Letters to the EditorOpinion

Students deserve accurate news

There’s a lot of debate surrounding Oregon’s upcoming special election. However, it’s well-established that voters need accurate information if they’re going to make informed decisions.

On Oct. 20, an article titled “Tax increase may hurt University funding” ran in the Oregon Daily Emerald that contained some significant factual inaccuracies about the election and the two ballot measures (Measures 66 and 67) that will be brought before voters.

The ASUO is part of a non-partisan statewide effort to register students to vote in Oregon’s upcoming election, as well as educate students about the issues being debated.

Accordingly, we want to make sure that it is absolutely clear about what University students will be voting on next spring.

Unfortunately, the headline of the original ODE article was inaccurate. If the tax increase that was passed by the Oregon Legislature is ratified by Oregon voters, then the $733 million that has been earmarked for schools, public safety and other public services will remain intact, which will result in millions of dollars being sent to the University.

If the tax increase is rejected by voters, then that revenue will not be received by the University. The inaccuracy of the headline was also reflected in the text of the article.

One reason for the mistake in the article might have been that it was unclear to the reporter what would happen if Oregonians voted for or against Measures 66 and 67. To be clear, here are the facts:

If Measures 66 and 67 pass — that is, if a majority of voters vote “Yes” on the tax increases (one on corporations and another on individuals making over $125,000 a year and couples making over $250,000 a year), then $733 million will remain in the state’s general fund, some of which will likely be sent to the University.

Conversely, if the referendums fail — that is, if a majority of voters vote “No” to the tax increases — then the $733 million will no longer be allocated for the general fund, and the University will not receive its designated portion of that money.

In making up their own minds about how to vote in this election, students can research the arguments being made by opponents and supporters of the tax measures. But the Oct. 20 ODE article also included inaccurate information about who these groups might be.

The article accurately quotes a spokesperson for an organization opposed to the tax increases but incorrectly labels a group called Our Oregon as “the main organization in favor of the tax increases” while claiming that the group didn’t respond to requests for an interview. Our Oregon may not have responded to the ODE’s call because it is a non-partisan organization. The coalition of groups supporting the tax increases is actually called Defend Oregon.

The ASUO Executive wants to make sure not only that students are provided with accurate information, but that they are empowered to have a voice in the process. Regardless of whether the referendums pass or fail, the upcoming special election will impact University students directly.

That’s why it’s so important that all students get registered and show up to vote in the election — we have the right to determine how this election will affect us. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, or if you have moved or changed your name since the last time you did register, come drop by the ASUO office in Suite 4 of the EMU to fill out a registration card. We’ll happily turn it in for you to make sure that your voice is heard in this important process.

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