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“Big Ideas,” Big Outbursts, Big Salaries – ASUO Senate Recap, 02 March 2011

Editor’s Note: Yes, there are images. I’m on assignment this weekend and will be unable to post images until Sunday. This also explains why this story is so late. Sorry.


EUGENE – Student program budgets often create tension amongst those passing them. Senators have been known to yell, cry, and lob epithets like grenades over small sums. There’s a certain craziness that takes over during the last few weeks of Winter Term, the time when major program budgets come before the Senate.

With the exception of OSPIRG, this year’s process has been relatively smooth thus far. It came to a gentle, efficient conclusion as the Programs Finance Committee’s budget was approved for next year, and while it looked like the body might get snagged on the prickly Over-Realized, even this hurdle was taken with relative ease as the committee’s recommendations were followed. Not all was smooth as a request from the African Student Association led to some harsh remarks and a near revocation of the $3,240 the group had been granted to attend a national conference and a couple of students expressed vocal displeasure at the process through which over-realized funds were allocated.

After some brief special requests, some rules changes and the approval of a ballot measure clarifying who is eligible to serve as freshman senator, the members of the PFC stepped into the well to deliver their budget. Despite resignations, recalls, and some exceptionally long hearings, the committee was proud of the figures they were able to present the committee with. “We made sure to give as much growth as possible,” said Committee Chair Noah Wolf-Prusan.

The only point of contention was the salary of the Sustainability Coordinator position, which PFC referred back to the Senate after a recall hearing produced no consensus. Sen. Kerry Snodgrass said that, “I am in full support of this line item being fully funded.” The Senate seemed to share this consensus and approved the PFC budget at $1,842,890, in increase of 5.41 percent.

Following the PFC budget, ASA returned to argue their case again after they did not receive funding to attend a national conference last week. . Members were not convinced. “If you want to go to this conference, we need to see you put in the effort to go to this conference…. We haven’t seen any demonstrated effort,” said Sen. Kaitlyn Lange. Despite this, the groups request was granted.

Things then took a turn for the odd. Kamal Ararso, presenter for ASA, lambasted the Senate for their stinginess, saying “I’m not asking for any of your money.” Ararso’s voice grew louder as he said “We have never had a conference off campus.” Ararso said that the money Senate provided would not be sufficient to send the group to the conference, and remarked that the group did not want funds they felt were insufficient and stormed from the room.

Lange took Ararso’s words at face value and issued a motion to rescind the previous motion, which passed. A runner was promptly sent to retrieve Ararso and his co presenters, who were grilled by the Senate again before receiving the same amount again. This time, Ararso and the other presenters quietly left.

The Senate then moved quickly along to allocating the Over-Realized Fund. A number of groups made presentations as to their plans, followed by a presentation by the Over-Realized Committee. The Senators began discussing the committee’s recommendations one by one, voting on each in turn.

There was some contention surrounding the  Riverfront proposal, which would channel $56,238 to Connecting Eugene, a local group, to help foster a student-led process for creating a new Riverfront development plan. “I don’t think this is the correct avenue or the right funding model,” said Lange. Despite concerns, the Senate approved the Riverfront proposal, as well as a $50,000 subsidy of student theater tickets, which will be free to student next year, and $45,000 the implementation of OrgSync, a computer system which will integrate and organize programs’ calendars and event planning, among other functions.

After approving these three proposals and starting in on a fourth, Sen. Evan Thomas, chair of the Over-Realized Committee, yielded to Lidiana Soto, a presenter for a proposed symposium on the Middle East. The symposium had not received the recommendation of the committee, and Soto explained that she felt like the Senate had ignored the idea. “I am very upset,” she said.

She continued to address what she felt was an unfair process of allocation, and specifically criticized the OrgSync, until Thomas took the floor back, saying, “I don’t want you to undermine the Senate’s decisions.” Lange moved to appropriate funds to the symposium, but the vote was seven in favor and 11 opposed.

The discussion went on into the night. When the dust finally settled, the Senate had followed the committee’s recommendations to the letter. In addition to the aforementioned appropriations, two appropriations of $21,000 each, to Premier Bike Network and ZimRide, a national student ride sharing network, and an $8,000 appropriation to the Pedal Power initiative, were approved.

With this process over, budget season had finally come to a close. Wolf-Prusan was relieved that his committee’s budget had finally been approved. When asked how he felt having concluded the process, he said “Wonderful. Like taking a really big poop.”

After agreeing to an internal redistribution plan for academic senate seats, as opposed to the plan proposed last year by the Constitution Court, the Senate’s last regularly scheduled meeting of Winter term came to an end as well.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, ASA Presenter Kamal Ararso’s name was misspelled. The Commentator regrets this error, which has since been corrected.

Notes, Stats, and Opinion after the jump.


With all four major program budgets approved, the Incidental Fee next year will be $11,913,659

Climate Justice League’s special request for $10,000 for Powershift West was approved. The Women’s Center’s request for $550 was also granted. A reverse special request from the Senate to return $1,800 in unused stipend funds to surplus was approved.

Additionally, $23,110.57 in funds left over from the former the former Crisis Center, which was disbanded last year, were returned to surplus.

Senate approved a change to its rules, which will take effect next year, extending the permissible time window for office hours and implementing a regular public comment period.

As noted by Sen. Grace Hochstatter, the American Marketing Association will be meeting with the Senate’s Ethics and Efficiency Committee Friday to discuss concerns with their appearances before Senate. This meeting will be at 3:30 P.M. at The Buzz (EMU Basement Level)


Meeting Duration: 370 minutes (Two recesses)

Money Allocated From Surplus: -$14,360.57 (net)

Not Present: Fielding (attended as presenter for ZimCar proposal, did not vote)

Resignation Count: 7


It’s finally over!

There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll be brief with everything.

I had previously made some cracks about Over-Realized Committee. However, they worked harder and put more thought and energy into their task than I could have possibly imagined. I applaud the efforts of the committee.

Public comment during Senate meetings is abjectly stupid. The Senate is not a public forum; it is a deliberative body. You don’t see Congress taking public comment, thank God! Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan referenced how well public comment works for the Eugene City Council. I hope that senators don’t aspire to that as a model.

By being granted a special request and then yelling that it wasn’t enough money, Kamal Ararso showed blatant disrespect for the Senate and student government as a whole. Ararso acted like he and his group were entitled to the money they requested as though it were some sort of right. He and his colleagues acted in a petulant, childish manner that does not befit an officer of a student program. Araso should be ashamed of himself after his outburst; I certainly am.

Connecting Eugene may or may not end up being a good investment of student money, but after seeing their presentation, their (itemized) budget, and their willingness to accept a smaller contribution of student funds, as well as their focus on student involvement as a whole, not just students who are part of the organization, CE should serve as a model that OSPIRG should aspire to become.

  1. OSPIRG VJ says:

    Hey this is Healthcare Harry,

    If you would likes to know what OSPIRG does so good, please watch these videos. This is a playlist for super duper OSPIRG fans. Get a life OC!

    Here is out flash mob – 8 people showed up! Most ever to an event. ( – (

    Here is video of healthcare advocate, little boy president (ASUO president has been so good! I love him), and that Robert D’Andrian guy, he’s kind of weird. Look how smeart our advocate is. We are good at faking that people actually listen. STUDENT VOICE! ( – (

    Here is a video of the GREAT LEADER, Charlie D, doing something I think is very helpful to students. Bugging them awkwardly and “marrying” dirty corporations to students. WE WASTE PAPER, BUT GREAT LEADER SAYS NO WORRIES B/C WE WILL STOP YOU FROM USING PAPER. IN THAT WAY, GREAT LEADER IS TAPPING STUDENT INTERESTS. (

    In one of our more better produced videoses, we ask students at SOU what they want to ask presidential candidates. (

  2. Thorn says:

    “Zachary Stark-MacMillan referenced how well public comment works for the Eugene City Council”


  3. C.W. Keating says:

    And by bowl I mean bowel.

  4. C.W. Keating says:

    Big fan of the fact that financial decisions are likened to bowl movements. Does that make OSPIRG a tapeworm?

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