August 11, 2014
Before I explain what happened during this spring’s campaign for student government at the University of Oregon, my alma mater, know that there are good reasons why you should care. The student government president who emerged from the tragicomic thunderdome I’m about to describe now presides over a $15 million budget that runs 413 pages, with almost zero professional oversight or legal accountability. That’s more than many municipal budgets in the United States. The UO is located in Eugene, which has a population of 157,000. The annual budget for the city’s Department of Public Works is around $6 million, and for fire and EMS services $25 million. If such financial stakes seem absurdly high for a student government, they’re not atypical for a major public university—and the cost of student government, like the cost of everything else in higher education, is exploding.
Indeed. Meanwhile, The College Fix notes the political big picture. “Millions of dollars of public money and mandatory student fees that’s essentially harnessed for radical liberalism and to benefit the Democratic party, its candidates and politicians. If the youth vote is critical to winning elections, then Democrats have a leg up and then some, bankrolled by the taxpayers, no less.”