Campus decision makers: Connecting the dots from UO administration to ASUO
**Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Emerald’s “Back to the Books” edition, which is currently available in locations throughout Eugene.**
Much like our nation’s federal government, you can separate the levels of power at the University of Oregon into three branches: administration, faculty and students.
Administration: Board of Trustees
The University of Oregon Board of Trustees is a 15-person, institutional governing board consisting of alumni, faculty, staff, executive donors and one student. It has the power to select the University of Oregon president, and did so in its hiring of current UO President, Michael Schill in April. Schill sits as a non-voting, ex officio member of the board.
The BOT also approves tuition and projects totaling more than $5 million at the university. At the last meeting in early September, board members gave the green light to five different renovation and construction projects, including the creation of a new College and Careers Building.
Faculty: University Senate
The UO University Senate is mainly comprised of faculty members — 41 to be exact — and are accompanied by three administrative staff members, three classified staff members and five students from the ASUO and a research officer. The senate brings forth legislation mainly involving academics, such as student conduct, grading, curriculum and granting degrees. Randy Sullivan, a chemistry professor, and Bill Harbaugh, an economics professor and vocal critic of the UO administration, serve as the senate’s president and vice president, respectively.
ASUO: Student Government
For the 2015-2016 school year, $223.75 of your tuition money will go to funding student groups, paying classified staff, football and basketball tickets, free rides through Lane Transit District and funding more than 160 departments and programs across campus. This is called the incidental fee (also known as the I-fee), and the Associated Students of the University of Oregon is the student-run governing board that, among other things, decides how and when to spend the nearly $16 million of revenue produced from I-fees.
ASUO is structured into three branches as well: the ASUO Executive, the ASUO Senate, and the Constitution Court.
- Executive: The ASUO Executive branch has the final say on the senate’s incidental fee recommendations before it reaches the desk of the UO president. The 2015-2016 ASUO President, Helena Schlegel, along with vice presidents Francisco Morales-O’Connor and Claire Johnson, head the ASUO Executive branch. In March, former ASUO President Beatriz Gutierrez, along with members of her executive staff, protested fervently as the administration passed a decision to raise resident tuition by 3.8 percent, and non-resident tuition by 3.7 percent.
- Senate: Every week, 20 student senators and one freshman representative sit in meetings — open to all students — where student groups request funding for events and projects. Last year, after a survey revealed that UO fraternity men were three times more likely to commit sexual assault, the ASUO senate passed a controversial resolution to disallow new fraternities and sorority chapters from starting up if the situation doesn’t improve. An updated survey concerning sexual violence within Fraternity and Sorority Life has yet to be released.
- Constitution Court: The ASUO Constitution Court, staffed by law students, acts as arbiters over complaints against the policies of the other ASUO branches, known as “grievances,” which accuse them of not acting in accordance to the ASUO Constitution. The court is infamously kept on ice during the often-heated ASUO Elections which occur every spring.
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