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Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

An open letter to President Lariviere

Dear President Lariviere,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Oregon Commentator, the twenty-eight year old student fee-funded journal of campus and local opinion. Throughout its existence, the Commentator has provided an alternative viewpoint on campus, providing news and editorial content that differs from other publications — student and otherwise — in the campus and Eugene communities.

The Oregon Commentator strives to be an educational organization, teaching interested students about journalistic writing and reporting regardless of degree program. Since becoming editor-in-chief of the Commentator, I have instituted a draft process for writers, allowing them the opportunity to turn in their pieces a week ahead of deadline in order to receive feedback from our managing editor, a master’s student in the magazine journalism program in the SOJC. Additionally, we have students who do work for us ranging from ad sales to art to operations management to layout to copy editing, providing the unique experience of working in every part of a news room.

The Oregon Commentator provides a relaxed environment where students can learn and work on longer-form reported pieces. While the Oregon Daily Emerald does an excellent job reporting campus news and opinions, students participating in that program are operating under much more stringent guidelines. With a news article due every day and a paper to produce every night, long-form opinion and reported pieces often end up going by the wayside in favor of more informative news briefs and condensed opinion columns.

Current students from the Oregon Commentator have had their work featured on the Student Free Press Association (a national news organization focused on independent campus journalism) and as such, have been linked to by such prestigious news organizations as the National Review, Fox News and The Atlantic. Indeed, a piece written by an OC staffer received the most traffic on the SFPA website in 2010. The Commentator is also a proud member of the Collegiate Network, an organization bringing together conservative student journalists from around the country. Alumni from our magazine have gone on to successful careers in journalism. 2006-07 editor-in-chief Ted Niedermeyer, is the editor-in-chief of a well-read automotive industry blog called The Truth About Cars, and 2007-08 editor-in-chief Philip Ossie Bladine is the editor-in-chief of an alternative weekly in Vancouver, WA called the Vancouver Voice.

I understand you have denied our request to conduct an interview with your office, citing our “lack of serious content” as a concern and worrying about appearing not suitably “presidential” within our pages. The issue in which your interview would have appeared, The Interview Issue, will include printed interviews with Dean of Students Paul Shang, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Oregon University System Vice-Chancellor Sona Andrews, University Health Center Gynecologist Colleen Jones, and various other notable members of the campus and Eugene communities. If you don’t feel that appearing next to these individuals in the magazine is presidentially suitable , I would appreciate a list of individuals we should be interviewing instead.

You know just as well as I do how integral student programs are to student success in university communities. Students who are engaged in extracurricular activities tend to do better both in school and beyond graduation insofar as grades, job prospects and career development. But students are busy. We take classes, we have personal lives and many of us have jobs in order to cover the rent (and consistently rising tuition). It is much more likely for a student to join an extracurricular activity that will assist in career development with such limited time, and we at the Commentator believe we provide that career development for aspiring journalists. As part of the OC, students receive access to internships and fellowships across the country (by virtue of our relationships with the Collegiate Network and the Student Free Press Association) that they would not have access to simply by being a student in the journalism school. While we as a student program are eligible for stipends, we choose not to receive them. Students work for the Oregon Commentator because they care about what we stand for and are interested in learning about what it means to work for a publication.

Your comment regarding our editorial content insulted a publication that is written, produced and read by many students. Students appreciate the Commentator because it provides alternative viewpoints to the pervading culture on campus, and we feel those alternative viewpoints should be respected and given space to exist. Based on our (almost) consistent funding from the ASUO, student government representatives agree.

At this point, you have returned to us with a counter-offer: we send you questions ahead of time, and you(r public relations staff) answer(s) them for us. This is not a legitimate counter-offer (ask anyone in the SOJC about this and they will agree); if we wanted to read a press release, we would read a press release. Mr. President: when you entered your office a year and a half ago, you stated that transparency was going to be a priority for your administration. What could be more transparent than sitting down with the students you are charged with serving to answer our questions?

We are forced to wonder whether your reluctance to be interviewed has more to do with a desire not to be questioned by the very people whose futures you hold in your hands than with the editorial content of our magazine. Since you came into office, we at the Commentator are not the only ones who have been impressed with your forthrightness and honesty. It is my opinion that if you continue to refuse our interview requests we will likewise not be the only ones whose faith in that honesty is diminished.


Lyzi Diamond
Oregon Commentator

  1. Evan P. Thomas says:

    And, Tomchak–
    I’m willing to budge, I just don’t often budge to responses that are “you’re an idiot, trolltrolltroll” without actually presenting an different argument.

    I understand now, through you, that a body can appoint its own Custodian, and that if they don’t they essentially act as their own Custodian. However, I don’t see how Denecke’s office, which has been appointed the public records office of UO, would not encompass the ASUO.

    And, if by some reason it actually didn’t, I further don’t see how it’s at all responsible to allow students, who have actually written the records themselves and have no formal training, to facilitate the process of disclosing their own public record.

    So, if we don’t fall under Denecke’s umbrella for some reason (and I haven’t even heard from those seeking to acquire such records whether they’ve even contacted her or not), there’s a flaw in the system that I would like to correct, and I think you would be a good person to discuss the applicability of such a correction.

  2. Evan P. Thomas says:

    What is the importance of such an interview? I understand the importance of interviewing in general, but it seems to me that Lariviere interviews quite often and allows relatively open access to meeting with him in person for brief interactions. He just isn’t interviewing with the OC. Is there something the OC will be covering or reacting to that makes interviewing with them extra-important?

  3. Naw, I’m done. You’re not going to budge and I don’t care about getting the ASUO’s e-mails.

  4. atthecoast says:

    To sum things up.
    Very well written letter and most appropriate. Because…
    If the President L was really presidential he would understand the importance of actually doing such an interview.
    Sen. Evan Thomas seems overly overly defensive.

  5. CJ says:

    Skull-fucking serious business, Evan. Never forget.

  6. Evan P. Thomas says:

    So your argument has been reduced down to “U mad bro?” Awesome. And no, I’ve never been upset about this, I’m just not afraid to challenge opposition, which has nothing to do with anger; I’m not the one using terms like “skull-fucked” and directly attacking the other person, CJ.

    I said the listserv “wasn’t exciting.” I never said it was irrelevant. Don’t misquote me, please.

    I guess I’ll just keep talking to Tomchak. That was actually productive, a bit.

  7. CJ says:

    You yourself said the content of the listserv is boring and irrelevant. But now it’s sensitive and could (gasp) “sway” the impressionable masses if released? Oh noes! WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS? WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING?

    Also, the intent or interests of the requesting party have no bearing on the legitimacy of the request.

    U mad bro?

  8. Evan P. Thomas says:

    I don’t understand how you’re making ventured guesses about what’s in the listserv. You have no idea what’s in it, and as you said, that jurisdiction lies within the public body to decide (which is EXACTLY why custodians exist: wouldn’t you rather a 3rd party decides what is exempt instead of the people writing the actual record? I sure as hell would).

    If I were to explain why frank and factual information (which does exist on the listserv, because I often write it) outweighs public interest it would be because the public body of our senate is students, and incredibly impressionable. I’m assuming the OC’s intent would be to write about what we’ve talked about and try to sway to its own agenda (I’m basing this off Blanchard’s email that OC did somehow get its hands on, and the article that followed). And even if I would agree with the sway, this isn’t a good enough reason. But you haven’t made it explicitly clear what your interest is. And, again (and I suppose you should be glad), I’m not a lawyer. I’ve been saying this from the second post I made: “So I wont comment on what I think Lyzi’s purpose is, because my opinions are irrelevant. ” Well, there’s my opinions now, I suppose. You’re welcome to think it’s asinine, but I guess you guys want to make that decision, right?

    So, if you’d like to me, or the body, to act as the Custodian, that’s the response you’ll get. Actually, no it’s not: the response you’ll get is that it’s too broad and I don’t want to spend 19 hours deciding what qualifies for disclosure when I’m not qualified for such an exercise.

    We haven’t “gotten somewhere,” I’ve been saying this from the second post that I made on OC about public record:
    “ie: you have to specify the content.”,
    “Public record is determined by “content relating to public business.””,
    “If this public interest of disclosure is not sufficient enough to outweigh the communication of the public body, which is determined by a lawyer.”

    I never, EVER, claimed that an email is insufficient to request a public record, but what was insufficient is what is in the email (an email that also made up a ceiling of $5), and who the email targeted.

    Or, you could follow both my and UO Matters (who I met with and discussed this with as well) advice and contact Denecke.

  9. Lyzi Diamond says:

    For the record, I didn’t send an email. It was a letter, printed, addressed to Ian, and put in his mailbox.

  10. CJ says:

    Well, we’re getting somewhere here. At least you guys have dropped the silly notion that an e-mail doesn’t count as a public records request, and you seem to have (for the moment) abandoned your attempt to use the “advisory nature” exemption.

    So now we’re back to the custodian issue (which Alex addressed and which you never adequately refuted), and the overbroad issue.

    Agencies do have jurisdiction to claim a request is overbroad, but your reasoning for doing so is asinine, as I noted above. If y’all really thought it was overbroad, you could have politely said so from the get-go, but instead you’ve been searching for reasons to deny the request from the moment it hit your inbox. Which leads me to my next point:

    What’s really unfortunate about this whole thing is that, instead of making a good-faith effort to accommodate the request and sort your shit out, or in the very least be courteous, the ASUO Senate made a concerted effort to stonewall the request and generally be dickish (case in point: Ian Fielding’s response). As Alex so well explained, the purpose of public records law is to help disclosure, not prevent it. You’re mangling not just the letter but the spirit of the law, and it’s not only childish but very alarming to see from a public body.

  11. Evan P. Thomas says:

    You didn’t submit the request to a custodian, you submitted it to a Senator. I don’t have to have a legal opinion to know that this is not the proper venue for a public records request. Did you send your State public requests to State Legislators?

    The Office of the AG also states that public requests office has jurisdiction to claim that a request if too broad and should be more specific.

  12. CJ says:

    Oh, my HTML got silly.

  13. CJ says:

    I assume you’re referring to this exemption, but note the emphasized portion:

    1) Communications within a public body or between public bodies of an advisory nature. ORS 192.502(1). This exemption applies to matters which are not factual and are preliminary. It applies only if the public body demonstrates in a particular instance that the public interest in encouraging “frank communication” between public officials “clearly outweighs” the public interest in disclosure. Drafts of materials and preliminary reports are public records for purposes of this exemption. Attorney General Manual, pp. 44-49. Moreover, factual matters must be disclosed in any event.

    I don’t think you’ve demonstrated this in the slightest. You just cited the exemption and continued along your merry way. Also, I don’t know where you keep getting this idea that records requests must specify specific content. Not actually true. From the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press guide to Oregon law:

    “The request should be as specific as to time and nature as possible. In particular, limitations on dates of records will frequently speed a response. Subject matter or general description of content are common.”

    In practice, it makes sense for the state legislature or governor’s office to deny an over-broad request because of the time involved in ferreting out exempt documents. But if the Senate Listserv is as boring as you claim it to be, I doubt there would be much exempt material, if any at all. In fact, I’m going to going to venture there is NO exempt material in the Senate Listserv, at least not until you can prove the need for the above exemption. (Or are you guys swapping trade secrets and “Information relating to location of archeological sites or objects”?)

    As Alex noted, the onus lies on the public body to justify an exemption, not on the requester to justify the request.

    The problem here is, as you note, you’re not a lawyer and your legal opinion “doesn’t mean shit,” yet you still insist on using your admittedly half-baked opinions to quash a legitimate public records request. Can you see why this is not satisfactory?

  14. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Rockne Andrew Roll:
    The title of your post was “Over-Realized Committee to Rename Over-Realized Fund.” Which, whether you like it or not, is a [false] commentary about what would happen during the meeting. This ultimately comes down to the fact that you misinterpreted the agenda (which is no more than an honest and easily amended mistake), but then wrote an article about it before you confirmed what it actually meant (which would have been confirmed, had you attended the meeting). This is irresponsible journalism.

  15. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Respectfully, Alex, you’re dealing with students. Public records requests that are sent to local, state and federal levels all have lawyers reviewing the requests to assign exemptions. Non specific requests that don’t specify content (like: “give me all your emails from May until now”) are replied with “too broad,” because such a request includes far too much information that would be exempt from viewing.

    I took a stab at providing an exemption because you were asking for public records just before the OSPIRG decision, and by ORS exemptions, that means you would not be permitted to see records of an advisory nature with regard to OSPIRG. This, by my own interpretation, will remain true until February, when the OSPIRG budget is officially voted on (this is true of all things we have discussed with regard to approving them or not). But again, I’m not a lawyer, nor does the ASUO have any lawyers, nor can I hire any lawyers, so my interpretation doesn’t mean shit. And I’m not going to reveal my colleagues records without knowing if my interpretation means shit (just for reference, though, my brother is a lawyer and I sent him a copy of the request sent by Lyzi and his recommendation was similar: specify content).

    Now, as a public body we could assign our own custodian, we could amend the constitution to make the VP or Ombuddy the custodian of ASUO Senate public records, but that doesn’t solve the issues of the fact that we have no lawyers and it would be irresponsible for a student on the body to sift through emails and make judgment on what should be disclosed (just like it would be irresponsible if a State Legislature actually went through emails to decide what media should see), especially without a lawyer. I’m probably the most qualified person on senate to do this, just because I’m familiar with the exceptions, but even I am not nearly qualified.

    Denecke DOES have access to lawyers, and DOES have access to our listserv if she cares to. She also is the Public Records Officer for the entire University, which the ASUO is a part of, which means that she is my best guess for who our custodian is, because I can confidently tell you that it is nobody in the ASUO office. What I can do, if you would like, is bring this up with Senate and decide if we WANT it to be somebody in the ASUO office, because we have the authority to mandate the appointment of our own custodian, but currently I don’t for the reasons I’ve listed.

    Nevertheless, the request was not sent to an ASUO records custodian and did not specify content.

  16. CJ says:

    You can call Alex the bus driver.

    Because he’s taking you to school.

  17. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    Senator Thomas, my commentary on the Over-Realized Committee was not a piece about the meeting, but concerning the agenda for that meeting which I received through the Programs listserv and which I found to be abjectly silly. Had I intended to write about the meeting itself, I would have either attended myself or asked another member of the Commentator’s staff to do so.

  18. Alex says:

    *I should say Denecke is not the sole custodian

  19. Ross Coyle says:

    Evan, you’re going to lead an interesting political life if you deny every public record request that comes across your desk until it’s forced on you by a legal strong-arm. Good luck with that.

  20. For the record on the question of public documents, just so that we are clear: The process laid out in ORS 192.410-192.505 exist to compel the release of public documents, not to establish a process through which one who seeks them must go. Nowhere in the law does it state that a record may only be provided to someone who follows the process. To attempt to obtain a record without following the procedure outlined in ORS 192.410-505 is entirely legitimate. The procedure merely exists to compel those resisting disclosure into disclosing. The bias of the law is toward, rather than away from, disclosure.

    Furthermore, Denecke is not the custodian. ORS 129.410(1)(b): A public body mandated, directly or indirectly, to create, maintain, care for or control a public record. “Custodian” does not include a public body that has custody of a public record as an agent of another public body that is the custodian unless the public record is not otherwise available.

    I.e., as the Senate is the public body mandated to create the Senate listserv, it is the custodian of the record.

    I respect that you went and read the statute. Ian Fielding seems like a nice guy to me, but he made a fool of himself by making snarky replies without bothering to ascertain whether he knew what he was talking about. You did research, which is something that, as someone who covered the ASUO Senate for two years, I will tell you marks you out as a pretty rare breed. It’s commendable, although for me it carried the hint of a front-loaded thesis.

    But, with the utmost due respect, the Journalism School teaches classes on things like this. I’ve taken two journalism classes that had at least one week devoted specifically to this statute and to Oregon Public Meetings Law. For the Emerald, I have participated in at least two seminars about this subject. Beyond the statute, I even know a little bit about case law. I have written and submitted successful public records requests, as has CJ. We’ve been in the profession for too short a time to call ourselves “experts,” but I’d say I’m at least an orange belt. Wow, that’s a lot of wanking over my own qualifications, but my point is that I know my way around the law. Next time I see Kyu Ho Youm, Mike Thoele or Denecke’s bete noir, I’ll ask, but I think you’ll be disappointed.

  21. On another note, did anyone notice in today’s ol’ dirty that there was a list of reasons to skip class and a list of drinks to try? or that last week there was an ad for a nude dancing bar? I hope he hasn’t given them an interview, his reputation would be horribly affected.

  22. …and I didn’t think Senators had much free time. Silly me.

  23. Evan P. Thomas says:

    And Lyzi: As for assisting in getting me elected, which I am entirely grateful for, I hope you know (and knew then) that such assistance in no way affects any sort of alliances that you might think I should have. Simply agreeing with your decisions because of election season would be terrible politics (how do I know? because too many of our actual politicians actually do this).

    It is not personal. At all. I don’t argue things as a personal attack, hardly ever. Even though I adore him, I would confront Franklin if he wrote something I found irresponsible, too. Frankly, I think he’d expect it from me.

  24. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Instead of claiming that I don’t know what I’m talking about, show me what I’m saying that’s contrary to truth.

    Look, I generally like the commentator. I think Lyzi is a brilliant writer (even the above letter is VERY well written, I just don’t agree with its purpose), and have thoroughly agreed with and enjoyed articles this year about smoking ban, riverfront, some responses to Altman’s resignation. I also get that you have loyalty to the magazine and are getting pissed that I’ve challenged the integrity of some of the journalism recently. I’d probably be pissed in your shoes, too. It’s a lot easier to push the blame off on someone else, to call someone else wrong.

    Here are the things I’ve outwardly commented on recently:
    1) Your fallacious attempt to obtain public records.
    2) A completely false commentary about the Over-Realized Committee’s agenda without even attending the meeting. lol
    3) This letter.

    Let’s compare notes about each of these, I want to know what your answers are.

    Was the method OC used to obtain public records completely wrong as outlined by the Oregon State Statutes? Yes.
    Did OC then post a blog questioning ASUO transparency when OC was, in fact, the faulty party involved? Yes.
    Did OC know these methods were wrong and just tried to get information? I don’t know, but you might.
    Did OC ask for public record information right before the OSPIRG/ACFC benchmark meeting? Yes.
    Should someone have called out OC about their incorrect methods of obtaining public record? Absolutely.

    Did anyone attend the O-R Committee from the Commentator? No.
    Did anyone write a commentary about the actions of the O-R Committee from the commentator? Yes.
    Was the commentary posted by OC about the O-R Committee true? No.
    (That one’s kind of self-explanatory. I figured that was journalism 101.)

    Is it one of the jobs of media to actively inquire for interviews? Yes.
    Should the target of such an inquiry be allowed to decline for their own reasons? Yes.
    Is part of journalism being declined interviews? Yes.
    Is a person hiding information or not being transparent if they decline an interview? Not necessarily; not enough information to make an assertion.
    Is it responsible for the publication to respond to the other party with a letter questioning the judgment of that persons personal opinion? No, not really. In truth, it makes me laugh. It is that unprofessional.

    So no, I don’t think this laundry list makes for top notch journalism. Sorry. Which doesn’t mean this magazine is incapable of it, but I’m going to respond to this kind of faulty practice (the first two were factually faulty, the third is my opinion) when I see it. At least I’m not using a pseudonym, right?

    This doesn’t have to do with my understanding of the function of government, media and information (and if it does, as you claim, why don’t you go ahead and state my understanding of those functions, if you are so entirely familiar with it!). I have consistently been one of the most open Senators on the body to talk to media, students and groups to share information that I know. I value it completely. It can build trust (it can also build distrust, because openness means that I tell people when I think they’re doing something incorrect as well– as you’re experiencing) and is the vehicle for which a representative democracy can work most effectively Without it … what is “represented?” But, the burden of integrity is just as much on the shoulders of media as it is elected officials to adequately present this information.

  25. CJ says:

    I’m not painting you as a bad guy. You just keep painting yourself as someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    You only have a superficial knowledge of most of the things you profess to “know a lot about,” which, coupled with your tendency to bloviate, results in a shit sandwich of an argument.

    Not only that, but you continually exhibit a poor understanding of the functions of government, media, information and the relationship between the three. This would all be more amusing if you weren’t in some slight position of power.

  26. Way to care about a thing, people.

  27. Evan P. Thomas says:

    CJ: I wasn’t calling OC annoying, if I was I would have said “OC is annoying,” I was using annoyance as an example as to why someone may decline interview. Another example would be disliking the publication. It IS the media’s job to ask for interviews, but part of that being your job is being declined. It’s not like he’s withholding information from you, he’s just not interviewing with you. I don’t know how you got this confused with transparency, they’re not analogous. Potentially related, yes, but not analogous.

    I do know a lot about public records as defined by state statutes, and I certainly knew enough to combat the ludicrous attempt at trying to attain public records by OC. I was protecting my colleagues, ensuring that the right process was conformed with to attain such records. Ensuring that YOU knew the right process that is required by law (though I’m sure you would have been very happy if Ian had just forwarded you all of our emails, that would be incredibly contrary to the actual process of legally attaining public record). I don’t understand why you have gotten so pissed off at me for asking that you adhere to a legal process. Because it was more inconvenient? Well obvious, so is everything in the legal domain … So don’t be pissed at me, be pissed at the process, I guess … even though the process is probably a lot better than an email self-identifying itself as an “official request…”

    But, that doesn’t have anything to do with figuring out who our custodian is. I’m not even sure we have one, which would be a GIANT issue, but there is literally nothing that I can do in my position to correct that issue … All I can do is inquire, which is the same that you can do. And since you’re the one who wants access, I think it’s probably more fitting that you continue to do the inquiring.

    Or you could take my recommendation, which I provided, and ask Liz Denecke. In the meantime, if you have any personal questions for me about any of the processes the ASUO has discussed since May, I’d be more than happy to talk to you about them and my own emails/opinions that I’ve contributed to the listserv (which, honestly, isn’t very exciting, just FYI). But stop painting me as some bad guy because YOU didn’t adhere to the process.

  28. Gsim says:

    I love this shit. Neato!

  29. Eder says:

    Lariviere says The Oregon Commentator lacks serious content and wouldn’t seem very “presidential” if he granted an interview. Lyzi offers a counterargument. I don’t see what all the hub-bub is about; there were some pretty damn convincing points in this letter.

    Besides, I’d politely disagree with assumptions and arguments that The Commentator doesn’t publish serious material. It’s one of the few publications that is evidently trying to connect to its engage its readers in a unique way. Sure, it may be crass at times, but their goal is to provide an alternative voice for the student body at the university and they’re doing a pretty good job of it.

  30. CJ says:

    Evan said: “I don’t care either way when officials decline to comment to media. They have a right to do so, and media can be incredibly annoying.”

    Yeah, I understand it must be “incredibly annoying” for public officials when journalists keep pestering them about the decisions they make that affect citizens’ lives. Jeez, you’d think it was the media’s job or something.

    Also, funny that the public records thing is suddenly not in your job description to find out, because I seem to remember you spouting some very confident and strong opinions about it in the past.

  31. Lauren S. says:

    Way to go, Lyzi. I’m proud of you girl.

  32. nike urbanized duk says:

    The plans for BBC’s (bigballchips) office upgrades and Cas center expansion are now available to be viewed by the media or public at the city planning office. When the plans are approved on the 28th of this month they all become private. These are the PHIT LLC related projects. Hope the PHIT hits the fan. With the secret search most knew the new prez was a non starter (duh). I am surprised that others are surprised that he can stare down the entire faculty senate and look and act like a dead fish. Bottom line: the fucking faculty senate should all just storm out all at once from one or many of those lame meetings like some Animal House scene. Change the room of the meetings to that room in Fenton Hall from the movie too. The only faculty to stay seated in the room will be the Nike professorship corporate operatives….and the dead fish guy……it would drain the UO swamp !!! The UO mascot needs to change to the Creature from the Black Lagoon….that thing could savage either Roboduck or Puddles.

  33. Evan P. Thomas says:

    I’m going to guess he’ll refuse it, Don Corleone or not. If I’m wrong, good luck getting a productive interview. It just seems like a lose-lose.

    Rejecting to interview with media due to personal preference of not liking the media outlet is a perfectly viable reason. It’s not something I ever do or support, I’m incredibly open about interviewing and putting my name on my opinions (obviously). But it is true that you guys write about genitals and sex positions, so I don’t really blame someone for not wanting an interview next to an article about flavored condoms. That doesn’t mean OC is incapable of writing “serious” stories, you’re certainly are, it just means he has a personal preference against the style that you publish. I’m sure he’s not the first and I’m sure he’s not the last to feel this way, it’s kind of the nature of being a magazine with the word “commentator” in it.

  34. Fizzle T. Bizzle says:

    How presidential is that playboy magazine? Seems like a real industrious rag with professionalism and class.

  35. UO Matters says:

    Jimmy Carter had a famous interview with playboy, in 1976. Came out right before he won the election. I checked the cover though:

    No balls.

  36. Betz says:

    I believe you have misinterpreted the point of the letter. Yes, it does boast of how awesome the OC is, but remember that this letter does not exist in a vacuum: it was printed as a defense of LA’s claims that the OC is too lowbrow in its content, and that having his comments appear in their pages would somehow sully his reputation, as would rain or snow to an imported Italian-clothed fedora.

    But more to the point, media and journalism aspires to hold elected officials accountable. If LA claims to be more transparent and accessible to students, and yet stonewalls behind the doors of Johnson Hall, then those claims he made needs to be called out, and the media (like the OC) is the one to do so.

    I interpret the letter more as kind of a soft-pressure tactic; not necessarily a threat, but a reminder that the OC can (and will) pursue to publish more critical pieces in the future, especially regarding those claims of transparency. Think of it like a letter from Don Corleone … he’s got an offer you really can’t refuse …

  37. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    My apologies to Senator Stark-MacMillian for the mischaracterization, I was not clear on who your comments were directed to.

  38. Evan P. Thomas says:

    One can always count on grammar trolls to throw in the straw-man.

    I don’t care either way when officials decline to comment to media. They have a right to do so, and media can be incredibly annoying. I certainly don’t care enough to write some passive aggressive (okay, not so passive) whining letter about it that is nothing more than detrimental. When officials agree to interview, that’s great. If, by some miracle, I was given the choice as to whether Lariviere would interview with OC, I would absolutely pick yes. However, I’m also a realist and understand that getting butt-hurt when things don’t have a favorable outcome (ESPECIALLY in media) has a tendency to backfire.

    The letter was immature. It just was. I read and enjoy the crap out of OC and I’m saying this. The letter effectively says: “look how awesome we are, and look how dumb you are for not thinking we’re awesome.” That’s high school shit. That does nothing to help the credibility of the magazine in Lari’s eyes. If he does agree to an interview, he’s certainly not going to be very open now, is he?

    As for public record,
    I’m assuming it’s the UO Public Records custodian, Liz Denecke, but I don’t know. It’s also not my responsibility, nor is it anywhere in my job description, to find out.

  39. Voldemort says:

    Evan Patrick Thomas: I am a cannibal (that was in the eighth book. It’s not out yet. It’s pretty exclusive. I don’t think you would have heard of it.). I ate your parents.

  40. Lyzi Diamond says:

    For the record, Zach is in support of the letter, not the comment.

  41. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    @bigballschip (and Zach due to what can only be seen as his agreement with the aforementioned, though if I am wrong on this interpretation, I would wish to be informed of such.)

    This is college. Things aren’t supposed to be too serious. Besides, if you had managed to get beyond “Oh gosh, there’s balls on the cover” and actually read the last issue, you would have found some very articulate opinion, such a piece on the need for net neutrality, a critical look at recently implemented airport security measures, and a discussion of the social impact of Starbucks, tucked between the covers.

    To dismiss us because we’re not “serious” enough for you is patently snobbish. Your high-brow standards seem much more suited to a nursing home than the University of Oregon. This campus has always had a reputation for the outlandish, why should we be held to a different standard? If you want to talk about serious, we’re the only publication other than the Oregon Daily Emerald that actually pays attention to the ASUO, because someone really needs to. The idea that appearing in our pages would be less than “presidential” is a shallow, ill-informed analysis to say the least.

    In short, get off your high horse and go easy on that Hater-ade. Sip it slow. Furthermore, Senator Stark-MacMillan, if you really think we’re so tawdry that were below being able to interview the University President, I invite you to come say so at our budget hearing. It would be a lot of fun.

  42. Michael G. says:

    By “we” I mean BigBallsChip.

  43. Michael G. says:

    Evidently we have all forgotten that satire, parody, overstatement, and other literary techniques are just as legitimate as any dry commentary written by the “serious” media.

  44. zstarmac says:

    Well said and good points!

  45. BigBallsChip says:

    Damn dude, you make fun of and belittle the roles of UO admins on the students’ dime, and then the cheeses don’t want to talk to you?? Yeah, they must be assholes….

    Perhaps if you guys took this all a little more seriously (and didn’t print testicles on covers and call it “journalism”), people might actually take you seriously….

  46. Heh. says:

    Judging by the questionable grammar evinced in “Senator Evan P. Thomas'” post, people are evidently also allowed to decline Writing 121.

    Am I to understand that this sub-literate has a place in our student government?

  47. CJ says:

    Hey Evan,
    Who said he wasn’t? Or do you think it’s awesome when public officials stonewall media?

    Speaking of which, did you guys ever figure out who’s the custodian of the ASUO Senate Listserv? Or are still HERP DERPING on that one?

  48. Senator Evan P. Thomas says:

    Lol. People are allowed to decline media.

  49. Stephen Person says:

    What she said: “Well said Lyzi, well said.”

  50. Well said Lyzi, well said.

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