ASUO Senate voted down on event raffling firearms
ASUO Senate had a heated debate with Young Americans for Liberty members regarding a request for a poker event to win firearms.
YAL requested $950 to reserve the Ballroom in the EMU and pizza at its five-hour event on Nov. 20. The raffle prize of a handgun and a hunting rifle are donations from the Oak Grove Gun shop, spokesman Thomas Tullis said. The event is estimated to attract 200 students.
Senator Jason Selby questioned how poker contributes to the conversation about liberty.
Senator Cavan Davies also said that he’s “uncomfortable” with the raffle prizes, especially following the Umpqua Community College shooting.
YAL organized a similar event last year, which attracted 90 students, Tullis said.
ASUO President Helena Schlegel spoke against the event.
“It is going against the ASUO mission of providing social, cultural, educational, and physical development,” said Schlegel. “You are having an event where you are going to be giving out firearms as a prize, and we will be hosting that event by giving you money, whereas a lot of students wouldn’t feel safe.”
Senator Zach Rentschler supported the event. He encouraged senate to vote regardless of their political stands.
“I am not qualified to say whether this is a good thing or not, […] but we are just nitpicking this one because it happens to be unpopular on this campus” Rentschler said, “To me, that is against everything that we are here to do. That is against the very educational mission of the ASUO.”
Tullis said it’s unfair because YAL requested fund for food and space, not the firearms, and ASUO was singling out the organization due to its controversial topic.
“The entire purpose of freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is that we put on these events which challenge people’s ways of thinking,” Tullis said, “So it just seems like it goes against the mission of the ASUO, the university, and of freedom of speech to vote against ‘pizza money.’”
Senate voted against the request with five “yes,” 11 “no” and three abstained votes.
Senate also voted to table the request indefinitely seven “yes.” three “no” and seven abstained.
Senator Dobyns said YAL can reach out to senators in order to compromise the request in next meeting.
Senate confirmed three new positions — two senators and a Department Finance Committee member.
Graduate student Savannah Herrell took Senate Seat 22, representing graduate students. Herrell is studying Historic Preservation and is the president of Associated Students for Historic Preservation.
Senate also confirmed Keegan Williams-Thomas as ASUO freshman representative who is a non-voting senator. Williams-Thomas previously worked for former Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.
Freshman Edward Szczepanski will join DFC. Prior to ASUO, he was involved in Key Club, Model UN, and the Debate team at Oregon High School.
The senate heard three other requests for funding.
A cappella Group, Divisi, performed a soulful cover of Melanie Fiona’s “Give it to me right.” Divisi requested $500 in transportation to go to the “West Coast A Cappella Showcase” at the University of California, Berkeley.
Senate also granted the $5,000 request for the Black Student Union conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The funds will cover plane tickets for its board members.
The Vietnamese Student Association also received $550 to attend the annual Northwest Leadership Summit in Portland, Oregon, on Dec. 18.
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