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OSPIRG to seek funding via ballot measure

OSPIRG President Charles Denson

The ASUO Constitutional Court decided to approve a ballot initiative allowing OSPIRG to refund themselves through popular election this Spring. What that means is that if the ballot passes, it acts as a “mentionable” note to the ASUO–essentially the same as a Senate resolution. It would be non-binding, meaning the ASUO doesn’t actually have to fund OSPIRG.

Still, it’s rather scary how OSPIRG is essentially trying to slip in through the back door, funding-wise. Our elected student government, for two years, has refused to fund the organization on the basis that too much student money goes off campus. In case you missed it, here’s a breakdown of where your money would go if OSPIRG returned to campus:

Budget requested: $117,000

Amount of budget to go off campus: $103,579

The scary part of the whole ordeal is the reckless attitude the OSPIRG members have towards student funds. The scariest part of a meeting Guy Simmons and I attended in October was when one OSPIRG staffer said of the organization’s funding, “It’s only like, a $1.66 to every student on campus. I mean, $1.66 isn’t that much.”

Above is a picture of OSPIRG chapter president Charles Denson. He’s around the EMU a lot. I encourage you to ask him for $1.66 every time you see him. Then we’ll see how much $1.66 is to him.

The OSPIRG initiative asks the question, “Should the ASUO fund the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) at a level that allows OSPIRG to hire professional staff to advocate on behalf of students locally, statewide, and nationally in places like the State Legislature and Congress?”

The answer is no.

  1. Dan says:

    ” Are they aware that only something like 5-10% of the student body actually votes on ballot measures pertaining to student government? Thats the entire population of the people who vote! It seems like whatever results that the ballot measure actually would yield are completely meaningless

  2. […] accordance with the post I published on Feb. 1st, it seems more and more OSPIRG representatives (many of them non-students) […]

  3. Orev says:

    But, but, they want to build a high speed train between Portland and Vancouver! But, but, they want open source text books on campus!

    Are we in Portland or Vancouver?

    One professor in four years has signed on to do open source text books!

    We used to waste $120,000 per year on this racket! We kicked them off campus, let’s keep them off campus!

  4. Wat says:

    Exactly what decisions have OSPIRG influenced that help students?

    Every item they claimed to have brought to campus (legal help, text book prices, etc.) have all been available from other student service or have been laughably non-existent.

    During this entire debacle no one has clearly stated a single thing they’ve done to improve my life as a student. I want provable results, not a bunch of feel good talk.

  5. Zoe says:


    In a democracy, sometimes the public make collective decisions that affect everyone–including those who don’t agree. If we asked people to individually donate to infrastructure, social security, or medicare, we wouldn’t have very much of any of those things.

    I also don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that our student fees will be spent not only where students physically are, but also where decisions that impact students are made.

  6. Darren says:

    Why don’t you donate to them directly? Why is it so important that they receive student money? If I felt that the SPIRG was a good place for my money I would donate directly and not try to speak for the rest of the students. There is a reasonable expectation that our student fees will be spent here since that is where the students are.

  7. Zoe says:

    I’m happy for my student fees to go off-campus. Most of the decisions that affect me as a student and as a citizen are made in places like the state legislature and Washington, D.C., so I’m glad OSPIRG staff can represent me there. I’ll definitely be voting YES for OSPIRG.

  8. Ossie says:

    I’ll set the opening over-under on money spent by Oregon State PIRG during this campaign: $8,850.50.

  9. Betz says:


    “stealing”, “taking”, “allocated” – it all depends on your perspective; I mean, po-tA-to, po-tah-to, right? I, for one, think that student money belongs ON CAMPUS; any attempt to send it to somewhere else – be it the Oregon State PIRG in Portland, or to lobbyists in Salem … and then trying to conceal this fact as much as possible – is akin to money laundering. I am sure you would call it something else … “creative appropriating”?

    What evidence is hoped to be gained from the ballot measure? Obviously, our student government does not kneel to the demands of mob rule (as evidenced in the previous senate meetings) – but how much of a representation does OSPIRG plan on getting from this ballot? Are they aware that only something like 5-10% of the student body actually votes on ballot measures pertaining to student government? Thats the entire population of the people who vote! It seems like whatever results that the ballot measure actually would yield are completely meaningless – both from a legal point of view as well as a statistical one.

  10. zstarmac says:

    Ballot measures exist to gauge student’s opinions on a given issue, how is that underhanded? And since the decision still lies with the ACFC and the Senate, I don’t see how it could be circumventing student government.
    Also, how would being allocated money by the student government, especially if student’s vote to support them, be “stealing” student’s money?
    Love always,

  11. nike urbanism duk says:

    No, it is just a green Ewok.

  12. Chris says:

    Dan, if that is a leprechaun it is the hairiest leprechaun I ever did see.

    I think he is in fact a furry in a green construction hat…which is much stranger.

  13. Danimal says:

    Is that a leprechaun?

  14. Steve says:

    Hi Zach
    I understand you love OSPIRG.
    But how is circumventing the elected representatives that is the student government not in any way rather underhanded? Sure, Con Court is part of the ASUO, but the rest of you kids are the ones that really count. It’s getting really sad to see OSPIRG fight tooth-and-nail to steal student funding.
    It doesn’t matter anyway, seeing as how Southworth says you can’t fund groups via ballot measure.


  15. zstarmac says:

    Hi Commentator,
    I understand you don’t like OSPIRG.
    But how is asking every student on campus if the ASUO they should fund professional staff in the State Legislature and Congress (off campus) sneaking through the back door? Isn’t that the most public way to do anything?


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