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Archive for January, 2011

Trimming both time and money: ASUO Senate Recap, 12 January 2011

January 13th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll


At 11 p.m. on a usual Wednesday in the EMU Walnut room, you will find the ASUO Student Senate parsing through its heavy agenda; dispensing money here, passing resolutions there. Wednesday, January 12, 2011 was not, however, a usual Wednesday. On this particular day at 11 p.m., the senators were milling about, collecting their belongings, making their way for the exits. Their meeting, which included 5 special requests and the establishment of a process for spending the upcoming Over-Realized Fund, had adjourned on time.

Things got off to a slow start. After approving $5,748 for Graduate Evolutionary Biology and Ecology Students to host a campus lecture series, the senators got stalled up for almost an hour dealing with a request from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association for funding to hold their annual China Night event.

The confusion started when they explained that their event had been an annual occurrence. Under normal procedures, annual events are accounted for in an organization’s budget, which goes through the Programs Finance Committee. Sens. Laura Hinman and Brian Powell noticed this and asked why, with Hinman noting “You’ve come in every year for a special request.”

There were additional questions from the Senate regarding where money raised from last year’s event had been spent, as well as why the group hadn’t coordinated with any University departments or the Chinese Student Association, to which one of the presenters replied, “There are a lot of complicated reasons.” After their initial request of $6,463 was denied, the Senate did approve $5,000 for the event.

Special requests continued with the Clark Honors College Student Association, which received $15,569 to bring author Tracy Kidder to campus, and the European Student Association, which received $76 to fund the newly-reformed group’s upcoming open house.

Last but not least was the Senate’s own request to allocate $675 to pay a stipend for the constitutionally mandated Freshman Senator. After discussion of who the position would be open to, the number of budget hearings the new member would be required to attend, and the definition of “Senate Intern” (important because the Freshman Senator is required to be one), an $825 stipend for the remainder of the 2010-2011 academic year was approved not once, but twice, as a motion to reconsider was introduce to enable the Senate to further explore the eligibility issue.

By this time, the pace was more than an hour behind, and it was looking to be a long night. Powell then surprisingly motioned to eliminate the scheduled discussion of the stipend model and all committee updates, save those of finance and restructuring committees, from the agenda. Though Sen. Grace Hochstatter noted that “We can’t decide anything tonight,” a number of senators still wanted to get the discussion started, and the discussion was shortened to ten minutes.

Before the discussion, Senate President Zachary Stark-MacMillan proposed a resolution creating a committee that would review requests for Over-Realized Fund money and make recommendations back to the full Senate. After a number of rapidly proposed and approved amendments to expand the committee, eliminate a proposed Executive contingent, and require a three-fifths vote of the full Senate to appropriate money from the ORF, the resolution was passed by unanimous acclimation. A committee was quickly formed consisting of Sen. James Dos Santos, Kristina Harding, Emma Newman, Stark-MacMillan, and Evan Thomas, and they will begin meeting next week.

The Senate was gaining speed now, and the already truncated discussion of the stipend model was even shorter than the time allotted. Powell proposed that an independent body consisting of representation from Senate, the Executive and outside the ASUO be formed and given binding decision-making ability to create a stipend model. Sen. Kaitlyn Lange expressed an interest in consulting those with “institutional memory,” specifically referencing former Senator and current Oregon Commentator Editor in Chief Lyzi Diamond among those she would like to involve.

After agreeing to revisit the issue in the near future, and dispensing with procedural officer and committee reports, the Senate adjourned at 10:50, exactly the time specified on the agenda.


President Richard Lariviere: more evasive than a ninja

January 12th, 2011 by Stephen Murphy

As the handsome Alex Tomchak Scott already mentioned, President Lariviere stood before Senate today and explained his veto on the Riverfront Resolution. Or rather, he offered as little substance as possible and said ‘Well that covers that, LOL’ (paraphrased).

Lariviere spent a fair bit of time talking up the University’s presence at the BCS game, calling the pep rally and general student involvement “astonishing”. After smiling and expressing how proud he was of the school, he delivered a curt performance on the subject of the Riverfront Resolution. Lariviere said there has been no change since he last discussed the topic, that the IGA was addressed thoroughly by both the city and UO, and ended by saying he was puzzled by this situation. Of the 12 questions he was presented with, albeit on rather short notice, he said he had no answers to any of them because that is not the sort of relationship he wants with the Senate. He hopes we can engage in a relationship that will “move [things] forward”. After spending three entire minutes on the controversial topic he went back to how much he enjoyed the enthusiasm showed during the football game, and quickly ended his speech with a jovial, “That’s the news from Lake Wobegon!”


Money, Money, Money: ASUO Senate, 12 January 2010

January 12th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Between new business regarding the Over-Realized Fund process, a discussion of stipends, and five special requests, including one from Senate itself to fund a stipend for a non-voting freshman member, tonight’s Senate meeting is all about the moolah. Read the agenda here, watch the cash flow forth on Cover It Live here.

PFC approves full-time sustainability coordinator

January 12th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

The sustainability coordinator position will likely become a permanent fixture of the ASUO, following the Programs Finance Committee’s approval of funding for it during its meeting Tuesday. The $40,000 expenditure for the sustainability coordinator came as part of an overall Executive budget of $124,018, an increase of more than half from this year’s levels.

The Executive budget is the one that funds the ASUO president’s staff and offices. PFC Chair Noah Wolf-Prusan rescheduled the Executive hearing from its previously planned date of Jan. 14. Because of this move, the PFC member assigned to work with the Executive, Sen. Laura Hinman, was unable to attend due to illness. Hinman’s absence further reduced the size of the shrunken committee, already short two members after Sen. Erin Altman’s resignation earlier in the evening, since an at-large seat is still vacant. Wolf-Prusan explained thathe rescheduled the meeting because the previous date placed the Executive’s hearing adjacent to the LGBTQA’s hearing, both of which are large and contentious budgets, and he wanted to avoid taking three hours to get through two budgets.

During their presentation, ASUO President Amelie Rousseau asked the committee to consider the funding of the sustainability coordinator as “the creation of a really exciting, beautiful project.”

“I like this position. I think it will benefit the campus,” PFC member Sen. James Dos Santos said.

Others were skeptical of the large new expenditure. “It sounds a little greedy to ask for the full amount now,” said committee member Melissa Cohen. “Why can’t we wait?” Cohen was also curious as to why the funding was being channeled through the executive budget as opposed to being divided among the various groups that the coordinator will be working with.

As the arguments for and against were tossed back and forth between Executive staff, committee members and the other ASUO personalities assembled for the hearing, including Sens. Ian Fielding, Kaitlyn Lange, and Emma Newman, the meeting ran well past midnight. Due to the missing committee members, the late hour, and the short notice provided for the meeting change, some committee members advocated passing the budget with a reduced funding level for the sustainability coordinator and recall the budget at a later date to reconsider the matter.

The majority of the committee, however, wanted to complete the job that evening. “I want to finish this now,” Dos Santos said.

After a brief discussion of stipends, travel budgets, and office supply expenses, the committee amended the Executive budget to fund the sustainability coordinator as a full time position and passed the overall budget, both by a vote of three to one. Cohen was the only nay vote for both the amendment to fund the sustainability coordinator at full-time and the budget as a whole.

The 2010–11 school year is the ASUO’s first with a sustainability coordinator, a position added for a one-year trial period at the end of the previous year. The position exists to harmonize the efforts of various environmental groups on campus in much the same way the Multicultural Center director works with the university’s multicultural student unions.

What’s going on today?

January 12th, 2011 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Well, for one thing, UO President Richard Lariviere will go before the University Senate to explain why he won’t abide by the UO Senate’s Riverfront Resolution. That’s probably not much of a mystery, considering he outlined it in this letter. But it could be kind of awkward and the president might take tough questions.

Hopefully our own Ross Coyle will be there covering it, provided Prof. John Russial lets him out of class to do so. I have to work, which is disappointing.

Further reading:

  • The meeting’s agenda. (UO Senate website. The new one. Yeah I’m still disappointed.)
  • The opposition’s website.
  • Minutes of the meeting at which the resolution was originally passed.
  • Everything written about the riverfront development on UO Matters.
  • A press release from the opposition about a stunt they’ll be pulling beforehand. (thanks to UO Matters)
  • Infrequently updated website for the development.

The ASUO Senate will also have a meeting, but why waste your time? In any case, Rockne Andrew Roll will have a story about that.

Altman’s Resignation and ensuing rant.

January 11th, 2011 by Lyzi Diamond

Here is Altman’s resignation letter, being all ballsy and shit:

Dear Senators and ASUO,

Having the opportunity to work with such bright and motivated people in the ASUO has been a highlight of my time at the University. Unfortunately, I must conclude my service for the ASUO Senate and Programming Finance Committee.
After much thought and internal struggle, resignation from Senate Seat 3 has become unavoidable. As a financially independent student, there is a necessity to maintain a job other than my Senate seat. Working a minimum of 25 hours a week for Senate and PFC has made it impossible for me to work enough hours at my other job to meet my financial needs.
My commitment to the ASUO has grown since I was elected last Spring, but it would be unfair for me to maintain my Senate Seat when I know that I cannot give more of my time to the position. I hope that whomever is appointed to Senate Seat 3 can dedicate themselves to Senate and PFC for the amazing amount of time that is demanded.

I would like to mention, also, that I do not approve of increasing stipends to better compensate ASUO members. Serving the University should not be encouraged monetarily, as students are not yet professionals. Because we are initially students, I also think that the hours necessary for being a part of the ASUO could be decreased through furthered efficiency in meetings, and a reevaluation of committee responsibilities.
From the perspective of PFC, for example, I feel that the Controllers do most of the budgeting work for the Programs, and the executive recommendations are commonly the best option for Program i-fee allocations. Because of this, I feel that Executive Recommendations could be the initially allocated amount, which would create necessity for Budget Hearings only when the PFC recalls a group, or when the group would like to appeal the Executive Recommendation. This would eliminate Budget Hearings that are unnecessary (inefficient).

Thank you for the educational experience, and I wish you the best of luck through Budget Hearings, and in to Spring term.

Erin Altman

What you’re saying, Erin, is that as elected officials you should shirk your responsibilities and let the ASUO Executive — nay, the ASUO Finance Coordinator (the one who sets the executive recommendation), an APPOINTED INDIVIDUAL — make budgetary decisions. You are saying the finance committees should bend to the will of the ASUO executive and not make any of their own decisions based on individual research.

From what I’ve seen thus far, the PFC hasn’t done any individual research. As such, I can see why you would say the exec recs are the way to go — it seems you don’t know any better.

Every budget hearing is necessary because you, as PFC members, are supposed to know the ins and outs of every budget. If you didn’t have hearings, you wouldn’t have a chance to talk to programs about what they’re spending and why they’re spending it. You wouldn’t be the safeguard between my money and people spending it poorly. Honestly, you haven’t been doing much of that yet anyway (save for the Insurgent and I applaud you for that), but regardless. You are supposed to know more about the budgets of these programs than the programs themselves — that’s why you are assigned tags. You’re supposed to talk to the representatives, get a feel for what they want to do, and help them do it. The one making the executive recommendations (Finance Coordinator Colleen Soles*) is one person who can’t possibly get to know every program individually, and allocates based on a model.

This year, the PFC decided, instead of doing the due diligence and creating a model for themselves, to adopt the Executive’s funding model without fully understanding what it meant and its implications. You, as PFC, can allocate money however you see fit. I would hope that would come in the form of making rational decisions based on fundraising and amount spent, but even if not, it is important that you, as elected officials, are making the decisions.

Don’t bend to the will of the Executive. Do your due diligence and give programs the money they deserve and can actually use.

*Although, let’s be honest, it’s more likely Amelie herself.

Big Balls issue OUT NOW.

January 11th, 2011 by OC Editorial Board

Big Balls issue

Click the thumbnail above to read the issue.

You know what’s ballsy? Publishing a football-themed issue of a university publication the morning your school is set to play the biggest football game in its history, an issue that will only reach newsstands two days later. Ballsy verging on the idiotic; ballsy verging on the “That was actually an awful idea”; maybe even not so much “verging.” But ballsy nonetheless.

Just like Chip Kelly, the star of our newest issue — well, not entirely. His balls are the star. The entire issue attempts to harness the spirit of Chip Kelly’s balls — outrageous, reckless, creative, lunatic, assured, averse to punting. We’ve done our best to stick our neck out on this one. Rest assured that, with the exception of one onside kick late in proofing, we did not at any point use our feet to make this issue, even on fourth and long.

What you will find inside though:

  • Reminiscence on the academic career of Bill Hillar, the ex-UO instructor whose balls were both his making and his undoing.
  • The most disturbing headline We’ve ever read. Read the issue and see if you can tell which one I mean.
  • Someone ballsy enough to reject the idea of legalized cannabis in the pages of the Oregon Commentator.
  • An advice column written by Chip Kelly’s balls themselves. Incidentally, those balls may have crushed our regular advice columnist, Kellie Bramstone, in their gravitational field.
  • One contributor is ballsy enough to question Comcast even though we’re using Comcast internet service to upload our issue.
  • Julian Assange’s thoughts on teabagging.
  • Oh and our editorial. It’s a poem, motherfucker! Think that’s not ballsy? Poetry will drive you insane. Have you ever had the stones to publish a poem about the news? Is that even wise?

Editor’s note: This was written Monday morning after a whole night of being awake, thus adding to its hilarity.

Sen. Altman to Resign

January 11th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Citing personal time (and financial) constraints, Sen. Erin Altman (Seat 3:PFC) has informed the Commentator that she will be announcing her resignation at tonight’s Programs Finance Committee Meeting. More to follow.

The Tragedy in Arizona: Gunman Opens Fire at Political Gathering

January 11th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin

The BCS Championship isn’t the only thing that’s been catching attention in Arizona lately. On Saturday morning, Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D. Arizona) held her first “Congress on Your Corner” event and was seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire on her and others attending the event (Oregonian, New York Times). In total, 14 were injured (including Rep. Giffords) and 6 died.

Rep.Giffords, photo taken from her website

Recently reelected for a third term, Rep. Giffords’ website describes her as “…one of the most centrist legislators in Congress she is a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship and government accountability.” Her facebook page displays her favorite quote, from Abraham Lincoln:  “With malice toward none, with charity for all, …let us strive on to finish the work we are in, …to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Rep. Giffords represents a southeast corner of Arizona and according to the NYT, “has been an outspoken critic of the state’s tough immigration law, which is focused on identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants, and she had come under criticism for her vote in favor of the health care law.”


What, you expected a media digest?

January 10th, 2011 by Alex Tomchak Scott

We’re putting the magazine together tonight, guys, so don’t expect to see a Monday morning digest.

An ode to Chip Kelly’s balls. (Sneak preview of new issue!)

January 10th, 2011 by Lyzi Diamond

“Win The Day”

Going for it on 4th and 3
That’s the way to victory
12 and 0 before this week
Refusing to accept defeat
Faking punts and running wide
Switching plays from side to side
To praise the man, no that’s not all
These vict’ries rest on Kelly’s balls.

Student Insurgent Budget Slashed

January 8th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Because of the Executive’s funding model for programs, it was commonly conjectured that Student Insurgent would be facing a 10% budget reduction for next academic year. But when the Insurgent came to the Programs Finance Committee Thursday, January 6, questions about the group’s travel and their distribution off campus led to an even further reduction of 20.1% from this year’s levels.

Fiesta Attire On “Ellen” Ruffles Some Duck’s Feathers

January 6th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

The Oregon Duck embraces a sombrero-clad student during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday, January 6. Photo by Ross Coyle

University student Andrew Seistrup standing with the Sombrero he was asked to remove during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday, January 6. Photo by Ross Coyle

In honor of the Ducks upcoming participation in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, UO students gathered to make a spirited appearance, via satellite, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday afternoon. DeGeneres encouraged students to arrive at the EMU Amphitheater ready “for a fiesta.” But when some students arrived sporting sombreros, not everyone was pleased.

“I noticed they all took their sombreros off before they started filming,” said Sarah Abadi.

Andrew Seistrup said he was asked to remove his sombrero and fake mustache to, as he said, “avoid stepping on any toes.”  Staff of The Ellen DeGeneres Show declined to comment on the matter.

Cory Kirshner-Lira, a graduate student in education, was concerned that people would interpret the sombreros and other costumes in a way that “reduced Mexican culture to stereotypes.”

“I don’t think it would ever be ok for me to dress as a white person… but today it’s ok to dress as a Mexican,” Kirshner-Lira said.

Others did not share her viewpoint. “As a Latino, I don’t see how it’s degrading,” said Allan Benavidas, who attended the event dressed in a foam taco costume.

“It’s just fun,” he said.

Bryan Aubineau, a University student in pre business administration, said he thought the costumes were “all part of the spirit” surrounding the event and the national championship game.

Footage from the event, which drew over 1000 students and community members, will appear on tomorrow’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Ross Coyle contributed reporting to this article.

Cam Newton is secretly Hans Geiger, or Acknowledging Jimmy Fallon’s contribution to the our culture. Grudgingly. Media digest, Jan. 6, 2010

January 6th, 2011 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Guess I had to start with the power ballad, didn’t I, even though I can’t stand Jimmy Fallon. To skip his intro, go right to 1:30 in the video. Supposedly a coin flip decided whether it would be Oregon or the Hated Tigers commemorated. I don’t believe it. I’m certain it was an artistic choice, one I would have made in their stead: You can rhyme our mascot’s name with “fuck.” “Tiger,” meanwhile, only really rhymes with “Geiger,” which would make for some real lyrical gymnastics. Maybe we would have heard a song about some sort of nuclear disaster involving the Hated Tigers. I would have appreciated that, I think.


Resolving In Vain, Working Towards Working: ASUO Senate Recap, 05 January 2011

January 6th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Editors Note: I’ll now be writing a quick recap of Senate meetings (and the occasional finance committee meetings, when appropriate or humorous.) I’ll usually separate the news part, which will be written in a more objective, just-the-facts-ma’am manner, and the opinion part, which will be… if you’re reading this blog, you should know what to expect.


The ASUO Senate kicked off the new term by quickly dispensing with a rather abbreviated agenda during its weekly meeting January 5, 2011. In a meeting devoid of special requests, budgets or confirmations, a few quick matters were all that stood between the senators and an early trip home.

The first order of business was the proposed Restructuring Resolution, which addressed UO President Richard Lariviere’s New Partnership proposal. The proposal did not specifically address Lariviere’s proposed changes, nor did it suggest any of its own; instead the resolution was written to serve as a statement of values that the Senate would like to see any changes in the structure of the Oregon University System held to. The resolution was presented by Sen. Brian Powell and ASUO President Amelie Rousseau, and passed unanimously.

After filling vacancies on Programs Recognition Review Committee and University Senate left in the wake of Sen. Jackson Hite (Sen. Emma Newman to PRRC, Sen. Chris Bocchicchio to University Senate), the group moved on to a discussion of the process by which the Over-Realized Fund is appropriated. At the  end of a confusing and complicated airing of ideas, a working group consisting of Sens. James Dos Santos, Laura Hinman, Kaitlyn Lange, Powell, Blake Sedgely and Zachary Stark-MacMillan was formed to further explore options for this process.

After concluding with the promise of interviews for potential appointees to the open seats (10:DFC and 12:AAA) starting next week usual officer updates, including ASUO Vice-President Maneesh Arora briefly discussing significant potential changes to the rules governing ASUO’s interaction with the University administration and a brief mentioning of the sale of the EMU’s pool tables, the meeting was adjourned.