When council becomes a gong-show

I apologize for the supreme lateness of my report (over a week…the shame!). I have had a tremendous amount of things to balance (or rather juggle) around lately, and I promise to publish my reports in a timelier manner.

The following recount will try its best to outline the absolute gong-show of a meeting September 23rd. And because Neal always beats me to it with his speedy typing and reporting abilities, check out his stellar update

COUNCIL UPDATE

Date: September 23rd
Council Chambers
Start: 6:10pm End: sometime near midnight
Food: Pasta and bars, and later pizza (unfortunately not the pizzas with whole broccoli pieces)
And the award for best dressed goes to: Alex Lougheed, who was just one pair of Ray-Ban’s shy from perfecting the ultimate sailor/hipster/nerdy chic look.

Theme: ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS

Presentations to Council:

New SUB Project Overview – Blake Frederick and Crystal Hon

It’s tough to update council when all of your updates are either extremely confidential or extremely tentative. This is why I absolutely commend Crystal (and Blake) for this much needed and much appreciated presentation. While most of the “good stuff” is in camera, meaning I can’t disclose anything, some interesting highlights include:

1. The work with getting students engaged through (a) the awesome outdoor sign near the bus loop (b) SUB renew booth (c) including SUB renew aspects into curriculum in new or existing classes such as APSC 261: Sustainable material selection for the new SUB and CHBE 45X: Biogas system Design.
2. The work with project management which has (a) short listed 7 architect candidates (b) done value analysis etc. and (c) are looking forward to preparing a risk log, time/cost plan and coordinating with other building plans such as the new University Square plan and bus terminal loop.
3. The overall progress of SUB negotiations that while may seem slower than a Lemche lecture, is actually progressing.
From this presentation, the overall idea I got was: “yes, we’re making headway but no, we cannot tell you much, but please, trust us.”

President and Executive Remarks:

Constituency Reports (in free verse):

ARTS is working on MASS review
And meeting the Dean too!
Fall elections Sept.30th to 0ct.2nd
Schematic design process to BUCH courtyard
SCIENCE beat us in tug of war
But that’s because Jimmy is a muscular monster
New agenda for science students
Now they won’t steal our prospectus
Frosh 300+ participants
Ladha bookings “going like hotcakes” so book your events early!
FORESTRY week was this week
ENGINEERING had their frosh
Working on improving the Cheez
Helping students looking for Grad School
Being awesome
LAW has a boat cruise
Law Library is open still
Demolition
HKIN “Every night should be Swiss Chalet night”-Dave
Personal development series
Early morning runs

MOTIONS:

1. “BE IT RESOLVED THAT $1,000 be withdrawn from CPAC to install baby change tables in 2 bathrooms in the SUB.”
Note: The balance in CPAC is $420,000
Motion passed; there will be bay tables in the elusive gender neutral washroom and the female washroom

“Students do have babies”-Tim

2. “BE IT RESOLVED T HAT $81,252 be withdrawn from CPAC to develop club offices and relocate the photocopiers on the lower level.
Note: The balance in CPAC is $420,000
Motion passed; we will have club offices in the bottom level of the SUB where the really sketchy photocopiers are right now.

And this is just about the time where things started to hit the fan….

3. “Whereas the AMS owns and operates a lodge in Whistler, BC, and; Whereas council has accepted a prior proposal to capture additional revenue from the market opportunity in Whistler during February, 2010 to support student programs, and; Whereas the AMS has been approached with a variety of public proposals that would capture additional revenue to support student programs for all UBC students; BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AMS suspend the AMS Whistler Lodge pricing policy to allow business operations staff to negotiate a deal for the full public rental of the AMS Whistler Lodge for February 2010, with final approval from council.”

You may be wondering why we’re discussing the lodge yet again; apparently though, Tom was given an offer to rent out the lodge during the Olympics. A couple of meetings ago, council decided to open up half of the lodge to the public, charging $149 to $199 per night per bed. Council voted in favour. A couple days later, a new offer was given: about $83,000 more to rent out the entire lodge to a private company, with a potential offer of $630,000 to rent it out for four months.

During meeting, Tom presented why we should revoke our previous decision and rent out the lodge. For your viewing pleasure, I have made a pro-con list so that the facts are known:

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We were lucky enough as councillors to have former VP Finance Chris Diplock and representatives from the Outdoor Varsity Club as well as the Ski and Board club (with, might I add, amazing T-shirts). They stated that the AMS lodge is one of the most tangible ways students use AMS services (since many do not actually know where their fees go) and that denying that would be going back on council’s word and favouring money over students. The problem is that that extra eighty grand would have gone into student services regardless, perhaps with even more value-added. So what do we do? Give an amazing opportunity to a few special students, or do what is best for all students?

The following video, I feel, best describes the AMS’s situation with regards to the Whistler lodge.

AND precisely at this moment council became a (theoretical) gong-show.

“If you kill all seniors, the health care system will be better”– Tim

I love this because it is so ironic.
There were a whole host is discussions surrounding this motion. At one point Matt wanted to put the hypothetical money we would get into the external lobbying fund, then decided to challenge the speaker and at that point I was too confused, tiered and frustrated to understand, let alone care.

“Blake is not going to have to shine shoes and do shit I don’t want to even know about” -Chris Diplock

MOTION FAILED

4. “BE IT RESOLVED THAT on that Council approve the creation the Equity and Diversity Assistant Position as presented.” 2/3rd
Cost of position: about $3000
Value to students?: Unknown

As blood-sucking , money-hungry commerce students, the only true equity we care about is the one shareholders have. That’s not the equity council was talking about though.

Last council meeting, the Equity & Diversity coordinator proposed an assistant position. Why? Because the amount of work she was given and the amount of progress expected of her was far too much to handle alone.

There is whole lot of debate around the merits of having a duplicate program, but that wasn’t the issue debated on in council. The issue was whether or not, given the workload, the coordinator needed an assistant.

Perhaps, perhaps not. But, I think the greater debate here is whether we need this program or not. In the meantime (since I have a feeling that this issue will be brought up in the very near future), I’d like to point out how these, and these, these, and these amazing people do an astounding workload and are NOT paid.

MOTION FAILED

And at this point it was midnight, and councilors were a)drunk b)falling asleep c)close to tears d) disenchanted with the world so very nicely, the meeting (albeit abruptly) was adjourned.

FORCED ADJOURNMENT = absolute craziness

I hope the next meeting will not be as chaotic. In particular, I hope everyone will be more respectful and will not ignore other councilors when they are trying to be nice. With that said, rest assured that I will report that meeting just as well as this…. because despite all the tears, the childish behavior, the rants and deep faculty stereotypes, I truly enjoy letting my constituents know about the (mostly) wonderful things their AMS does.

Until the next one,

Ekaterina