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Friday, January 13, 2006

A Little Off Topic, but That's Okay

So I've watched a lot of the Alito confirmation hearings, and here's what I think. It's a bunch of bullshit. A few of the points raised actually do kind of concern me.

While Alito may have followed all of the judicial ethics codes, it's kind of concerning that he explicitly wrote he would recuse himself from all cases involving Vanguard, and then he didn't. It's not a question of judicial ethics, it's a question of honesty, integrity, and reliability. I can see why some people would be concerned.

Overall, though, the proceedings have been bullshit. The same questions about this have come up over and over again. Clearly, the answers are: 1) he understood his statement as only relevant to the term of his first appointment 2) he didn't stand to gain or lose from the outcome of the case, 3) the recusal lists that keep coming up are irrelevant. That's just the first step. Judges have several more opportunities to recuse themselves from cases.

So why do people keep asking about this? It's somewhat concerning, but the questions are unnecessary. The facts are out there. Take it as you will, but quit drilling it in. Clearly, what the issue is here, is that people worry less about the potential for a justice not getting confirmed than they do about a filibuster. The democrats are essentially flexing their muscles. and sending the message that even though the questions are answered, because it wasn't the answers they wanted, they'll delay the process. Bottom line, people, you don't have the votes to sustain a filibuster.

And Diane Feinstein is an idiot. She sat there and said at the same time that justices shouldn't use their own personal beliefs, but the facts of a case, to make their decisions. Good point. Then she went on to say that it raises concerns that as a lawyer and a private citizen, Alito has made comments saying he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, but as a judge he has sat on decisions which reaffirmed the case. Hello. First of all, lawyers are paid to make a certain case. For example, someone could tell their lawyer that they are guilty. The lawyer still (unless they drop the case) has to make the case that they are innocent, regardless of what the lawyer knows or believes. As a judge, Alito had to look at the facts in the case, the Constitutional law, and the precedent. That's what he did, regardless of his personal beliefs about Roe v. Wade. Shouldn't this be a reassurance that he will not be an activist justice, and will look at the cases, the Constitution, and the precedent? Well, appearantly not when he's a conservative judge.

Moreover, the nonsense about Sandra Day O'Connor being a swing vote, and finding a moderate justice who can continue that, is nonsense. First of all, she was fairly conservative. Second of all, the outgoing justice's political beliefs are not what the incomoing justices should be judged on. The Court has changed politically repeatedly. That's what happens. Shut up, and do your job. Alito has experience, integrity, and massive support from legal authorities. Even liberal lawyers and judges he has worked with, and lawyers he's argued against in court, support him. Just confirm the man.

Friday, December 30, 2005

UWRCF Commentary, finally

Okay, so here's the deal. I don't really feel like going through the entire decision again. So I'm just going to copy and paste the appeal I filed. If you're wondering what's in these paragraphs I'm alluding to repeatedly, wander on over to the ASM Webite click on Student Judiciary, look under decisions, and find the most recent (closest to the top) UWRCF v. SSFC case. Warning, this appeal is a lengthy read. Grab a beer, a cigarette, an aderal (yours or someone else's).... whatever you're going to need to focus. So here you go:

In paragraph 9 of the decision, the Court argues that religion is a viewpoint and religiously expressive activities are protected under Free Speech and VPN violations. The University, however, in its memo, refutes this claim, as outlined in Paragraph 10 of the decision. Per DES v. Patzner et al., 2002 ASM SJ 7, it is a VPN violation for members of the SSFC to not follow the guidelines laid out in the memo and in the statements of the Chancellors’ Appointees. Furthermore, the claim that the only logic behind the cuts to the Lenten booklets and Bulletins was their religious nature is false. Representative Kiernoziak and others pointed out that the Bulletins being printed were used once, and thrown away or taken home, as were Lenten booklets, and that this is not a cost effective use of student fees. While the religious nature had some role, as I will further illustrate was entirely legal, by introduction of new evidence in my next point, the logic, as can be found in the minutes of that meeting, which I will submit to the Court if granted an appeal, also had much to do with fiscal responsibility.

In Paragraph 10, the Court brings up that, the question of the memo’s validity aside, its contents do not apply to UWRCF’s religious activities, because they do not identify themselves as a Church. Again, following Patzner, I would contend, by introducing new evidence, that this claim is false as well. I received the attached e-mail (see Duffy e-mail attachment), before the debate on UWRCF, from J. Trey Duffy, one of the Chancellor’s Appointees to the committee. It outlines the idea that the specific service or activity in question, not a group’s legal or overall structure, is the question we should consider. If any organization were to have a mass, a religious wedding ceremony, or a Lenten prayer session, it would be an activity usually performed by or in a Church, and would thus fall out of line with the memo the SSFC was given from the administration.

In Paragraph 13, the Court goes on to address the issue of rent and maintenance costs for other groups being granted. It cites, specifically, “MCSC, JCC, LIC, CFACT, TRC, WISPIRG, WSUM, CWC, LGBTCC, PAVE, and SOL”. MCSC’s rent goes through University Space Management, and thus is “leased or otherwise controlled by” the University. Furthermore, the “miscellaneous” line item for emergency repairs on their space was cut. JCC pays a small portion of rent, and no maintenance, to Hillel. LIC received no funding this year. This point alone should be enough for the granting of an appeal. While some justices have arbitrarily introduced their own criteria for when to grant an appeal, I would argue that the interests of justice would mandate that factual errors not stand on record. If the Court feels that such errors are immaterial to the case at hand, then the appeal should be granted, voted down by the Court, and the decision written to exclude factually incorrect evidence. CFACT received no money in their rent line item this year. Tenant resource center asked for rent, not maintenance. In fact, items were cut from their “miscellaneous” line item which related to property taxes, insurance, and other upkeep costs for the non-UW controlled space they occupy. WISPIRG asked for rent. To the best of my knowledge, that was for rent, not maintenance. I was not present for WSUM’s decision. CWC and LGBTCC both asked only for rent, not for upkeep costs. They also are both located in the Memorial Union, a University building. To the best of my knowledge, PAVE and SOL both asked only for rent, not for upkeep costs. Based on this year’s funding, the only groups for which this was an issue at all were TRC, where the property tax and insurance requests were cut, and UWRCF. If this is based on past years’ funding, this session’s SSFC cannot be held accountable for mistakes of past Committees. Furthermore, two wrongs don’t make a right. If University policy, or ASM rules, were violated in one case, the solution is not to rule that they then must be further violated, for all groups equally.

In Paragraph 14, the Court argues that the timing of the memo is suspect. I would argue that it is not, as UWRCF is the only group which performs, inside or outside of their GSSF funding, religious services as such. Similarly, UWRCF and TRC were the only organizations which requested non-rent line items for non-University buildings. In fact, both issues were raised not arbitrarily by the University, but at the requests of several committee members, as shown in the records from those meetings. Several members of the committee specifically asked about the policies for funding property taxes, as well as for any documentation of University policy or position on the funding of religious activities through Segregated fees.

In Paragraph 15, the Court argues that there was a shifting standard, and thus a violation of VPN. First, as illustrated above, the shifting standard was due to the situation presented by UWRCF’s budget, not by any consideration of the group’s viewpoint. Again, documents were specifically requested during UWRCF and TRC because of the situation before us. The situation was not pointed out because of the documents. The causal logic that the petitioner made, and which the Court accepted, is the reverse of the reality of the situation. Furthermore, the description of the nature of Viewpoint Neutrality is interesting, but the overall decision here violates the definition in the Bylaws. Viewpoint neutrality is defined in the ASM Bylaws (2.01BII) as follows:

(II) Viewpoint neutral fashion: A decision is made in a viewpoint neutral fashion where the decision is made:

(1) In accordance with any procedural requirements for making the decision; and

(2) Without considering the viewpoint being expressed by the recipient of the funds.

This says nothing of a shifting standard. In fact, the decision the Court made is in direct violation, per Patzner, of 2.01BII1. The Court here is stating that the SSFC should have made a decision in a matter which is not in accordance with the procedural requirements laid out by Patzner, the memo we received from the Dean of Students and Legal Services, and the e-mail given to myself by J. Trey Duffy. Again, two wrongs don’t make a right. Forcing the committee, even if the organizations listed had received maintenance costs, to make another viewpoint unneutral decision does not undo the initial wrong. The issue in this Paragraph seems to be less whether the UWRCF decision was VPN, and more whether other organizations’ decisions were. Given that no case was brought to the Court to suggest otherwise, I would urge the Court to not take UWRCF’s word that the standards applied to their budget were not applied to other groups, or were relevant to other groups.

In Paragraph 17, the janitorial supplies are specifically mentioned. As with the printing line item, the Court seems to have not been presented with evidence of the actual debate that occurred. While their use by the facilities support staff was brought up, Representative Kiernoziak argued, as shown in the records of meeting, which I will submit to the Court if granted an appeal, that we could not draw an arbitrary line in terms of either a) how much money the group was spending on office supplies versus cleaning supplies or b) what qualified as a cleaning supply, (i.e. is a dust-rag an office supply because it is used to wipe a computer screen, or a janitorial supply?). The debate then shifted from its focus on janitorial supplies to the overall fiscal responsibility of such a large office supplies line item, with absolutely no detailed breakdown of what specifically was being purchased. The records of this meeting constitute new evidence, and warrant consideration.

In Paragraph 25, the Court compares groups’ funding requests with UWRCF’s in terms of the level of funding received for salaries. First of all, I would argue that to have considered the work done by the student staff at each of these organizations as equivalent would have been irresponsible. Many groups outlined, either in their budget applications or in their presentations, the specific duties of their student staff. In my view, UWRCF failed to do so. Moreover, salaries were highly criticized across the board. MCSC took over $50,000 in cuts to salaries alone. APAC had several positions cut. If we want to compare the groups, I would introduce the budget proposals of each of the groups cited in the decision, and point out that none requested 9 student hourlies with the same position title. While some requested many more than 9 student staff, their roles were distinct, and clearly defined. Furthermore, to the best of my recollection, none of these groups asked for a substantial increase in salaried positions or salary dollars. Given that the group requested more than four times the previous year’s number of staff, the burden, as the Court previously stated, should have fallen on UWRCF to prove that their request was fiscally responsible, and they failed to do show. I will submit their budget application, as well as some with clearly defined, and justified job descriptions as evidence.

Finally, my appeal rests largely on the fact that the orders of the Court violate the case law regarding appropriate remedies for VPN violations, and overstepped its jurisdiction. Specifically, the Court, in ordering the amendments reversed, and the budget as thus amended forwarded to the Student Council is acting not as a judicial body, but as a funding body. As stated in UWRCF v. SSFC, 2005 ASM SJ 11,

17. The Court feels compelled to take a moment to address the Declaratory Judgment which Petitioner seeks, namely to grant Declaratory Judgment that Petitioner has governing documents, that Petitioner’s application is complete, and that Petitioner has not been found in violation of its governing documents by a duly authorized body. To grant Declaratory Judgment on these counts would essentially be to declare that Petition meets these criteria. This the Court will not do. It is the providence of the SSFC or the Student Council to determine whether or not an organization meets the eligibility requirements in the ASM Bylaws; it is the providence of the Student Judiciary to ensure that the proper criteria and processes were used in that determination. The Court will not involve itself in the eligibility process by declaring that an organization meets or does not meet certain criteria, especially when there are other duly authorized bodies to make this determination. The Court is concerned with procedural due process; the substantive outcome is of no consequence, and to declare that an organization meets certain criteria is in effect to transcend procedural due process and enter into the realm of the substantive outcome. Robbie Earl for ASM v. ASM Finance Committee, 2005 ASM SJ 7.

While this decision pertained to the eligibility process, its overriding decision clearly affects the budgetary process as well. The Student Judiciary is not here to make substantive financial decisions. It is, as has been done in numerous other cases, supposed to make sure that the process is followed. As was explained to us in training, and has been the precedent set by other cases (2005 ASM SJ 14 among others) the correct recourse in this case would be for the original, unamended budget, to be given a new hearing in front of the Student Council. For the Court to ignore this past precedent, as well as Paragraph 17 of 2005 ASM SJ 11, and its commentary on the role of the Court in the funding processes, would be irresponsible, and a misinterpretation of the relevant case law on the role of the SJ.

Me, less of a hippy than Brad Vogel? Hells yeah!

I am 22% Hippie.
So Not a Hippie.
What? Am I a Republican? Why did I even bother taken this test?! I guess I’ll back to my George W. Bush fan club and tell them I just wasted 10 minutes of my life. At least I don’t stink, man.

Friday, December 16, 2005

CFACT

Okay. So I know that this is a controversial topic. And I've hesitated to post anything on it. But, I got back from the bar like 15 minutes ago, so here goes nothing.

I'll address specifically the charges against each representative and the court's ruling on the case, and then my final position/opinon on CFACT, and what should have happened, and what I hope will happen in Council, regardless of the grounds for appeal.

First, Representative Kiernoziak. I think Barb made some factually inconsinstent remarks. She wasn't there for the presentation. That being said, there's a difference between confusino and bias. I think her comments and her final vote were irresponsible. Not viewpoint unneutral though. Given what Barb BELIEVED to be the facts, her actions were totally in line with her consistent fiscal responsibility throughout the years. As a matter of fact, if I was working under he same inferrences/assumptions she was, I would have voted the same way. Again, irresponsible, not viewpoint unneutral.

Second, Representative Schulz. While he asked some questions directly relating to the budget in open forum, from actual Q&A and from the decision meeting, his vote was not based on this information. It was based on other factors. While I think that the Court's ruling and its logic contradict Southworth, I would totally agree with the overall verdict of innocent.

Third are the charges against Chair Knox and Representative Edwards. While I personally think the Court ruled correctly, that there was a non-malicous viewpoint neutrality violation, I seriously question the Court's grounds. I was surprised that either of these representatives were convicted. While I believe that the evidence, if it had actually been detailed, would have proved the point, I raise a point of inquiry. Did the Court listen to the tapes, and read the minutes, in full? While I think they would notice the trend to which I testified, my point is this: it was my word against Chair Knox's, at least on her charges. While I believe the record suppports MY word, not hers, I seriously question, a) a Court which would take my own word, or that of the complaitant, as the Truth without varifying it, or b) a Court which was so out to get two representatives that they listened to, literally, days' worth of tapes without specific reference points provided by the complaitant. The burden of proof should have been placed squarely on CFACT, and I don't think it was in this case. As much as I testified for them, and think that they should have won, I think they also had an obligation, instead of handing over an entire semester's worth of minutes and tapes, to hand over specific minutes and tapes with specific actions by these representatives tagged.

Fourth, and finally, is Representative Sanders. I knew from the beginning that the charges would be either malicious VPN violations, or she would be acquitted. It is clear that whatever evidence the complaitant presented implies a malicious bias. And I would personally argue that Kellie had a malicious bias against CFACT. I would, similarly, h owever, argue that every member HAD malicious viewpoints toward certain groups, and positive biases toward other groups. We are humans. We have emotions. We have thoughts. We have feelings. We, as represtatives on SSFC, cannot be expected to be devoid of natural human reactions. The quesiton, then, is not whether Kellie had a negative opinion of CFACT, but whether REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS (very different from Kellie) expressed that opinion through her actions at the table. I would argue that she did not. The Court cannot quash a request to ask a member to justify their voting, and then use assumed inferences of motivation as evidence. It doesn't make sense. Although Rep. Sanders refused to justify her abstantions, I will attempt to do so for her, based on a conversation we had. Between the hearing and the actual decision, I ran into Rep. Sanders at Walgreen's. I conveyed my personal opinion about her potential violation of VPN. Although she staed that she felt she was being entirely VPN, she could see the reason taht people thought she wasn't. And she wanted to make sure that no inaccurate ssumptions were drawn. So sh was thinking of abstaining. So she said long before the budget came to Council or SJ for a vote or ruling. While I am not sasking the Court to consider this piece of information direclty, I question a Court which makes assumptions about the reasoning behind an action which they themselves have stated should not have to be justified to anyone. I also have serious objections to the use of the e-mails submitted. Not because they were personal, etc. That is an issue for the individuals involved in their release to deal with, not the Court. But as much as Rep. Schlicht is a friend of mine, and as much as I respect him, he is hardly the expert witness, on either SSFC or Rep. Sanders, which Pete McCabe made him out to be. Rep. Sanders was hard on CFACT's budget in the way that she spoke. She's also been hard on every budget she's seen. This was, I believe, not a violation of Viewpoint Neutrality.

As for the Court's overall decision, and CFACT as a whole. I believe what should have happened is as follows: 5,000, tops, for toatal honorairia, at least 5,000 for the internship programs, and the intern coordintor and campus organizer postions paid for, along with membership dues. This clearly cuts the budget, including the vague parts, while still allowing the organization, and in particular, the internship program, which saw over 1,000% growth in the last year, to exist. CFACT deserves a fair hearing. The bottom line, however, is that so do the members they accused, and that was never received.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Going Back A Ways

I'm going to go back a while in SSFC's semester history, because I just read Representative Sander's post on the MCSC budget. While I appreciate her sticking to her guns and remaining fiscally conservative on the issue, I think she misses some key points. I think SSFC did an amazing job on the MCSC budget.

First piece of evidence, look at the results. The organization received the second lowest budget in its history, second only to the first year it received segregated fee funding. AND, more importantly, the organization, while obviously they would LIKE more money, has stated that they think they will be able to do a good job with their budget.

What that means is that SSFC did an awesome job. We cut this budget more than any other budget, cut them more than any previous budget that they've presented. Yet we didn't cut any vital programs or services. It is the job of the students on campus, the organization, and the Eligibility Process to determine exactly what programs and services are and aren't worth having. The job of the Budget Process is to cut down on wasteful spending. That's exactly what we did. We didn't trim the program or the staff. We didn't say what the organization should or shouldn't (with the exception of their Spring BBQ) do. We trimmed the fat. We trimmed the excessive parts of the funding request.

As far as some specifics. The staffing needs of this organization are something that SSFC could never really properly judge. While I'm fairly confident that they asked for, and maybe we even gave them, more staff and more hours than they actually need to run, I think any of the proposals we heard (other than the two that passed to cut summer staff and to cut total hours) would have left them very, very understaffed. What is important to realize here is that this organization, in addition to being one of the largest sources, by itself, of programming on this campus, is also a HUGE resource for other organizations. A significant portion of the staff is dedicated to providing financial, programming and organizational advice to new, small, or inexperienced student orgs, many of which have leaders with no previous campus leadership or programming experience. To cut the staff of MCSC would not only harm MCSC, it would harm several other organizations which work very closely with MCSC.

Programing. While several of the programs seemed to have small attendance/small involvement from an SSFC standpoint, having sat on Finance Committee I can tell you that a lot of the programs MCSC hopes to provide are bigger than A LOT of programs which receive seg fee funding. Not every program needs to have 1,000 people at it to be effective. The message, and the OPENNESS to all students, rather than ATTENDANCE by all students, are what is important.

Specifically the Shared Gov and Plan 2008 programs. Shared Gov is an issue which affects the entire University. While ASM supposedly puts a lot of resources into this (by a lot of resources, my informed experience would tell me we mean a VERY SMALL stipend and several hours a year of volunteer and intern hours in meetings), they don't reach every corner of the campus. Each year, seats on Shared Governance committees and boards sit unfilled. That is, each year, the administration and faculty make decisions without student input, not because they are violating 36.09.5, but because STUDENTS fail to take the initiative to exercise the rights that statute gives them. Any organization which has a specific target on campus, especially one which seeks to involve underrepresented students in campus life, should be ENCOURAGED to participate in the Shared Gov process. They are not trying to appoint students to boards in lieu of ASM making those appointments. They are trying to bring diversity to the Shared Gov process. And if that diversity brings more concerned, interested or dedicated student applicants to the Shared Gov process, I fully support them. In terms of Plan 2008, let me ask a few rhetorical questions. First, who is the current Plan 2008 Coordinator for ASM? Second, how many people typically showed up for Plan 2008 Board meetings last semester? Third, how long has the Coordinator position sat vacant? Fourth, what major accomplishments has ASM achieved for Plan 2008. I hate to be the one to point it out, but ASM has quite possibly the only record with Plan 2008 worse than the administration's. It has repeatedly been touted as a top priority by the body and by candidates for Council seats (especially the libs), and has repeatedly been left by the wayside.

Bottom line, ASM is not a body whose main goal coincides almost perfectly with Plan 2008. Improving campus climate and student of color recruitment and retention would be great for students. And student involvement in that process could be a great source of this omnipresent "student power." The reality is, however, that MCSC has more resources and authority on the issue than ASM has ever had. They have a reputation and a history as being involved in actively seeking to improve campus climate. They have students (employees, interns and volunteers) who are already involved in their organization who have a passion for all of the issues which Plan 2008 seeks to address. In short, they have achieved things that ASM has not, and are better equipped to continue to work with ASM and other student groups toward further achievements.

Rent. Because MCSC goes through Unversity Space Management procedures, there's not much they, or SSFC, could do about their rent. Really, there's not. In addition to a modest house in Representative Sanders' hometown, that could probably buy me the entire Plaza bar (or at least a few thousand half pitchers), which I would love to have. That doesn't change the fact that the bureaucratic procedures at this University mean that it will be another year before MCSC can renegotiate their lease, with University "assistance" and supervision.

In short, I want to finish where I started. This was, in my opinion, one of the biggest achievements of the SSFC this semester. We had a budget before us that was clearly inflated. We worked to effectively deflate their budget, to an extent that no previous SSFC had been able to, while still leaving, even acoording to the group's representatives, enough money for them to effectively operate.

Political Compass

Just did the political compass quiz, for like the 50,000th time. I got about a (3, -1) which puts me pretty damn close to the center, but leaning right economically, and a little bit on the libertarian side socially. I think everyone should do the political compass, and read all the info on the site about it. It's located at http://www.politicalcompass.org. A much better description than right-left political associations. Thus, I can now justify calling myself a moderate conservative.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

First post, a lot to catch up on

Okay, I had a Xanga blog at the end of last Spring, but I decided to start fresh, as I think this year has been a real learning experience for me.

First example, the so-called divided Council and SSFC. I would argue that both bodies are still divided. But instead of a two way divide between equal numbers of liberals and conservatives, what we see now is a three way divide, with a clear majority for one group, and certain representatives, both on Council and SSFC, falling on various sides of the lienes on various issues.

The third group, which I would argue is now the clear majority, and, aside from pure numbers, the most powerful and positive influence this year is what people have decided to call the moderates. I don't think any of us are truly moderate. While, at least in terms of student government issues, my views may be somewhat more toward the center than other conservatives, I think that is less of what definest this group. I think, instead, that it is our ability to work with each other, regardless of our personal political beliefs, to best serve the students. For conservatives, that has sometimes meant funding groups, or supporting causes, campaigns, or resolutions which may lean to the left. For the liberals that has meant sometimes supporting cuts to groups whose values they hold dear, or agreeing that some issues were too political to be brought up on ASM. The group of people labeled as "moderates" have been labeled moderate by the far right and the far left, who then make comments claiming that we have no political or fiscal philosophy, and are just well articulated about whatever our current passion happens to be. The majorities on both Council and SSFC are being marginalized by those who think ASM should be moving in a more radically progressive or conservitive direction than it has been.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Two examples, thought of as small ones, I'm sure, but which I think epitomize what I am talking about, stick out. Brandon Sivret's words about the Budget Reconciliation clearly crossed his "partisan line." Although I still am hesitant to oppose an entire document which I haven't read based on one portion which deals with higher education, Sivret openly spoke in favor of the resolution to oppose the Budget Reconciliation. Having read it, he was willing, despite his conservative values, which presumably include budget balancing and fiscal cuts, to step out and say that he opposed the Act.

Another example is Gestina Sewell. Although I doubt anybody would question her liberal leanings politically, she has been one of the best Legislative Affairs chairs that I can remember, for two reasons. First, she has been incredibly active. Whether or not we have won every fight, there has constantly been at least one legislative issue at the ASM table. Furthermore, she has been highly knowledgable about all of them. More relevantly, however, is the lack of political bias in the issues she has chosen to take on. The only exception I see is the Budget Reconciliation, in which her efforts were focused solely on the parts which, regardless of political beliefs, we can all agree hurt students. There have been no anti-war campaigns or resolutions as in the past. There have been no diversity or welfare related issues pursued. Gestina has pursued STUDENT ISSUES, putting her politics aside.

Does this make Sivret and Sewell moderates? No. They both have, and are entitled to have, their own personal political beliefs, which, from what I know, are not located smack in the middle of any political spectrum. What distinguishes these two, and most other Council and SSFC Reps, is their ability to work with people who don't share their views to pursue the best interest of studetns.

Has ASM moved to the right? Yes. Do I think this has something to do with Robin Hood, or CRs, or individual conservatives' political and ideological crusades? Yes. But I also think that instead of a victory for the right, this should be viewed as a victory for the CENTER. This is a victory for students on BOTH sides. What has happened is no t a mass conservative movement. What has happened is a reversal of a long tradition of radically progressive actions and beliefs within ASM. While the direciton of this shift has been to the right, the DESTINATION has been to the Center.

To credit the Right-leaning Council and SSFC members with this is absurd. While Council was initially fairly split, between resignations, removals, or people just not showing up, liberals clearly have a majority (or at least did until the freshmen reps and Moe were appointed). I think that while the right does deserve credit, credit is being denied to other people.

If anything, the "leftist" members of Council and SSFC should get MORE credit than the right. Without at least a few of those votes, none of the changes so often cited by the self-absorbed rightists would have been possible. And without their open minds, the general attitude at the table would not have changed.

What I see as a potential danger is more members (both Conservative and Liberal) being elected and appointed to achieve personal and polical missions. The real danger is not from the left regaining power, but from the RADICAL left (certain representatives on FUSE, as well as some of the organizers of the supposedly moderate ORGASM slate) AND from the RADICAL RIGHT (such as Tim Schulz and David Lapidus). Both groups, through a failure to communicate with or understand either their political oponents or the so-called moderates, pose a threat to undo the progress that has been made over the last semester within ASM. That progress, to reiterate it once again, was neither a conservatisation or a moderation of ASM. It was instead a depoliticization of sorts, making ASM less about liberal or conservative, and more about the balance which best serves student interests.