AMS Update October 7th

Hello lovelies. It’s that time again. Time to gather around, with a nice glass of bourbon and a silk housecoat, to read up on the various goings-on of the AMS. So sit back, relax, tell your maid/butler that you are not taking any more visitors and proceed to read this update.

Food: Sandwiches and wraps, and peaches (that ended up being rotten inside)

no no not THIS Peaches…although equally awesome.
And the award for best dressed goes to: Stephanie Ratjen, who mastered the I’m-not-dressing-up-to-impress-men-but-rather-look-this-awesome-all-the-time-look with a smart grey blazer, and what I can only guess are ethically produced jeans and green scarf. Very nicely done.
Themes: crazy DJ music happening next door (AMS minischool DJ seminar), equity, and oodles of guests!
Called to order: 6:09pm

Neal was not here to dutifully report this but it turns out that we are not alone! So, if after drinking your Odwalla juice and protesting the occupation of Tibet, Gaza, etc., you’re feeling particularly worldly, I’d suggest reading this. For me, it was like eating molasses with a spoon.

Presentations to council:

LET’S ALL INVEST IN EQUITY

“I drank a cup of tea for the first time in three months and now I’m a little jittery”-Tim Chu

And following that statement Tim Chu explained why we need an AMS Equity Office. Why is this being brought forward again? Well, it seems that we really do need an equity assistant. Apparently. This time though, reinforcements were brought in and there was a presentation.

I think at this point I should mention what I think of equity and, hold onto your dreadlocks and longboards, I actually believe in equity (both the good kind and this kind) and in reviewing the apparent systemic barriers that exist within the AMS. You want proof? Well next time you’re bored in council (which comes more often than not), look around and you’ll see an astounding amount of white men (and white women like yours truly). The past three AMS presidents? All white men. It can be reasonably assumed, that in UBC, where white men are more of a minority than a majority, so many being on council is grossly unrepresentative of the student body at large. What if they are actually just more qualified? Or have more friends to vote them in? OR, a better reason is that since all are elected individuals, the problem is more than simple systemic barriers. Instead, I firmly believe this is a gross societal problem extending into all aspects of Canadian life. In business, the glass ceiling still exists and looking at politics and politicians in Canada, the same challenge occurs ALL THE TIME. White men get elected: some because they are legitimately better for the job, others because they are just white men. It will take more than an Equity and Diversity coordinator to change the fundamental way students (and people in general) think about things. In fact, only Obama can save us now. Nevertheless, my HR half is pleased. In all honesty, if the only benefit we gain is being able to give such an amazing opportunity to someone truly deserving, then maybe, just maybe, in some sick way, it is worth it. My finance half wonders what throwing in more money will accomplish and I, a weird combination of HR-love and Finance-love, remain sceptical:

Another issue here is that of legal liability. The UBC Equity Office states that the UBC Policy on Discrimination and Harassment (Policy 3, while covering all students, staff and faculty within the UBC context does not “cover AMS activities such as clubs because the AMS is a separate legal entity from UBC”(letter to the Executive Council October 2nd 2009 from the UBC Equity Office).

Is this true? From what I have learned from COMM 393, I was a little sceptical about this (yay learning!). Surely UBC cares about its students not only in the learning environment, but also beyond. Basically, what Anne-Marie Long is telling me is that if I suffered a serious discrimination issue with say the French Club, then I could not sue UBC because the club was AMS run. Personally, I would sue both the AMS and UBC as UBC is also responsible for campus life. So, as someone who has a sick, almost freaky obsession with code, I went and checked.

And like always, I was right. Let’s take a look at Section 1 1.1 of the UBC Policy on Discrimination and Harassment where it talks about access to complaint procedures:

1.1. A complaint of discrimination or harassment pertaining to University work, studies, or participation in campus life may be lodged by any member(s) of the University community against other member(s) of the University community and/or the University.

I am no lawyer, but something tells me that “participation in campus life” means being engaged in the French Club or any club for that matter. THIS MEANS THAT YES, while the office “is not accountable to or responsible for AMS programming” (letter to the Executive Council October 2nd 2009), AMS programming is inheritably part of campus life, which, actually, is within this UBC Policy.

And according to section 5 1.2 and 5.1.5, the Equity Office has the responsibility of:

5.1.2. advising and assisting those who bring forward complaints during all stages of the procedures, including the initiation of a complaint, as well as the undertaking of informal resolution, and arranging for mediation or investigation;

And

5.1.5. providing education to individuals and departments on the prevention and remediation of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment;
While this does not explicitly state groups, aren’t groups just a bunch of individuals together?

As a lowly commerce student against the proletariat, I may be wrong in my reasoning as the issues are debatable. Looking at UBCO 2007 statistics (as I couldn’t find UBC ones) on the number of complaints that do NOT come under this policy, we see that 7 out of 14 complaints (yes only 14) have respondents or contexts that do not fall under jurisdiction. The question is then, what is the University’s jurisdiction? I would argue that UBC has a responsibility to provide an equitable environment AT UBC for all UBC STUDENTS in LEARNING and in PARTICIPATION IN CAMPUS LIFE. That’s it. End of story. If a complaint is issued, it is issued and UBC needs to take it serious regardless of whether it also falls into the jurisdiction of the AMS.

“Do you know where my blackberry is?” -Tim Chu

no no not THIS Equity…although equally awesome.
“BE IT RESOLVED THAT on the recommendation of the Executive Committee
Council approve the creation the Equity and Diversity Assistant Position as
presented.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the funds for this new position come from the
Student Services Fund.”
Note: The balance in the Student Services Fund is $22,000.
Requires 2/3rds

Motion Passed

“BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council withdraw $6,680 from the Student Services Fund
to finance an amendment to the Equity & Diversity Budget.” (to fund an office and desks etc.)
Note: The balance in the Student Services Fund is: $22,000
Requires 2/3rds

Motion Passed

Between 6:28pm and 6:30pm the word equity was mentioned 15 times. If council was about 5×60 minutes long, how many times do YOU think the word “equity” was spoken?

Because they’re awesome. No other reason but for your viewing pleasure.

DAVE: “BE IT RESOLVED THAT that $6,000 be withdrawn from CPAC for waterproof
remedial work on the ceiling above the bike kitchen and the Varsity Outdoors Club.”
Note: The current balance in CPAC is $349,000
Requires 2/3rds

ME (thinking to myself) : There’s a BIKE KITCHEN!!?? Do they serve food!? Like food shaped bicycles?!!!!! And Lance Armstrong Fries!!? (Later, to my great disappointment, I realized they fix bikes)

Motion passed, because we didn’t want the ceiling to cave in on anybody (yay to safety!)

Presidential Update:

Executive Updates:

JOHANNES: Please see Harvard presentation

CRYSTAL: “It’s got colour and pretty graphs”-Crystal

SUB SUB SUB SUB PREZ DINNER

TIM: this is cool .

PAVANI= Too awesome for this update

TOM: Innovative project fund applications are out. If you have an initiative you want to make happen, make sure to check this out as it can give you money to make your dream come true. As a side note, the CUS has upwards of $55,000 in its initiative fund to help you do the same thing.

LET’S all go to HARVARD

Ah Harvard. Quite possibly, the world’s most famous university. As a future alumni of said school, I really should not be too critical of it. This past month, Johannes (and our VP Academic Chris) went to visit Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania (not to be confused with Transylvania), and MIT. I could only guess the level of academic high this brought about.

The focus of this trip was:

a. To look at Harvard’s first year seminar first-hand, and really talk to influential people about it
b. To look at first year writing courses
c. To research residences, such as themed-housing
d. To find ways to engage students in academic research

The conclusions and relationships that were established were numerous. I am really really really excited to see what comes from all this, especially with regards to possibly partnering with Wharton and further using those contacts to improve student life here.

Despite certain media outlets criticising Johannes on his expenses, he spent a whopping $413 dollars on the whole trip.

“I slept on the train, I slept on the plane……I slept in the Seattle airport where I got my camera stolen”-Johannes (that’s Seattle for you)

And now for Constituency updates:

HKIN is a win
because they lace up for the kids
AUS is retreating away
in Whistler that’s a yay
GSS does some code
LAW is in no building mode
FORESTRY has a demonstration
And a new councilor is from EDUCATION
ENGINEERS party on Halloween
And a sexy sexy party is yet to be seen
with Commerce and Science that’s what I hear
Mayhem, mischief and beer
Regent have soup at two bucks
on Tuesdays at noon if you’re in luck
All other faculties are equally cool
Because they’re all part of the UBC School

Announcements: October 30th is DAVE’s Birthday!! If you will be attending, there will be two rounds of clicking in. Please have your clickers ready.

Carollee’s Birthday was Thursday!! Shoot out.

BoG and Senate:

No more Hospice near Marine Drive,
Bijan and Mike have mad vibe
Totem infill is most likely a go
I think we should celebrate with pho

As for Senate, at Toope’s to dine
Because student senate caucus is so fine
Student awards and consultation
on increasing student engagement!

Then there were a whole bunch of motions to approve minutes from one YEAR AGO. Which is a complete planning fail. Essentially, money was taken, things were done that did not really go through council last year.

Thank you.

Minute Fail.

sigh.

And five (or four?or six? who knows anymore)

hours later…

Until the next one

because students deserve to hear what happens through multiple channels of communication

even if it is only about the AMS.

Much love,
Kat