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Archive for the 'ASUO' Category

College Red vs. College Blue

October 29th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

This Thursday November 1st, the College Republicans and the College Democrats will be holding a debate. A number of topics will be discussed, including energy policy, economic recovery, health care, marriage equality and women’s economic rights.

ASUO Academic Affairs Director Harlan Mechling has told me that the event has been picking up steam. What’s more, the presidents of either group both hold positions in the ASUO, so things may get a little spicy.

Again the debate will take place this Thursday at 6:30 pm in McKenzie 129.

Public Records [2.0]: A fairytale come true

October 26th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

Once upon a time, in a land very near and dear, the University of Oregon:

On January 1st, 2011, former Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella emailed a request for ASUO Senators’ email correspondence (i.e., those emails sent to and from senate@uoregon.edu or asuosenate@lists.uoregon.edu) to Public Records Officer Liz Denecke. As reading this previous post will inform you, Denecke responded via email to CJ’s request saying that in order to fulfill such a request, it would cost him a whopping $428.36– “about half” being used to cover the costs “producing the documents”  and “the other half […] for redaction, and that cost is estimated conservatively and will likely cost more than the estimate.” Denecke’s explanation continues, stating that such emails “will be student records, subject to the protection of student privacy laws. That will require a great deal of redaction and you may end up with documents that do not tell you what you want to know.” Denecke would later tell Ciaramella over the phone that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the students in this case, calling for intensive redaction of student names (i.e., the ASUO Senators’ names) and anything unrelated to ASUO business. Hence such expensive estimated compensation for the production of this Public Records Request. Because of this, Ciaramella abandoned the pursuit, deeming it stonewalled.

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LIVE at Senate 10/17/12

October 17th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

So, the live blogging issue has been fixed. The shit hits the fan at 7:00 p.m.

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ASUO Senate 10/03/12 Recap

October 3rd, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

Meeting was called to order around 7:04 p.m. After introductions, a representative of DPS had an announcement.

He said that the department wants to do a better job this year– at keeping the student body updated, not necessarily at protecting and serving. He talked about the name change from Department of Public Safety to University of Oregon Police Department. “This is a name change only,” he said, which is kind of true, if we are speaking in a temporally fixed context. I suppose as long as he doesn’t say this again, ever, you can’t call him a liar. There are eleven officers on “staff” (I’m pretty sure he used that word) at the moment and more will be hired in the coming months. Arming officers is intended to happen this year, given that the rest of the UO community does not oppose. “Know your rights” literature will be dispersed soon, as well.

The Mills International Center will be hosting “The Meet” Thursday Oct. 4th,  5-7 p.m. All are invited for food, fun and meeting students from all over the world.

The Emerald used a good hunk of time talking about how they’re different now.  Emerald Media Group, they would like to be called, but I will stick with Ol’ Dirty.

Public forum time. Senator Emeritus Nolan comes up with some pledge for the senators to sign, promising to keep the LGBT community in mind and not discriminate. I can’t think of a way to make fun of her that doesn’t involve sarcasm, so I will just state my view: while probably well-intended, all this pledge does is portray the LGBT community as an “other,” (precisely what the pledge aims to rectify).

Announcement from Harlan: EMU open until 3 a.m. during dead week. Fuck yeah!

LGBT dance, Homecoming Parade, Street Faire and Mallard Madness all coming up soon.

As we move on to special requests, I note that the Emerald correspondent keeps winking at me and making kissy faces.

Special requests: Women in Law (or something like that) transferred funds between line items. ASUO Executive expedited their Finance Retreat, moved trip to EMU for ease. Senate wisely used this time to discuss the amount in surplus. $790 until next week or something. Nobody knows. Oregon Ballroom Dance had a request for something. It was postponed indefinitely because of low funds in surplus. Vietnamese Student Association requested a small remainder of funds needed for next weeks event. The motion to approve passed.

Then there was a Summer Senate update. Shit was difficult to hear and when it settled down, all Miyamoto was talking about was the new polo t-shirts that Senate got.

This was followed by committee nominations. This is always funny because it’s like in a 200 level Spanish class when the teacher starts looking for volunteers.

The Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force was formed. Ben Bowman was able to bring up his character again. Senator Ewing’s LA cap was really cute. And Senator Mubaya’s family mascot is a lion.

My Twitter feed was frozen on tweet #128 and I wasn’t able to continue updating. There must be a limit or something. The end.

 

Sudsy on Senate 10-03-12

October 3rd, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

So, CoverItLive.com has monetized their service. Until we can switch to some other live blogging host, I am going to live-Tweet the Senate meeting tonight as @SudsyOnSenate. Later, I will post a wrap-up of that live coverage after I drink myself silly. Please follow! 7 p.m.! See the agenda here.

ASUO Senate Update 9/26

September 26th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

Every week, students like you and me congregate in the Walnut Room under the title of ASUO Senate. Every week, they make decisions that most of us probably don’t care about. Every year, I’ve paid little to no attention to this shit. But this year, I am condemned to attending these Senate meetings and relaying the information unto you. It was pretty boring at first, but things got heated and interesting with the censure of Constitution Court Justice Cedar Cosner. So here goes my first ASUO Senate meeting:

Matthew Miyamoto is acting as Chair until the election of a President or something. He calls the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. This was followed by introductions and silly one-word recaps of summer. The agenda was approved.

Ben Bowman announces the Emerald‘s Launch Party, which starts at 8:00 p.m. Apparently there is a VIP party at 6:00 p.m. which includes a free meal? You’re not invited; he only invited the Senate and then the audience.

Justice Shultz came in and discussed the new rules for Constitution Court. They can probably be found somewhere, but apparently the “the most startling changes will be with [how] resolutions [are passed].” Senator Bacon expressed concern of the composition of Academic Senators with respect to categorization of senators and how that effects the acknowledgement of constituents. The number of Senate seats has something to do with this.
 More announcements. Oh my fucking god, can’t these announcements be emailed?

STFU for smoking.

August 31st, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

Well,  it’s that time of year. The STFU time of year. Summer is ending, the leaves are changing and students will be shut the fuck up. No, not us respectable students. Only those lower than us who beleaguer our campus with the dangerous, abhorent drug tobacco will be put in their place by this policy change. The Smoke and Tobacco Free University policy  will take effect tomorrow September 1st. Put away your bics and Zippos and take out your evil eye and pointer fingers. However, DPS will not be able to take out their ticket books.

The implementation of this policy calls for the use of an $800,000 grant from PacificSource. As aptly explained in an old post of Lyzi Diamond’s:

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

As I understand it, ciggy recepticals, like the one in the photo above, will be removed within a two-year period as part of the policy change. Though I only care enough to wait and see, I am curious as to why that would really be advisable, why they would actually even consider this. Sure, let’s marginalize those lower than us, but if we are not going enforce the policy with legal repercussions, what’s to stop these dirty people from dropping cigarette butts all over the place? Shan’t we keep Oregon green?

Lyzi linked the Smoke Free Task Force report, but here’s the link for convenience. I just want to say that I see this policy change as one that intends to construct an environment that condemns certain people (who are making personal decisions that only effect them). Tobacco is legal (as other drugs should be, because the government has no business dictating what goes into any individual’s body)(you’d think that this goes without saying, right?). And being a mostly college-admitted community, can we not assume that most UO students are aware that tobacco is harmful to their health? If this policy aims to educate students about the dangers of tobacco, what does this say about our students? This is more of a look-down-our-noses thing than it is an educational thing.

It seems like a slippery slope. Perhaps such discrimination stops with these trouble-makers, but can we be sure? I for one will be organizing another Smoke-In with my cohorts at the Commentator. Join us on the dark side. Of the lung.

2 Referenda Down, 1 “Communication Strategy” To Go

August 20th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

Friday’s teleconference between an OUS committee, ASUO President Laura Hinman and the vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes raised questions about hiring an outside firm to campaign for the passing of EMU renovations in October.

Because of the high cost of the proposed EMU renovation, $135 million, and the minimal student involvement in its planning, University of Oregon students have voted down the referendum. Well, now the administration, yes the suits in Johnson Hall, have hired RBI Strategies & Research using auxiliary funds to direct a political campaign designed to procure a yes vote from the student body this fall, which would raise tuition fees for each student over $100 per term.

According to an AP post on OregonLive.com, the firm worked on presidential campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and Al Gore.

The campaign proposal is especially interesting, asserting the need to have certain phrases in mind considering “what we say about opponents”, including “narrow-minded,” “stuck in past,” “stubborn,” “opinions based on misconceptions,” etc. “Keeping up with the Pac-12” in student buildings is cited as a selling point as well. This is wholly conniving in the context of college students and a bill of $135 million… But that’s not the best part.

The proposed campaign slogan of RBI (a Denver-based campaign firm) touts a strong declaration: “Our Legacy. Our Pride. Our Union. Vote YES.”  They plan to spend $20,000 to $30,000 on T-shirts, drawstring backpacks, banners, table tents, stickers, and other items to grease up these wheels.

Luckily, Chief Administrative Officer Kirk Schueler called the marketing report contracted by the EMU Renovation Task Force “very biased,” addressing the lack of focus on student voter turnout, according to this Daily Emerald post.

As quoted in the Oregon Live post mentioned above, Lamar Wise pointed out (and rightly so), “When millions of dollars are on the line, and students are paying for it, their voice should come first.”  Wise also cast off the notion that the UO should need to “keep up with the Pac-12”, comparing it to “keeping up with the Joneses.” ZING.

So, let us all hope that this new “communication strategy” steers more toward the “educational campaign” that it should be and less toward the “political campaign” that RBI wants it to be. After hearing concerns last Friday, vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes and the EMU Renovation Team will reconsider the proposal of RBI, or perhaps even its hiring, at the expense of the students.

Prevalence of On-Campus Sexual Assault Highlights University Failures

July 5th, 2012 by C.W. Keating

As anyone with a working University email address already knows, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently sent out an email detailing two separates rapes that occurred near Autzen Stadium and Chase Village. The tentatively-worded email states that

“Police have learned from second and third hand sources that there may have been three separate rapes within a five-day period near Chase Village and Autzen Stadium, beginning Thursday, June 28. No female victims have come forward or wish to file a report, so the information is unverified…

In one incident on June 29, a woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife. The suspect is described as a black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.

A second-hand report EPD has received is that two additional female victims have been raped on unknown dates, but within the same week, also in the same general area. One of these two incidents involved a similar suspect: black male, 6′ tall, 200 pounds, with muscular build, and shaved head.”

Besides being a horrifying and disturbing event, the incidents described in the email also point out the relative ineffectiveness of DPS and the overbearing presence of a “rape culture” around the UO. These are big claims to make, but stick with me here.

Based on the amount of “Campus Crime Alerts” I receive in my inbox on a weekly basis, it’s fairly clear that DPS is unable to “provid[e] a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.” While the emergency call boxes that litter campus are a great idea, it’s DPS’ inability to do anything other than dole out prevention tips and “Campus Crime Alerts” that really calls their authority into question. Not to mention the subtle fostering of a rape culture, where women are seen as “victims” rather than “survivors” and are perceived as “asking for it” because of their clothing or body language.

Just look at the passive voice in the first description: “A woman was walking alone around 10 p.m. on the bike path near Autzen Stadium when she was raped by a man with a knife.” Not “a man raped her” or “a man assaulted her”: she was raped. While this may seem like a minor syntactical kvetch, this kind of passive voice fails to accurately highlight the criminal nature of the act. You wouldn’t say “A store was robbed by an escaped convict.” You would say “An escaped convict robbed a store.” Instead, the attacker is placed in the background, and thus escapes scrutiny.

But it’s not all bad. The groups listed at the bottom of the email — Womenspace, SASS, the White Bird Clinic, the Counseling Center, SafeRide, and SWAT — are all excellent resources for survivors. Yet this doesn’t seem to be enough to change the prevalence of the University’s rape culture. There are many places that foster this kind of misogyny, undercutting the excellent work done by the aforementioned groups. Greek Life is an especially obvious target for such criticism, but you can find signs of rape culture anywhere. From the shouted “bitches” and “whores” within Taylor’s to the intense consumption of pornography, this mindset is everywhere around Eugene.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love porn. But all these factors have combined together to create a strangely patriarchal cocktail, one that views women as objects to be seized or sold. Women don’t deserve to be treated that way. And before the snarky comments come pouring in, remember that this isn’t about some bullshit in Washington D.C. or a genocide in some faraway country. This happens to people you know and love every day: your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and even your family.

Rape is wrong no matter what your political beliefs. The failures of the University and DPS only stand as a testament to the kind of incompetence our school is slowly (and sadly) becoming known for.

LAST ASUO SENATE OF THE YEAR – 6/6/12

June 6th, 2012 by Rebecca

Newly-Confirmed Justice Cedar Cosner Faces Possible Removal in the Fall

June 4th, 2012 by Rebecca

Last week, ASUO Senator Lindy Mabuya called for the removal of former Elections Coordinator and newly-confirmed Con Court Justice Cedar Cosner.

Cosner is accused of throwin’ a rager in February and charging a $3 entrance fee that went towards the Ben & Lamar Campaign.

 

I thought fratboyz were the only people douchie enough to charge toll at a party? And what kind of sorry person was willing to pay this fee? Better yet, what kind of sorry person was trying to get into this ASUO Elections Coordinator party? Well this has been a year of firsts for the ASUO, and being deadweek and all they ain’t decent enough to give it a goddamn rest.

Despite all of the sleep I’m losing over these kinds of questions, I’m sure the allegations are true and that Cosner raked in a considerable $12 or so. After all, Cosner’s behavior stirred the concern of Franklin Bains earlier this year when he lead a protest against the UO Athletic Department while he was acting as the Elections Coordinator. And whatever Bains says, I listen.

But lucky for ODE readers, lucky for 1-2 people here at the Commentator, and unfortunately for a few bloodthirsty ASUOer’s,  this Mabuya v. Cosner case won’t be heard ’til the fall, but it will be publicly heard! Just like the Beckstein v. Sam D-K hearing earlier this year– which, let it be known, was essentially my recurring wet nightmare taking place on the second floor of the Law School.

Well thanks Mabuya. Now I know how I’ll be spending my summer. In an anxious ball on the floor rocking quietly until Cosner’s fate is decided of course.

An anxious rocking ball too? Read the ODE article.

 

ASUO SENATE 5/30/12

May 30th, 2012 by Rebecca

ASUO SENATE 5/23/12

May 23rd, 2012 by Rebecca

ASUO SENATE – 5/16/12

May 16th, 2012 by Rebecca

ASUO Senate – 5/9/12

May 9th, 2012 by Rebecca