OSPIRG ballot measure gives power to students

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Correction: The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee has seven members, not five as stated before.

OSPIRG, a student rights group, has a measure on the annual ASUO elections ballot that University of Oregon students can vote on this week. The measure gives students a chance to decide for themselves whether to fund OSPIRG with a portion of their tuition fees each term. The group currently receives $1.75 per student per term. Voting takes place on DuckWeb, the online student portal.

The Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group is a non-profit student organization that uses “tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy, and litigation,” according to its website. The organization started at UO in 1971. OSPIRG works with issues like saving the bees, helping the homeless, ending the overuse of antibiotics, reducing textbook prices and protecting Crater Lake.

The measure will affect the 2018-20 school years. It won’t increase the amount of funding OSPIRG receives, but continues the current funding. This ballot measure means that each student will get a say in how their money is spent.

This part of the tuition fees, called the Incidental Fee or I-fee, is a mandatory fee that all students pay. OSPIRG has traditionally gotten its budget approved through the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, a group made up of seven people within ASUO.

“It’s not really for financial reasons. It’s because we want to be held accountable to the whole student body,” said Jacob Wyant, campus organizer for the UO Chapter of OSPIRG. “We’re a relatively large allocation. We sometimes take political stances and we are striving to be a public interest group that represents the whole student body.”

The ballot measure says that any student who chooses not to support OSPIRG can get a refund of their $1.75 per term. 

OSPIRG also provides students leadership training and opportunities.

“In a really short period of time I gained a lot more confidence in public speaking and leadership skills as well and it’s really beneficial,” said Lindsay Stebbins, who got involved with OSPIRG last term. “There are a lot of great opportunities to get out in the community.”

The post OSPIRG ballot measure gives power to students appeared first on Emerald Media.

Read more here: http://www.dailyemerald.com/2017/04/11/ospirgs-ballot-measure-gives-power-students/
Copyright 2018 Emerald Media