Two college groups wanted office space in the University of Oregon student union.
The Coalition Against Environmental Racism (CAER) just assumed they were going to get it. They put together no presentation and filled out no application.
The Alliance of Happy Atheists (AHA) did both.
Guess who got the office space?
The difference between their applications, CAER co-director Adrien Wilkie said, was that CAER, because of encouragement from [Associated Students of the University of Oregon president Emma] Kallaway and the Survival Center to apply for the space, assumed that the Jan. 27 meeting at which an EMU Board subcommittee met to allocate space in the building was a formality.
“Honestly, we went into this thinking we had to apply just for bureaucracy’s sake,” she said. Neither she nor her fellow co-director skipped class to attend.
AHA’s application was far more detailed and its presentation more impressive. Committee members decided to give the space to AHA.
Student leaders reacted angrily to the decision…
Instead of just admitting they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, CAER and its allies seem to be resorting to whining.
Former ASUO Multicultural Advocate Diego Hernandez sent an e-mail to the EMU Board calling the decision unjust.
“I personally have nothing against AHA,” he wrote. “Nor do I think this is their fault, but I also think that they do not do work that helps underrepresented and marginalized communities of color on this campus and in our community … I have never seen them do anything that has supported our communities, nor have I ever been invited to one of their programs or for that matter seen anything at all from them.”
Psst… Diego. Go to one of their meetings. They’re free and open to the public.
I wonder if he would be making the same arguments if this were a Hindu or Muslim student group that he was also blissfully ignorant about.
While CAER might be doing good work, there are plenty of places, even in Oregon, where atheists can be considered an “underrepresented and marginalized community.” But that’s not the issue here.
CAER screwed up. They need to just admit that, suck it up, and reapply next year.
As one commenter wrote in The Oregon Commentator (a conservative journal):
The real point here… is how AHA worked for what they wanted and received it. I am surprised that CAER -– which in my opinion, fights real, serious issues –- neglected to think they’d be asked for some kind of real proof of relevancy.
I’m told the articles all left out a pretty relevant piece of information in the story: CAER already has office space. They just wanted more of it. AHA didn’t have any, but now they do.