Letter: ASUO was irresponsible in its handling of Oregon Athletic Band funding

Emerald File Photo

Emerald File Photo

Posted by Emerald on Monday, Mar. 18 at 10:12 pm.

Members of the ASUO:

I would like to restate several of issues that I brought up Saturday night at the special assembly, mostly because several of you were not in attendance, and partially because the Emerald failed to accurately report what transpired at the meeting. The reasons that the members of the band are upset need to be made absolutely crystal clear—the ASUO has shown poor leadership, poor communication, poor collaboration, and has attempted to use the band as a pawn in an argument with the Athletic Department, the President’s office, and the School of Music and Dance.

ASUO has participated in something that we like to call “intention/function fail” over in the Music Education Department. That is, where someone does or says something with the best intentions, but does not take the time to see how their actions or words function against other groups of people.

The ASUO’s intentions were pure and noble. In fact, many of us fully agree with the intent behind moving the bands funds to other places—The ASUO wished to make the band more secure by transferring our budget to areas that have more stability and longevity in leadership (i.e. the Athletic Department) because these groups do not go through yearly elections.

Regardless of the ASUO’s intentions, the function, or consequences, of their actions were immensely frightening and hurtful to the members of the band. The ASUO started this commotion with a scare tactic: The majority of them believed that the money for the band should come from somewhere other than student fees (and they may be correct), so what did they do? They took it away! This makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, there was little foresight by the ASUO as to how outside observers may perceive this action.

The plan from here was to go meet with several groups on campus—The AD, the School of Music, the President of the University, Enrollment Services—and tell them that the band needed funding from them because ASUO would no longer be providing it.

Let’s think about this for a second.

The ASUO functionally decided it was going to bully other members of the University Community. A game of chicken came into play—and the band was stuck in the middle! The most unfortunate part? The majority of the ASUO forgot to do what they were supposed to do—listen and respect the students they were elected to represent. Roughly 240 OAB students—along with thousands of friends, parents, and alumni—were left with a loud message from the ASUO: We don’t care about you.

Intention? Move the money to someplace else so that is more secure. (An intention that was not explained to the general population up front.)

Action? Take the money from the band and then try to find it elsewhere.

Function? We took your money and we’re hoping someone else will fund you. (We don’t care about you.)

The ASUO found itself in a very embarrassing situation—no one was willing to pick up the band’s tab. Even worse? The ASUO couldn’t decide whether or not they wanted to continue to fund the band after failing to secure funds (Let’s not mention the promise made at the original budget hearing to continueto fund the band if no money was found, shall we?). The students were left in limbo about receiving funding from the ASUO—will they or won’t they? An anxiety-inducing situation that borders on cruel and unusual.

Communication—proper, mature, and open communication—could have solved the ASUO’s problems earlier and easier. They should have sat down with the AD, etc. to talk about options for funding theband before removing the funds.

ASUO threw around the word “communication” like nobody’s business last night. It has become very clear to me that the ASUO Senate does not know the meaning of the word. Stating your opinions out loud does not mean that you communicated with each other. You have spent the last several months “talking at” each other, with no intention of compromising and no respect for the feelings of the band members (who, lest we forget, are still among the students that you were elected to represent). On the other hand, the students of the OAB, of whom I am very proud, have communicated openly (with the ASUO and with each other) and worked to make lasting and useful compromise.

ASUO Senate, I am embarrassed by the way you have handled yourselves as a whole. The point of a senate is to come together to make compromises that benefit the body they were elected to represent. Unfortunately, the majority of you were too wrapped up in your own opinions and too infatuated with the sound of your own voice to work together to resolve the budget issue. Your inability to reach a decision lies on the shoulders of all of you.

I am a proud alum of the University of Oregon, where I received my undergraduate degrees. Currently, I am a proud student of the UO doing graduate work. I am proud of my university. I am proud of my band community. I am ashamed of my student “led” government.

I would like to extend thanks to the few members of the ASUO that diligently worked with Melinda McConnel, Loren Clupny, and Abbie Ortman of the OAB to reach a viable and realistic compromise. This thank you extends beyond the ASUO members who agreed with us to those who were willing to participate and entertain concerns and conversations from the band.

Thank you for your time,

Nathan Irby 

GTF, Athletic Bands/Music Education

  • AB

    ………….. Yeah, that about sums it up.

  • EmbarassedConstituent

    Seeing how the ASUO handled this situation I agree with the fact that the band should get their funding from somewhere else. I hope that somewhere is far from the irresponsible, uncommunicative, and unprofessional ASUO Senate.

  • jared

    can someone explain to me why the athletic department needs more money?

    • Johnson

      I don’t believe this letter has anything to do with the Athletic Department needing or wanting more money.

    • ds

      Typical freshmen ignorance. READ THE F-ING ARTICLE.