What I learn from Diversity

3/19/2011: My grades are in, and I just graduated two Saudi students, with C’s. One from a town near Yemen, another from near Bahrain. I asked them about the uprisings – what were they going to do when they got back to Saudi Arabia? “It is a Kingdom. We have a King. Do you know what that means?” It was a serious question, no hint of sarcasm. “I have been gone 4 years. I will stay at home, with my mother.” The first one nodded. “It’s not like America. You are so lucky here.”

OSPIRG funding

3/9/2011: The ASUO Senate did not come up with the 2/3 vote margin to defeat the veto by Amelie Rousseau of a budget w/o OSPIRG funding. As I understand it they will now try and renegotiate their subsidies to the athletic department and LTD to come up with the OSPIRG money. Commentator story here.

ASUO, OSPIRG, and Riverfront Research

3/7/2011: Two significant things have been happening in student government. First despite a lot of pressure, and support from ASUO Pres Amelie Rousseau, they have refused to resume funding for OSPIRG. This has been a student government fight for years. The basic argument is that it sent too much money off campus and did not benefit students. Lyzi Diamond story in the Commentator, here:

These programs pull from a pool of mandatory student fees to send money off campus to lobby/advocate/whatever for political causes. Whether or not I agree with the particular cause is not important. It’s about the management of my student fee and the student fee of many other students.

Second, ASUO voted to spend $56,238 to hire an outside lawyer to advise them on how to stop the current ORI proposal for the Riverfront Research Park. Correction from a commentor: These are two separate issues. The $56k in over-reazlied funds are for educational events and a student led master plan visioning process for the riverfront property. Those funds cannot be used, according to ASUO policy, for consultants such as lawyers. The request to seek outside legal council is a separate issue.

Franklin Bains story here. They don’t trust UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s advice on this – who would? As the story notes:

“Had the university listened to community concerns, other viable building sites in the Riverfront Research Park could have been vetted early on, controversy could have been avoided,” the editorial read, “and construction would now be well under way.”

But that would involve consulting people and admitting mistakes. Non-starter.

UO to be sort of non-smoking

10/12/2010: From Lyzi Diamond in the Oregon Commentator:

At tonight’s ASUO Senate meeting, President Rousseau announced that the ASUO is moving forward with a smoke-free campus policy. The Executive received an $800,000 grant to be spent over a number of years from PacificSource Health Plans as part of their Healthy Campus Initiative. The plan would be implemented over two years, starting with a “Great American Smoke Out” in November. The money from PacificSource will go to the hiring of three staff members, … The idea is to educate new students that UO is a tobacco-free campus, so that is their expectation when they become students. …

It’s going to be tough on our foreign grad students. Nice that this is externally funded though!

UO moves graduation to Mondays

10/6/2010: This is a bad change for any students who have parents or relatives with a job. VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes justifies it as follows:

With 30,000 visitors and 29 events, it takes an army of university staff and faculty to coordinate the important events of commencement day.  Scheduling events on a traditional work day enables the university to efficiently orchestrate this incredible feat and provide the celebratory atmosphere graduates deserve after completing their time with us.

Mondays are not traditionally a day for instilling a “celebratory atmosphere”. We’ve done graduation successfully on weekends for years. Why stop now? 

Commentator rips into ASUO Pres Amelie Rousseau …

10/4/2010: … over her convocation statements complaining about the EPD “tear gas attack”, vehemently opposing President Lariviere’s restructuring plan, and calling on students to register to vote and then to oppose it. By Commentator Editor Lyzi Diamond. Personally, I think Ms Rousseau is wrong on Pres Lariviere’s restructuring plan, but was right to bring it up at convocation. This place needs a few more troublemakers. Well worth reading Ms Diamond’s comments and watching the video of Ms Rousseau.