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Archive for the 'Ol’ Dirty Emerald' Category

Oregon Legislature ponders how to make high school even worse

April 27th, 2011 by Ben Maras

Apparently just learning how to show up on time and do what you’re told isn’t good enough anymore. The front page of today’s Ol’ Dirty featured a story about Oregon House Bill 2732, which would withhold a graduating high school senior’s diploma until they “showed proof of application to college, the U.S. armed forces or into an apprenticeship program.” Sound like complete bullshit? Apparently not enough bullshit for the majority of the Oregon House of Representatives.

The vote was split 33-26. Two thirds of the House Democrats voted for it, and while the Republicans weren’t so keen on it (only one third voted for it).

So in addition to forcing young adults kids to enlist in the military or take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt in hopes of a brighter job market by the time you’ve hit legal drinking age, it will also create a new breed of dropout for students who don’t want to do either, or don’t know yet. That’ll be great for the already-shaky state of the Oregon educational system. But Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) sees it another way:

“This bill does not intend to tell anyone what the right choice is for them. It merely seeks to prompt consideration of that question,” Read said on the House floor. “Think about the student who intends to work in the family business. Wouldn’t he likely benefit from some accounting or bookkeeping classes at the community college.”

Yes, yes he (or she) would. But does he really think that there’s anyone on the face of the earth who’s thought about that more that the student has? After all, they’ve had a long time to think about it, and by that time probably had to answer to the incessant “So what are you going to do next?” from the family about 470 times. Maybe he knew exactly what he wanted to do at 18, and never spent most of his twenties wondering if what he was doing was really what he should be, (unless everyone else feels that way, too; if so, ignore that last sentence).

Next it moves on to the Democrat-controlled Oregon Senate (60% Democrats / 40% Republicans), where it will likely fester for some time before being passed along party lines and then blocked by the courts.

Apparently Guns Cause Suicide

April 22nd, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

The Oregon Daily Emerald reported today that the family of a university alumnus, Kerry Lewiecki, who committed suicide with a firearm are now pushing the legislature for a waiting period for handgun purchases. From the article:

“People get the idea that they can’t go on living and they act on that within minutes or even hours of having that thought,” said Lewiecki’s father, E. Michael Lewiecki. “If (Kerry) had not been able to purchase a handgun so easily, I think there’s a good chance it might not have happened.”

I sympathize with the family’s  loss, but I don’t see any logic to the argument that people who decide to kill themselves are regularly purchasing firearms at the time of their decision for the express purpose of doing so, even if Lewiecki did. Sad as it may be, I’m fairly confident that, had he not had access to a firearm, Lewiecki would have found another way to kill himself. Unless we as a society are intent on putting 14-day waiting periods on sleeping pills, too, then let’s be careful to not confuse method with motivation.

ASUO Elections – Day 2 (UPDATED)

March 29th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

ASUO Elections Coordinator Will Price has not yet returned phone calls regarding the Elections Board’s handling of pending grievances.

Rainfall seemed to only slightly damper campaign activities today. Student’s United’s Brian Allen, currently ASUO Outreach Coordinator, was seen sporting a multi-color umbrella hat earlier today.

According to the Oregon Daily Emerald‘s blog, Publisher Ryan Frank contacted officials from both Students United, who had been stamping copies of the ODE with pro-SU messages, and Ben and Katie, whose filers were found in copies of the ODE yesterday. Both campaigns were apologetic, denied official knowledge of the activities and promised to take steps to prevent them in the future. Editor-in-Chief Nora Simon discussed the situation, and outlined the paper’s plans to provide fair, unbiased elections coverage.

A full news story will be  posted tonight after the Candidate Debate. A Recap of tonight’s special Senate Meeting will also be posted later either tonight or early tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Commentator, was able to contact Price, who said he would forward information on the grievances filed thus far tonight. He also stated that the Elections Board will be deciding the grievances tomorrow.

On Governing For The Masses

February 5th, 2011 by Stephen Murphy

I know somebody commented on this under Rockne’s post, but I feel that it deserves a little front page space. From yesterday’s Emerald, page 4, the continuation of the OSPIRG article:

ASUO President Amelie Rousseau told the Emerald, in response to the events of the Wednesday hearing, that she would veto any ACFC budget that did not include at least some funding for OSPIRG.

I can understand voicing one’s opinions on a matter and stating that one would be unlikely to vote in favor of a budget with no OSPIRG funding, but isn’t strict “we do things my way or else” behavior the sort of thing people tried to stamp out in, like, kindergarten? No room for compromise, no contingencies, just “if there’s no OSPIRG funding then I’m telling?”

The theory behind government is that it represents the interests of the governed, and we have Rousseau kissing OSPIRG’s boo-boos after a fairly obvious display of opinion from some senators. I’m not saying she has to mindlessly cow-tow to the majority opinion, but to completely disregard a 4-1 ruling of your peers is a little… yeah.

Emerald back in the black, interim publisher says, as his successor is appointed

February 4th, 2011 by Alex Tomchak Scott

The University of Oregon’s student newspaper is financially solvent again, two professional staff members at the Oregon Daily Emerald said, after years of running in the red.

The news comes on the heels of the paper’s announcing the hire of a new publisher, Ryan Frank, to take over from Mike Thoele, who has held the job in an interim capacity since being hired in August.

Thoele was a former Register-Guard reporter and editor who also spent nine years as owner of weekly newspapers in Junction City and Veneta. Measures he has taken to ensure the paper’s solvency include cutting the number of professional staff it pays and hiring more advertising executives.

The most notable measure, though, is the production of a coffee table book to commemorate the UO football team’s season. Emerald business manager Kathy Carbone said the book is nearly sold out.

The Emerald’s financial straits have led to concern over its long-term future, and were even at the root of a strike by the paper’s editorial staff during the 2008–09 school year.

The new publisher is Ryan Frank, currently an investigative reporter for the Oregonian, and he will begin to take the reins at the UO’s campus paper on Feb. 28, according to a press release sent to Emerald alumni. Frank was Emerald editor while he was a UO student.

The Emerald publisher is in charge of administering the paper’s financial affairs and creating a business plan for its operations.

I realize I shouldn’t be writing this, since I am a former Emerald reporter and editor, and that affiliation overrides my ability to report it to my own standard of independence. But nobody else had written anything here about it as of my logging on, so I had no choice.

OSPIRG raids event at Mills Intl. Center for signatures.

January 31st, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Apparently some OSPIRG petitioners went to a coffee hour event for international students at the MIC and send their petition around in a way that made some people upset, including me after reading about it. I wish you could make this up. From today’s Ol’ Dirty:

“It was not an event that was targeted for them to come and politically try and push their agenda on to people. It was a social event, meant to be talking, learning about international culture,” [University junior Janessa] Nelson said. “I don’t think they were fully telling the students what they were, who they were, what it was for … they speak English, but maybe not the best English, and to have them sort of be pushed into signing something, they weren’t really spending a lot of time with them.”

And the fun continues:

“There were like three of them (OSPIRG petitioners), and they kind of spread out across the room, and they were all signing; it just seemed really rude to me. We’re there to have coffee and have fun with each other,” [University sophomore Daniel] Hartley said. “And it also just seemed weird, because over half of these people are not citizens of the United States … I know half of them didn’t understand what they were doing.”

Are you that desperate for signatures that you have to crash an event at MIC and get them from people who are just learning about this country and this university? This is the worst kind of manipulative politics. If I was put in that situation under the same conditions as those students and then, after the fact, was given the information I have at my disposal now, I would feel taken advantage of. Whoever’s idea this was has some explaining to do.

Thanks to the Emerald

January 18th, 2011 by Alex Tomchak Scott

The Emerald offered its support to our quest to get an interview in today’s paper. I didn’t put it in the media digest because these things don’t get uploaded to the Internet, but here it is:

Commentator denied interview with University president

After pereparing thorough research and insisting on professionalism, Alex Tomchak Scott of the Oregon Commentator was denied an interview by University President Richard Lariviere.

Although the Commentator often produces controversial material, Tomchak has continually produced quality material. We at the Emerald believe in a free exchange of information and ideas, and Lariviere should be a staple of transparency.

Thanks guys.

Places to Study- Not the ODE Version

December 3rd, 2010 by Melissa Haskin

Being as it’s dead week, the ODE was kind enough to share its reporters’ opinions on where to study. Of course, there are other noteworthy coffee shops (Full City and Vero for starters), not to mention Sweet Life. However, there are other alternatives:

  • Rennie’s Landing, 1214 Kincaid St. — It’s right next to campus, so you can stumble to class five minutes before it starts. Perfect place to grab a pitcher and watch a game or read a textbook.
  • Eugene City Brewery, 844 Olive St. — Bring your book and order a pint and a burger. On Fridays Eugene City has a trivia night. Since it’s dead week, I’m sure the trivia will be on “organic chemistry” and “microeconomics”.
  • The Bier Stein, 345 E 11th Ave. — Incentivize your studying by buying yourself a beer, one for every chapter you read, one for every hour you study, one for getting out your notes….with so many reasons to study and Cheba Hut next door, it’s a guaranteed win for everyone!
  • Reser Stadium, 105 Gils  Coliseum, Corvallis — Screw finals, its CIVIL WAR.

ODE Can’t Count, What Else Is New?

December 2nd, 2010 by Kellie B.

Hey, Daily Emerald, Hanukkah (or Chanukah) began yesterday, it does not end today. It’s called Google. Try it.

That is all.

“Graham cracker logic”; a media digest special on the Emerald magazine and Student Insurgent.

December 1st, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Here’s my look at the two most recent campus magazines: the Insurgent and Emerald Magazine. Expect the end of the term to bring you a couple more: Our holiday issue and, I assume, a new Ethos.

Das Kapital


Emerald, seemingly, never understood the whole OSPIRG thing

November 15th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

The Emerald ran a correction in its print edition today on three errors in its Friday article on OSPIRG. Since it didn’t run online, I’ll reproduce the full text here so we’re on the same page before I go on talking about it.

Because of a reporter’s error, an article in Friday’s Emerald (“Ospirg on a mission to regain favor on campus”) misstated the year of a tax return it referenced. The 2009 tax return listed a $30,811 salary for a health care advocate. The article misstated a transaction between OSPIRG and Environment Oregon and Oregonians for Health. OSPIRG granted $1,633,289 to Environment Oregon and Oregonians for Health. The organization’s tax advocate was contacted before the story’s publication. OSPIRG uses the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of lobbying to maintain their 501(c)(3) tax status, which differs from the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition provided by the Emerald. (emphasis mine)

This last sentence I found distressing for two reasons. The first is that the correction implies that those at the Emerald don’t understand why the ASUO decided to strip Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s funding in the first place.

The fact that Oregon Student PIRG is a 501(c)(3) organization means it can receive public funds but not lobby, by the “IRS definition,” which is a false construct by the Emerald, but more on that later. Oregon Student PIRG shares its offices and much of its staff with another organization, Oregon State PIRG. Oregon State PIRG is a 501(c)(4) organization, meaning it cannot receive public funds but can lobby. Its money comes from private donors and its budget dwarfs Oregon Student PIRG’s. Oregon State PIRG and Oregon Student PIRG have the same executive director, David Rosenfeld, although he maintains that he answers to a student board of directors while he is working for Oregon Student PIRG.

The ASUO has refused to fund the student PIRG, basically, because the distinction between it and Oregon State PIRG was too murky for their liking, because Rosenfeld could never prove his running of the student PIRG wasn’t driven by the interests of the state PIRG.

That’s why OSPIRG had its funding taken away. To read a lengthy article arguing, in effect, against OSPIRG’s funding, go here. I’m not necessarily saying I care one way or another about OSPIRG’s funding. I’m just saying the Emerald produced 1,700-word centerpiece article, a propos of not a hell of a lot, about OSPIRG without actually understanding the most important aspect of the OSPIRG issue.

That’s neither here nor there, though. Tax codes are a difficult thing to understand, and I can’t explicitly remember whether I understood that distinction when I was reporting either. I certainly never stated it as explicitly as I did up there.

But the Emerald compounded it with that correction. The Merriam-Webster definition for lobbying and the IRS definition for lobbying are the same. To lobby, by both definitions, is to promote the passage of legislation. A 501(c)(3) organization is legally barred from doing this. Oregon Student PIRG, legally, cannot lobby, merely push issues, not legislation. So saying Oregon Student PIRG lobbies is libelous unless the Emerald can prove it lobbies, considering that repeating the error in snarky fashion almost certainly satisfies the “actual malice” test for libel. And saying it follows the Merriam-Webster definition is a second act of libel. So that’s dicey.

Media Meddling: The New Game at OSPIRG

November 12th, 2010 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Lauren Fox, along with a cavalcade of contributors (myself amongst them, though my role was fairly minor) from J483/583, penned a lengthy discussion of our old friends at OSPIRG in today’s Oregon Daily Emerald. What should really be noted is the story behind the story. During the day on Wednesday, a couple of high-profile OSPIRG supporters came out of the proverbial woodwork to express their dissatisfaction with the piece.

According to Emerald Editor in Chief Nora Simon, OSPIRG Chapter Chair Charles Denson paid her a visit to her office at about 2 PM Wednesday expressing concerns about his quotes in the story. Denson explained that one of the students in the class had told him that the material was for a class project and would not be published elsewhere. He said that he thought his comments were “too frank” for wider publication. Simon said that while he did not make any requests, she felt that there was a tacit implication in the conversation that he did not want the Emerald to run the story.

Later on Wednesday, former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea visited Fox. According to Fox, he stood next to her desk until she engaged him. They then retired to the Editor-in-Chief’s office, where D’Andrea reiterated Denson’s concerns about the piece. D’Andrea, like Denson, did not explicitly state that he wanted the Emerald to not run the story, and Fox described their conversation as “very friendly.” At the conclusion of their discussion, Fox asked D’Andrea if he was involved in OSPIRG. Fox said that D’Andrea replied by saying “How do you define being involved in OSPIRG?”

Fox brought these concerns to the class on Thursday and each student involved in the story indicated that, though they had indicated that the project was for class, they never promised that the material would not be published.

So the real question is this: Why are the head of OSPIRG and a former high ranking ASUO official, who is still thought to be actively involved in the current administration and will not confirm his involvement in OSPIRG, trying to influence the operations and editorial policy of the Oregon Daily Emerald?

ODE Says What We’ve All Been Thinking

October 18th, 2010 by Rockne Andrew Roll

Today’s Oregon Daily Emerald derided the ASUO Senate’s formation of an “ad-hoc” committee to “discuss” UO President Richard Lariviere’s $800 Million bond proposal and plan to restructure the University. While the editorial makes very valid points, it surprised me by being, to use an almost overly harsh word, naïve. For example:

“However, the difference between this committee and [ACFC, PFC, etcetera] is that the four members will talk about how they are going to talk to administrators, which is only one issue.”

This kind of procedural haggling is the bread and butter of the Senate. It’s why they get up in the morning. It should be no surprise that, when addressing something as monstrous as Lariviere’s Big Thing (to add an affectionate nickname), they’d want to form a committee to tinker with the minutia, especially considering the inevitability of the full Senate tinkering with whatever the committee comes up with.

The Editorial acknowledges this fact, but goes on to question another basic truth.

“They should do what they can to be one functioning body – or at least capable of coming to some sort of reasonable conclusion without having to jump through hoops.”

The answer is simple: because burning through twelve million bucks a year simply isn’t excitement enough. The “jumping through hoops” is the fun part; we can’t take that away from those poor Senators. But what’s more:

“This brings up a question: Is our Senate incapable of having a basic discussion?”

A simple phone call to anyone who has ever been to a Senate meeting would give you the answer this question: yes.

However, if you edit their last sentence strategically, it can at least look like the ODE came to the more important logical conclusion of all this.

The ASUO must remain relatively cohesive to most appropriately represent the student body. Branching out into ‘ad-hoc’ committees is just a waste of time.”

There you go. Well done.

Pig sex, perspective buffets, and so much pressure. News digest Oct. 12, 2010

October 12th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

Public affairs news:

  • Hey, it’s the last day to register to vote in Oregon during the coming midterm election. This can be done online here. The Democratic process — something everyone says you will totally regret not participating in if you don’t. In my experience, it’s a bit like the sex lives of the characters in Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Ultimately unsatisfying and filled with heartbreak and unintended, horrible consequences, but I’m fairly sure that’s just life. Also, Spicoli is totally involved. If you do it, the ASUO will totally be your friend (Oregon Daily Emerald, Register-Guard).
  • The Oregon University System’s budget fell by about an eighth this year. Frances Dyke, the UO’s extremely popular VP for Finance and Administration, says this will not increase tuition this year, although no mention is made of what effect it will have next year. I have to give credit to the Dirty’s higher education reporter Stefan Verbano (Emerald article here). Maybe he and I are both missing something, but this seems like a pretty important story and he got to it before the Oregonian or the Guard, neither of which has written about it yet.  The only other coverage I could find came from Portland Business Journal. Stefan’s article itself is somewhat opaque, but it hits most of the right points, and it’s hard to be polished when you have two articles due on the same day as a student journalist. Also, he managed to interview Frances Dyke, which is the opposite of easy. I’ve known ex-Dirty higher-ed reporters who’ve never had the pleasure, even ones who still have no idea who she is.
  • The Eugene Police have stepped up efforts to thwart partiers on weekends, and they are extremely busy. The Guard’s Ed Russo takes tentative steps in the direction of analyzing the causes of the Sept. 24 Large, Spontaneous Gathering of Young People Involving Vandalism and Tear Gas. He wonders about residential density. EPD officers blame texting. If you are a minor who wants to party on weekends, you can read this article with an eye to not getting in trouble with the police. (Register-Guard article here). Meanwhile, City Council member Alan Zelenka tries to sound like he’s scolding the UO for rowdy parties while simultaneously saying exactly what the UO wants him to say. (Register-Guard article here)
  • Monday was National Coming Out Day. Events have been held, and will continue to be, by the campus community. (Oregon Daily Emerald)
  • A Eugene couple remembers former UO biology student Linda Norgrove, recently killed by her erstwhile rescuers while being held captive in Afghanistan. (Register-Guard article here)
  • The governor’s race is extremely close, and the Emerald’s Ian Geronimo, and many of his sources, wonder why there won’t be another debate and what the difference is between the two, something Rockne Roll asks in the forthcoming Commentator. For some reason, connected to an article I read too long ago to remember and can no longer find, I’m skeptical of the poll he cites, but that is what it is. (Oregon Daily Emerald)



  • Today’s Ducks sports: Third day of Oregon Golf vs. the Hated World at “The Prestige” in Southern California.
  • Oregon Golf seventh in the prestige in dizzying procession of numbers. (Oregon Daily Emerald)
  • The Emerald’s Robert Husseman says the rest of Oregon Football’s season will be characterized by SO. MUCH. PRESSURE. (Oregon Daily Emerald)
  • Maybe it’s good that Oregon Football gets a break from football after the game against the Hated Cougars. (Oregon Daily Emerald)
  • Oregon Volleyball not exactly the Muhammad Ali of volleyball, but everyone seems optimistic anyway. (Oregon Daily Emerald)

Holistic pictures, manipulative presidents, woeful .036. Ol’ Dirty Digest; Oct. 11, 2010

October 11th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

The News (must have been a slow day):

  • Ben Eckstein is the new ASUO chief of staff. I’m sure Lyzi will have things to say once production is complete on the magazine about this. Such as how, you know, ASUO President Amelie Rousseau — to be generous about it — appears to have blithely flaunted circumvented* ASUO rules for hiring people. My favorite thing about this article is the following, wonderfully opaque Rousseau quote: “It wasn’t necessarily choosing between (Eckstein and Hulen),” she said. “It was looking at the holistic picture.”
  • Serious note: I know the outgoing Conrad Hulen from my time reporting on the ASUO and it’s depressing to learn he’s had a family tragedy so serious he can’t come back to school.
  • There is also another ASUO story about an ASUO committee appointing people to officer positions. If I were a tree felled to have this news printed on paper made of me, I would be upset, despite the fact that, as a tree, I would have no emotions. That is to say, it stands out for its irrelevance.
  • A guy rode a bike. A long way. For charity. Evidently Tijuana is not so bike-friendly, the rest of Baja California is a bit bland, and there’s not really much else to say about the rest of the Pacific coast of North America.


  • The Emerald’s editorial board with a typically bland election-season argument: You should, you know, vote, even if politicians make your skin crawl. Boring. Much more interesting is the UO College Democrats president calling the president’s 2008 campaign “manipulative.” Many people are terrified to criticize the political party to which they profess allegiance, even if it’s true, so I laud her for doing so.
  • Thomas Kyle-Milward opines that the UO has rescheduled graduation to Mondays to make more money and make things easier on faculty and staff, but at the expense of students.
  • Slow news day supplemented by weird news column. The rubber-encased semen of Commonwealth Games athletes is a threat to India’s plumbing! Woman puts glue in eye by mistake, then visits hospital! Cocaine found in butt! Couple buys skeleton! Man doesn’t die in non-explosion!


  • Band of whom some have heard plants advertorial in Emerald! Other band throws party! Restaurant old and quirky!


  • In my opinion, this clip contains all the information you need to know about sports.
  • Oregon Football won a gristly, ugly game.
  • Two volleyball teams from Arizona played Oregon Volleyball this weekend, an exercise apparently geared to producing  unintelligible numbers, such as “hitting a woeful .036” (blood alcohol content?) and “19 kills” (rap sheet?) and lending support to the notion that nobody cares enough about volleyball to explain what the fuck they’re talking about.
  • Oregon Softball played Portland State in a match that evidently unfolded in banal succession of quotes and evaluations, followed by a dizzying and somewhat inscrutable series of declarative sentences in large paragraphs. Sunflower seeds were missed by all.

* I want to emphasize that this is not a barb. It is a correction. Thank you to Andrew for providing the relevant rule, which I seemingly couldn’t be bothered to seek. I acknowledge my mistake.