E&CR: ‘It’s our fault’

The Evaluation and Constitutional Review Committee (E&CR) ruled Wednesday the group had made errors in its handling of the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s (OSPIRG) initiative for funding.

While the group also heard arguments concerning the legality of ASPSU’s spring election, the group did not rule on whether some candidates were allowed on the ballot illegally.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first to occur during this term, and the first to be chaired by Interim Chair Annie Stewart.

Each week, the E&CR accepts questions about possible constitutional violations perpetrated by any body of ASPSU. These questions are submitted in the form of “Attention Request Forms,” and can be filed by any PSU student.

One such request form, submitted by editor of the Portland Spectator Napoleon Linardatos some weeks ago, asked whether the OSPIRG initiative was unconstitutional due to the nature of its ballot language.

A major point raised by Linardotos’ question was whether the ballot measure was an initiative or a referendum.

While OSPIRG members affirm that the measure was an initiative, the ASPSU elections committee included it on the ballot as the “OSPIRG referendum.”

The E&CR have implied in previous meetings that they should have made it clear whether the question was an initiative or a referendum before the elections committee made their assertion, and before the election took place. Wednesday they made that sentiment official. By passing a statement that took fault for the confusion, but didn’t change the legality of the process, 3-0.

“It was our fault for not seeing this earlier and we shouldn’t punish student groups who depend on these funds,” E&CR member Michael Sean-Kelly said.

“I think the real problem was that the E&CR was shaping the language,” E&CR member Nathan Pawlicki said, referring to the original language approval process.

“Just because we made a mistake, it doesn’t make an unconstitutional thing constitutional,” Pawlicki continued.

Due to a number of previous setbacks, members of the E&CR allowed OSPIRG to change their ballot language on-the-fly in their Feb. 15 meeting, with E&CR help.

While the E&CR tabled a number of concerns to see an attention request form submitted by Student Fee Committee Chair Tracy Earll asking whether or not the ASPSU elections committee acted outside of their purview when allowing candidates to be listed on the ballot who had not attended a mandatory candidate orientation meeting, time ran out before a consensus could be made.