Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ASUO President's Veto Upheld, OSPIRG chapter to be RE-Funded

The President of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO), Vetoed the ACFC Budget (Athletic & Contracts Finance COmmittee, a budget committee of the Student Senate)- a budget that did not include funding for the OSPIRG- the Student run, Public Interest Research Group.

The vote was narrow and the discussion involved threats of resignation. But OSPIRG will receive an additional hearing, almost guaranteed to receive funding. While the ACFC budget currently only contains $5,000, the committee plans to renegotiate a contract with local transportation bureau (Lane Transit District, LTD) and possibly other contracts.

OSPIRG has been a chapter without funding for three years and has continued to function with the aid of other state chapters. This funding will go towards a chapter organizer and mostly towards a office staff in Salem who advocates on public policy issues and a federal staff who lobbies in D.C.

It is worthy of note that the University of Oregon chapter of OSPIRG, was the the original chapter of the PIRGs: Public Interest Research Groups. Which operate in many states.

The stated reason for dismissal three years ago was 'repeated services'. There was serious conservative pressure against the group; but the funds which are used (student funds) cannot be allocated based on the content of action, only upon whether services were rendered or not- a 'viewpoint neutral' decision. This question of service was ignored, in the original decision, but viewpoint neutrality must govern the dispersal of student funds.

The PIRGs have been accused of being reformists, hierarchical and even oppressive. These claims are of merit in deciding to participate in such a group, but they have no bearing upon funding.

The Insurgent Stands in Solidarity with efforts of political action, generally.

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