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Archive for October, 2010

Media digest Oct. 28, 2010.

October 29th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Didn’t have time to add the Guard this morning. I’ve got a flight to catch.

Public affairs:

  • Cellophane: The UO’s addiction to opaquity is making its grades slip. (Emerald)
  • Rental agreements: Von Klein is warning its tenants not to get arrested this weekend. (Emerald)
  • Unquestioned, untold: The Emerald’s Ian Geronimo tells the story of a teaching intern’s battle with discrimination. (Emerald)
  • ASUO: It’s down to four candidates for the ASUO’s new eco-honcho post. (Emerald)
  • Here is the Emerald‘s brief on Randy Geller.


  • UO Matters sizes up Randy Geller’s pay and offers a bounty to whoever first proves he exists. Fat chance.
  • Pith-hat wearing Emerald sojourner Mark Costigan delivers the personally saddening news that my close personal friend Garrett McAleese doesn’t plan on returning to the United States as he interviews a couple of people who have moved from Oregon to Argentina.
  • Emerald blog-thing Baylea O’Brien, I think without meaning to, blames a nice-seeming pastor for the fact that there are a lot of homeless people in Eugene.
  • Letters: A UO undergrad tells the Emerald he thinks people on the ASUO Senate don’t care about students, while a political action group that opposes smoking says the UO should ban smoking.
  • The Oregon Voice is responding to the OC’s bungled attempt to call its contributors names by saying mean things back at us.



  • Emerald sports-klaxon Andy Drukarev doubts the NCAA’s motives for trying to tighten rules on monetary gifts are all to do with the Corinthian spirit. Good on him for making his column a weekly screed against the system, I say. (Emerald)
  • Emerald sports-whippet Patrick Malee says Oregon Football is under So. Much. PRESSURE! (Emerald)
  • Oregon Football defensive behemoth Mark Asper is a family man, to the tune of a wife, a daughter, and a fetus. (Emerald)
  • Oregon Football is playing the Hated Trojans tomorrow, and both are good teams. (Emerald)
  • Emerald sports-lizard Robert Husseman appears to have the same conversation with Oregon Football whelp Boseko Lokombo twice.
  • There are so many good Hated Bears and Hated Cardinal players Oregon Volleyball needs to stop this season. (Emerald)
  • Drukarev looks at some other football games you might enjoy. (Emerald)
  • It will be the last home game for Oregon Soccer this weekend. Oregon Soccer player Rianna Mansfield’s been around for a while. (Emerald)

Sock Puppet, attorney at law. Media digest Oct. 28, 2010

October 28th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Public Affairs

  • Cellophane: Many people see the UO’s refusal to let people talk to its new legal honcho, or even know what he looks like, as a betrayal of the transparency UO cheese Richard Lariviere has promised. They’re reading the tea-leaves wrong. Here’s the truth: Randy Geller doesn’t actually exist. People don’t know this, but ex-UO cheese Dave Frohnmayer has an extensive and beloved collection of handmade sock puppets. He named his favorite Randy Geller, after pro-wrestler Randy Savage and spoon-bender Uri Geller, his two favorite celebrities*. He loved it so much he decided to appoint it to his General Counsel’s office. But two years ago, it tragically came apart in the wash. Frohnmayer was so attached to it, the UO administration agreed he couldn’t be allowed to know, so they have been pretending it still exists to preserve his feelings. The recent promotion was an attempt to perpetuate the ruse. UO officials believed nobody would notice. But it has all backfired in their faces and become a little embarrassing. Seriously, has anybody ever met Randy Geller? (KEZI)
  • Bacchanalia: The Eugene Police are readying their truncheons in case the combination of Halloween and Saturday’s Oregon Football/Hated Trojans match will produce a human tempest of epic proportions, but seem less apocalyptic in their demeanor than they were in the last such story. (Register-Guard)
  • Intersex: A professor hosted a talk about it this week. (Emerald)
  • ASUO: The ASUO confirmed one new senator meaningless title-holder and didn’t confirm another. (Emerald)
  • Gated Suburban Paranoia: The Emerald’s Mat Wolf visits a deserted squatter camp. (Emerald)




  • The Hated Trojans’ wily fox of a defensive coordinator says Oregon Football’s offense has him stumped. (Register-Guard)
  • Oregon Rowing exists in a whirlwind of five-figure sums and early bedtimes. (Emerald)
  • Pac-10 conference coaches agree: the two key matchups in the Oregon Football/Hated Trojans game? Oregon Football offense/Hated Trojans defense and Oregon Football defense/Hated Trojans offense.
  • Oregon Basketball (M) has the highest graduation rate in its conference. “I’m positive about it,” lied an obviously very disappointed UO athletic honcho. Oregon Football and Oregon Running (M), though, are rock-bottom. (Register-Guard)
  • Oregon Running-Long-Distances (W) is trying to win a trophy. “I believe, with every ounce of my being, that those kids are truly interchangeable,” their coach said. (Register-Guard)
  • Here are some Pac-10 conference–related snippets. (Emerald)
  • Emerald sports word-fiddler Lucas Clark puzzles over a professional basketball team from Miami, Fla. (Emerald)

* You think I’m making this up? Ask him.**

** He will tell you I’m definitely making this up.

Senate 10/27/10

October 27th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

If you click the link below, you can read live coverage of the Senate meeting happening RIGHT NOW!

Senate Senate Senate!


1. 7:00 – Call to order & Introductions
2. 7:08 – Approval of the agenda
3. 7:10 – Special Requests
1. ADRB (15 minutes)
2. ISA (45 minutes)
3. Circolo Italiano (10 minutes)
4. Sustainable Advantage (GBISA) (15 minutes)
4. 8:35 – Announcements
5. 8:40 – Approval of the Minutes
1. 10/20/10
6. 8:40 – New Business
1. Rule Changes (30 mins)
2. Three Senate Representative on Student Sustainability Coordinator hiring interview group (10 minutes)
3. Confirmations
1. Megan Benevento (ConCourt) (45 min)
2. Katherine Du Pont (Seat 1) (45 min)
7. 10:50 – Discussion (20 mins) (This may be removed for time)
1. Smoking Ban
8. 11:10 – Officer Updates (20 mins)
1. Senate President
1. ASPAC update
2. Senate Vice-President
3. Ombudsperson
4. Treasurer
5. Academic Chair
6. Executive
7. SAFAC update
9. 11:30 – Committee Updates (15 mins)
2. EMU Board
3. DFC
4. PFC
5. Rules
6. Finance
7. Personnel
8. Academic Committee
9. Outreach
10. Ethics and Efficiency
11. New Partnership
10. 11:45 – Adjourn

Thoughts on Smoke Free Campus

October 27th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

First of all, some corrections and clarifications:

The $800,000 grant that was received from PacificSource was actually received by Paula Staight, the Health Promotion Director at the UO Health Center, and is to be spent over five years. The grant will allow the Health Center to hire one full-time and two part-time employees to work on three aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Food, Movement, and Tobacco (specifically the eradication of). There will be no campus-wide policy attached to the smoking ban (see: you can’t get fined or face disciplinary action for smoking on campus).

General concerns:

Likely because there is not going to be any sort of sweeping campus policy change and there will be no additional costs to students, there seemed to be very little general student involvement this year regarding this policy. (This is also a trend in the Rousseau administration.) In the past, the Smoke Free Task Force has held open forums where students / faculty / staff can voice their concerns, but as is the case with most open forums, when there is no direct policy being critiqued, they draw little audience. It is also important to remember that a large number of people who use this campus are not students. As someone who frequents campus late at night (KWVA, DDS, library, etc.), I’ve noticed that a large portion of the custodial staff are in fact smokers. Granted, this shift will not likely affect them as there is no policy attached to it, but it is important to think about.

The Smoke Free Task Force Report [click for PDF] does provide a number of reasons for instigating a smoke-free campus, but it is important to remember that virtually all data regarding second-hand smoke refers to indoor concentration. I have yet to see any data on cigarette smoke in the ambient air. I’m tempted to refer to automobile exhaust — do people really think that all those carcinogens really stay in the ambient air forever? I’m not referring to atmospheric concerns — those are kind of irrelevant when talking about campus smokers. Someone, please, show me some data.

By moving smokers to the edge of campus, aren’t we going to create a wall of smoke that every student will have to walk through to get to campus? Doesn’t that also create a safety issue? And what about students who live on campus? If you get a craving at 2AM, and you have to walk out of your home (dorm) to smoke, out of DPS jurisdiction over onto Franklin or in the East Campus Neighborhood, how will that affect the student and those who live in that area? If anyone thinks people are going to change their behavior because of a sign and a few dirty looks, they are mistaken. Perhaps in a few years, when there is no institutional memory left, things will be different. For now, kids will be kids, and forcing them to change their lifestyle to something you perceive to be better is kind of overstepping your bounds (I’m talking about all parties involved, here).

A not-smoking-related concern: there is $800,000 going to a movement that has no teeth? Does that seem like a waste of money to anyone else?

Moving on:

This policy will have no affect on smokers on campus as of this date. If kids want to smoke, they will smoke. If someone gives me a dirty look while I’m smoking, I will offer them a cigarette. I do like that student smokers will not be fined for smoking on campus. The biggest concern I had before was that smokers would be treated as second-class students. This new policy still contains that attitude, but in a less official way.

I’m not trying to say that smoking isn’t bad for us — it is. But if I want to go base jumping, or operate a baler, or ride a motorcycle, that is my choice. Do those choices affect other people? Sometimes, yes. But until you have definitive proof that me smoking a cigarette in the ambient air poses a serious health risk to students — or that students can’t walk ten feet away from me — then perhaps the UO Health Center and the ASUO should stay the hell off of my rights — and my lungs.

Extra Credit:

2 Brief Things to Mention About Alcoholic Beverages

October 27th, 2010 by C.W. Keating


Ingredients for my self-concocted “Russian Roulette”:

4 Shots of Vodka (Smirnoff is sufficient)

1 jar of Pickle Juice

2 Tablespoons of Anti-Freeze

See who blackouts/dies first!


Appropriate Names for Alcoholic Weekdays:

Thirsty Thursday

Fucked-up Friday

Smashed Saturday

Soused Sunday

Mixed-Drink Monday

Trashed Tuesday

Wasted Wednesday


Shifting EMU Space [UPDATED]

October 27th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

The EMU Board today decided on some EMU space moving and renovations (NOT related to SAFAC or the new EMU*). They are:

1. The Service Learning Program is moving into Suite 20, which currently houses the Oregon Voice, the College Republicans, the Hawaii Club, UO Ballroom Dance, Pit Crew and Alpha Phi Omega. This moves the SLP next to the Holden Leadership Center, of which it is now a subsidiary.
2. The new Sustainability Center, where the Student Sustainability Coordinator and the 15 environmental student groups will be housed, will move into SLP’s space under the breezeway across from the Union Market.
3. The Break (on the other side of the Holden Leadership Center) will now be a hybrid space, housing the groups from Suite 20 as well as the amenities the Break has currently (pool tables, table tennis, more). The office space would not include full walls, but the walls would be about 9ft with locking doors and individual spaces for each program.

I’ll have more once I interview Kaitlyn Lange, EMU Board Chair, once this meeting is over.

*Speaking of the new EMU, there’s a new survey out regarding student space. If you are a UO student, you got it in your email. It closes November 8. PLEASE fill it out to make sure that the new EMU has what you want in it, or what you wish this EMU could have now.

This is the approved floor plan for the Break:
Approved Break Plan

Schools bursting at the seams. News Digest Oct. 27, 2010

October 27th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Public Affairs

  • Stampedes: Huge spikes in enrollment at Oregon University System schools. Some schools, such as Portland State, are admitting they are bursting at the seams. Other officials spew on-message refuse into the winds of conventional wisdom. “I am not a huge believer in the ‘enrollment is up because the economy is down’ idea … (and) I like to think it is more about the educational value we offer.” (Emerald)
  • Symbols: A logo has been unveiled for the new basketball temple. (KVAL, KEZI, Register-Guard, ESPN)
  • Money rodeo: Whoever wins the Oregon treasurer’s race will have to do some budget-wrangling. (Emerald)
  • Handcuffs: The EPD Party Patrols gave out a lot of citations this weekend, while Autzen Stadium’s blue-shirts also kicked out more people than ever before. (Register-Guard)
  • Needles: Ever thought something about the flu shot? It’s probably not true, according to an Emerald reporter. (Emerald)


  • Left-leaning Emerald columnist Matt Tellam wants you to know that, if you vote Republican, you could die in a fiery crash at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  • Emerald satirist JoAnna Wendel wonders if, perhaps, canvassers might not react so well to people canvassing them.
  • UO Matters giggles at the qualifications for a new Event Manager at Matt Court.
  • Letters: One Emerald letter-writer impugns Amelie Rousseau’s motives and wants us to spend money on trees, and another wants you to vote for the thing for which he is campaigning. Ron Wyden’s campaign managers call a member of the Jim Huffman campaign out in print and Eugeneans wax muzzy headed about systems of government in the Guard’s mail section.
  • An LTD driver defends the EmX. (Register-Guard)
  • Editorials: The Guard gets wry without saying much about Washington’s proposed income tax and the possibility Texas will steal the state’s business, and defends certain logging.
  • Reasons the UO thinks you should give it money today: This week, Anita D. of Berkely, Calif., had a gut feeling about the UO and wrote her first grant recently. Meanwhile, Katie D. enjoyed working with anti–death penalty activist Helen Prejean, then went off the grid for a couple days. (The UO begging bowl)



  • Top Emerald sports-hack Patrick Malee meditates on his first trip to College Game Day and has unusual words of encouragement for Hated Trojans fans. Malee also writes an NBA preview making fun of player Steve Nash’s hair. (Emerald)
  • Oregon Football is focusing on the details needed to beat the Hated Trojans. As in, how many times can you mention the fact they can’t compete in a bowl this season before it hurts? What does Matt Barkley most hate to hear his mother called? Are Hated Trojans players, at this point, desensitized to the mention of Trojan condoms? (Emerald)
  • Oregon Volleyball has a losing record, but, you know, it’s not all bad. (Emerald)
  • Ex-Emerald sports honcho Ben Schorzman pops one dessicated hand out of the grave to remind us that Oregon Baseball will be happening again this year and its players are feverishly excited. (Emerald)

Election Endorsements

October 26th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

If you’re feeling lost this election season, fear not — the Oregon Commentator is here to tell you how to vote. And if you don’t vote like us, well, you’re considerably less cool.



Here’s To Midterms~

October 26th, 2010 by Stephen Murphy

As I’m posting this from the EMU computer lab, I see quite a few students around, generally either studying for midterms or on Facebook. Truly the story of our generation. Anyway, if your midterms are anything like mine and involve a stunning number of formulas and equations, I would like to recommend the self-titled “computational knowledge engine”, Wolfram|Alpha, to any of you who may not have heard of it. You can access it at and from there simply plug in anything you might need to know. If you’re in business then it knows dozens of things about calculating annuities and all that jazz; if you’re struggling through any kind of algebra then it can solve entire equations (i.e. punch in something like x^2 + 7x – 10 = 42 and it’ll solve for x).

Obviously using the thing to solve all your homework problems is not that good of an idea, but knowing what the answer is can be pretty helpful. Think of it like bare-bones Wikipedia articles: it just has the crunchy bits you want, and none of that gristle. Once again,, because seriously the thing is pretty boss.

Fuck the Four

October 26th, 2010 by Ben Maras

Look at these bright pretty colors. No good can come from this.

When nine students were hospitalized at Central Washington University earlier this month, officials assumed it was the usual suspects; namely some mixture of date rape drugs and other illegal substances. But as it turns out, the culprit was and is completely legal: Four Loko, the unholy and ridiculously potent fruit-flavored love child of booze and caffeinated soda, sometimes affectionately referred to as the Four Horsemen (caffeine, guarana, taurine, and alcohol).

It’s no coincidence that word on the street is that all of the convenience stores in the Universit of Oregon campus area sold out of their stock of the stuff on the night of the freshman riots that ended in tear-gassing. The students at CWU were rushed to the emergency room with blood alcohol levels ranging from 0.123 to .35. To put it in perspective, anyone blowing a .08 is considered legally drunk, and .3 is considered potentially lethal.

One 24 oz. can of the stuff is 12% alcohol by volume – about four to six beers worth – which puts it on par with even the bummiest of bum wines. Some of the students were even stupid enough to mix it with additional alcohol, according to CWU President James L. Gaudino.

On first sips, all the stimulants help to numb the quaffer to the effects of the hooch. Once the effects wear off, though, the booze – which is metabolized more slowly by the liver – kicks in with a vengeance. It put 23 New Jersey students in the ER last month for the same reason (we didn’t care about them as much, though, because the law of averages predicted that at least a few of them must have been guidos).

Washingon’s attorney general is pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to ban the stuff after a state effort fizzled out earlier this year. Instead of forcing legislation, policy makers should be doing more to educate younger, more inexperienced drinkers about responsible drinking. Remember the first time you drank an entire fifth of Johnny Walker Red and collapsed in a gutter in a pool of your own vomit because you didn’t know any better? Me either. Funny how that works. But we live and we learn.

Most alcohol awareness efforts put on by schools rely almost entirely on scare tactics and “just say no” to get their point across. Abstinence-only education, even as it applies to drinking, just doesn’t work. Simply telling people – indignant freshman, nonetheless – that they can’t have something because it’s bad isn’t going to help. Likewise, outlawing it may just extenuate the “forbidden fruit” mentality.

This isn’t to say that if we just teach kids about responsible drinking that they won’t get piss drunk and get rushed to the emergency room – it, however, make them less likely to accidentally do it out of inexperience when they don’t plan to.

But seriously, just stay away from the Four, anyway. That stuff tastes like day-glow watermelon ass. You’re better than that.

Blah, Blah, Blah Mad Cow Disease. Media Digest for Oct. 26, 2010

October 26th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Public Affairs:

  • Hardhat news: The UO officially broke ground on its newest building, which Richard Lariviere seems to say will singlehandedly advance science decades. (Emerald)
  • Shadowy agreements: The Emerald reports that the “matter has been resolved with President Lariviere” over overtime-“gate,” but can’t find specifics. (Emerald)
  • Rules: The state has conjured new rules in its public records law that intend to make it harder for the UO to dart its eyes in a furtive attempt at nonchalance while straining desperately to hold closed the doors to the gymnasium where it keeps the corpses. Or something. I’m no lawyer, so I can’t see how this will help. (UO Matters)
  • ASUO: Some student government types are scratching their chins in the direction of Richard Lariviere’s restructuring proposal. Meanwhile, the ASUO might stop paying for bottled water.(Emerald)
  • Videos: Here is a video about the school’s men’s a cappella choir.
  • Podcasts: Hear Emerald types talk briefly about the news.


  • Letters: In the Guard’s mailbag, a political-sign–maker defends the purchase of political signs because it is good for the political sign industry and a union negotiator comes out of the blue to tell a story.
  • Editorials: The Guard tut-tuts about the state’s property tax system before deciding it’s a good thing, and chides the U.S. Supreme Court for banning cameras.
  • New Emerald scribbler Bruce Poinsette goes over ways he thinks professors could improve their teaching by listening to students. “Even if I don’t understand the subject but I hear ‘Blah, blah, blah Mad Cow Disease,’ then my ears will perk up,” a source says.
  • A Measure 75 supporter defends Measure 75 (Register-Guard).


  • Dr. Dog will be playing in Eugene on Halloween. I say this because not knowing about it, evidently, should make one ashamed. (Voice)


  • Emerald sports-hack Robert Husseman says Oregon Football fans are hungry for revenge and vidication, and a win over the Hated Trojans could give it to them.
  • Oregon Golf (W) is doing well-ish, in ninth place, although that puts the team 22 strokes behind the Hated Razorbacks, who have the lead. (Emerald)
  • Podcasting: Hear Emerald staffers talk briefly about sports. “How are we doing in the soccer department?”

Oregon: Very Curious, Indeed

October 25th, 2010 by Kellie B.

In a recent poll by the dating website, Oregon state was found to be the most likely to swing both ways, as indicated by their infographic map below. Unsurprisingly, godless, hippie-havens of Canada and Washington state are also just as eager to expand their horizontal horizons.

The data was collected from 292,900 users who identify as heterosexual. Over a quarter of the respondents said they either had enjoyable same-sex encounters in the past or would like to in the future. Also unsurprising, the women were much more open to switching teams: %44 either had a positive same-sex experience or want to, compared to just %12 of men.

This observational study was conducted by OkCupid’s own dating research entity, OkTrends, who’s revealing blog also explores assumptions about race, religion, and gender habits. Highly recommended: the “Stuff Straight People Like” and the “Religion and Writing Level” posts.

The Elections Issue is Online!

October 25th, 2010 by Ross Coyle

Look for it on stands Wednesday. Inside:
-Will DPS be upgraded to an armed police force?
-Commentator Election Endorsements
-The Christine O’Donnell Fan Club!
-Why we shouldn’t care about the poor

And much more!

Drunken cars, flaming pants, a good C. Media Digest Oct. 25, 2010

October 25th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Public affairs:

  • Circumlocution: Jarry Rust and Jay Bozievich didn’t really mention the EmX expansion when they debated. (Emerald)
  • Ratings news: The UO may now be conducting evaluations on administrators. (UO Matters)
  • Learning aids: UO Matters reports that the UO has asked professors to report on the progress of the athletes in their classes.
  • Shovels and spades: Warm. Fuzzy. That’s how UO faculty, staff and students felt if they were taking part in the Service Learning Program’s Make a Difference Day. (Emerald)
  • Begging news: Oregon State has raised more money than it planned to. (Oregonian)
  • Psuedoscience: A visiting “ecologist” foresees a future of drunken cars. At one point, he issues the patently incorrect proclamation “Alcohol is simply water, carbon dioxide and sugar” — I mean, I haven’t taken a chemistry class since high school, but even I know that’s wrong. Charlatan. (Emerald)
  • Honesty news: The Oregonian reports that gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley’s pants have caught fire following comments about John Kitzhaber’s designs on a sales tax. Oregon House candidate Bruce Starr, meanwhile, has said he voted for a bill he actually voted against. is the subject of a confusing article. (Oregonian)


  • It seems to Emerald columnist Thomas Kyle-Milward that the 21st birthday mostly involves drinking alcohol. (Emerald)
  • Letters: The Guard has suspiciously effusive praise for candidates (sample quote: “As a businessman, I’d like to …”) and questions new water rules and vote-by-mail.
  • Editorials: The Emerald finds DeFazio and Robinson pretty similar, but thinks the former will get more done. The Guard reminds us for whom it wants us voting.
  • UO’s extended-palm blog: Korrin B. attended the UO’s Healthy Campus initiative and reports that the school is looking to hire a health czar. She then attends a talk. Trafton B. is  also impressed with the Healthy Campus initiative. David R.‘s post arrives late, and he writes another one about how boring Ducks games can be.
  • Official UO poster-boy Trafton B. chronicles the harrowing year his photograph spent on the front page of the UO website. “I couldn’t walk around campus without someone looking at me quizzically … apparently there’s a new feature on Facebook that allows people to be added to a group without their permission.” (The UO’s extended-palm blog)


  • Little Emerald jinker Andrew Hitz makes like he’s going to write another vapid Halloween-themed article and then drops his shoulder and issues forth a forceful critique of hipster culture and its fetishization of American Indian tropes. “May it be a constant reminder of how the youth of America continue to sneer and mock our territorial predecessors,” he says. (Emerald)
  • Ethos magazine interviews people ate a film festival, visits a soup cart, and rates a movie. (Ethos)
  • Local hip-hop act hopes to make it big, take Eugene rappers with them! KWVA music honcho Hannah Dischinger opines on what appear to be the mating rituals of Canadian hipsters, or possibly a band visiting Eugene on Nov. 7. And Emerald scribbler Chris Lenci gives Clint Eastwood’s new picture a “C,” but a good “C.” (Emerald)
  • The Oregon Voice is impressed with Kanye West’s new album. (Voice)


  • Oregon Volleyball lost both its games this weekend, to the Hated Bruins and Hated Women of Troy, who “hit a gaudy .392 as a team.” (Emerald)
  • Oregon Soccer seals three points against Hated Cougs. Maes gives Hated Cougs lead early, but Oregon Soccer claws back for first league win of season. (Emerald)
  • Oregon Cross Country (M) is having problems with the number five, but I’m not entirely sure what its significance is. (Emerald)
  • Despite rain, Oregon Tennis (W) got some wins over the weekend. (Emerald)

Student Sustainability Coordinator

October 24th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

At last Wednesday’s Senate meeting, five students (ASUO Environmental Advocate Nathan Howard, ASUO Events Coordinator Molly Bennison*, and three Climate Justice League members) slated time on the agenda to present on the next step in the Sustainability Coordinator saga — finding permanent, full-time funding for the position.

For those of you who don’t remember, the Sustainability Coordinator position was born out of a lump of extra money in the 2009-10 ASUO Executive’s budget (slated for a GTF position that former President Sam Dotters-Katz created to run the internship class). The extra money went to a number of things, but the largest portion — $10,000 — went to creating a Sustainability Coordinator position to wrangle the numerous environmental groups on campus and make sure they, you know, do things. The position has been embroiled in controversy, specifically regarding shady money dealings by the executive and — most importantly — the notion that the position would be funded as a pilot, to see if it was actually beneficial.

The plan presented by these students was to create a new ASUO recognized and fee-funded group called the Student Sustainability Coalition. This group would be an umbrella organization, similar to the Survival Center and Women’s Center, that would list each of the fifteen or so environmental groups as line items in its budget. That group would also, in the ASUO’s mind, contain the funding for the Student Sustainability Coordinator.

The only problem here is that for a student group to be considered for ASUO funding, it must be a recognized group, and in order to become recognized, it must have six months of meetings. The ASUO Executive’s proposal is to request a $40,000 increase in their own 2010-11 budget during the budget process for the Student Sustainability Coordinator position, and then give that money to the Student Sustainability Coalition once the group is recognized.

Is this allowed? Probably. Is it shady? In true Amélie Rousseau fashion, of course. Fortunately for Rousseau and her staff, most of the shady dealings she is undergoing are unprecedented. Groups don’t plan on asking for money for other groups as early as the PFC process, unless the money is explicitly set aside for “co-sponsorships,” as is the case of the Multicultural Center. The precedent (hah) for asking for monies for other, non-recognized groups through surplus is spotty at best, with some requests getting approved and some requests being denied.

It also assumes that the Student Sustainability Coordinator position will be successful in its pilot year, requiring long-term full-time funding. This notion brings truth to my previous assumption: calling the Sustainability Coordinator a pilot program was simply rhetoric in the interest of getting the ASUO Senate to vote in favor of the proposal. They were never intending to kill the program after the first year, as proven by the unwavering faith the Executive is putting into a position that hasn’t done anything yet.

Additionally, this $40,000 growth will place a considerable burden on the PFC process. PFC can only raise its budget by 7% each year (last year it was raised by 0.8%, the year prior by 5.35%). The Executive’s proposal involves raising the total budget by the full 7%, creating a larger ASUO budget and potentially a larger incidental fee (assuming all the other major program budgets also go up). If Campus Recycling is removed from the Department Finance Committee, reflecting a credit of about $310,000, the financial impacts of this position would not be as severe.*

There is also some controversy regarding placement of a Student Sustainability Center in the EMU, but I’ll tackle that after Wednesday’s EMU Board meeting.

*If you’re interested in learning more about the ASUO budget process and why it’s all kinds of fucked up, email me: [email protected].