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Setting the Record Straight

We were forwarded an e-mail (and the subsequent OSPIRG response) from a concerned reader of our blog and the response he got from the Southern Oregon University OSPIRG Chair. During our visit to our very own UO OSPIRG meeting, the campus organizer (paid employee) told us how the UO OSPIRG was able to continue their endeavors despite being de-funded on this campus last year, “We’re being paid by the State of Oregon OSPIRG, which is funded by all the other university chapters in the state of Oregon… so LCC has one and SOU has one.”

As an alum and parent of a current student I’m concerned about a statement made by U of O OSPIRG representatives that funds from other Oregon Universities are being used to keep the U of O chapter afloat after being defunded by the student government. Is this in fact true? My son was approached by an OSPIRG representative on campus yesterday before this news was available so could not ask directly. Thanks for your prompt response.

Steven Plunk
Class of ’84

Dear Mr. Plunk,
In response to your question, it is not in fact true that the other student chapters are/will be funding the U of O chapter.
Thank you for your interest in the SOU chapter of OSPIRG. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
Sarah Westover
OSPIRG SOU Chapter Chair

The SOU OSPIRG does not send direct payments to our UO OSPIRG chapter. What the SOU OSPIRG does is send their money to the administrators for the State of Oregon OSPIRG. At that point, State of Oregon OSPIRG executives divvy up that money to be able to “do the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people”.

Technically, the SOU OSPIRG chair did not lie to our concerned SOU parent. The SOU OSPIRG does not write a check out to the UO OSPIRG chapter. But the funding the UO OSPIRG chapter gets from the State of Oregon OSPIRG comes from the SOU OSPIRG.

Ms. Westover answered Mr. Plunk’s question “straightforward” and without frills. What she failed to mention, however, was how OSPIRG’s funding really works. Without explaining the funding to our concerned parent, I can only assume that Westover was being intentionally deceitful. It’s rather obvious what Mr. Plunk was asking and answering in the way she did doesn’t accurately describe the answer Mr. Plunk was looking for.

Of course, doing that would require a modicum of transparency. That’s not really OSPIRG’s bag.

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