Update – renovation passes. Student letter protests EMU process

Update: The EMU renovation has passed the OUS board. Hilariously, “Around the O” doesn’t report this qualification:

“Approved adding to the OUS 2013-2015 Capital request a total of $84.3 million in Article XI-F(1) bonds to renovate and expand the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon, subject to satisfactory resolution of a student’s grievance related to the validity of the student referendum.”

But sharp-eyed ODE reporter  Kirah Ingram does. Anyone got the roll call?

My take? The new EMU will be great. And the corrupt process, which included using student money to manipulate students into voting to tax themselves, is an unexpected if expensive bonus to the political education of our UO student leaders.

For the historically minded, here’s the post that broke the news on the administration’s attempt to slide this through over the summer when the students were gone, here are some of the Holmes/Gottfredson emails, and here’s the whole thread with many posts, links to many news stories, and hundreds of comments.

1/11/13. They’re not against the building, or the bonds, they’re just pro-democracy. That idea will be crushed when the board votes today. Robin Holmes and the JH election manipulators will teach our idealistic students how government really functions. Dave Hubin had his finger in this too.

To Members of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education,
We, the undersigned student leaders of the University of Oregon, would like to respectfully urge you not to include the EMU renovation and expansion proposal in your upcoming budget.
This proposal was voted down twice because students thought the cost was too high. The first time, it was $65 per term, and the second was $100. The fact that the $69 number was approved by record-low turnout compared to the other two elections should show that student opinion has not changed. Instead, the students to whom ASUO President Hinman’s administration chose to outreach were hand-picked in an attempt to push the new fee onto students. 
Additionally, while the students involved in the ASUO’s outreach claim that they did so in an unbiased way, it is clear from their talking points, handouts, and website that they were trying to encourage students to vote yes. One student reported an announcement in their class where the ASUO representative told all students to “vote for” the referendum. Talking points included the “need to renovate,” how we have “outgrown our current space” and half-truths about how the renovation would make the EMU more sustainable, despite the fact that UO policies would allow the administration to use the student-financed reductions to offset increases from burgeoning athletic facilities, like the rumored new golf course. There is no mention in any of these talking points the rising cost of higher education, the students for whom this fee may be the deciding factor in being able to afford UO, or the corrupt actions of the EMU Task Force in using student money to pay RBI, a private firm, to politicise the issue and force the new fee onto students.
Lastly, it is clear that the University of Oregon intended to run this vote over and over again until administration finally got the result they wanted. This, more than anything, shows that they only care about their own agenda, and that the renovation, which was voted down twice previously, is not in the best interest of students.
For all of these reasons, we urge you to vote down the renovation proposal in its current form. A neutral student vote should be implemented and the UO Administration must be willing to work with students in a meaningful way. Only then will we be certain that we can produce an alternative proposal which will satisfy the needs of the student body in an affordable manner.
Joanna Stewart, Women’s Center Public Relations Coordinator
Andrew Rogers, 2011-2012 ASUO Communications Director
Sophie Luthin, 2011-2012 ASUO Environmental Advocate
Michael Reeves, 2011-2012 EMU Board Member
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8 Responses to Update – renovation passes. Student letter protests EMU process

  1. Anonymous says:

    The notion that student fees that would be used to renovate the student union have any relationship to the donor financed golf course proposal is not credible by any stretch.

    The project’s sustainability impact is not a “half-truth” but a real opportunity to advance.

    Finally, the insinuation that uo admin intended to keep voting until getting a result ignores the important fact that it is student government, not admin that has called for these elections, because there are many students that believe this project is sorely needed. Both the ASUO exec and the ASUO Senate approved referring the altered project to the ballot last term and students voted for it. The fact that these authors don’t like this outcome is too bad, but that the way the democracy ball bounces.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the proof that the students who voted were hand picked? That’s a horrible allegation to make without support.

  3. awesome0 says:

    Donation coming. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can add him on facebook and see what is timeline shows.

  4. Anonymous says:

    $84.3 million, that is pocket change for Uncle Phil.
    The students are getting ripped off big time.
    They just plucked $300+ bucks out of each students pockets, per school year, for many years.

    Any bets on announcements down the road that the project will “cost more than anticipated”??

    I’ll guess 95% probability.

  5. Anonymous says:

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I’m a little bit frustrated that tuition dollars are paying someone to run Around the O to belch out pro-admin propaganda.

    Like really, we have the Emerald for that already, now students get billed twice for no extra benefit?

  6. Mark Volkher says:

    Let’s see…

    – Joanna Stewart, Women’s Center Public Relations Coordinator

    This is someone who would see the Women’s center be brought down from having it’s own offices that are three times the size of the ASUO offices to one that matches it’s size. Of course she’s going to be pissed off and write a letter about this.

    – Sophie Luthin, 2011-2012 ASUO Environmental Advocate

    Can she just shut up or something. She’s nothing more than a two-bit Enviro-Nazi who whines everytime she doesn’t get her way. I pray that somehow, someway, she gets porked by a blue whale while swimming in the ocean.

    I am a former EMU Board member from ages ago, when Dusty Miller ran the coop. I think not only is the new EMU a great idea, but also that the students got what they deserved with the vote. So they have to pay a little more. Oh well, sit down and shut up, you entitlement junkies.

    It may be corrupt, but for me it doesn’t matter. The new EMU will be built, and I’ll be happy to christen it with a bottle of champagne.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My selfish concern is that the hugely valuable space used by the Craft Center will be replaced in favor of Nike stores and donor-appeasing concert halls.

    Why let the community learn how to make things when they can just buy them pre-packaged?

  8. Anonymous says:

    HI go around the EMU every monday-friday accumulating girls phone numbers, attemping to extract bathroom pulls on days that I am on fire, and to do in a newer building would be amazing.

    I’ve said for years that the EMU is vastly outdated, and quite frankly just too small. I attended the University of Washington, and their new student union is simply world class. It is by far the best Student Union building on the west coast, even over UCLA and Cal Berkeley’s.

    UW is a larger school, so the University of Oregon doesn’t need to match that caliber of size and quality. But it would be nice to expand here and there. It amazes me how Oregon State University’s Memorial Building dwarfs over U of O’s EMU. I am excited for what the final projetions will look like.