administrator and members of the organization, through normal means, this Executive will trust the decision of the University President.

(Full PDF of the letter, with the above section found on pages two and three.)

According to our sources, BWA Director Ashleigh Callier brought the proposal before the Senate, even though she allegedly was not a student at the time. Questions regarding the dubious use of this money and objections from other BWA and BSU members are being looked into. Unfortunately, other corroborating evidence is hard to come by, since both the original over-realized request and the minutes from that meeting are no longer on the ASUO website. This is odd because every other over-realized request is available in PDF.

As is made clear by the letter, Emily McLain was fully aware of these problems, but instead of vetoing the request she passed the buck to the Administration. How wonderful that we allow people not even attending the UO to waltz in to the Senate and walk off with tens of thousands of dollars in student money. How much more wonderful that the ASUO not only tries to ignore it but goes so far as to cover it up by removing public records from its website. Stay tuned for more on this tragi-comic escapade of irresponsibility.

  1. Jobetta says:

    Yes Sean, technically, like minutes. They should be taken and they should be made available. Whether or not the minutes have to be taken is covered under the meetings law, and I’m of course firmly on the side of those who believe they broke the law in that meeting last year when minutes were not taken.

    Chris, that is funny. Maybe it’s just the particular people I’ve dealt with, or maybe the current members learned their lesson after all the arguing I did, including bringing copies of the records/meetings law with me to meetings and when I went to their office. It’s also possible the people I dealt with thought that I didn’t understand the law well enough to know what I had the rights to get my hands on. Of course, it should be said that when I was the reporter, the ASUO was being told by a certain attorney who works for the University that they were not required to follow the public meetings law, despite the fact that 1) the Green Tape Notebook says they do and 2) In 1984, the Attorney General ruled that student governments are in fact subject to that law — Fun fact, that Attorney General was Dave Frohnmayer — so there were some people in the ASUO at the time who really didn’t know what their own rules required.

    That letter itself is covered under the law (so if this were just a rumor, you could request a copy of the letter), as would be any e-mails sent over the senate list serv, documents passed out during the meeting where the request was approved, the request itself, any financial documents the BWA is required to give the Senate, etc. I don’t know what documents could prove that someone was a student at the time she made the request. I know that when I was at UO, the Registrar’s Office would confirm to ODE reporters whether a person was a current student (when I left, requests for anyone other than us were forwarded through some other organization that charged for the information), but I don’t know if they’ll tell you whether someone was a student on a specific date.

  2. Chris Holman says:


  3. Sean says:

    Like Minutes?

  4. Jobetta says:


  5. Chris Holman says:

    Just asked the Hookah, and he said he’s up for a smokin’ good time.

    Speaking of smoking…

  6. Vincent says:

    I concur with Sean: you should bring a hookah. That’d be fun.

    Speaking of which, I think that hookah bar on 13th is opening soon (if it isn’t already).

  7. Sean says:

    Bring your hookahs, Chris, we haven’t had one of those at a Smoke-In yet.

  8. Sakaki says:

    It is a lot of tobacco, and could be a lot more if you bought it from Indian Reservations.


    See? I know where to get the good shit.

  9. […] sent a letter to the Black Women of Achievement today regarding their hair show. Individual messages sent yesterday to former ASUO Executive Emily McLain and BWA Director Ashleigh […]

  10. Chris Holman says:

    Well, why don’t we put together a $64,000 plan for a smoke-in and submit it.

    That’s a lot of tobacco!

  11. OSA Insider says:

    Clearly the post above is from the infamous red head, Tom Hojem, shouldnt u be making college cheaper

  12. Tom says:

    I see that the esteemed President Dotters-Katz was copied on the original, but it still took the courage of the Commentator to get this out in the open.

  13. Vincent says:

    How in the hell could this possibly cost $64,050?

    This was exactly my question. Seems like something could be just as easily put on for a few hundred dollars, if that.

    I heard rumors of promoters being involved, which sounds both extraordinarily costly and utterly unnecessary.

  14. WWB says:

    Maybe it’s a stage version of the 2004 comedy film starring Mo’Nique, described by some two-bit movie critic whose name is too small to make out as “the female Barbershop” and allegedly grossed just $305,281 domestically, which is still a damn sight better than the $30.00 Zyzzyx Road earned.

    I mean, maybe.

  15. Ian says:

    Wait wait wait, I know the non-student and cover up aspects of the story are a big deal, but…

    $64,050 for a “hair show”?

    How in the hell could this possibly cost $64,050?

  16. Truth says:

    The important part to this story is emilyclain is a fraud. She touts student power but exibits political cowardise like a true corrupt OSA shock troop.

  17. Chris Holman says:

    Wouldn’t ASUO stuff be subject to FOIA requests?

    Also interesting that Frohnmayer is apparently the Chief Executive of ASUO? Or am I reading that incorrectly?

  18. Andy says:

    Awesome investigative work guys! This is the stuff that’s going to win awards and have a truly positive impact on student government and the ASUO. Keep digging, government at every level is filled with incompetents and criminals. Keep digging at their foundation and shine a little sunshine into the dark room where conniving party hacks dwell.

  19. Michelle Haley says:

    I know Ashleigh Callier-Wells had/has cancer and probably had to take time off of school for medical care, that’s why she wouldn’t have been a student at the time. Not that this reason excuses the situation–I just wonder if she intentionally “represented” the group as a non-student? The amount of money, regardless of the situation, is ridiculous.

  20. Niedermeyer says:

    What a delightful little summary of everything that is wrong with the ASUO. All the classic elements are in place: the huge sum of student money given to a group who’s members don’t all support the project , the predictable malfeasance, concern from other group members going unnoticed, and then sudden concerns which arise after the appropriation. The inevitable cherry on top is the unwillingness of student “leaders,” to do anything more than make excuses, pass the buck to Frohnmayer and attempt a half-hearted coverup.

    McLain’s letter is a study in the monstrous results of giving students a million-dollar slush fund. Recommendations were rushed, late, contradictory (there are major issues, but whatever, it’s you’re call”), and most don’t pass muster. Telling Frohnmayer that “risk management should not be a factor” for CASL’s request despite that group’s enigmatic “issues in the past”? Building an “S-Shed” isn’t capital construction because dammit, we say so? Get Liora Sponko’s say-so before not approving the BWA request? Sadly, this all just seems so par for the course.

    What this also lays bare is the fact that overrealized fund requests, along with the whole budget, are all subject to Frohnmayer’s approval. Despite the “power to the students” rhetoric of the very Executive that passed this hot potato off to Johnson Hall. Then again, this is exactly what the Administration deserves for allowing this misappropriated slush fund they call the Overrealized fund to even exist. And they’re gonna keep on dealing with these kinds of fiascoes until they kill it dead.

    So Johnson Hall has a choice. They either accept that this is what student government is, and this is how they educate youngsters for a future of political service, or they stop the madness. I (once again) humbly beg the latter.

  21. Sean says:

    I was about to say, it’s only fair for them because of the suffering they’ve experienced as people of color.

  22. Vincent says:

    You’re a racist scumbag for reporting this blatant abuse of student funding by the ASUO, CJ.

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