MS. CONTROVERSY To the displeasure of PSU student activists, Katie Harman, the current Miss America, spoke to over 2000 students at the school's commencement ceremony last Sunday. Harman, a former PSU student, was elected Miss America last year.

In the days before the speech, the PSU Progressive Student Union requested that PSU president Dan Bernstein cancel Harman's appearance. The group also handed out a 15-minute protest video called "Miss America, Globalization & the World of Experience." Protesters said that Harman was not a serious, academic speaker, nor did she hold a degree. (Harman will graduate next year.)

"Her position as Miss America 2002, her role as a national spokesperson for people battling breast cancer, and her qualities as a successful young person, make Katie Harman an ideal choice to speak at our spring commencement ceremonies on June 16th," responded Bernstein. "This is and will continue to be a campus where tolerance and respect is important, and the one-dimensional stereotyping of Katie is inconsistent with these values." KATIA DUNN

SEEDS OF DISCONTENTAlthough election season is almost as far away as Thanksgiving, the landscape for the 2002 campaigns will be determined in the next few weeks. More than 100 voter initiatives were filed with the Secretary of State, but already most have been abandoned like malfunctioning automobiles. Currently, about 30 initiatives remain viable--but most are still scrambling to collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The deadline arrives on July 5.

Perhaps inspired by the controversial Presidential elections two years ago, a handful of initiatives focus on the political process itself. Under the Campaign Finance Reform Initiative, donations from individuals to political campaigns would be capped. Donations from corporations would be banned outright.

There will be no local initiatives for Portland this November. One was filed to create a voting scheme in Portland where city commissioners would be elected by neighborhood districts. But according to the city's auditor's office, the petitioner moved to an outlying suburb and ditched the idea. PHIL BUSSE