'Stubborn' students are right

The University of Oregon is taking some heat for a decision to pay $25,000 to a political consultant for advice on how to get students to reverse a decision they've already made twice. Rightly so.

The university wants students to pay an extra $117 per term to help pay for renovations to Erb Memorial Union, but the students have said no, according to a report in The Register-Guard in Eugene.

The consultant — which has worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and Al Gore — suggests labeling opponents as "narrow-minded," "stuck in (the) past" and "stubborn." It suggested an additional $30,000 be spent on backpacks, T-shirts and sunglasses to promote a yes vote.

If "stubborn" means coming to a reasonable conclusion and sticking with it, then we favor stubborn.

The university wants students to help pay for a $135 million renovation of the student union that would add new offices for student organizations, conference/meeting rooms and a concert hall, plus renovations to the nearby student recreation center. The Register-Guard reported the university calculates a yes vote effectively increases a student's cost for undergraduate tuition by 3.8 percent.

Students emailed their objections last week in advance of an Oregon University System Board meeting, saying they are alarmed by the cost and troubled that the university seems to be trying to buy their votes. They rejected the university's contention that the earlier votes reflected uninformed students. A new vote is tentatively planned for Oct. 18.

Each individual student is being asked to spend an additional $1,404 over four years. It seems pretty reasonable to us that he or she could decide the cost isn't worth it.

They might also think the requested contribution isn't fair.

Imagine being a student at the university, walking by the magnificent recent additions to its sports facilities and wondering why the student union requires your extra dollars. Adding irony to that issue, the Register-Guard reported the consultant report says a major reason for the renovation is "keeping up with the Pac-12."

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