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Lies, Unfairness Alleged in ASUO-Funded Groups

Are we talking about OSPIRG or the Emerald? Precisely.

And so it turned out that holding the ASUO elections during winter term was in fact a smart move.

It didn't seem that way: the Elections Board predicted a lower turnout this year on account of the unexpected rescheduling. 2,155 students voted this year, compared to 2,483 last year: no catastrophic margin. Only about ten percent of the UO campus - give or take - cares enough to cast their vote, and this isn't going to change anytime soon.

More importantly, were this year's elections held in late April like they have been since time immemorial, it's not altogether impossible that classes may have ended for the academic year without an Executive branch of government in place. Wouldn't that be funny?

The current lack of resolution to the Executive race is both frustrating and laughable. For the Commentator, it's a little tricky. This issue is, first, a sweeping indictment of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and, second, dedicated to the obligatory elections wrapup that we print every year under the illusion that someone, somewhere out there might be interested in hearing what the Ol Dirty Emerald won't tell you. Except the biggest question of the previous month and a half still hangs in the air like the perpetual cloud of pot smoke over Eugene: who gets the job? More about that in another part of the magazine. For right now, how about the Emerald this term?

Last issue (OC v. XVII, i. VII) the Oregon Commentator ran a news article explaining how OSPIRG's budget was placed under the jurisdiction of the Programs Finance Council. On the morning of Feb. 17, the Emerald ran exactly five sentences on the subject in the final paragraph of a related article. They read as follows:

The senate also changed OSPIRG's budget slightly Wednesday night, although the group did not lose or gain any money. According to the Clark Document, which regulates how the incidental fee is spent, ASUO groups that receive funding through ballot measures, like OSPIRG, can only do so for one year. Last year students voted to fund OSPIRG for two years.

To correct the problem, senators moved next year's OSPIRG budget into the Programs Finance Committee budget. Senate President Jessica Timpany said the move is not a real fee increase because OSPIRG's budget about will (sic) remain the exact same amount that students voted on last year.

Can you say "buried?" If the Oregon Commentator took a page from Rush Limbaugh, we could be crying foul about a supposed left-wing media bias. The truth is actually much simpler and somewhat less heinous: they're just incompetent.

Isn't there something to be said about the fact that two of the three PFC senators themselves voted against the move? The decision doesn't change the fact that the ballot measure violated state law in the first place. Instead, the story clarifies the obvious point that giving the money to OSPIRG (which they would have received anyway) in a different bureaucratic manner doesn't change the amount of fees collected from students. Boy, you guys really cut to the heart of this one, didn't you? Way to keep the public informed.

In the span of two weeks, the Emerald could print a total of five front page articles (plus one editorial) on visiting professor Francis Fox Piven's inane theories about how the rich are oppressing the poor - but they couldn't devote so much as a paragraph to a situation that, left unresolved, could have led to the suspension of the ASUO's legal authority to collect student fees?

One week later Trained Monkey-in-Chief Laura Cadiz - who only pops her authorial head out for breaking news like the Kinkel conviction or Frohnmayer's heart problems - ran "Lies, unfairness alleged in PFC," a 1500-word opus on ASUO President Wylie Chen's dissatisfaction with next year's Executive budget. So Laura, what'd you get in return?

Consistency isn't the Ol Dirty Emerald's strong point. If you want fair and unbiased reporting, the Emerald is not going to be your first stop. Neither is the Commentator, but then we've never hidden behind any veil of impartiality. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to your face. Of course, the Emerald's advertising rate sheet unwittingly points out that the single most read part of the newspaper is the crossword puzzle. At least they know who their audience is.

Oh, and also: the Commentator received its first death threat of the year. We're not sure exactly why, but this we know: we must be doing something right.