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OSPIRG Thrice Denied: ASUO Senate, 23 February 2011

February 24th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

OSPIRG State Board Treasurer Katie Taylor discusses the group's appeal with Senate members Wednesday night. Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll

EUGENE – The tension in the room was noticeable and focused Wednesday night. Even a group dinner at Sen. Kaitlyn Lange’s house prior to the meeting couldn’t erase the unease the 21 members of the ASUO Student Senate displayed throughout the evening, though one can only imagine what it would have looked like without the informal gathering prior to.

The rest of the agenda passed in a blur, until just past 10 P. M. After the meeting had returned to order, four students stepped into the open space at the end of the U-shaped table in the EMU Walnut room and almost five months of deliberation, debate and anxious anticipation came to a crescendo as the Senate took up OSPIRG’s appeal of the contract decision handed down by the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee.

The presentation from OSPIRG and the public comment period that followed were only a prelude to the Senate discussion that would follow, but it still OSPIRG’s first presentation to the Senate this year, and they used it for all it was worth. OSPIRG State Board Chair Charles Denson told the senators that OSPIRG was important to students because, “Rather than just doing things on campus, they’re able to take up a bigger perspective.” Denson went on to say that “Students want to be at the forefront of solving problems.”

With the conclusion of public discussion, the Senate speaker’s list was opened and almost every senator quickly stuck their hands out across the table to be added to it. Sen. Lamar Wise started out the evening’s discussion by saying that he thought that OSPIRG would be a good compliment to the campaigns the ASUO runs on various issues and moved to add a $45,000 contract to the ACFC’s Budget.

Sen. Evan Thomas was the first to speak against the contract. “I like your mission statement,” he said, but continued, “I don’t think this is where you should be getting your funding.”

Potential legal ramifications of funding OSPIRG were also discussed by Thomas, who said, “For senators that aren’t aware, this has been an issue across the country since 1983. There have been dozens of lawsuits.” Thomas expressed his belief that, without significant infrastructure changes, funding OSPIRG would result in a lawsuit directed against the University.

Sen. Kerry Snodgrass disagreed with this rationale, saying, “Please consider that as ASUO senators we are not responsible for making legal decisions for the University of Oregon.”

Others were more philosophical in their disagreements with OSPIRG. “I see no hindering of this state, campus, or nation by not funding OSPIRG,” said Sen. Max Barkley.

For many senators, it simply came down to a matter of dollars. Without an OSPIRG contract, the ACFC’s budget was set to grow by seven percent next year, the legal maximum for a major program budget. Other methods of channeling money to the ACFC were considered, as was drawing money from the athletic department. But a number of senators were not comfortable with these options. “We can’t joke about the fact that this money will be taken away from athletics,” said Lange. “We still don’t have the funds for this.”

Sen. Kristina Harding summarized these sentiments very succinctly, saying, “it just seems like that money isn’t there.”

The discussion got heated at times, prompting Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan to remind the body to, “Remember that we’re all students. Please be respectful.”

The arguments flew back and forth for almost two and a half hours. Eventually, Wise declared, “I don’t think we’re going to get much of anywhere.” Despite this, it still took three attempts to call the question and the number of names on the speakers list never dropped below double digits.

But it was bound to happen eventually, and it finally did a little after midnight. As Stark-MacMillan read off the roll, just as happens multiple times a week every year, the whole room held its breath as the results of the vote that everyone had waited for finally came in. Five ayes, 14 nays.

Some of the votes were unexpected. When asked about his nay vote, Sen. James Dos Santos told the Commentator that, to him, “The money really doesn’t exist. It’s like a hypothetical figure.”

Sen. Grace Hochstatter, who voted nay, told the Commentator, “I’m in support of OSPIRG and everything they do.” She continued to say that she felt the organization needed to be structured differently. “I think that this will be a catalyst, a conduit for that reconsideration, and hopefully good will come of this.”

Like a wave crashing on the beach and then quickly rolling in, the meeting accelerated towards its conclusion. ACFC’s final budget was quickly passed with minimal opposition, and the procedural matters of committee and officer updates were but a soft, delicate coda to a symphony of a meeting.

But the symphony is not yet over. When asked by the Commentator if she still intended to veto the ACFC budget, ASUO President Amelie Rousseau paused before flatly saying, “yes.” She continued to explain that, “The Executive is the only entity that’s providing a proactive option to have the most amount of students be happy with the ACFC budget.”

Stats, Notes, and Opinion after the jump. (more…)

Sighted Around Campus

February 22nd, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

OSPIRG State Board Chair Charles Denson was observed talking to Sen. Max Barkley about the upcoming OSPIRG vote this afternoon in front of the EMU. According to sources close to the Commentator, Denson, along with ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora, was also spotted discussing the subject with Sen. Brian Powell.

Tomorrow night will be fun.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly indicated that former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea, not Vice President Arora, was seen conversing with Sen. Powell. The Commentator regrets this error, which has since been corrected.

OSPIRG Again Denied Contract by ACFC

February 16th, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll
OSPIRG state board treasure Katie Taylor with state board chairman Charles Denson.

OSPIRG state board treasurer Katie Taylor, with state board chair Charles Denson, makes OSPIRG's case to ACFC Tuesday night. Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll.

EUGENE – After more than two hours of consideration and spirited, often pointed debate, the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee’s result was effectually the same as before the meeting even began as the committee voted to not fund a contract with OSPIRG for the 2011-2012 academic year Tuesday night.

While it was widely speculated that ACFC would not change its mind about fully funding OSPIRG at the level requested by the group and recommended by the Executive, there was still hope of a compromise, embodied in Clark Kissiah’s proposal of a $45,000 contract. “I think this is an agreeable, middle-of-the-road solution,” Kissiah said.

Others also vocalized support for the compromise measure. Sen. Kristina Harding said “I agree with the lower number instead of full funding.” (more…)


February 9th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin

Fuck the PIRG. Discuss.

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.

ACFC Denies OSPIRG Funding for 2011-2012

February 3rd, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora listens to the proceedings during OSPIRG's hearing before the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee Wednesday, February 2. ACFC did not vote on a contract, leaving the group with no fee funding for the 2011-2012 academic year. Photo by Ross Coyle.

Sen. Evan Thomas criticizes OSPIRG's funding model and accountability process during the group's hearing before the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee Wednesday, February 2. The meeting ended without a contract being approved. Photo by Ross Coyle.

EUGENE – The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee adjourned its scheduled hearing for OSPIRG without a vote on the activism group’s proposed $117,000 contract Wednesday evening. Without further action by OSPIRG, the Senate, or the Executive, ACFC’s refusal to vote on a contract means OSPIRG will not receive funding from the ASUO for the third year running in 2011-2012.

During OSPIRG’s presentation, Charles Denson, state board chair for OSPIRG, described the group’s student-driven mission by saying “When we’re looking at what we’re working on, we have to be accountable to you all.” Other presenters detailed the group’s work with legislators of both parties on issues such as health care reform.

Following the group’s presentation, ASUO Chief of Staff Ben Eckstein submitted the Executive’s recommendation of a $117,000 contract, a recommendation which was backed up by ASUO President Amelie Rousseau, who stated that “students really do want [OSPIRG].” Others who spoke in favor of approving the contract included Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan and ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora, who cited a referendum on OSPIRG funding which passed with 51% in favor last year.

Not everyone in the room was supportive of OSPIRG, however. Sen. Evan Thomas stated his opposition to the group came not from their mission, but from their funding model. “The idea of having a mandatory fee for a public interest group is just hypocritical,” Thomas said. Thomas continued to say that the current accountability model was “not good enough.”

Other senators, the only ones allowed on the speakers list besides OSPIRG representatives, committee members and Executive staff, heaped on the concerns. Sen. Kristina Harding asked to see the group’s budget, Sen. Brian Powell inquired as to the group’s size and Sen. Janet Brooks pointed out that the majority of students did not vote on the ballot measure Arora mentioned.  Summing up her colleague’s points, Sen. Kaitlyn Lange quipped that “There’s a reason we’re not the only [institution] that’s defunded them.”

Few were quite as direct in their criticisms of OSPIRG as the committee’s two senators. Sen. Ian Fielding read from an opinion column recently printed in the Oregon Daily Emerald and pointed out that OSPIRG has been the only contract to actively lobby ACFC members. Sen. Brianna Woodside-Gomez said she had felt intimidated by the group’s lobbying efforts.

Woodside-Gomez described receiving text messages, emails to her personal account and being “cornered” during her office hours. Woodside-Gomez also expressed displeasure with some of OSPIRG’s other campaign tactics, referencing petitioners who were recently working to get another referendum on the ballot for this year’s ASUO elections. “They can’t even tell me what OSPIRG is,” she said of some of the petitioners she talked to.

At the conclusion of her remarks, Woodside-Gomez moved to adjourn the meeting, a motion supported by every member of the committee except Clark Kissiah, the Executive’s appointee. Baring an appeal, ACFC’s budget will be without an OSPIRG contract for its final hearing before the Senate on March 2, 2011. Woodside-Gomez told the Commentator that unless the group appealed the decision, another hearing would not be schedueled. “Four people decided to adjourn; that’s basically saying that ‘no, we do not agree with funding for OSPIRG,’” Woodside-Gomez said.

A Thought

February 1st, 2011 by Lyzi Diamond

Was doing some light reading today, and I stumbled upon this gem in the ASUO Senate rules regarding fee allocations [12.5(a)(M)]:

At no time may incidental fee monies be donated to a charitable cause.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, how has OSPIRG gotten around this rule? I am honestly curious, because as it seems to me, this rule would make OSPIRG exempt from receiving money.

Peanut gallery?

OSPIRG Contract Hearing Relocated, Will Be Without Public Comment

January 31st, 2011 by Rockne Andrew Roll

EUGENE – The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee has relocated its hearing on the OSPIRG contract to 221 McKenzie Hall. The change was requested by OSPIRG Board Chair Charles Denson, according to ACFC Chair Sen. Brianna Woodside-Gomez. Woodside-Gomez also told the Commentator that there would not be opportunity for public comment during the hearing.

Woodside-Gomez explained that she had been contacted by Denson, who asked if other rooms were available. Denson said that the scheduled room, 107 Esslinger Hall, would not accommodate the number of supporters who would be in attendance, Woodside-Gomez explained. She continued to say that Denson told her that he had contacted university scheduling, that a room was available and that Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan could book the room for ACFC, which was done.

Woodside-Gomez also stated that public comment would not be allowed during the hearing, which is the last hearing OSPIRG will have before their contract, as part of the total ACFC budget, will be voted on by the ASUO Senate. “I just don’t want this to get out of hand, I want this to go quick,” said Woodside-Gomez. She continued to say that OSPIRG had already had ample opportunity to make its case to the committee. “We’ve been lobbied constantly… They’re sending us public testimony through email.”

OSPIRG’s hearing at its new location will begin at 5 P.M. Wednesday, February 2.

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.

OSPIRG Canvassing For Ballot Measure

January 25th, 2011 by Lyzi Diamond

Probably recognizing they will be unable to receive a contract for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group is on campus collecting signatures for a ballot measure to appear during the ASUO election during weeks one and two of spring term. The text of the ballot measure is as follows:

Should the ASUO fund the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) at a level that allows OSPIRG to hire professional staff to advocate on behalf of students locally, statewide, and nationally in places like the State Legislature and Congress?

OSPIRG is a statewide, student-directed and funded organization that strives to fulfill the public service mission of the University by combining student activism and professional staff to do advocacy, organizing and research for the public interest on campus, statewide and nationally to lower healthcare costs, stop global warming, protect public health, make textbooks more affordable, and increase public transit. OSPIRG is controlled by an all-student Board of Directors.

A YES vote is a non-binding statement that the ASUO should fund OSPIRG at a level that allows OSPIRG to hire professional staff to advocate on behalf of students locally, statewide, and nationally in places like the State Legislature and Congress on issues such as those described above.

A NO vote is a non-binding statement that the ASUO should not fund an OSPIRG program, as described above.

First of all, this is the exact same ballot measure that was on the ballot last year. Word for word.



December 16th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

The Register-Guard is reporting that LTD is trying to avoid major cuts in the new fiscal year. Matt Cooper reports:

After the second-largest cut to service in its history this year, Lane Transit District plans to tap federal money and delay major projects to avoid another big cut in 2012, officials said.

Buffeted by stagnant payroll-tax revenue and rising personnel costs, the district in April cut $3 million from the current fiscal year, which ends next June, in part by eliminating six public bus routes and four school routes. The district said then that it planned to cut $3.5 million more — about 8.5 percent of this year’s $41 million general fund — in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

But the district’s financial outlook has improved considerably thanks to federal grants that have been awarded at higher levels than expected, spokesman Andy Vobora said.

This is good news, really. Whether the good fortune will last or not remains to be seen, but at least someone is looking out for the multitudes of UO students who use the bus to get to school.

The ASUO certainly isn’t.

The ASUO Senate passed an (illegal) 4.31% benchmark for the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee at its November 17 meeting, reflecting full funding for the currently-defunded Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group and zero percent growth for the LTD contract, which allows students to ride the bus by flashing their student IDs.

First of all, zero percent growth for the LTD contract is a pipe dream. The ASUO negotiates its contract with the bus service based on projected enrollment numbers and a group rate — currently set around $15.69 per person. The contract was recently changed, however, to account for existing enrollment instead of projected enrollment. (Editorial: by projecting our own enrollment, we could get a better deal by low-balling the number. No longer, said LTD.) The 2011-12 numbers will be based on student enrollment in the 2010-11 school year. Every year the group rate goes up a little reflecting a huge increase when that number is multiplied by the number of enrolled students (currently over 23,300).

With this benchmark, the ASUO professed that it doesn’t care if students can get to school, so long as their “greater needs” (?) are being met by paying a statewide lobbying organization for lobbyists time — specifically while they’re NOT lobbying, as per OSPIRG’s 501(c)(3) tax designation.

But really, benchmarks are non-binding. And that’s the beauty of all this. When the LTD contract is done and negotiated — well over the zero percent the Senate assumed — there won’t even be room for OSPIRG in the budget while still growing by less than the legal cap of seven percent. Last year, the ASUO Senate gave the ACFC a zero percent total benchmark, and they hit seven percent anyway.

Why, you ask? LTD.

LTD is going to keep needing more money from students. The ASUO’s is the largest contract LTD works with, and without that money, they would be in real trouble and students and Eugene residents would have a significantly more difficult time getting around.

Additionally, LTD is one of the most visible and highly used services that the incidental fee funds. The only other service that is more visible is the contract with the Athletic Department.

The ASUO is divided on how these types of services should be handled. Last year’s ACFC chair Alex McCafferty saw the demand for student football tickets and created a shared responsibility model where some season tickets would be up for sale at the beginning of football season while a smaller amount would be up for grabs before each game.

Some senators think that LTD should be handled the same way. Obviously, none of these students use the bus. The ASUO’s contract with LTD helps students gain access to the university. When there are big pushes to take away what little student parking remains on campus, the bus is invaluable to students who live too far to bike (or who, indeed, cannot afford a bike).

The most unfortunate thing about this benchmark business is how many people voted for a zero percent LTD increase in order to “send a message that we need to take LTD off the incidental fee.” I think sending messages is fine, but not with your vote, playing with student money. If LTD is voted off the ACFC’s budget but doesn’t get picked up by the administration, as some senators are hoping, there will be many students who can’t get to school. Literally.

Granted, I could be totally wrong. The UO administration could pick up the contract during the year and the burden could be taken off the incidental fee. According to some, UO VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes has expressed interest, but without a definite yes or no, it’s hard to say.

The only thing that is certain is that students need the bus. The ACFC would do well to remember that during the budget process.

OSPIRG. Returning? [Link Updated]

November 16th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee’s benchmark proposal has fallen into the Commentator‘s hands, and it includes 100% funding for OSPIRG at $117,000.

You can find the full proposal here.

The benchmark includes increases for every contract except the United States Student Association. The largest increase, besides refunding OSPIRG, is for LTD, but that is a story for another day.


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?

Like the oil spills they loathe…

September 30th, 2010 by Rockne Andrew Roll

OSPIRG is seeping its way back on to the UO Campus. A representative, whose name I missed but for whom this is apparently her first year at UO (coincidence?), made a pitch to my J 4/583 class this morning, delivering the usual OSPIRG story about how nationwide activism for “causes that you’re passionate about” is worth gobs of your money. When I asked her point blank about what manner of events OSPIRG wanted to hold on campus, I got a long explanation that basically amounted to (and I’m paraphrasing) “we’re going to collect signatures and recruit students to phone bank and write letters to President Obama to maintain the moratorium on new offshore oil drilling.” ODE Managing Editor Lauren Fox was insightful enough to ask if OSPIRG had supported one slate or another in the most recent ASUO elections, which the OSPIRG Rep. emphatically denied. Her denial was carefully crafted to obscure for the class the connections between OSPIRG and the current Executive, or that combination’s plans to re-fund the former. Her appearance was intended to be an exercise in interviewing, but the distribution of interest cards and voter registration materials made it seem something else entirely. On the bright side, she’s coming back next week for a follow up. This will be fun, then.