Co-op ‘politics’ raise eyebrows
An event hosted by the Linfield Bike Co-Op raised the eyebrows of some student government officials as a result of its alleged political agenda.
The April 10 Bike the Pipe event, a 20-mile bike ride in Yamhill County farmland, protested liquefied natural gas pipeline development in the area. The Bike Co-Op served as the event’s starting point.
Rumors of disagreement arose about the organization’s authority to host the politically charged event.
“I never heard word that anyone had a problem with it,” junior David Kellner-Rode, Bike Co-Op manager, said in an e-mail. “Putting a liquefied natural gas pipeline through Willamette Valley farmland is not sustainable. A political bias is by no means the reason we supported the Bike the Pipe event. We supported the event because it promotes alternative transportation and sustainability, directly in line with our mission statement.”
Bike Co-Op employees report to senior Connor Lieb, ASLC student center director, who also runs the Gameroom and the Campus Information Center.
However, even though Lieb said he would never allow politically unbalanced events to be organized by the Gameroom or CIC, he said that there was not much to address with the Bike Co-Op’s political agenda.
“In a perfect world, it would be nice if both sides of the argument were presented or somehow incorporated into this bike ride,” Lieb said. “There’s nothing that bans or disallows a political agenda.”
But despite being under Lieb’s management, the CIC and Gameroom have a different relationship with ASLC than the Co-op does, Lieb said. He said the Bike Co-Op is more independent than the other two, so it has more freedom in its operations.
“I think that anyone should be able to host a political event, a non-political event or any event in between,” Kellner-Rode said in an e-mail. “That being said, I would be fairly surprised the day the CIC or Gameroom hosts a political event. That would be pretty funny.”
The Bike Co-Op was organized by Greenfield students, and Lieb said that, consequently, Linfield could either have a potentially political Bike Co-Op or no co-op at all.
“When I go into Wal-Mart, I don’t exactly support all their policies, but if I want to save some money, that’s my priority,” he said. “I think most students probably know politically where the Bike Co-Op lands, and I don’t think this probably changes any opinions.”
But instituting rules for future conduct may be beneficial, Leib said.
“It would be good to see the Bike Co-Op have some constraints on what they can and cannot do,” he said. “You just never know how far things can go into the future.”
Managing editor Kelley Hungerford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org