PSU needs to get its priorities straight and support its debate team The number-one thing Americans fear is public speaking. More than bears, spiders and gonorrhea, the most terrifying situation someone in this country can imagine is standing up and giving a speech. Fortunately, the Portland State Debate Team is working to change that. Unfortunately, they have no funding to do so.

At the beginning of this year, the Student Fee Committee cut a large portion of the funding that the club received, rendering them completely unable to compete. On Global Debate Blog, Team Co-Coordinator Kelly Welch sent out a plea for others in the debate community to help them appeal the decision by the SFC.

Their plea fell on deaf ears.

Without the 20,000-plus dollars in funding from the school necessary for transportation and tournament expenses, the team was left without the budget that allowed them to travel to other schools and compete in tournaments.

Essentially, the club that was formerly an internationally competitive juggernaut was brought to a standstill.

While still able to compete in tournaments in the Northwest, Portland State Debate is unable to achieve its previous stature in the debate community.

The benefits of a debate team are innumerable. According to the National Forensics League, debaters are more likely to receive degrees from an institution of higher education. Experience in debate also fosters higher ability in critical thinking, analyzing an issue and research skills.

By creating students that are more academically rounded and globally aware, a university creates a space in which students can feel able to have an open dialogue amongst one another. Essentially, debate helps create citizens instead of automatons, free-thinkers who are not afraid to shake things up. Fostering a debate team promotes this idea.

It’s also important for colleges to promote career preparedness. Debate promotes a strong grasp of language. Speaking, writing, reading and listening skills are developed through debate. All career paths require the ability to express yourself to others and to explain your ideas in a clear and concise manner.

By failing our debate team, PSU is expressing that they do not wish to assist in the intellectual growth and experience of our debaters and students.

Currently, the PSU debate team has been on a winning streak. The tournaments they have attended have ended well, with noted senior debaters Aaron Baker and Lindsay Bing taking top spots in the Seattle Open and Kirkland Washington Tournaments. Of the seven tournaments in which they competed during the fall term, they ended up with awards from every single one.

While it would be reasonable for the university to cut funding from a team that was generally unsuccessful, this is not the case with the debate team. A team that achieves such success deserves the funding it needs to function, and in the case of the PSU Debate Team, they need funding to travel.

The strange thing is that while the travel budget was cut, the money allotted to pay the team’s coach was increased. The team was allowed to use some of the money that was allotted for the coach’s salary to travel, but they are still unable to travel overseas or across the country as they were formerly able to do.

As a former speech and debate student, I know how much growth can occur when you are forced to push your boundaries and your comfort level. When many started out on the team, they were quiet, shy and they shook like a leaf when they tried to speak in front of a small group of people. After a year on the team, they were more confident in general, and they developed socially as well. Public speaking can have an incredible effect on a person.

While I know that the university is buckling down and trying to save money in these harsh economic times, they are denying many passionate and intelligent students a chance at doing what they love to do, as well as a chance to win a lot of shiny trophies in the process.

If the university cannot find a way to balance the budget with student activities and interests, they’re just going to start taking away more of the positive outlets for students at PSU, and harm the beneficial and enriching educational experiences such activities produce. ?

University budget team reveals initial budget outlook PSU projected to have $23.7 million budget shortfall in next fiscal year Corie Charnley Vanguard staff While reviewing the initial budget submissions for the 2011–13 biennium from across Portland State, the university budget team held a forum on Tuesday to hear concerns voiced by the campus community.

During the forum, members of the budget team discussed how PSU compares to its peer institutions, the Oregon University System’s 2011–13 budget projections and the priorities around which the initial budget is being drafted.

Compared to OUS’ 2009–11 biennium budget, which totaled $697.2, Governor John Kitzhaber’s 2011–13 recommendation for OUS’ budget totals $531.7, an overall 23.7 percent reduction from the last biennium, according to Vice President for Finance and Administration Lindsay Desrochers.

PSU’s 2011–13 recommended budget totals $113.7, an overall 23.8 percent reduction, leaving the university with a $17.7 million budget gap for the 2011–12 fiscal year, Desrochers said. However, she also noted that once factors such as inflation are calculated, this gap looks more like $23.7 million.

To fill this gap, Desrochers said the university is implementing 3 percent across-the-board Education and General fund reductions in each academic unit, and is freezing 45 percent of the current E & G fund. The university is also implementing a temporary hiring pause, and plans to tap into its fund balances and will likely have to raise tuition.

“We are going to need to use a substantial amount to get us through [the 2011–13 biennium],” she said. “We hope to see some improvements in the [2013–15] biennium.”

According to PSU President Wim Wiewel, PSU operates much more efficiently than its peer institutions; it spends about 60 percent of what other public research institutions spend.

“We have over the past few years tried to manage our resources very smartly because we knew that these tough times would come,” he said.

Commenting on PSU’s revenue sources, Wiewel said that PSU’s tuition is 7 percent less than its sister institutions. In regards to state support, it receives only 59 percent of the average funds its peers receive.

In addition, PSU’s revenue from auxiliary services and philanthropic gifts is substantially less than its peers. However, Wiewel said that PSU has more control over these numbers than what is receives from the state.

And how is this money used? Wiewel said that PSU spends above average on instructional costs, but is not spending enough on student services and research.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Roy Koch said that the budget team is focusing on four strategic priorities while drafting the budget. These include increased investment in student success initiatives—such as the advising initiative implemented last fall—and additional investments in academic programs and research infrastructure.

“Last year, we had more students than ever, and we’re finally making progress in terms of retaining them at a higher rate,” Koch said. “We’re really on a great trajectory, but we want to make sure that whatever we do in this period continues on that trajectory.”

After the presentation, members of the audience were given the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists. One attendee was concerned about OUS’ recent approval of its automatic admissions policy for qualifying high school students.

Despite budget cuts, Koch said that PSU would most likely already accept students that qualified for automatic admissions. In addition, he said that OUS does not promise financial aid for those that qualify.

Other concerns included the hiring freeze and how PSU would balance the recruitment of out-of-state students (who would provide more tuition revenue to the university) and access to in-state applicants.

“It’s a balancing act,” Wiewel said.

Wiewel also noted that PSU’s student population is comprised of roughly 20 percent non-resident students. PSU hopes to raise that number to 30 percent.

The university budget team will create the first set of budget recommendations in April. After they have been submitted to Wiewel, PSU will host campus-wide hearings on May 11 to get final feedback before it is reviewed by the Legislature in June. ?

Anchoring for the future Portland State standing behind mayor’s urban renewal proposal Vinh Tran Vanguard staff  Sometimes bigger is not always better. At least that’s the case when it comes to urban renewal projects.

Around the end of last year, Portland Mayor Sam Adams shelved an ambitious urban renewal proposal that sought to redevelop 345 acres of downtown land, after he deemed the project too large for the city’s budget.

Nearly five months later, during his State of the City address in February, Adams came back with an equally ambitious, but perhaps more realistic proposal of an urban renewal project for the downtown area. The latest proposal is smaller in size but places bigger emphasis on Portland State as an “anchor” point in the area.

University administrators are reportedly excited about the new proposal. As a growing institution with about 28,000 students, PSU’s bid to be seen as a major player in the city’s economy may finally be recognized.

PSU was one of the key stakeholders that pushed for last year’s proposal, along with the Portland Development Commission. The plan was met with concerns from the Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen over the scope and impact of the project on his county’s budget. While the old proposal called for the redevelopment of 345 acres of land, Adams’ new proposal calls for only 130 acres of downtown area.

What this potentially means for students is that properties in the surrounding PSU area could be turned into affordable housing and academic space. According to an early map outlining the district, the space allocates at least 45 properties to be developed into housing or academic space, which include classrooms and research facilities.

According to Mark Gregory, associate vice president for finance and administration at PSU, the university believes that there is a strong case to be made for the economic benefits that could come from developments around the university district. A large part of those economic benefits come from the university itself, he said.

In a recent booklet produced by PSU, in 2010 the university’s economic impact exceeded $1.4 billion, an amount that represents the multiplying effect of the dollars spent by the school. In real estate alone, PSU spent $62.8 million in new construction, repairs and renovations last year, and the research expenditures stood at $58.2 million. 

Gregory said if the urban renewal works the way it’s supposed to, there are huge potential benefits to be realized for the university. But with any real estate projects, there is a risk that the result may not be as one expected. Gregory himself pointed out that in the past, the Lent and Gateway neighborhood urban renewal projects have not produced the revenue the city hoped for. Still, Gregory said he believes that in this project because its potential benefits outweigh such risks, at least for PSU.

According to Gregory, the purpose of urban renewal is to channel property taxes in a designated area into a separate account, which is then used by the city to stimulate property developments. This brings property value up and drives economic activities.

In the case of the PSU urban renewal project, people living within the district would still pay taxes. However, the county would have to wait 25 years before it received any of the tax revenue. Cogan expressed concerns that taking money away from public goods—such as money that goes toward Portland Public Schools—during the current difficult economic times may not be a wise move.

Dave Austin, communications director for Multnomah County, said given the fact that Cogen’s office learned about the project only recently, it is still early for him to comment on whether he thinks it is good or bad for the county.

According to Austin, Cogen is also interested in learning how and when the mayor will put together a committee of stakeholders to discuss it. 

“What we’re doing is…trading in money today that’s going toward public goods, for future growth and more public goods,” Gregory said. ” People who look at it conservatively say, ‘I’d rather have the dollars today,’ while others say they’d rather take it tomorrow.”

According to Gregory, usually the money that is redistributed toward development projects only covers about 5 or 6 percent of the total cost of the projects. However, to developers, that “seed” money is enough to encourage them to choose one land over another, he said.

Kimberly Schneider, communications director for the mayor, said the Mayor’s Office has not officially identified the major stakeholders in the PSU urban renewal project yet. But due to PSU’s master planning, the mayor is more convinced this time around that an urban renewal proposal is the right step to take.

“We haven’t heard anybody coming forward with opposition to the project at this point,” Schneider said. ?

Portland State to host national debate tournament Weekend tournament serves as a preview of the forthcoming debating championship Erick Bengel Vanguard staff Portland State will play host to a two-day debate tournament this weekend, organized by the university’s debate team as a warm-up for April’s United States Universities Debating Championship.

The event will kick off today with a “just for fun” public debate on the subject of eco-terrorism and whether it constitutes a legitimate form of political expression.

According to PSU debate coach Kelly Welch, this evening’s debate will be a “demonstration debate” to showcase national talent. It’s also a sort of press release, designed to raise university awareness that a PSU debate team exists.

In addition to PSU, the public debate will feature Seattle University, Regis University from Denver and Loyola Marymount from Los Angeles, Calif.

This weekend’s warm-up tournament serves two purposes, Welch said.

The first is to prepare a handful of U.S. debate teams heading to April’s championship with a far more competitive environment than that to which they are accustomed.

“It’s definitely a much better representation of what [the championship] is going to look like than other tournaments we’ve had this year,” Welch said.

With 14 states fielding a total of 52 teams—or debate duos—this weekend’s tournament will be the largest tournament that the majority of the PSU debate team will attend before the championship, according to Welch. And whereas most of the debate tournaments PSU has attended this year have been held “locally”—in Oregon, Washington and California—this weekend’s participants will hail from Colorado, Michigan, New York and elsewhere.

“We’ll have a better sense of how other teams debate, what they’re like and how good they are,” said Corinne Gilbertson, a PSU Debate Team member.

The second purpose of the tournament is to help popularize the debate format that PSU’s team specializes in—the British Parliamentary (BP) format—which Welch believes is the best among the many collegiate debate formats.

According to team member Aaron Baker, a junior philosophy student, speakers using the BP format are more likely to be judged by a heuristic of 50 percent “manner” and 50 percent “matter” than to a hard-and-fast set of rules.  

Gilbertson, who will be judging this weekend, said that tournament judges look for certain basic qualities while rating speakers. These qualities include persuasiveness, confidence, organization and the uniqueness of a speaker’s argument combined with his or her level of support. 

Touching on the last of these, Gilbertson said that participating in the debate team forces its members to stay politically informed by maintaining a steady diet of national and international news.

Although it helps to be a widely read news consumer, reading The Economist on a regular basis is the hobbyhorse of a successful BP debater, according to Baker.

“I learn more in any given season of competitive debate than I’ve learned in any given class that I’ve ever taken,” Baker said. “I learn about public policy, values, things to prefer and prioritize, and what we as informed citizens should know about and care about.”

This has been something of a banner year for the debate team, according to team member Lindsay Bing, a senior studying political science.

“This year we’ve been really competitively successful,” Bing said. “Our novices have done exceptionally well, which is promising because…if you don’t have any younger talent coming in, it’s not a sustainable team.”

Bing and Baker have been permanent debate partners since last year and are now one of PSU’s most experienced and successful debate duos. They made it into the final round at last year’s championship, which is a “pretty big deal,” Bing said. She compared the championship to an entire sports season taking place over the course of a weekend.    

“We were really happy to represent Portland State, a public university, in an academic competition that’s often dominated by private, very prestigious universities,” she said.

The 2011 USU Debating Championship will be held at the University of Vermont on April 1–3. According to Welch, PSU will be sending six teams of two partners, including the Bing-Baker team. ?

A meatless winter dinner Kat Vetrano Vanguard staff By now, you’ve likely heard of the Meatless Monday campaign. It’s the decision that everyone from Oprah to Michael Pollan has decided to take on, where a meatless dinner is eaten once a week for health and environmental benefits. Perhaps you’d like to try out the idea but have a hard time thinking of a meal without the traditional plate of big protein, small grain and small vegetable.

Whether or not you care about this way of eating or you’re just trying to enjoy more vegetables, this recipe is a quick way to add some green to your meal: Simply wrap a large leafy green around a filling, and serve it over noodles (or rice, if you prefer). The meal takes minutes to prepare and can easily be tweaked to your preferences; freshly chopped parsley or cilantro would be a nice addition to the ricotta, or perhaps beans and salsa for a Mexican-style dinner.

Method Place the ricotta in a small bowl. Chop the chives and place them in the bowl along with the zest, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to your liking. Mix and set the bowl aside.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and make your noodles according to the package directions. When the noodles are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them into a strainer (save the boiling water).

Then, put one leaf into the boiling water. Count to 60 and remove with tongs, laying it flat on a clean workspace. Repeat this process with all of the leaves (if you used a big saucepan, you may be able to do two at once). Once all the leaves are cool, make your dumplings.

To make a dumpling, take one leaf and lay it flat on a cutting board. Put one-quarter cup of the ricotta mixture in the center. Bring up the bottom part of the leaf and hold secure with one hand. Then, fold in the right and left sides towards the middle. Roll the bottom upwards until all of the ricotta is covered (do this the same way you would roll a burrito).

Repeat this process with all the leaves until you have four dumplings. Dress the hot pasta with butter and Parmesan, and top with two dumplings per person. Serve with the remaining chard sautéed in garlic and olive oil, or a salad topped with vinegar. ?

Charlie Sheen outs himself, a warlock speaks With all the hype surrounding Charlie Sheen’s absolute hyper-cosmic nuttiness, did you think there was a chance that we weren’t going to talk about it?

Amid questions of Sheen’s rampant drug use fueling his psychoses, Sheen submitted his blood and urine for drug testing. The world was shocked when he passed—his blood and urine came back 100 percent free of controlled substances.

Since then, every media outlet has been trying to get a piece of Sheen’s warped head, and for good reason. How many times have you goaded on a drunk relative at a family picnic? Charlie Sheen is a media personality and is therefore the drunken uncle of shows like “20/20” and “Good Morning America.”

Recently on the “Today” show, Charlie Sheen dropped the bomb: he told “Today” that he’s a warlock.

“CBS picked a fight with a warlock,” said Sheen. “They’re trying to take all my money.”

This news is even more exciting because it gives a glimpse into the rarely-explored world of warlocks. Not only do they have ridiculous amounts of money, but they are also from Mars and often rock stars.

“I’m tired of pretending I’m not a…total bitchin’ rock star from Mars,” Sheen also told “Today.”

More details as we get them, but the grand warlock council surely can’t be excited to have their cover blown. ?

Who does the Portland Business Alliance really care about? Elizabeth Bommarito Vanguard staff From its eight-year push for the unconstitutional Sit-Lie Ordinance, to its support of putting a tight squeeze on Portland Public Schools, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) has made itself the target for some intense criticisms.

In addition, the highly influential PBA has continued on a seemingly never-ending lobbying pursuit to direct the development of this city in the favor of its biggest supporters, Portland’s mega-wealthy business owners. Along with tax breaks for those with high incomes and business owners, and deregulation strategies to reduce business fees, the PBA seems to have a political agenda a mile long.

Two particular pieces of legislation on which the PBA will be chiming in deserve special attention this year: the Schools Facility Bonds Measure 26–121 and the repeal to Measures 66 and 67.

Measure 26–121, coming up in the May election, will give public funding to Portland Public Schools to begin a much-needed rebuild of nine east-side schools, as well as contribute funds to upgrade learning environments and security.

The PBA wants you to vote “no” on 26–121. The reason cited is that “for too many years PPS used its maintenance budget for teacher compensation, rather than keeping school buildings up to date.” Is it too much to ask that we use public funds to pay teachers a fair wage and keep our schools up-to-date? The PBA presents its case as though it is an either/or proposition; meanwhile, the PBA supports funneling millions into its “build it and they will come,” strategy regarding Portland’s development.

Meanwhile, at a time in which more public funding is needed to support the jobless and the need for lower-income housing, the PBA has helped fund a campaign to repeal tax increases for the mega-rich and company owners. Measures 66 and 67, which passed with flying colors in 2010, are facing repeal in the future under the charge from the PBA that the tax kills jobs.

This classic Reaganomics-like take on taxes is exactly what Oregon doesn’t need right now. Measures 66 and 67 only create tax increases for an estimated 2.5 percent of the population.

Decreasing the taxes for this part of the population, which earns more than $250,000 per year in income, while then telling Portland Public Schools to keep it frugal, is exactly what the type of garbage one would expect from an institution whose sole purpose is to defend the interest of business.

What does that mean for the common good?

The problem with the ethics of lobbying groups like the PBA is just that—its allegiance lies with those who give economic support and power. Even if we vote against the bills and plans the alliance supports, they still will go right ahead and do it anyway, disregarding the public’s opinion.

As the alliance disregards the public’s opinion, it also disregards the public debts. As billions will be designated to fund transportation construction of new MAX lines, as well as the construction of the Columbia River Crossing, the Portland Business Alliance will keep rallying alongside its corporate friends to spend four to 10 billion tax dollars on the Columbia River Crossing alone. With a repeal to Measures 66 and 67 in hand, the alliance will do its best to make sure the industries who actually benefit from this transportation redirection pay as little of the bill as possible.

While it is important to be looking toward the future of our great city of Portland, it is also important that we don’t allow the PBA to ruin everything that is great about Portland. Fostering positive renewal and growth in our public schools, as well as supporting those other 97.5 percent of residents that are already in Portland, is essential if we are to maintain what makes Portland a great city.

We are not just a city on the rise; we are also a city that has maintained social justice movements, supported sustainable rather than “bigger is better” style of development and made attempts to ensure that governing bodies be held accountable to their actions.

The PBA rejects this accountability each time it pushes for bills that exclusively favor its business alliances, and then deceives us as to how they will be effective in the long term. ?

The story doesn’t stop when the print hits the page. Don’t like something you read in the Vanguard? Want us to cover a story? Do you feel there is more to be said? You have the opportunity to praise us or rip us apart here at the Vanguard. Post a comment online or write us a letter. Tell us what you think. Here are some online highlights from Oh snap! Wait, Portland won’t just be for hipsters anymore [“Rant and Rage: The Portland we know and love,” Jan. 18]? Oh, the humanity! Nick Work in porn? This article regarding the “disgruntled work environment” cites two employees, whose complaints I’m not sure I fully buy [“Aramark employees disgruntled with work environment,” Feb. 25]. Someone with a medical condition wets their pants while working food preparation and isn’t allowed to even change? Without hearing another side of this story—I’ll hedge my bets and call the anonymous whistle blower an L.I.A.R. Having hours curbed to cut off privileges to health care is highly questionable, I will admit, but this anonymous complainer comes off as bratty and entitled. “Anything would be better”; there’s money in amateur porn? The lions share of this article is by employees who say they’re happy, or by neutral supervisors who seem oblivious that this journalist appears to have gone into the story looking to dig up dirt, and found some on purely pedestrian, mundane ground. The title of this story should have been “Aramark Employees Work in Work Environment.” Doesn’t seem like much is happening here. Anonymous Disgusting! Are you kidding me [[“Rant and Rage: Kids vs. Dogs,” Feb. 15]? This University let’s you right this garbage about human beings. Disgusting. Anonymous Gross bodily fluids Agreed [“Rant and Rage: Kids vs. Dogs,” Feb. 15]. Parents: Believe me, just because you think your child is amazing does not mean everyone else does. Particularly in Portland, you will find folks posing as open-minded, understanding and supportive of your choice to breed. In actuality, most people are judging you. They wish you’d leave your screaming children at home when you go out to eat. Also, with the exception of a few perverts, nobody wants to see you feed your child bodily fluids from under your shirt while trying to enjoy their dinner. Contrary to what feel good publications and your fellow nursing mothers might tell you, it is not beautiful. If your child is still young enough to be drinking bodily fluids as a well-balanced meal, it’s too young to be at a restaurant anyway. Who wants to eat next to a screaming baby, drinking bodily fluids and pooping its diaper at the table next to them? Really? Dogs are way better! They potty train quickly. They’re cheaper. They don’t give you stretch marks. You can have them spayed or neutered. You’ll never have to teach them about the “birds and the bees.” Dogs are amazing! Anonymous Forcing a smile It is difficult as a front line worker to smile, and put forth an hospitable face when one is being treated like %$^&*(*&^% t [“Aramark employees disgruntled with work environment,” Feb. 25]. Perhaps one needs to think twice or trice [sic] before applying for employment with this top heavy bullying organization. Surely it’s been and eye opener for me. Anonymous

I am writing in regards to Elizabeth Bommarito’s “Snake oil: Is Kombucha a health miracle or a malady?” [March 1].

When comparing Kombucha to a soda beverage, which this piece attempts to do at the beginning, it is important to note that soda beverages contain more than twice the sugar and a whole lot of acid.

Kombucha contains alkaline-forming acids. This means that when digested these acids have an alkaline (base) effect on the body. Soda acid is not alkaline-forming.

Bommarito refers to probiotics as a benefit as though they were just some extra vitamin. The probiotic of value in most Kombuchas is Saccharomyces boulardii. It is a yeast that has been proven to attack pathogenic bacteria as well as candida.

Folks with yeast infections (and cancer) crave sugar because sugar is what candida and cancer feed on. Sugar helps cancer grow. When the probiotic S. boulardii eats candida sugar cravings are reduced. Does this impact cancer growth and to what degree? I don’t know, I’m a student and have to get back to my homework.

Terminally ill folks may have a bad reaction to S. boulardii and therefore shouldn’t drink Kombucha. However, the average consumer of pop would be much better off with a Kombucha. Less sugar, less acid, less pathogenic bacteria.

Thanks for letting me clear up a few points that this article missed.


Robert Thompson

PSU Student

Office of Student Affairs will be responsible for resolving university-related conflicts Joshua Hunt  Vanguard staff For nearly 11 years Sandy McDermott has worked at Portland State’s Ombudsman Office, offering students an informal, impartial and confidential resource for resolving their problems. In the first week of January, she met with Lois Davis, the president’s chief of staff, who explained to her that this service would not continue beyond spring term 2011.

“The current financial reality was a factor in this decision,” McDermott said. “But it was also thought that the problem-solving and conflict resolution for students needed to be addressed through the Office of Student Affairs.”

The key difference between the Office of Student Affairs and the Ombuds Office has traditionally been one of formality, according to McDermott. Students or faculty could come to the Ombuds Office for advice on a wide range of problems, and they could do so without presenting student identification.

It’s a service that many students aren’t aware of until they need someone to listen to their problems or grievances, without fear of reprisal or recrimination, she said.

“Our value is not always measured in up-front dollars and cents,” McDermott said. “It’s a hidden revenue that helps to prevent problems from spiraling out of control…We identify alternatives and generate options, impartial perspectives and facilitate communication.”

Faculty members, including McDermott herself, are quick to acknowledge that the closure of the Ombuds Office will not leave students wi