The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

Archive for March, 2012

Further Proof of the ASUO Con Court’s Utter Futility, and Seriously, Beware the Ballot

March 27th, 2012 by Rebecca

The Petition for Review/Motion for Consideration submitted by Senator Ben Rudin and Former ASUO Prez Sam Dotters-Katz that called for the ASUO Constitution Court to simply look-over an approved ballot measure– has been denied!

Thus, come elections, THIS RIDICULOUS MEASURE shall be voted on: Should students be allowed to vote directly on funding levels for certain incidental-fee funded programs?

In their decision to simply do nothing as per usual, the Con Court upheld…

Only claims relating

to factual errors, procedural errors, the designation of

the prevailing party, or subsequent changes to the

applicable rules or law may give rise to an opportunity

for the Court to reconsider a previous decision. A Motion

for Reconsideration cannot be based on claims that the

Court erroneously construed or applied the applicable

rules or law.

Rudin and Dotters-Katz were trying to question the constitutionality of  a previous decision! No wonder it was denied. They really should have gone after the Court and its decision on more compelling grounds, with more “permissible justifications,” like “procedural errors,” perhaps — rather than a daft questioning of constitutionality. For according to the Con Court,

 None of Co-Petitioners’ claims are

permissible justifications for the Court to reconsider its

previous ruling in 29 C.C. (2011/12). Co-Petitioners

argue that the Court erroneously interpreted the ASUO

Constitution when it approved these ballot measures.

These are exactly the types of claims prohibited under

Constitution Court Rule 10.3.1.

Here are those Constitution Court Rules they’re referring to, (thank you Ben Rudin, I’m a terrible journalist):

10.3.1 A Motion for Reconsideration shall not be based on a contention that the Court erred in construing or applying the law, but shall only be based on one or more of these contentions: A claim of factual error in the order or opinion; A claim of error in the procedural disposition of the case requiring correction or clarification to make the disposition consistent with the holding or rationale of the opinion; A claim of error in the designation of the prevailing party; and A claim that there has been a change in the Constitution, rules, statutes, or case law since the Court’s decision.

ASUO Con Court, I get it now. You’re in a bind. You’re bound by the Constitution. There ain’t nothin’ you can do. Well with that in mind, could you go ahead and elucidate 1) how this ballot measure was passed in the first place, considering its unconstitutionality combined with your being bound to the Constitution and everything 2)  your utility 3) how exactly you serve students, the University in general 4) the reason for your existence, etc. ?

And P.S., the ASUO Senate body talks mad shit about you! And the Ol’ Dirty Emerald has called y’all mole people before. Off the record.

Fuck Justice. Just Fuck It

To readers, I say unto you– vote DOWN the possibility of giving students the ability to choose the funding for I-Fee programs. Denying students this ability isn’t elitist or anti-democratic, it’s just (cringe, wince) standing by the ASUO’s entire purpose.

To the ASUO Senate and respective finance committees, I say unto you the same thing. If students have this ability, your fundamental justification for existence (budgeting, allocating the I-Fee throughout the whole goddamn school year) will be undermined immeasurably. So think about it. C’mon, do you really want any of your authority undermined immeasurably, any of your ego deflated indefinately?

Lastly, long live The ASUO Constitution Court: Ineffectual Mole People 4 Lyfe. Keep up the good work guys. What would we ever do without you?


March 20th, 2012 by Rebecca

As you all know, the shit show that is ASUO Elections will take place immediately following our return from Spring Break. What you don’t know is that the shit has already hit the fan.

On the ballot, you will be asked if students should be able to vote directly on the funding– or defunding– of incidental fee programs.

You can imagine the subsequent upheaval among, well, us. And among the ASUO themselves.

Here’s what Former ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz has to say about this:

The constitutional amendment about students voting for direct fee allocations is potentially the most damaging attack on the constitution I have seen. It would mean the budget process means nothing. They would literally be able to have a vote to defund the daily emerald.

Yeah, or students could defund The Commentator. Let’s not hold them to it..

Sen. Rudin has already submitted a “Petition For Review” to the ASUO Constitution Court. He says:

If this ballot measure is allowed to stay on the ballot and gets passed, it will be a disaster of epic proportions for the ASUO. It would mark the end of viewpoint neutrality and the end of separation of powers.

Well here it is y’all, Sen. Ben Rudin’s petition. Pay close attention to #4 !!!!

1. Name of person against whom grievance is filed: N/A. Petition for review, not a grievance


2. Question presented for review: Whether the direct-funding ballot measure that proposes amending ASUO Constitution §15.5.2 to allow initiative funding complies with the ASUO Constitution


3. Constitutional provision relevent to the controversy:

ASUO Constitution §15.5.5: The proposed ballot measure must be consistent with the ASUO Constitution


ASUO Constitution §2.3: No agency or program shall make any rule or take any action abridging the privileges and immunities of any person or program under the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State of Oregon, or the rules of the University of Oregon, or the ASUO Constitution


Viewpoint neutrality, as handed down by the Supreme Court in the Southworth decision as an interpretation to U.S. Constitution Amendment I: When a university requires its students to pay fees to support the extracurricular speech of other students, all in the interest of open discussion, it may not prefer some viewpoints to others.[1]


“To the extent the referendum substitutes majority determinations for viewpoint neutrality, it would undermine the constitutional protection the program requires. The whole theory of viewpoint neutrality is that minority views are treated with the same respect as are majority views. Access to a public forum, for instance, does not depend upon majoritarian consent. That principle is controlling here”[2]


[A] university’s student association “violated the First Amendment by using an advisory student referendum to determine how to allocate funds from a mandatory student activity fee among student organizations.” According to the Amidon court, use of a student referendum reflecting the student body’s majority opinion has “no place in the funding allocation process, which requires that `minority views [be] treated with the same respect as majority views.'” Amidon, 508 F.3d at 102 (quoting Southworth I, 529 U.S. at 235).[3]


4. Statement of Facts:

1. On March 19, 2012, President Eckstein submitted a ballot measure to the Constitution Court that asks, “Should students be allowed to vote directly on funding levels for certain incidental-fee funded programs?“


2. On March 19, 2012, the ballot measure was approved by Con Court, without prejudice


The courts have been clear ever since Southworth that funding decisions for recognized student groups and advocacy organizations cannot be determined by a vote of the student body because it allows the majority of students to engage in viewpoint discrimination against minority views. The initiative by President Eckstein, if approved by the voters, will result in funding decisions being based on just that.


Furthermore, if this initiative is approve and implemented, it will force the elected branches to fund whatever the majority of voting students think should be funded and make impossible the elected branches ability to make funding decisions in a viewpoint neutral way. Funding an organization because the majority agrees with its viewpoint is viewpoint discrimination. If this initiative is approved, the elected branches will be force take actions that abridge the privileges and immunities of students at the University of Oregon, in violation of §2.3.


5. Remedy requested: Because this ballot measure enables viewpoint discrimination, it does not comply with the ASUO Constitution, so I am asking the Constitution Court order it removed from the ballot.


6. Exigent circumstances: Spring Break is coming up at the end of the week and elections are right after. This needs to be decided before elections.

[1] Bd. of Regents v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217, 233 (U.S. 2000)

[2] Id. at 235.

[3] Christian Legal Society v. Eck, 625 F. Supp. 2d 1026, 1040 (D. Mont. 2008)


And for the record, the OC loves Senator Ben Rudin.



March 20th, 2012 by Kellie B.

First of all, fuck you Sophie Luthin. Not only are you bringing disgrace to all Sophie’s everywhere, you are doing stupid bullshit that I now have to blog about and wasting time that should be devoted to studying the implications of psychology within the legal system.

Sophie “da Sneak” Luthin is the campaign manager for Ben Bowden and Lamar Wise, and she has been accused two fuck-ups. One is starting the campaign before midnight on April 2nd. The second is the manner of this pre-campaigning, where in students were lead to believe that if they were signing a petition in support of more football tickets for students (Go Ducks!) but in reality it was a contact info gathering scheme for Bowman and Wise’s campaign. Fucking stupid. Jena Langham, who filed the grievance, is asking for Sophie’s removal from the campaign.

All the details are below, and since Cedar ignored it, it’s going to Con Court and won’t be dealt with ’til after Spring Break. Cool.

1. Name of person against whom the complaint is filed.

Sophie Luthin (hereinafter “Sophie”) – Campaign Manager for Ben Bowman and
Lamar Wise

2. The questions presented for review.
Whether Sophie and her slate have started campaigning before 12:01 a.m. on April 2,

3. The rule violated
Election Rule 5.6: no campaigning may begin until 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2012

Campaigning is defined in Election Rule 1.14: the distribution of information or materials
which may cause awareness, advocacy, promotion or opposition towards a specific
candidate, campaign, campaign committee, or ballot measure in a public space and with
the intention of soliciting a vote. This includes but is not limited to websites, social
media networks, brochures, pamphlets, posters, fliers, apparel, print media, and word of

4. A brief statement of facts giving rise to the complaint.

General Facts

1. Sophie is the campaign manager for Ben Bowman’s presidential campaign. Proof:
ASUO Candidate registration list

2. Sophie was behind of the effort to gather information cards. Proof: Sophie’s name is
on the receipt, demonstrating the photocopies of these cards were made in Sophie’s
name for Sophie’s campaign. This is the last photo of the last page.

3. The information cards (second-to-last picture) are used to collect people’s contact
information. Proof: First picture on the last page.

4. People are led to believe that they are signing a petition in favor of more football
tickets, when in reality they are giving Sophie’s campaign their contact information so
Sophie’s campaign can cold call them during elections asking for their vote.

Proof: When asked, solicitors of the cards have mentioned Ben Bowman and
members of his campaign as points of contact. They have said things like “Ben
Bowman is a part of our group,” “if you want more information I can give you
Ben’s email,” “you should talk to Andrew Lubash for more information,” and “if
you give us pizza, we will work for your campaign too.”

Andrew Lubash is also a campaign manager for Ben Bowman’s presidential campaign.
Proof: ASUO Candidate registration list

5. The information cards are not involved with any other ASUO entity and are not an
ASUO-endorsed campaign. Proof: Testimonies in Appendix 1. Furthermore, Sophie’s
position within the ASUO is Environmental Advocate, so she cannot claim that getting
photocopies for such a campaign is part of her job description. Proof: ASUO Executive

5. The Remedy Requested

Petitioner requests the Elections Board remove Sophie from her position as

Campaign Manager for Ben Bowman’s campaign, effective immediately. Sophie

has undermined the fairness of elections by starting early, similar to a runner

getting a head start in a race. The remedy should be the same in this situation:


Appendix 1

Testimonies in support of the blue cards being directly related to Ben Bowman

From: Maddy Robinson –

A student was approached by the “street teamer” and asked, “Hey do you have a minute?
I want to ask you about an increase in student football tickets.” She responded, “Sure!”
She was handed a form and asked to fill it out in support of an increase of student tickets.
She asked, “So where is this information going to.” He responded, “It will go toward
an increase in student football tickets” She responded, “Yes, but where is that going to
come from.” He hesitated and answered, “Uhhhh, ACFC I think.” She responded, “Oh
so I’m confused, isn’t Ben Bowman the president of ACFC? And didn’t he vote for
a 0% increase for student tickets and a 97% increase in funds for OSPIRG recently.”
The “street teamer” mumbled something in response. The student asked, “Are you
working with Ben and Lamar,” and he responded “Uhhhhh” with a look of shock on his
face and shook his head. The student grabbed one of the handouts and the street teamer
yelled after her, “For the record, I didn’t answer that question.”

Testimonies in support that the cards are not directly related to an ASUO-endorsed

From: Ryan McNamara – Vice President of Pit Crew – Senior-

I was walking on campus on Friday, March 9, and two people handing out blue flyers
approached me. When I was stopped I asked what it was for, one stated that it was for
more football tickets. I was hesitant because I do not like giving away my email and
phone number on campus. To try to convince me the other chimed in saying that they
just got Kenjon Barner to sign one.

From: Gabo Allstock –

It was a traditional lazy Saturday consisting of sitting in front of the television
and “vegging” out. Unexpectedly, I hear a knock at my door. I unwillingly get up to
answer it, and look through the peephole to notice two kids whom I do not know. When I
answer the door, they started what was clearly a practiced story asking me if I want more
student football tickets. Before they could get too far into things I cut them off saying “I
already signed one of those yesterday on campus.” They were happy to hear my response
and asked if I had any roommates that would like to sign one too. I told them they were
not home and they reacted very kindly, thanked me, and walked off. I did not really think
anything at all of the interaction and went back to watching whatever reality show I was
previously watching. I later came to find out that they were actually students working
on an ASUO election campaign, and connected the dots that they were canvassing the
neighborhood for signatures. Never did the students tell me who they were working
for, what their cause was, or really anything at all, about what I was signing except the
infamous election tagline “do you want more student football tickets?” I am discouraged

to hear that this ASUO campaign is tricking students into supporting them when the
campaign season has not started yet.

From: Paige Jeffery – (925) 457-4191

While walking through the center of campus on 13th Ave, I have been immediately
approached by individuals asking if I want more football tickets. To any student, this
question would seem intriguing. However, when I asked about the organization they are
a part of or what the real story was, the only answer they had was, “it’s just a petition for
more tickets.” I signed this “petition”, but still, none of my questions were answered.


The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 introduced in the House

March 16th, 2012 by Ashley

Students out there drowning in their own little puddle of the almost $1 trillion United States student loan debt might see a little bit of metaphorical sun this year in the form of student loan forgiveness. HR 4170, or the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, will “provide that if a student loan borrower equal to 10% of their discretionary income for a period of ten years, the balance of their federal student loan debt will be forgiven,” according to the bill’s author, Rep. Hansen Clarke. In his speech to the House, Clarke asserted that in addition to assisting students with sometimes crippling financial burdens, this bill will help stimulate the economy by freeing up funds for millions of individuals, which would in turn help the American job market (I believe the technical term is an “economic tripple whammy”). An official press release on the Clarke’s website further filled out details of the bill:

“This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by giving borrowers the option to enter the 10/10 loan repayment plan. Borrower’s discretionary income will be defined as any annual income exceeding 150 percent of the poverty line for an individual or family. This bill would also allow graduates who enter public service professions, such as teachers and first responders, to have their loans forgiven in five years instead of ten as well as cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4 percent.”

“It’s time for Congress to stand up for the rights of student loan borrowers,” Clarke claimed on the House floor to conclude his proposal. “It’s time to forgive these student loan debts.”

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed as this bill starts its long and vicious journey through the House. I know I would personally love to stimulate the economy by picking up a few more six-packs than I could otherwise.

A video of Clarke’s speech to the House can be found here.

ASUO Senate – 3/14/2012

March 14th, 2012 by Rebecca

ASUO Senate – 3/7/2012

March 7th, 2012 by Rebecca

Students SCORE on Athletics, March on MATT

March 2nd, 2012 by Rebecca

On the crisp night that was Thursday the first of March, the University of Oregon Student Coalition on Reprioritizing Education embarked on its maiden voyage towards what’s written up there on ASUO Senator Molly Bacon’s sign. Athletic Department Accountability.

While it was certainly–but not exclusively– an ASUO affair, students came together to protest the UO Athletic Department’s lack of transparency and cooperation. The Commentator was there to show its support, like it damn well should have been. I mean c’mon, after all the harping we do about athletics. Well, let me be more specific. I was there to show my support, like I damn well should have been– after all the harping I do about athletics.

Along with a substantial smattering of normal student participants, it should be noted that many ASUO Senators and Executive Staff were present, including President Ben Eckstein and VP Katie Taylor. Oh, and President Eckstein was adamant that I relay the fact that he went “casual-yet-political” at this event, donning a gray Obama crewneck sweatshirt and jeans. As for VP Taylor, I couldn’t tell ya what she was wearing. Members of the ODE whom I will keep unnamed and myself acknowledged and lauded her decision to steer clear of us, the press.

Before their march on MATT Court, rally participants gathered at the EMU amphitheater, where they were provided with picket signs without pickets, and were roused with a few words from the SCORE campaign coordinators. I was able to get a hold of the hard copies of their little speeches, and have quoted parts of each below. Cedar Cosner, a SCORE coordinator and ASUO elections coordinator alike, spoke first:

Rob Mullens, we are calling on you today to consider your successes, to consider what all of that would be without us. Give it Back. All of you now are here because you appreciate that sentiment. It is said that it never rains in Autzen. Well, it may be raining here and now [it wasn’t…], but that does not erase our conviction. That does not soften our resolve. We shall be heard. We shall be seen. We shall make those in charge quake with the implications of our stand. We are the University of Oregon, we are Ducks, we are students, and we deserve better!

Cosner was followed by SCORE coordinator Andrew Rodgers, who is also the ASUO Communications Director:

Student Athletes deserve to be treated as students first. They deserve the support of an Athletics Department and a school administration that places the highest emphasis on our Academic mission. We all deserve this…Why are donors actively incentivized to contribute to Athletics over Academics? Why isn’t the admistration excersizing oversight in the affairs of Rob Mullens and all of the administrators of the Athletics Department? They owe it to each and every one of us to do so but they have failed in that charge.

And then they were off. They sauntered over to MATT, did a little chanting, and complied with all event security requests. The rally went absolutely swimmingly, and met only minor adversity– adversity that included some douches yelling “Go home” and “Why don’t you just enjoy the game like normal people” and “Wow, you’re really making a difference.” If you’re into that sort of discourse, I encourage you to explore the comments section of the rally’s Ol’ Dirty article for more tactless bro-interjections– each complete with its own futile rebuttal written by an anonymous (or identifed!) member (or former member) of the ASUO.

Although I lost my pen sometime during the excitement and tumult of it all, SCORE campaign coordinator Andrew Rodgers obliged me with a brief debriefing after the rally had come to a close. With my bare thumbs in the 30 degree weather, I typed his words frantically into a text message. Here is what I managed to transcribe and save as a draft:

great start in our mission to make a more account able coommunity lac of inst control disinvesment when we put so much emph on athletic

That isn’t completely unintelligible is it? All the key words are there. You get it. It’s not like there’s much to be said about the motivations, or the implications, of SCORE’s campaign that isn’t evident anyway. (Although there’s always this if you need some solid, angry Anti-Oregon-Athletics closing arguments) . Because as for me, and as for those involved with the campaign, the idea is basic and clear. The University of Oregon is an institution of higher education, and our athletics have proven to be an important, successful part of that whole. But that’s just it– athletics is a contributing part of a bigger entity than itself– no matter how much revenue it generates, no matter how much national attention it brings.  The Athletic Department needs to get better at remembering that it’s just a part among many, not an independent whole. It needs to get better at channeling its success, and the fruits of its success, towards the the university’s fundamental and foremost purpose. I understand that by picketing an important basketball game– messages can get muddled. Nonetheless, it’s a shame, because I know that most of the students who strode past the protest and into the arena weren’t able recognize that the small noisy crowd who stood outside of the arena– stood outside, cold and noisy, for THEM–and for their money, and for their well being.

To close, I’m gonna use some imagery, so bear with me here. Behold below, the second photograph I’ve so gratefully borrowed from the ODE’s Tess Freeman.

Now look closely. I don’t spend much time in MATT Court, nor do I have a blueprint or a seating chart of the place. With that, I cannot tell you what it means, nor what it takes, to be able to wheel around on the top floor of the arena. But if you look up there, beyond the clamor and high above, you can see amongst that artsy wood paneling and that fucking ambient lighting, a few shadowy figures gazing ominously upon our little student protest. Like I said, it was a big game that night. So I wonder who those figures are, and what inflated role they play in the athletic department. I wonder what they were thinking when they saw this. I contemplate this and it gives me hope.




Andrew Breitbart passes away at 43

March 2nd, 2012 by Kellie B.

Breitbart, a conservative commentator, Huffington Post co-founder, Drudge Report contributor, and veritable hurricane of political insight with four websites of his very own, is dead at 43, apparently from a heart attack.

He was known most recently for breaking the Anthony Weiner scandal on his website BigJournalism, and for participating in the conservative gay rights group, GOProud.

A force to be reckoned with, Breitbart will be missed. Here is a quote from his book Righteous Indignation:

“I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and — famously — I enjoy making enemies. Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands — who knows? — of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.”

Andrew Breitbart

To OSPIRG, With Love from ASUO Senator Ben Rudin

March 1st, 2012 by Rebecca

While I trust that any reader of the OC blog is in-tune with the OSPIRG controversy, last night ASUO Senator Ben Rudin delivered an eloquent dissent before the final ACFC budget was passed by a splintered ASUO Senate body. It wasn’t humanly possible to transcribe Senator Rudin’s statement in real time on CoverItLive– so we’ve got the transcription here just for you, concerned reader. He relays the OSPIRG plight quite nicely:


Direct question to anyone supporting OSPIRG and wants to answer: why do you think OSPIRG is so controversial? [get answers]

I’ll say right now, I’ll leave the arguments against the insane 97% increase to my colleagues, because to me the issue isn’t the amount, it’s the principle. The reason it is so controversial, and the reason I’m adamantly against this budget, is it flies in the face of people’s freedom to contribute to the political causes they support and refrain from supporting political causes they oppose. You wanna talk student autonomy? It’s the autonomy of every individual student. Freedom of association a fundamental right every individual has and it should remain that way for their time at this University. Anything else is slap in the face to student autonomy.

At this point I usually hear something like “I might not agree with funding athletics, or LTD, or Campus Recycling, but you’re suggesting I should still have to pay for those. How is it different?” It’s fundamentally different. Governments make public policy choices all the time, and funding decisions that reflect them. For example, take the war in Iraq. You may oppose it, as I did for most of its duration, but it’s a legitimate public policy decision. To start the process of correcting such mistakes, we have the First Amendment, which ensures we can protest, petition, lobby, advocate, the list goes on, and government cannot dictate, control, encourage, or prohibit that process. It is to ensure we have the ability to raise awareness of injustices going on, and government is unable to do anything about it.

So government can tax me to pay for its wars, even if I disagree with them, but I’ll be damned if government uses even a penny of my money to manipulate the processes protected by the First Amendment, processes that are specifically meant to protect individuals’ rights to persuade government to change course, or voters to change course in the ballot box.

At this point I usually hear, “Rudin, you’re at a loss. We have viewpoint neutrality. We fund advocacy groups all the time, as it’s part of our mission of fostering a dynamic discussion on political, religious, social, and cultural issues.” You’re right about that. I am all about providing students the tools to engage in such dynamic discussions, and we do that very well by funding our programs, including but not limited to Students for Choice, Students for Life, and the Commentator. Furthermore, if a group of students came before us saying “We’re very passionate about [this issue]. We’ve gotten a group of students together who really want to make a difference on this issue! We want to go advocate about this in Salem, and we just need some money to get there and back and take care of any other logistics.” My response would be, “done, I’m voting for this.”

You can argue it all you want, but that is not what funding OSPIRG is. Funding OSPIRG would be like a group of students coming before us saying “We’re very passionate about [this issue]. We’ve got a group of students together who really want to make a difference on this issue. We really want to see something done about this, so we need some money to pay the salary of someone to advocate in Salem full-time and year-round on [this issue].” And my response would be, “I love your passion, I admire the hard work you do, and while you don’t have a claim to other people’s money to pay someone to advocate on your issue, the door is always open if you are wanting to go to Salem yourself and need some financial help to do it.” That’s the key difference. I’ll say it again, I am all about having a student body engaged, informed, and acting on issues, and I’m all about spending the money so students can do that. No matter how much you say otherwise, paying professional advocates is not doing that. It’s like making your own outline versus buying a commercial. Most of the value is in creating the outline, not the finished product. That is lost when someone just buys a commercial outline, and that is analogous to hiring professional advocates. Professional advocates are where the bulk of the money for OSPIRG goes, and why I’m against it. If you are willing to vote for such a thing in all situations, ok, you’re being viewpoint neutral and I just completely disagree, but if you are voting for OSPIRG’s because you think they provide a service based on the issues they advocate, you are suggesting those who advocate a different or contrary issue are performing a disservice. That is viewpoint discrimination.

Another thing I hear is, “You’re not going after OSA and USSA and they’re just like OSPIRG!” No they’re not. From the perspective of a student service, they are opposites. OSA and USSA like an organization coming before us saying “We’ve got a great training program. We’re all about training students how to effectively lobby and then giving the experience to go lobby in Salem! This is a valuable service for students and an important skill to have, and we just need some money so we can provide this training and experience to your students!” My response would be “done! You got my vote.” That is completely different from students saying they’re passionate about an issue so they have a right to use a mandatory fee to pay someone to advance their political agenda. I don’t care how many students agree with the viewpoint, the advancement of a political agenda is not a student service.

That brings me to a final point. Unlike OSA and USSA, OSPIRG is a 501(c)(3). I assume most of you don’t speak tax law, so a 501(c)(3) simply means a charitable cause. You donate to them, you get a tax deduction for donating to charity. That’s all well and good, except Senate Rule 12.5(a)(M) says “at no time may incidental fee monies be donated to charitable causes.”  You might be thinking “this isn’t a donation, it’s a contract.” I hate to break it to you, but donations are contracts. For example, if someone donates to the UO Foundation for a specific project, that is a donation. It’s also a contract because if the UO Foundation misuses the money, the donor has recourse. The way a contract is not a donation is if a quid pro quo (this for that) is involved. For example, we contract with the Emerald, and they publish us newspapers. We contract with SASS, and they provide us free sexual assault support services. We contract with OSPIRG, and most of the money goes to professional advocates trying to create what some people consider a “better world.” Giving an organization money in exchange for bettering the world, THAT IS A DONATION. Not only do I find this expenditure fundamentally wrong for it amounts to coerced speech, but it potentially violates the Senate rules. I urge a no vote in the strongest possible terms.