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Archive for April, 2010

OC Endorses McCafferty for ASUO President.

April 5th, 2010 by Editorial Board

Here at the Oregon Commentator we had high hopes for our most recent ASUO executive ticket, but sadly the students of the University of Oregon do not want a more swashbuckling ASUO. With that being said, Alex McCafferty is the right choice for ASUO president.

McCafferty has experience within the ASUO, he served as  senate president two years ago and is currently the omsbudsperson for the ASUO. Alex and Alden’s campaign  platform  sets out specific goals that will increase oppurtunity while decreasing costs. By focusing on goals such as student parking, LTD contracts and athletic tickets McCafferty is clearly able to show that his platform will benefit students from every spectrum at the University of Oregon. McCafferty also is a staunch opponent of renewing OSPIRG’s contract with the ASUO.

McCafferty’s position on the ACFC in the last year shows that he is more than able to handle the budgetory process in a harsh economic climate. He was able to restructure a struggling ticketing  system while at the same time reducing the cost for students.

Rousseau and Arora have leadership ability and present  inspiring ideas to improve student life on campus. However their platform is more focused on internal problems with the UO as an institution. Also they are both  OSPIRG supporters.

McCafferty will be a president who works for every student. Vote McCafferty and Williams for president.

Candidate Interviews: McCafferty/Williams

April 5th, 2010 by Drew Cattermole

OC: What students groups are you involved in?

AM: I am an ASUO senator, I work on the board of directors for the  Oregon Daily Emerald, I am a student on the University hearings board, and I also serve  in the student leader capacity on many University committees.

AW: I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority , I currently an advocate for the Substance Abuse Prevention Program and I’m working on internships for my major as well.

: Can you give us a description of your platform?

AM: Our platform is very comprehensive. It’s all under the realm of saving student’s money. The first is responsible spending; we have athletic tickets, LTD and enhancing the EMU. So I will go through the first two. The first is responsible spending, every year the mandatory fee students pay goes up, and we want to make sure it does not do this because currently we pay the highest mandatory fee in the country. We have as student leaders autonomy in our student government, we have direct access over the allocation of the money and in our capacity we want to make sure that number does not increase and in fact decrease. The next is student tickets, it has been a pretty long process for myself I have been very involved in the student ticketing process. This past year we created the season pass program, I think this was very well received very well thought out and implemented because  it gives more students a opportunity to attend football games. It also gives, fans who are willing to pay for a season pass a guaranteed spot at football home game. That is something that many students really wanted and will provide them that opportunity. Next it actually decreased the size of the ASUO budget, we were able to reduce the size of the ASUO athletics contract by 5%, while increasing opportunity to attend those games. Because actually increased the amount of tickets being obtained by combining season passes and free tickets with a full student section for every Pac-10 home game and that was all done while reducing the budget, which was a great success. We want to continue this because we have the opportunity to increase opportunity while limiting costs. We want to expand the student section at Autzen stadium. Frankly 5,445 seats is not enough seats with the size of the student body we have now. So our first priority would be to lobby to increase the size of the student section at Autzen stadium.

AW: As you can see Alex really loves football and football tickets. I’m going to touch on a few of our platform points that are also very important. One of them being the EMU renovation that is going to happen with the Oregon 20/20 plan. With that being said there is several points we need to keep in mind  in that renovation as a potential executive and that is increasing the space and facilities s and making the facilities in general more  accessible for clubs, students groups, unions, all the students using resources at the EMU. Also increasing revenue because right now our EMU is not self sustainable, we are not bringing a lot of money in, and we are looking at getting a few more businesses and potentially a sports bar in the new EMU which would bring in a lot more revenue than right now and create more of a residential community  where students really want to be. In addition to that we want to make sure that the EMU renovation includes input from students. We realize this is not something that is going to be happening any time within our legacy here, if you will. We would like to make sure that students are advocated for and when this does happen that it is well thought out and students are represented. Next I would like to address the issue of the urban Farm. Right now the urban farm has been here for thirty or forty years and they are a growing program but they do not have enough space and in order to work with them and address that issue we would like  to put them on the I-fee.  Also work with the CASTLE project as they are a partnership and we believe that  sustainable living and sustainable parking are really important.

AM: Our next issue is student parking. Some students do not live within the realm of the bus stops, some students have no other choice to drive to school and to attend class they need to bring their car. Right now it cost an incredible amount to obtain a parking spot and currently the administration has more passes than it currently has spots. Which is the first thing we need to fix. Secondly, we also need to increase the amount of parking places we have. It is unfair to make students pay these outrageous fees to even get to class. The tangible way we can do that is to open up the Autzen lot for student parking. The Autzen parking lot is currently only used for football games and unfortunately there is not very many of those days.  Every other day it is an empty lot not being used in any other sort of function.  We can open the Autzen  lot, let students park there and rework the LTD contract to provide a shuttle service from the Autzen lot to campus which will hopefully decrease the cost that is necessary  to get a parking spot and increase the spots available so students have a tangible way to get to school without paying  over $300 for parking fees.

AW: And also making sure that the LTD services are staying were they are right now and providing as much as possible  for students with a lower cost in addition to the parking issue that Alex addressed.

OC: You talked about keeping the  I-fee low,  how would you achieve that?

AM: There are a variety of ways, first is creative growth. That is something that I strive for and something that I think the season passes did.  Season passes increased opportunity while lowering the budget. Again we lowered the budget by 5% and increasing opportunity for additional services to students and that will lower the I-fee. Additionally if we move services off the fee to the general fund. Currently, the career center is in the process of moving off the I-fee to the general fund. The career center obviously still stands is still functional however students will not be paying for it through their mandatory fees. We can do the exact same thing with campus recycling. Campus recycling is a wonderful program, something we need on campus, something that we support however the administration is glad to pick it up, it can easily fall into facilities and services  which is really where it belongs.  If we move that of the fee and into the g-fund within in facilities and services  we can lower the I-fee without reducing services, we can maintain and in fact increase services  with creative growth and that is exactly how we lower the I-fee. Alden?

AW:  We would like to also prepare ahead of time. When it comes to student budgets there are a lot of groups that are dealing with a large or small budget anomaly and are having issues but right now we don’t have advising or resources to create that budget and have to propose it to senate. The process of asking for money and budget forecasting is not that is readily accessible to all student groups. So we would like to improve that process and make sure that we are preparing ahead of time, not only ourselves but all groups involved so we don’t have unnecessary or unplanned shortfalls so that we don’t have that overwhelming surplus to refill the hole we can potentially create without planning ahead.

OC: Alex, you were big on bringing the New York Times to campus and if elected would you keep the NYT on campus.

AM: In the primary debates today they asked us what would you do in the first ten weeks of office I answered that the NYT is a clear tangible benefit that was in demand by the students and unfortunately it was not funded through the ASUO process this year which is OK, because as the executive if elected one of the first things we would do is secure funding mostly through fundraising as soon as possible.

OC: Can you define “sustainability?”

AM: Sustainability will not require funds to be continually increased, so if you want to be sustainable you are self-sufficient. You are able to provide for yourself without taking outside resources or outside funding and keeping the intake of student funds increasing every year.

OC: If you get elected, what is the one thing a year from now you would be proud of.

AM: The thing I would be most proud of is expanding the student section at  Autzen stadium bringing the NYT to campus and most importantly reducing the cost of education at this university. That is my prime goal. That’s what I personally would be most proud of because this is a wonderful university, however it costs more and more every year to come here and as the ASUO president one of the most important things I could do to lower the cost of education.

AW: I think we both share that is important that students funds stay here on campus and students know where their funds are going and transparency within student government is very clear. I want students to be informed on what we are spending their money on and what their resources are and just exactly what it is what were doing.

OC: Thank you for your time.

Candidate Interviews: Rousseau and Arora

April 5th, 2010 by Drew Cattermole

OC– Could you give us an outline of your platform?

AR– We have four main platform points.  First is better advocating for student housing rights on campus,  thirdly is you know more efficient spending and making sure that our fees are spent wisely and effectively, and then we have sustainability and making sure that students have a say in how that money is spent for student sustainability improvement on campus and then

– Also making sure students voices are heard.
AR– yes, definitely, and then fourthly is you know building communities, fostering civic engagement and  bridging gaps between communities on campus.

OC– Can you divulge into what student groups you’re involved with currently?

AR-for sure  I am currently working with the ASUO executive and I created the first annual farmers market. I am a member of Pi Beta Phi where I was publications chair I was an honest college chip leader, freshman mentor and fig assistant.  I was an honors college editor and chief of the arts journal.  I’ve been a member of alternative spring break and I am on the, er I was on the Greek judicial board.

MA– oh and then me as well?

OC– Yes

MA– Okay so I’m a campaign manager with OSPIRG,  I’m the team coordinator with the climate justice league.  I’ m also a member of the students of the Indian subcontinent and then I was last year a member of the Warsaw sports business club.

OC-Your website’s mission says  “we will make sure legislators and candidates for governor know that students can’t afford anymore debt” how do you reconcile that statement with your support for OSPIRG a group that would incur  117 thousand dollars to students if operational.

MA-um yea what was the question?

-*repeats question*

MA-yea totally, one of the things about OSPIRG is its cost effective so you’re getting a $600,000  organization for $117,000. um also they work on issues that save um students and citizens of Oregon money, such as the health care bill that passed in Oregon last year, to save citizens of Oregon 12 billion dollars over ten years, um so those are the kind of things that they are able to  to do with that 117 thousand dollars so its not like you’re throwing away money, its that you’re making an investment to get money back,  and the other thing is, ya know,  I’m voting yes on OSPIRG,  but as president and vice president you know we respect what students think, and so its really up to students if they think that OSPIRG is important on campus,  so theres a question on the ballot  and if students vote to have OSPIRG on this campus, if they think its important to them then we should respect that.

OC–  I noticed on one of your campaign website your bullet point is a civic engagement minor, can you explain that?

AR– yea totally, its something were really excited about,  its been talked about  vice president Kassa has been  working on that this year and we are going to continue  promote the creation of this minor, and the theory behind it is that you know students should be able to learn  outside their academic life, you know they’re in class for a couple hours a day but so much of our learning and experience comes outside the classroom and the minor would allow students to get academic credit for things that they’re already involved in. Community service that they are already doing on campus, both in campus  on campus and within the Eugene community as well. um and so it would be kinda like working with um some sort of internship independent project attached to a organization both on or off campus and then also mixing and matching classes that fit with that project, with that specific passion interest. so we’re really excited about it and i think that its a really great way for students to take autonomy over their own education and be able to find things that they’re going to learn tangible skillsfor the future at the same time they’re making a difference.

OC– Would there be restrictions on to what you can study?

AR– I’m not sure what the restrictions would be, but I think that it would definitely have to be, you know, planned out with an adviser, but again it would definitely be very creative and you know,  you would have say over how that was put together.

OC– Another one of your campaign centers around renters rights. Could you explain  that?

AR-Yea definitely, so iIthink you know a lot of you know Eugene students are first time renters so you know they’re reluctant to fend for themselves to find housing on their own,  even you know from the first time they enroll in school you know the administration has allowed 4x more freshman than we have beds for currently, so you know that right there students have to find housing on their own, they’re being you know having to have roommates that they don’t know before or they’re not necessarily their first choice for a living situations  and then you know when they do become renters  you know they move out of the residence halls,  students haven’t really been educated on what their rights are what they can do against you know big real estate companies or just ya know one on one you know landlords smaller time landlords, and  I think the ASUO is a great place for students to get educated on what their rights are, so you know holding workshops going to groups in the residence halls and things like that. and just letting them know just being able to support them in finding housing and also when they’re in it just making sure they’re in contact with things like legal services, conflict resolution, things that already exist on campus that not enough students know about.

OC– Are you guys running on the slate?

– no were independent candidates, like you.

OC-nice, that brings me to this question. What would you do if you guys were voted to executive positions to keep senators on the senate.

AR-I think one thing that’s really important is just maintaining good you know personal and professional relationships with each and every senator. That means you know both Getachew and sorry, both Maneesh and I will do a great job, I think Getachew has done ya know tried to do that as the vice president but I think  Maneesh and I really value that and making sure that we ya know promote good relations between senate and the executive so we can get ya know get really good work done and work together on that. Ya know so checking with them having meetings, making sure were communicating with not just the senate president but every senator.

OC– So at the end of the 2010/1011 school year, if you’re voted in whats the one thing that you want students to reflect on your administration?

MA– the one thing, that’s tough. I think one of the things for me is just to see how passionate we are about a lot of the issues that we care about, I mean I know Amelie is really passionate about like the farmers market and civic engagement and housing, she talks a lot about that, I’m really passionate about civic engagement as well as well as sustainability, we both have done a lot of work on this campus.  we’ve seen what students can do when we collaborate and when we work together on issues that we care about,  and we really just want to be a voice for that positive energy and that activism

-for sure

MA-and so I think one of the things I want people to look back on is hopefully how were able to bring people together, because I think that’s really important, and I think there is a lot of students on this campus that care about similar things, and we just want to give them the support and the resources that they can.

AR–  I would second that and I’d say that  ya know we don’t necessarily know, like we have some goals that we want to accomplish, but its about figuring out. What students want to have done, and what they want to change, and what goals they want to set for themselves, and then supporting that and fostering growth ya know, not just environmental groups but all communities on campus and ya know  putting fun events together that like ya know we can learn to support each other.  Ya know maybe making something like sustainability goals that we can you know really see the changes of you know before and after so you know once we set those with as much student input as possible. Then we’ll be able to look back and see how well we did and how well we um were able to be kind of the facilitators for making student action happen.

OC-Well done. Thank you for your time.

Sunday Best

April 4th, 2010 by D

Text message conversation with my brother:

Me: (With picture attached) This is what I want for my birthday.

Brother: It’s like ‘Wooly Willy’!

Me: Yeah, if Wooly Willy were responsible for the deaths of 100 million people.

Brother: I’m sure a few kids opened his head and died eating the metal shavings.

Me: Yeah but you only spent those few days in the hospital.

Elections Photo Coverage Preview

April 3rd, 2010 by Ross Coyle

Four snippets of what’s to come with more posts. Had a good time getting these and I hope everyone votes for Reality Check the most appropriate candidate.

Student Insurgent for sale by owner

April 1st, 2010 by Editorial Board

Bored over this summer, the Oregon Commentator decided to have a little fun in preparation for a terrible, soul-crushing elections season. We decided that the most logical choice of action was to register the name “Student Insurgent” as a non-profit magazine in Lane county through the Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Division.

We’ve had it posted on craigslist in the barter section for quite some time, but have yet to receive any e-mails in response. We decided we’d put it here and get a little interest going.

As the ad says, we are open to trades or cash for the naming rights to a magazine called the “Student Insurgent” in Lane county.

What’s your best offer?