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“Win” acheived by EMU Task Force

November 26th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad



With 4,006 total votes in the last EMU referendum, the decision to renovate won by 1,811 votes.

Outlined in red above is the advice of RBI strategies to the EMU Task Force. It was also included in the public records released a week ago. UO Matters has the scoop. This surly Commentator will belatedly  summarize the sickening disregard for public records law. It was only after the elections that the redacted “public” documents were released, here.

The emails of Holmes, Gottfredson and Lariviere are heavily redacted per ORS 192.502 (1, 2, 8, 9). The names of the members of the EMU Task Force are redacted as well as about four page-sized chunk.

What’s more, they illustrate “the opponent” as narrow-minded, yet politically active and engaged with opinions born out of misconception.

The heavy elision of this material must be protested. Surely they can’t be hiding behind FERPA for this?

I aim to find out. In the meantime, file a complaint with the Board of Education. A modest example of a complaint:

The Office of Public Records at the University of Oregon redacted a slew of information from emails sent via a public account regarding public affairs. It is very possible that FERPA was used to justify redacting these documents when they were indeed not educational documents at all.

In the end, I am glad I won’t be here to pay for a shiny new EMU that I won’t be using.

$1.5 million spent on MACademics

October 9th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

According to this juicy UO Matters post , McArthur Court was built in 1926 and paid for yearly by students until 1932. However, through some shifty Frohnmayer paperwork, Academics is helping Athletics pay 1/4 of the 30-year cost of the land under the Matthew Knight Arena, $467,538 per year (3 payments so far), “for the right to try and use an old basketball arena […] for academic purposes.”

UO Matters in a comment below the original post: “The issue is that we are paying exorbitant rates to the athletic department for a piece of land that we are not using for academic purposes…”

Well, “Das Frohn” for you.

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?

STFUpdate: Tobacco, Fines and You

September 5th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

As of September 1st, UO campus and all University owned property are now tobacco and smoke-free. In my previous post, I wrote that DPS will not be issuing tickets or fines to enforce this ridiculous, hot-air, self-back-patting policy. I cited an old Commentator post as having this information. The policy must have been updated since that post, however, because upon actually reading the policy’s representative website and Oregon Administrative Rule 571-050-0005, I have realized that the policy is exceptionally vague. According to OAR, emphasis my own:

(2) Prohibitions. […] An employee who violates this rule may be subject to discipline. A student who violates this rule may be subject to sanction under the Student Conduct Code.

(3) Citation  and Appeals. Anyone else who violates this rule may be issued a citation for thirty dollars ($30). Any complaints about citations issued or appeal of an issued citation may be directed to the Vice President for Finance and Administration or that person’s designee. […]


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, 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.

A Big Commentator Congratulations to Bill Harbaugh !

May 22nd, 2012 by Rebecca

UO economics professor William T. Harbaugh, the immortal being behind the beloved, anonymous, whistleblower blog UO MATTERS, was awarded the First Freedom Award  by the Society of Professional Journalists of Oregon and Southwest Washington this past Saturday.

The Ol’ Dirty covered this on Monday, but its Commentator policy to be a day late, a dollar short, okay?

The SPJ’s First Freedom award is given annually to an individual who has upheld the principles of the First Amendment. Harbaugh has long been a beacon of the First Amendment, most notably when he illegally published the Oregon Public Records Manual on his official uoregon website. The upheaval this precipitated compelled the attorney general’s office to make the manual available on the internet for the first time ever.

Harbaugh’s recognition is long overdue and largely understated. Y’all should know that the UO Matters blog is updated several times a day, and his posts are usually these quick, fuck-you-exposés about UO athletics and administration that require a kind of efficiency  and genuine concern that we will never (maybe a few years ago we came close) have. Knowing he’s out teaching economics and doing this in his spare time both worries and impresses us. UO Matters is invaluable to the entire, “engaged” university community, but is especially invaluable to drunk, disoriented student journalists like ourselves. We’re the ones constantly referring to UO Matters for direction and content, so finding the Commentator website listed under UO Matters’ “Resources” is an honor and probably some sort of mistake.

Bill, you are the resource. As renowned sultans of hate speech, there aren’t too many people we love to love. And let’s just say that you might be one of those people.

So here’s to you, Harbaugh. And for the record, UO Matters will forever be bookmarked on my Firefox browser.


Heavy Meddling: OSA in and around the ASUO

May 3rd, 2012 by Rebecca

I have to hand it to ’em. This year, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald has truly lived up to the name we’ve given them. They’ve been getting dirty. And I mean real filthy. There was this, and now there’s this—heavy ODE assailment on the Oregon Students Association’s (OSA) involvement in the ASUO.

Well this time around they’ve got a gaggle of former ASUO members who have come out of the woodwork to accuse the OSA of giving hush-hush endorsements to ASUO executive candidates. These prize candidates, coincidentally, usually end up winning the elections. Apparently this has been going on for years.

In a fucking stretch of a comparison, the former ASUO gaggle has romantically dubbed this process “Fight Club.” Look, if we’re going to compare this shady bullshit to a David Fincher film, it had better be to Se7en. Why? Because the thought of all of this makes me want to chop off Gwenyth Paltrow’s head and wrap it in a package.


According to Sam Dotters-Katz, the OSA, or an outside organization, picks out “a student leader as their preferred ASUO presidential candidate well before elections, and aids that individual with campaign trainings, resources and potentially other forms of assistance.”

Yeah yeah alright. My favorite testimony though, comes from former ASUO Senator/Fight Club Member Sara Hamilton:

“When I was an intern and was selected to run on a slate that outside organizations supported, I was asked to meet in the basement of a bank on a Saturday morning,” Hamilton said. “I have no idea what organizations they were affiliated with. They told us that outside volunteers would be brought to campus during the weeks of the campaign to help us out.”

Okay that’s kinda Fight Club. But I wish she elaborated on how she made her way into the basement of a bank. I also wish she had elaborated on how banks have basements and how they’re available for student advocacy organizations to hold secret meetings in.

Anyway, in the ODE there was another nice anecdote from another member of the former ASUO gaggle about an overheard conversation in an elevator. She said she heard a United States Student Association (USSA, parent of OSA) coordinator from an Arizona campus apologize to an ASUO presidential candidate for the organization not choosing her. That sorry ASUO presidential candidate in the elevator lost the election that year.

Ultimately, the OSA is accused of this ASUO election/ASUO executive meddling to ensure they are funded the upcoming year.

After that though, the ODE article’s thesis dilutes itself like usual. There are contrary statements from other OSA-loyal gaggle members that try to assure that the OSA remains strictly non-partisan during elections.

So I’m taking this Logic & Inquiry class. And before we get into any conclusions, I want to practice my reasoning by laying out the factual OSA premises for you.

1. The Oregon Student Association (OSA) is an outside organization, a statewide advocacy and organizing non-profit that:

  • a.Lobbies in “student interests”
  • b. Organizes “student campaigns” on college campuses
  • c. Supplies students with “materials, field packets, formal publications” in order to campaign
  • d. Provides student “training & leadership development”

2. An OSA representative teaches the ASUO internship class

3. The OSA is funded by the I-Fee.

These, in addition to the former ASUO/Fight Club gaggle testimonies, clearly suggest corrupt OSA influence and involvement in the ASUO.  But emphasis should be added to “suggest.”

Are the effects of the OSA’s influence and involvement actually measurable, accountable?


Is anything going to come of this?


Why is this important then?

Well, the ODE has been hard at work with a compelling series of articles about an almost certainly inappropriate relationship between the ASUO and the OSA. It’s important because this is really promising student journalism. Great job, Emily.

Really? That’s it?

Yes. Welcome to the ASUO. The slimy, unaccountable, unchanging thicket of politically driven students (and non-students! <3 OSA, OSPIRG, etc.) that use student I-Fee money to pay the salaries and pursue the far-flung interests of lobbyists not affiliated with the UO. All we can do is talk shit on the OC blog. So start talkin’

Boards on Boards on State Boards on Institutional Boards on Hiring Presidents

April 24th, 2012 by Rebecca

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has drawn up a proposal for the possible establishment of those independent, institutional boards for every school under the Oregon University System that we’ve been a hurtin’ for.

We have so vainly sought after this elusive concept of an “independent governing board” after the OUS  fired our much-missed President Richard Lariviere.

Well the fact that a proposal has been proposed should be a sign of progress, right? Wrong. Read the excerpt that describes the institutional board’s role in the hiring and firing of university presidents below, and read the entire proposal right hurr.

OUS recommends a system in which the institutional board hires and
reappoints the president with the advice and consent of the OSBHE.
Presidential evaluations should be a joint effort between the institutional
board, the Chancellor, and the OSBHE member serving on the institutional
board. Termination should be the responsibility of the institutional board after
consultation with or with the advice and consent of OSBHE.

Alright OUS. We wanted an institutional board so we could do these things without your advice and consent. Why are you so fucking unaccommodating? Give us autonomy, or give us death.

Anyway, blah blah blah, they will vote on it in June. Read some statement from some OUS bureaucrat named “Di,” here.


Beckstein Saves $132,175

April 20th, 2012 by Rebecca

After receiving a bitchy email and having a personal confrontation with the man himself, I’ve decided to report the only good thing that has come from Ben Eckstein’s presidency FOR TWO REASONS:

1)      The Commentator fiercely champions fiscal responsibility.

2)      Beckstein will be publicly humiliated at the upcoming Dotters-Katz v. ASUO Executive trial this Sunday (4pm at the Law School, but we’ll be covering it live here on the blog!) … and we are capable of feeling a very mild strain of remorse.

So here’s what happened.

During negotiations to lower the amount the ASUO pays back to the administration, ASUO Prez Ben Eckstein caught the UO in the act … of overcharging the ASUO by %1 in overhead assessment rates.

The ASUO was being charged %6 when it should have been %5.

6% X 13,217,538 = $793,052
5% X 13,217,538 = $660,877

$793,052 – $660,877 = $132,175

Jamie Moffit, the UO’s new Vice President of Finance and Administration, will be payin’ us back the difference.

*Factoid: Athletics pays %3 overhead while the ASUO pays %5.

Dear Beckstein,

Thanks for saving students the ASUO $132,175. I’m sure your executive staff and the ASUO Senate will somehow manage to allocate this money to some project we’re morally opposed to/the majority of students won’t know about. Nonetheless, thanks a bunch.

P.S. We’ll be Team Sam D-K on Sunday.

Sorry ‘bout it.


the OC

KEZI9 Covers ASUO Phishing Scam

April 10th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad

So, we’ve all heard about the ASUO phishing scam, but just in case you were too lazy, busy or hungover to read anything about this fucked up shit, here is the story via this KEZI9 Youtube video to save you some time.

Former ASUO President and current UO Law Student Sam Dotters-Katz in the video: “I think that we’ve gone beyond student government at this point, when you have federal crimes being implicated against members of the student government.”

Word up, Sam! Indeed, this kind of shit simply doesn’t fly. This is what is wrong with America. My only further comments are, “YES THIS GOES BEYOND STUDENT GOVERNMENT,” as well as “HOW SELF-RIGHTEOUS DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RIG A COLLEGE ELECTION???”


Face-palm. Goddamn.

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: I’m Tellin Y’all It’s SABOTAGE

April 9th, 2012 by Rebecca

Updated 4/9/12 – 3:35 PM

1) ASUO Constitution Court rules “these matters are best left to the ASUO Elections Board for adjudication.”

And also! Both related and unrelated..

2) ASUO Constitution Court rules to remove VP Candidate Lamar Wise from his position as ASUO Senate President as a result of a grievance filed by ASUO Senator Lindy Mabuya.

A Statement from the Katie & Alex Campaign:

“We made it a standard to run a clean campaign and I am extremely disappointed that this isolated incident has occurred where two individuals exercised extremely poor judgment. It saddens me immensely that this has occurred, as the rest of the Katie and Alex team, as well as the Ben and Lamar team, ran an amazing outreach drive to engage students on extremely important matters. The individuals responsible for this have been removed from the campaign.”

Ben Bowman and Lamar Wise of the Ben & Lamar campaign, along with Sam Dotters-Katz of the YES (Your EMU SRC) campaign, have filed grievances against the Katie & Alex campaign; they claim to have been hacked by Chuckie-D himself (Former OSPIRG Chair Charles Denson, spouse of VP Katie Taylor), and that their campaign materials were fucked with.

Wait what? Ben & Lamar’s management team confronted the Katie & Alex campaign, and “at least five” members “came forward with this information and all showed remorse except for Denson*.”

Hacked how? Wise says he lost access to his Gmail after opening a phishing website disguised as a Google Calendar component. Dotters-Katz says his email was also tampered with.

Fucked with how? Denson apparently used “find and replace” to jumble 12,000 phone numbers on a contact list of possible Ben & Lamar voters. The grievance states that hundreds of volunteer hours were wasted making calls to the wrong people. Dotters-Katz had a similar complaint, claiming that contacts of the YES campaign were either deleted or tampered with. Among the deleted was a list of student leaders in support of the campaign.

So who exactly? The grievances name Katie Taylor, Charles Denson, Kerry Snodgrass, Molly Bennison and Andrew Rogers as the people aware of the act.

Sam Dotters-Katz is calling this an “unprecedented act of cyber espionage.”

The Ben & Lamar campaign is calling for an immediate injunction on the election.

As for us at The Oregon Commentator, we’re calling for Katie Taylor and Charles Denson’s expulsion from planet earth. That’s right. We’re tired of writing about them. Did you think we were actually surprised by this? They’re simply living up to what we’ve called them out on being all along: the devil’s spawn. Look, this isn’t an absurd accusation. They’re a young married couple! Why else would they devote themselves to a life’s work of student manipulation? It just doesn’t make any sense.

We’ll just have to see what the ASUO Constitution Court  ASUO Elections Board does about this. Since these grievances concern the devil himself, let’s hope the Court Board likes a good exorcism.

Demons be gone!

*This post is a regurgitation of this ODE article, so read the original. Love you Emily!


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.


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.