Student campaign group #reclaimUO gathers signatures to "democratize the University of Oregon board of trustees." 

Correction on the morning of Feb. 12: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that President Schill received a $100 bonus. He received a $100,000 bonus. 

A group of about six students gathered outside the EMU Tuesday afternoon to promote their campaign #ReclaimUO — an effort to “democratize the board of trustees.” 

The group also passed out red cloth “solidarity squares” for students, faculty and staff to pin to their clothes in support of their campaign. They held signs that had pictures of the UO board of trustees that read, “This trustee does not represent me!” and shouted, “Democratize the board of trustees!” to students as they walked between classes. 

University spokesperson Kay Jarvis said the university supports all students’ right to free expression, even if it results in criticism of the university.

“In this case, we disagree with their central argument,” Jarvis said. “The institutional Board of Trustees has helped set the institution on an incredibly positive trajectory over the past five years, and we would like to thank the volunteer board members for their insights, leadership and ongoing efforts.”

The #ReclaimUO campaign asks for a cap on administrative salaries, a freeze on tuition and fees, institutional investment, affordable housing and to democratize the board of trustees, Sarah Pishioneri, senior at UO studying political science with a focus in labor studies, said.

“We are out here plugging folks to show up to a community meeting at the end of this month,”  Pishioneri said. “We’re also getting signatures not only to be added to our email list but also to be taken up to Salem on Thursday.”

Thursday is student lobbying day, where students from all seven public universities in Oregon flock to Salem to show the importance of funding higher education, according to the UO Alumni Association website. Pishioneri said the group plans to voice its concerns to state legislators. 

“[Students] fund this university and they deserve a say in how it’s run,” Pishioneri said. 

Nick Keough, an ASUO senator and member of the campaign group, said they are working to get the community involved in their campaign. 

“We deserve a board of trustees that reflects who we are and represent us in that capacity,” Keough said. “Right now they don’t; they represent corporate interests and continued privatization. That’s why we’re working to democratize the board.”

Pishioneri said the group is not affiliated with any organization on campus and that they hope to get first- and second-year students involved to keep their campaign alive for the years to come. 

“The idea of this is that it’s a campaign and not an organization,” Pishioneri said. “We have a goal and the way that we’re going to get there is through succession and sustainability of the work.”

The group is hosting a community meeting to engage the community, students, faculty and staff from 4-6 p.m. on February 29 at Falling Sky in the EMU, Pishioneri said.

The group also protested President Michael Schill’s $100,000 bonus awarded by the board of trustees last December at the beginning of the school year. 

“Our timeline goes a couple of years out, so you’ll see us again,” Pishioneri said.

Hannah is the senior news editor for the Daily Emerald. She used to cover the university senate and construction on campus. Send news tips to hkanik@dailyemerald.com