Rocking the domestic since 1918
$250 (Each) With Canucks tickets worth more than twice face value, are scalpers making an immoral buck?
MAY 24, 2011 summer volume 28, number 2 room 24, student union building published mondays and thursdays email@example.com
GSS votes to suspend operations indefinitely on Thursday, fires manager on Friday. More on Page 3.
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Hairspray reviewed Marcelle nominated CIS athlete of the year Study: iPhone oximeter to Uganda Turning greenhouse gases to fuel UBC crime report editors KALYEENA MAKORTOFF & MICKI COWAN » email@example.com
Koerner’s Pub closing from the summer
GSS suspends operations and fires manager, hopes of re-opening in fall micki cowan firstname.lastname@example.org Amidst high emotions and tensions, the Graduate Student Society (GSS) voted to close Koerner’s Pub and Catering for the summer with no scheduled re-opening date. GSS Council was in session for almost four hours, eventually voting 13-5 (with six abstentions) to close the pub as soon as possible, with the exact date to be determined by the GSS Executive. GSS President Andrew Patterson and VP Administration Paul Save cited mounting financial losses for forcing the pub’s closure. Koerner’s and GSS Catering lost $152,148 in 2010 and was projected to lose $175,000 this year. “A lot of people, including the executive, want it back up and running in September,” said Patterson. “The procedure we have to go through is to talk with the union, to talk with all the stakeholders so that we find a solution that’s agreeable.” Patterson said negotiations will take place with CUPE 116, the union that represents workers at Koerner’s, to work out what steps to take during the summer. David Lance, a CUPE representative, threatened legal action at the meeting if employees were effectively suspended for the summer without due process. “Try it—we’ll see you at the labour board. Thirty people’s jobs are in jeopardy here. “I caution you about the ease some of you may think it is to
Koerner’s Pub sign sits outside the door. Jordan dawe Photo/flickr
close down the pub. We’re extending our hand to help out before the legal ball gets rolling, rather than paying lawyers—which will be the alternative.” Lance’s concerns over the lack of notice given to employees were echoed by workers themselves. Tatiana Pakhomova, an employee at Koerner’s and an undergraduate student, didn’t find out about the possible loss of her job until she read about it in The Ubyssey. “As an employee, we weren’t told about this at all. We weren’t
told by the GSS, we weren’t told by anybody. I don’t want to read about the fact that I’m losing my job in The Ubyssey newspaper. That’s not the way it’s supposed to go.” She also thought it was unfair to graduate students who were away from campus for the summer. “It’s completely disrespectful to everybody, and not just the employees, but the students and the managerial staff. They’re making a very big mistake and I hope
they know that.” Gerald Cole, food and beverage manager for the GSS, argued against suspending the pub’s activities, claiming it would harm attempts for a better market at Koerner’s, but said later that day he would do what he had been asked to by his employers. “I do know there certainly are plans that are trying to be put in place to guarantee the continued existence of the facility as Koerner’s. I certainly hope they will be successful. Whether or not I will be part of that remains to be seen,” he said to The Ubyssey on Friday. But Cole will not be part of those plans. Later that day, he was fired by the GSS. “They’re shutting down the pub for three months, so there’s no real need for a manager,” said Cole, who added he would decline further comment until a severance is negotiated with the GSS. The GSS declined comment on the firing. Patterson said he was relieved to have the motion passed and begin discussing the next steps. “We have to go through negotiations with various people. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to figure out a situation where we’ll be able to keep it continuous throughout the entire summer.” “Unfortunately we had to move quickly with this as it was a substantial loss,” said Patterson. ” We felt that council had to move on it very quickly to recognize the problem and essentially stop the bleeding.” U
Participate in class, get higher grades
UBC study shows “traditional” teaching styles to be ineffective
ming wong Contributor A new UBC study is proving that professors can’t just be a “talking textbook.” The report from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) shows that students learn and engage with course material more when the professor uses interactive teaching methods as opposed to traditional, standalone lecturing. “In a typical first-year physics class, you [usually] see people talking to their friends, they’re on their computers, but whether they’re doing physics is another thing,” said study co-author Ellen Schelew, a physics master’s student. Conducted last year, the study compared two introductory undergraduate physics classes, one taught by a professor using traditional research-based instruction, the other taught by Schelew and post-doctoral researcher Louis Deslaurier for an experimental week. Using their cognitive psychology-based interactive teaching methods, Deslaurier and Schelew assigned pre-reading assignments before class, gave out
Students participate in a physics class. jon chiang Photo/The Ubyssey
reading quizzes and led small group and clicker-based question discussions, all within a class of more than 200 students. The experimental class resulted in an attendance increase of 20 per cent, as well as increased engagement overall, according to the study. Scores rose from an average of 41 per cent in the regular class, to 74 per cent in the experimental class. “There’s a difference in the [experimental] class. The students are engaged and they are actually focusing on the
material being covered,” said Schelew. “In class, they can’t just turn off their brains and go on their computer.” A reason for the students’ focus is the method of deliberate practice, where the instructor provides opportunities for students to engage. Participation has a heavier weight in interactive learning, where even simple clicker questions can help engage the class to discuss ideas. “We want them [the students] to get feedback through their peers, throwing ideas back and
forth,” said Schelew. “It’s all part of this thinking process.” Ninety per cent of the students surveyed in the class said they enjoyed the new teaching methods and 77 per cent agreed they would have learned more if the whole course were taught in the experimental style. Around 50 science classes at UBC have already been transformed, and more will start adopting these new methods into class curricula at the discretion of professors. Cyprien Lomas, director of the Learning Centre for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, thinks the study gives credibility to new teaching methods that are often met with resistance by skeptical faculty members. “It should give them the courage to go ahead and feel vindicated and try these [methods].” While there is no research yet connecting the methods developed in the science-based study to other faculties, Lomas believes general interactive techniques can easily translate across campus. “For this to work, students have to put in the effort and that does motivate them to be involved,” said Schelew. U
NEWS BRIEFS Klein to direct UBC School of Journalism
Three-time Emmy Award winner Peter W. Klein will take the helm of the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism as Acting Director, starting on July 1, 2011. Klein, an associate professor at the school, was a long-time producer of 60 Minutes of CBS News, and before that at ABC News 20/20 and Nightline. He also helped launch New York Times TV. In 2009, Klein created UBC’s International Reporting Program, in which he and his colleagues take graduate students around the world to report on undercovered global stories. British Columbians pay more for generic drugs: study
If BC had the same pricing model for generic drugs as Ontario, we could have saved $157 million last year. That’s the finding of a new UBC study comparing drug prices across the country. Researchers looked at prescription costs at 5000 pharmacies in Canada; they found that since 2006, Ontario has slashed the price patients pay for generic drugs to the point where they pay 25 per cent of the brand name cost, the lowest price in Canada. British Columbians pay about 40 per cent more for our generic drugs. UBC student wins Trudeau Scholarship
A University of British Columbia graduate student has been named a 2011 Trudeau Scholar, one of Canada’s most coveted awards for social sciences and humanities graduate students. Lara Rosenoff, a PhD student studying anthropology at UBC, is among this year’s 14 Trudeau Scholarship recipients. The recipients are each awarded a scholarship of $180,000 for their education and research to examine issues of fundamental importance to Canadians, such as the environment, international affairs, responsible citizenship and human rights. For her PhD, Rosenoff is studying how violence and displacement in northern Uganda has interrupted the transmission of moral and cultural knowledge between generations. ubc names new head for its investment arm
Peter W. Webster, Chair of the Board of Directors for UBC Investment Management Trust Inc (UBC IMANT), has announced the appointment of Jai Parihar as President and Chief Executive Officer. Parihar is responsible for selecting and overseeing institutional investment fund managers and ensuring that UBC IMANT’s strategic and operating objectives are achieved in accordance with the investment policies of UBC’s Endowment, Staff Pension Plan and other funds, which total over $2 billion. Parihar previously worked for Alberta’s Ministry of Finance. U
4 / u byssey.ca /Fe at u r e s/2 011.05. 2 4
t is 6pm on a brisk, cold Canucks game night in Vancouver and there is a swarm of human bees outside Rogers Arena. They are small, not in stature but in quantity, numbering about nine or ten amidst the influx of hurried hockey-goers filing into the stadium, clad in customary forest greens and sea blues. The group moves with a systematic, fluid grace, gravitating towards the centre of the crowd as if sensing honey, then hastily skipping back as if stung. For around two hectic hours, they scatter and reunite, calling out to the masses, all the while brandishing fistfuls of white paper tickets high in the air. They are, of course, scalpers, the nighttime denizens of the Rogers Arena concourse. Or as they prefer to be labeled, “professional ticket brokers.” Brokers are fussy with what they call themselves, perhaps because of the unethical stigma attached to the practice, perhaps because they simply want to be treated as professionals. At first glance, this particular crew huddled outside Rogers Arena doesn’t look all that professional. One scalper, who goes by the name ‘Obie,’ has long, black hair, a toadish smile and wears a tattered jean jacket ripped ominously across the chest. He is flanked by a stern, fleshy character on his left and another on his right wearing a lop-sided, one-toothed grin. Spend a few minutes watching them at work, however, and their ability to rapidly haggle and close a deal becomes increasingly apparent. The parts of their ticketing machine are well-oiled, if a little rusty-looking. The ringmaster of this motley crew is Hugo, a sturdy, balding man who stands to the side of the stadium’s main action. Tonight Hugo is wearing a casual light grey parka and has a Bluetooth device lodged in his right ear, which he frequently refers to in low, negotiating chatter. In juxtaposition with his more boisterous counterparts, Hugo seems to be the calming centre in the group’s frenzied operations. A day after our first encounter, Hugo and I are sitting in the cramped quarters of the Starbucks at Tinseltown. He laughs at the mention of Obie. “That guy’s a pure, pure scalper. He’s a nice guy, but he’s a hustler. I guess most scalpers are hustlers.” Hugo began scalping when he was ten years old, after he discovered that the free Canucks tickets he received could turn a profit of $10-15—a big deal for him back then. He has been scalping full-time for 38 years since. “I enjoy it. I love traveling. I usually do international events, the Olympics, Super Bowls, the last four FIFA World Cups. I went to school for about four years, then worked a regular job, but I came back to this because it’s more money and more free time.” While Hugo is evasive about his yearly income, he admits that a typical concert ticket—around $100—will fetch a 50-75 per cent markup. The tickets scalpers sell are usually among the best in the building; Hugo claims he manages to obtain 80 per cent of the top seats in Rogers Arena. But in a business based on volatile consumer demands and rapid transactions, things can quickly go wrong. Hugo says he has been relatively lucky in that regard, never losing more than a couple thousand dollars on an event. His coworkers have not always been as fortunate. “You can get hurt. I know some people who really got hurt. During a UFC event [mixed martial arts], their prices were very, very high, especially for the lower levels. I know brokers who bought 40-50 tickets, and lost $40-50,000.” Scalpers are incredibly unforthcoming about their craft. They hum, they hah, they wave their hands and shake their heads. The argument most often raised, and the one scalpers seem most unwilling to talk about, concerns whether or not it is ethical to stockpile tickets and charge consumers an artificially high price for them. Hugo bristles when I bring up the topic. “Welcome to the free enterprise system, welcome to the stock market, welcome to any commodity,” he says, his eyes widening. “It’s supply and demand, it’s what we do. It seems outrageous to people because we’re the ones who have tickets in our hands, and they’re frustrated. They see these inflated ticket prices and they get mad, but that’s the market we live in.” As the Canucks advance in the playoffs, most fans have been priced out of the scalping market. Though Ticketmaster advertises its cheapest playoff seats for $206, on craigslist.com, upper bowl seats for game
SELLING In the rough and tumble world of professional scalping, who are the real professionals?
Story by Allison Mah Photos by Geoff Lister five against the San Jose Sharks are selling for a whopping $350. Prime seat locations are advertised on sites like StubHub.com for close to $1000. In a poll on a Canucks.com forum asking whether fans could afford the exorbitant playoff ticket costs, 73 per cent said they would rather watch the game at home or in a bar. Yet on the other hand, the Canucks have never been more popular or profitable in Vancouver. The franchise is en route to its 358th straight sellout. The city is awash with blue and green. Flags flap on the sides of cars and banners hang proudly in window shops and homes. After a Canucks victory, Robson Street is bursting with spontaneous chants of “Go Canucks Go” as fans sing deep into the night, imbibing spirits and imbued with happy thoughts. “Bottom line,” wrote one fan who has bought tickets from scalpers, “The Canucks are a drug and sometimes I need my fix!” Opinions vary widely on almost every aspect of scalping. Some argue it is a problem that must be solved; others, like Hugo, say it’s natural, and even a service to consumers. But if one does see scalping as a problem, it is unclear how to effectively prevent it. There are two main ways that ticket scalping occurs. The first is through individuals who choose to resell their tickets on sites like craigslist.com and StubHub. com. This can be done to make a profit, but also because someone simply can’t go to the event anymore and doesn’t want to lose their money.
Much more controversial is the second way, when organizations run deceptively sophisticated operations to purchase large amounts of tickets solely for the purpose of reselling them at a significantly higher price. These tickets can be sold on the street, as with Hugo’s crew, or on a proliferating number of reselling websites. Further complicating matters is that Ticketmaster, which has exclusive ticketing deals with most large venues in North America, has gotten involved in the reselling business with its purchase of TicketsNow. Some Canadian provinces have tried legal tactics to prevent scalpers from artificially inflating ticket prices. In Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, there are specific laws in place restricting the reselling of tickets above face value. In Ontario, individuals caught illegally reselling tickets can face a fine of up to $5000, while corporations are liable a maximum of $50,000. Legislators promoting these laws were often aiming specifically at Ticketmaster, whom they accused of deliberately diverting tickets to TicketsNow, where prices are inflated many times the original value. Ticketmaster has vehemently denied this. “Every single, solitary ticket that (a venue) gives us to sell is sold according to their instructions,” Ticketmaster vice-president Joe Freeman told the Winnipeg Free Press while lobbying to have the Manitoba law rescinded. Ticketmaster argues that such laws are unenforceable in practice, and lawmakers should instead focus on protecting consumers against fraudulent sellers.
There are no scalping regulations in British Columbia—though not for a lack of trying. In 2009, New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert introduced anti-scalping laws to the legislature, the Fair Price in Ticketing Act. It failed to pass, but Herbert is still pushing for change and stresses the importance of the bill for consumer protection. “My problem is with big companies that can buy thousands or hundreds of tickets and then resell them. It’s clearly usury. It’s greed writ large. They’ve added no value to the experience yet are profiting massively off of it. “There are companies that have banks of computers that can go online the minute the tickets become available, purchase them all up very quickly and then resell them at exorbitant rates. That kind of thing can’t happen. One company profits, but the artists certainly don’t and the public often doesn’t get a chance to see the artist or the sports team that they want to see at an affordable price.” However, UBC economics professor Michael Devereux does not think scalpers are the main problem in ticket price inflation. “Scalpers do not drive up ticket prices for sports events,” he said. “If an event has more demand than can be accommodated, then fans would be willing to pay more for tickets than their face value. Scalpers simply exploit this fact by buying up some tickets in advance and selling them to people who value them more.” Hugo agrees that responsibility for inflated tickets should fall on the consumer driving up prices, rather than the scalper who simply supplies their needs.
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“It’s not like we get any special treatment. We have just the same chance as the normal public of getting the tickets. We just work a little harder.” If Umeeda Switlo had overheard Hugo talking about special treatment, she would have shaken her head. She believes that special treatment is exactly what scalpers receive. Umeeda’s eyes are dark and intense and she converses in a warm, melodic Ugandan accent. I spoke with her in a basement suite where she lives alone, after her husband Gary passed away in 1992. Before that, Gary, along with his business partner Tom Worrall, were the cofounders of Ticketmaster Canada. Gary’s dying wish to his wife was a lofty one. Bought out at the time of his passing, he asked Umeeda to create her own ticketing agency from scratch to directly compete with her husband’s now monstrous entertainment company. With the money received from Gary’s buyout she started a new agency: Community Box Offices (CBO). “I think one of the things he sorely regretted was that [Ticketmaster] was really in the service business, and ended up as a monopoly that was now charging people up to $7 in service fees. They weren’t supporting the community, they were taking away from the entertainment business.” In her long history in the ticketing industry, Umeeda claims that Ticketmaster, rather than trying to regulate the redistribution of tickets, was instead complicit in scalpers’ under-the-table handshaking. “[Scalpers] have access to tickets, where you and I, trying to get them online
or on the phone, we can’t get those tickets. They’ve been pre-sold. So it costs the public, and it costs the band too.” Umeeda explains that ticket companies are well aware of the numerous big-name scalpers in North America, and more significantly, they know their credit card numbers. They can refuse to do business with them, she says. Yet they choose not to. “There are things that a ticket company does that the general public has no idea about. For example, if you go to a show, you may buy tickets and never show up. They can scan which seats haven’t been filled, reprint those tickets and give them to a scalper. They can refund the ticket to themselves, so that the artist and the promoter will have no idea.” Ticketmaster was asked about Umeeda’s claims, but had not responded when this story went to press. It is safe to say that their response would be the same as Freeman’s: Ticketmaster has always maintained that they sell every ticket according to how the venue wants them to be sold. Most of the major venues in B.C. have exclusive ticketing deals with Ticketmaster, including Rogers Arena and the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at UBC. Last year Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, the largest concert promotion agency in North America. Though legal concerns were raised in many countries about the creation of a virtual monopoly in the ticketing industry, the merger eventually received approval in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and elsewhere. Yet Ticketmaster is still subject to a large number of lawsuits in the United States and Canada. In the past two years, major class action lawsuits have been filed
against Ticketmaster in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. Many of these lawsuits in the United States have been settled out of court. Umeeda holds out hope that Ticketmaster’s control on the industry is diminishing. “[It’s] because shows are doing their own tickets,” she explains. “Cirque du Soleil started their own ticket agency, and there were no scalpers. What happens is that many promoters have opened their venues up and said no, we’re not going to have a monopoly.” Times are changing for street scalpers too, albeit in different ways. Hugo, now in his mid-fifties, is finding it a struggle to keep his finger on the pulse of the increasingly younger music industry, and it has affected the way he does business. “I grew up with old rock and roll, so I tend to gravitate towards what I know. You know Adele [the musician]? She sold out the Commodore in five minutes. I bought eight tickets, and I should have bought 50. Sometimes you miss things like that.” For now, at least in Vancouver, Hugo and people like him are at liberty to keep on doing what they do best: sell tickets. Without fail, you can catch him and his crew pacing the concourse of Rogers Arena every concert or game night, hollering at the bustling crowds, playfully bantering with prospective clients. Their business may be considered controversial and at times accused of creating an inefficient market and unfair competition, but nobody can claim that scalpers do not work or work hard. Their trade is fraught with risk, yet many of them manage to maintain a
sustainable living for long periods of time. Meanwhile, anti-scalping laws from the British Columbian government are non-existent, and corporations like Ticketmaster have been repeatedly accused of providing a large amount of the fodder that feeds ticket brokers’ supplies. Should scalpers really be blamed for doing what is both legal and profitable? Chandra Herbert’s private bill to introduce scalping regulation was not supported by the governing Liberals, but the opposition MLA says he will continue to try. “I’ll keep doing what I can to put [the bill] before them,” said Chandra Herbert. “If it wasn’t a problem, then the Olympics wouldn’t have done what they did with their attempts to stop scalping. They saw it was a huge problem and tried to address it. We need a wider approach than that because it’s not just the Olympics, but it’s going to see your favourite band or your favourite hockey team. Clearly it has to end.” Umeeda follows a similar line of thought: “Unless the government actually puts a law in place preventing the guy on the street from selling the ticket to you at a higher inflated price, and if there’s no law to protect the consumer, there will be no change. If the consumer refuses to buy, the consumer forces the government to put the laws in place. Ultimately, it’s the consumer that makes the change.” “Maybe this also requires a bit of a national approach or international approach,” said Herbert, “but clearly New York, New Jersey, Ontario and others feel like they can make a difference. Will they stop every aspect of it? No. But it’s clearly better than doing nothing.” U
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Winning nationals the Ultimate goal
UBC’s men’s team to compete in USA invitational tournament Claire Fong Contributor For the first time in six years, the UBC Men’s Ultimate team will play at the USA Nationals— the only Canadian team to qualify from more than 200 schools. This is only the second time the team has qualified for Nationals. The team has a plethora of talent and numerous veteran players, but not a single member of the team has had the opportunity to compete at Nationals. Head coach Kevin Chung doesn’t believe this will be an issue. “We have a pretty decent shot,” he said after the team’s final home practice Sunday. “We have a lot of guys who have been playing in world championships. Quite a number of these guys played at U23, most at U19. [We have] a lot of experience at big tournaments, we just haven’t played at this [specific] tournament.” Aaron Liu, one of six players on the team explicitly given a leadership role, discussed the mentality the team will need to win the tournament. “[We] gotta focus, one game at a time,” said Liu, a fourthyear player on the team. “We can’t look past any other team because it’s still the top 20 teams in the nation, so every game will be tough.” The team has had a strong season, losing only three out of 28 games to date. Their most recent loss came against the University of Oregon, but the general consensus is that Carleton College of Northfield, Minnesota
Members of UBC’s ultimate team take advantage of a rare break of good weather during the long weekend. josh curran Photo/The Ubyssey
and Pittsburgh University are the teams to beat in the the tournament. UBC has yet to play Carleton and lost by one point to Pittsburgh previously in the season. Coach Jung believes that Carleton will pose the biggest threat of ruining UBC’s title aspirations. “I’ve heard they are pretty quick, and they have been a strong team for a number of years now.” In order to be successful, coach Jung believes that the
team will have to stay true to its “simple” style of play and stick with classic strategies. “Defensively we will focus on getting strong one-on-one match ups; we have some stellar defenders and we just try to get them against the superstars on the other team. Offensively, we just have to try to get into our rhythm,” he said. Rookie Keane K napp has been an integral member of the team this year. He has previously played throughout the
Vancouver juniors scene and won the Nationals with the BC All-Stars, but he credited his teammates for getting the team this far. “The big thing is that we have had a lot of experienced players come and play for UBC this year. We have guy’s like John Norris, Aaron Loach from U Vic and also Matt Berezan from Alberta; just a bunch of vets who have really stepped up in their fifth [and final] year and have really wanted to get to Nationals,” he said.
Though the recent exam period kept the team from practicing as much as they would have liked, the end of the academic year has allowed them to be together again. “Our timing [during games] is not exactly perfect right now, but when we are, we could probably be the best team at the tournament...we definitely have a shot,” said Liu. U The USA Ultimate Nationals start May 27.
editor GINNY MONACO » firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC student to have film shown at TIFF Showcase catherine guam email@example.com The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is known for attracting the likes of Hollywood heartthrobs, silver screen sirens and the odd auteur. This month, however, TIFF is spotlighting a few names that you probably haven’t heard before. The eighth annual Student Film Showcase features 12 short films made by students across the country. Setting out in Toronto on May 24, the Showcase will make its inaugural visit to Vancouver on Thursday, May 26 at the Pacific Cinémathèque. The 90 minute program represents some of the finest student filmmaking in Canada, according to TIFF Programmer Magali Simard. “These films stood out for their artistry, for the courage of their narrative lines,” she said. Included in this lauded assembly is Leash, a live action film directed by UBC Film 2011 graduate Kevin Doherty. The film chronicles the misadventures of a boy and his father looking for their missing dog.
A screeencap from the animated film The Dimming. courtesy of toronto international film festival
It’s a bittersweet look at loss and learning to let go. “Leash is such a subtle film that we don’t usually see from people in universities,” said Simard, “I hate to say mature, but if there’s another word for it.” For Simard, Doherty’s film stood out because he opted against the “big bang” for a more “slice-of-life” approach. But, that
wasn’t his original intention. “It was supposed to be about something to do with aliens…the dog was abducted by aliens,” he said. What makes this year’s selection special? “These films are very courageous,” replied Simard. Some delve into provocative subjects like sexual abuse, warfare and the connotations of the word fat, while others are
visually arresting, using claymation and paper-craft animation. Prizes to be awarded include Best Film in both live action and animation categories. The category for animated films is a recent addition to the Showcase. The reason, explained Simard, is that “animation in Canada is going up through the roof…It’s still kind of mind-boggling how
animators can become so good in two years in a film program.” One of those mind-bogglers is Emily Carr student Ippiksaut Friesen, who made the The Dimming. Depicting the Inuit folklore of the creation of the sun and the moon, her arsenal included Photoshop as well as clay and black-light makeup. “What I envisioned of the film was to give it a realistic setting with a mix of experimental animation,” said Friesen. Doherty, Friesen and the other students will participate in panel discussions with animator/director Larry Jacobs (Caillou, Johnny Test), and filmmakers Kari Skogland (50 Dead Men Walking) and Warren Sonoda (Coopers’ Camera, Textuality). They will have the chance to connect with industry professionals and with each other to begin their future in filmmaking. The Student Film Showcase offers the audience a glimpse into the future of Canadian film. From where Simard is standing, the future looks good. “They are redefining film language, which is a rare thing and a beautiful thing.” U
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editorial cutting koerner’s Last spring, Koerner’s had its liquor license suspended by UBC, was forced to make substantial changes to operations and all but grovel at Stephen Toope’s feet to get their license back. It would be hard to imagine the beloved campus pub in worse shape thanks to the bungling of the Graduate Student Society (GSS). But bless them, they are trying. Earlier this month the GSS Executive came to the conclusion that after losing nearly $200,000 since the beginning of 2010, perhaps shutting down Koerner’s for the summer time was a sensible business decision and brought it before council for a vote. Nothing wrong there. Yet the general impression President Andrew Patterson and VP Administration Paul Save have given the public is not that of decisive leaders who can make tough decisions, but high schoolers in student council who were given a little too much power. They alerted pretty much nobody of the decision— which ticked off councillors and Koerner’s employees alike—and then tried to argue that CUPE’s threat of a lawsuit for terminating summer jobs without collective negotiation was an idle threat. The next day, the executive fired Gerald Cole, the manager of Koerner’s. So, other than failing to communicate properly, a union threatening to sue and no management to oversee a new business plan, this operation went smoothly. Student leaders, with real power and responsibility for the first time, often make rash decisions. The GSS has pledged to find a way to reopen Koerner’s, but with Cole gone, it is now entirely on the shoulders of the executives themselves to steward its return. It’s a monumental task, and given how they handled this one, we’re not all that confident. When the GSS eventually announces the final day Koerner’s will be open this summer, we suggest you stop by there and order a pint. Odds are, it’ll be the last one you have there. U skeptics of slut walk prove its worth Of all the offhand commentary people have made about the Slut Walk this month, that of Dr Tom Sullivan stands out. At his Vancouver hotel, Sullivan began texting his wife and daughter in Pennsylvania about all the people who had “taken to the streets.” While he offered his support for the women, he added, “It took [me] by surprise that there would be this level of enthusiasm over what seems so innocuous as a statement by the police to dress down.” At first glance, Sullivan is not entirely wrong about the “innocuousness” of the comment made by Toronto PD Constable Michael Sanguetti. However, what Sullivan and critics of the Slut Walk movement are not taking into account is just how offhandedly the constable said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” As if it were common sense. This is the issue Slut Walk organizers and supporters mobilized to protest. Our culture encourages the hypersexualiztion of women and girls and then tears them down when they embrace that sexuality. It is a minefield trying to navigate the reasons women dress the way they do. It is never as simple as wanting attention from men. Clothes are a mode of self-expression and, even if that expression takes the form of a miniskirt, are never invitations for unwanted sexual attention. There are a lot of derogatory things you can call a woman, but feminist shouldn’t be one of them. Yet on May 12, Globe and Mail columnist and consummate WASP Margaret Wente called the Slut Walk movement “what you get when graduate students in feminist studies run out of things to do.” Katie Raso, organizer of the Vancouver march took offence to this. “My immediate response was, ‘I’m not a women’s studies student!’” she said. “And then my secondary response was ‘and so what if I was?’ This is a march about respect and value,” Raso said. “Why is a women’s studies student no longer of value? Why is her critique no longer of worth?” ‘Feminist’ should not be a dirty word. Why are we ashamed of standing up for women’s rights? Despite whatever strides we have made towards legislating equality, the effects are not always apparent. It sometimes takes as sensational a term as “Slut Walk” to remind us of where we are as a society and how much further we have to go. U
bryce warnes graphic/the ubyssey
Closing Koerner’s a short-term necessity Jamie Paris Contributor How did we get to needing to close Koerner’s for the summer? The pub was only estimated to run at a net loss of approximately $105,000. Sadly, our projected pub losses for the year are going to be much closer to $175,000. In contrast, the society has only budgeted $54,216 to spend directly on students in the form of our orientation, athletics, weekly events and advocacy. We would have to spend around $44,000 of our rainy day fund just to stay open. Spending just under half of our rainy day fund could hamstring the society, leaving us vulnerable if any other difficulties arose during the year. Furthermore, accessing the rainy day fund is conditional on having a clear repayment plan. The only way to do this is raising student fees. Thus, the GSS is in an ethical bind. Our core mission is to provide services and advocacy for graduate students, but we can’t do this effectively because we don’t have the funds. This is because
so much of our operating expenses are tied up in the pub. Sadly, the best way to save the pub is to close it for the summer as a way to mitigate our short term losses, and as a way to develop long term plans. We are consulting with third party management groups, and with UBC, to see how the risk of the pub can be distributed. The GSS simply cannot afford to be the sole holders of liability on this issue any longer. We are strongly committed to responsibly reopening the pub, and hope it will be accomplished for the fall orientation. In the motivation section of the motion, we placed language that makes it clear that our intention is for the GSS to reopen the pub as soon as doing so would be responsible for the society. As well, we asked council to bind us to revisit this decision by August. This allows us to finish negations with third party groups, and to present to council all of our options to both have the pub and limit our liability. There’s some concern on our part that the pub is not actually meeting the
cultural and social needs of all graduate students on campus. Any reopening of the pub would, then, have to walk the delicate line between preserving what the pub’s aficionados appreciate about the space, while at the same time making changes to everything from the menu to the pricing points. Lastly, the food market on this campus has changed. At one time the pub was only really competing with the AMS in the food and beverage game. Students have more choices about where to socialize on campus than ever before. Even though we have a wonderful patio, our obscure location, poor campus reputation and lack of an integrated marketing plan have made it difficult for us to compete in an ever more competitive food and beverage market. Can the pub be viable in this market? This requires rethinking and rebranding the pub. The best time to do this is during the summer. Jamie Paris is the GSS VP Academic and External Affairs
It’s not what they did, but how they did it Jaishankar Iyer Contributor GSS Council decided on May 19 to shut down the Koerner’s Pub for the summer and haven’t decided on a date to reopen. While the GSS represents the voice of over 9000 graduate students, this important decision was taken without proper student involvement. I learned about it through a Facebook event page and was appalled to see absolutely nothing about this on the GSS website. It’s shameful that GSS execs have still not updated the GSS website with their decision even after four days. Yes, Koerner’s Pub had been operating at a loss for many years. Unfortunately, last year the pub was slapped with a four-month liquor ban which crippled the GSS finances. Yet the overall GSS finances still recorded a lesser loss in 2010 than in 2009. As GSS VP Finance last year, I had some of the reports and
after doing some basic math, I realized that if Koerner’s had not been closed for those four months, the GSS would have managed to break even in 2010. Surprisingly, the decision to close down the pub was made without even consulting the now-fired Manager Gerald Cole, who was confident that if his restructuring plan worked then the pub would get out of the red. But council decided to disregard the opinions of Cole, myself and many other students. I expected the finance committee to consult the manager and come to Thursday’s council meeting prepared with all the possibilities considered and financed for. However, there was no proper presentation showing a comparative chart of finances when the pub is running in summer as against the pub being shut down. Many of the costs related to the shut down were not considered, including any worst-case legalities emerging from this.
Furthermore, they could have weighed the possibility of raising the GSS student fee by a certain amount, around $10/year. But the execs did not come to council to discuss. They had pre-determined to close the pub no matter what the counter-argument was. This is supposed to be a grad student organization, but this decision was made without proper consultation with grad students, without proper analysis of alternative actions, without letting the manager have a last chance to implement his plan and without any sympathy to all the grad students that work there. It doesn’t have to be this way. Will grad students force the GSS to revoke their decision, come up with stronger arguments and let us decide for ourselves? Students can make this happen, and I hope they will. Jaishankar Iyer was the GSS VP Finance in 2009/2010
justin mcelroy email@example.com With the summer concert season beginning to hit Rogers Arena, the Canucks have often been forced to practice at UBCâ€™s Winter Sports Centre in recent weeks, often to hundreds of adoring fans. No word yet on the bill for the broken pane of glass the Canucks delighted in shooting pucks through.
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