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February 13, 2012 | VOL. XCIII ISS. XL

Using dental dams SINCE 1918





Saskatchewan drops men’s hockey 5-4, 5-0



Travers Roy Wimble 1928­­–2012


Caution urged after series of incidents


2 | Page 2 | 02.13.2012

What’s on 13 MON

This week, may we suggest...

Our Campus

One on one with the people who make UBC

PhD PachecoVega an expert on water, Twitter outreach


Vinicius Cid Contributor

Chew on This: 4-6pm @ IKB Room 301

Oxfam UBC and a number of other campus organizations present a number of talks this week on food security. Today’s event focuses on the business side of sustainable food. More info at commonenergyubc.wordpress. com.

14 TUE

SEX >>

16 THU

ART >>

Valentine’s Day Care Packages: all day @ SUB FREE care packages for a great Valentine’s bed! Courtesy of UBC Womyn’s Centre. Includes condoms, dental dams, gloves, lubes and chocolate! Only 500 packages available.

15 WED


Love! In the Library?: 9am-5pm @ IKB UBC Library is showcasing a few of the sexier pieces in its rare books collection. Works include the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon, poetry from Leonard Cohen and erotica published by BC’s Arsenal Pulp Press.

17 FRI

Too Deep For You: 7-11pm @ CBC Studio 700 A fundraiser for this year’s BFA/ BA visual arts graduating class. Includes a silent art auction and performances by DJ Blenda and Woodhead. Tickets $8 advance, $10 at the door.

BIKE DANCE PARTY >> Cycle Dance Party: 4:30pm @ UBC Bike Kitchen The hipster event of the ages! Don’t read! Ride! Sunset on the beach and other wonders, all while grooving to the new and improved music bike and our mobile DJ! Just follow the music!


Got an event you’d like to see on this page? Send your event and your best pitch to

THE UBYSSEY Febuary 13, 2012, Volume XCIII, Issue XL


Coordinating Editor Justin McElroy

Managing Editor, Print Jonny Wakefield

Managing Editor, Web Arshy Mann

News Editors Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan

Art Director Geoff Lister

Culture Editor Ginny Monaco

Senior Culture Writer Will Johnson

Sports Editor Drake Fenton

Features Editor Brian Platt

Copy Editor Karina Palmitesta

Video Editor David Marino

Senior Web Writer Andrew Bates

Graphics Assistant Indiana Joel



Business Manager Fernie Pereira

Business Office: Room 23 Editorial Office: Room 24 Student Union Building 6138 Student Union Blvd Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 tel: 604.822.2301 web:

Ad Sales Ben Chen

Accounts Sifat Hasan

Webmaster Jeff Blake



604.822.1654 Business Office:


The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Monday and Thursday by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, INDIANA JOEL/ THE UBYSSEY written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your

Andrew Hood, Bryce Warnes, Catherine Guan, David Elop, Jon Chiang, Josh Curran, Will McDonald, Tara Martellaro, Virginie Menard, Scott MacDonald, Anna Zoria, Peter Wojnar, Tanner Bokor, Dominic Lai, Mark-Andre Gessaroli, Natalya Kautz, Kai Jacobson, RJ Reid, Colin Chia, Ming Wong, CJ Pentland, Laura Rodgers

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phone number, student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done by phone. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by 12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after this point will be published in the following issue unless there is an urgent time restriction or other matter deemed relevant by the Ubyssey staff. It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.

Ever since he was a kid in Mexico, Raul Pacheco-Vega wanted to help those who lived around him. He yearned to become a doctor. “When I was a child, I lived close to the Lerma-Chapala basin. My parents took me to a trip there and I smelled the toxic smells from the [Chapala] lake. And I said, ‘When I grow up, I want to make sure I have the power to take care of the planet.’” Fast forward to the present and his childhood dream became, in a way, reality. “I didn’t expect to become a PhD, but being an academic gives me lots of leeway and ability to try to clean the planet,” he said. Pacheco-Vega now holds a PhD in political science, as well as an MBA and a degree in chemical engineering—the former two being acquired at UBC. He may not be handing out diagnoses for diseases, but instead he is helping people across the Americas through his environmental policy research. “Right now, researchers are very concerned about water scarcity. I don’t like exploring issues that everyone is looking at, so in 2004 I began working with waste water governance,” he said. “Most scholars are concerned about how to allocate water, but don’t think about how to re-use it.


Pacheco-Vega aims to “take care of the planet” through environmental policy research.

“[Which] got me thinking—in regions with high water stress, why don’t we find better ways to improve waste waster management? We need to look at the social conditions and what can be done in the local, regional and federal levels to address the problem.” Pacheco-Vega teaches several political science classes, mostly focusing on environmental policy, and is passionate about the teaching side of his profession. “I want to change my students’ thinking. I want them to realize it’s easier to stop polluting than to clean up. I tell them that if I see any of them polluting around campus or unnecessarily wasting resources, I will scold them,” said the professor, chuckling. “I actually don’t, but it’s a powerful message. I’m very serious about

it. And they stop polluting and tell others to do the same.” Outside of academia, PachecoVega is an avid volleyball player, has a knack for photography and has embraced the advances of technology, tweeting obsessively and blogging on a regular basis. He is openly gay and tries to be a role model for the GLBT community. Pacheco-Vega hopes that the new generation will embrace environmental responsibility and gradually change the way people think about managing waste. “During my many years of research, my most surprising discovery was that people don’t really care what happens to resources so long as they don’t need to worry about it. And the most intriguing finding was that people change their habits when they are properly informed.” U


02.13.2012 |


Editors: Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan


Security workers want mediator during contract negotiations with AMS Andrew Bates Senior Web Writer

The union that represents AMS Security workers has asked for a mediator to step in during negotiations with the AMS. “We’ve gotten to an impasse,” said Dave McPherson, senior organizer for the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378 (COPE 378). According to McPherson, the union wanted to start discussing wages, but the AMS declined. “We sort of realized that

it was just a time delay tactic and we’ve moved away from that.” AMS Security unionized last fall when they joined COPE 378. They have been campaigning for higher pay and increased parity of benefits between security workers and the AMS’s administrative staff, which have been represented by the same union since 1961. “I think this is a systemic problem, a systemic discrimination that’s going on,” McPherson said. “I don’t think they realize what they’re doing.” AMS President Jeremy McElroy

said that asking for a mediator this early in the process is not unusual. “Especially on the finer details, it can be hard to come to an agreement that everyone likes.” While non-wage related aspects of the agreement have been negotiated, McPherson said that fundamental issues are still unresolved. He pointed to the AMS hiring an external security company, Live Host International, for Pit nights and other events. According to McElroy, the AMS wanted to finalize non-monetary

issues first. “We were operating under the assumption that we’d work out the finer parts of the contract, but they didn’t want to talk about that, so we didn’t want to talk about money,” McElroy said. McPherson called for the parties to move on. “We’re not going to be able to resolve some of the outstanding issues, so it’s time to resolve others,” McPherson said. “Sometimes in bargaining you try to create a bit of momentum.” He claimed that it is common for management to avoid discussing


AMS businesses set to incorporate Laura Rodgers Staff Writer

UBC’s student society is about to undergo one of the biggest changes it’s ever seen. In a bid to streamline the organization and avoid unwanted taxes, the AMS is moving forward with a plan to split off its businesses— including SUB food outlets, the Pit Pub and Gallery, and possibly even the Whistler Lodge—into a separate corporate entity. Council approved this move “in principle” on Wednesday, and a five-person committee will be formed to implement the changes. Currently, both the AMS’s businesses and its student services—for example the health and dental plan, AMS Tutoring and Safewalk—are overseen directly by AMS Council. In the new plan, Council will only be tasked with student services, and businesses will be controlled by a separate 12-person board of directors, most of whom will serve multi-year terms. This split has been proposed for a number of reasons. Last year the Canada Revenue Agency indicated that, as the AMS’s businesses generally post a significant profit each year, the AMS should be taxed as a for-profit business rather than as a non-profit society. The new plan, according to VP Finance Elin Tayyar, involves the businesses becoming a separate corporation, of which the AMS is the sole shareholder. Any business profits will be “donated” into an endowment fund, which will hopefully ensure the AMS’s financial stability in the future. Tayyar hopes that this plan will prevent the CRA from requiring higher taxes for the business

wages because a strike vote normally cannot be called until both parts of a bargaining agreement are discussed. McElroy said that there hasn’t been “a whole lot of negotiating going on. They’ve been driving a hard bargain.” Now that the union has applied for mediation, the Labour Relations Board will pick a third party and submit them to both sides for approval. “Hopefully [the mediator] that’s been selected will quickly sum up the situation and help come to an agreement that everyone’s happy with,” said McElroy. U CRIME >>

Campus mugging and verbal assault require RCMP involvment


Kalyeena Makortoff News Editor


AMS businesses, including food outlets like Pi R Squared, will be incorporated into an entity separate from the AMS.

earnings. The move is also being proposed to clear up the chain of command within the AMS. “We’ve grown bigger and way more complicated than the current structure allows,” said Tayyar in a presentation outlining the proposed structure last week. “There’s very unclear decision-making, as far as the businesses go.” The board will consist of the AMS president, one of its vice-presidents, three alumni serving staggered three-year terms, three AMS councillors and three students-atlarge serving staggered two-year terms. “There’s a lot of systemic issues in the AMS, one of them being continuity, and the new proposed business structure would help with

that, with alumni and students-atlarge holding multi-year terms,” said AMS President-elect Matt Parson. AMS Faculty of Law representative Eric Gauf is also in favour of the idea. “[The AMS will] be able to move to a more slow-growth strategy rather than the annual sawtooth that we’ve seen with the past budget cycles,” said Gauf. “I like it from a governance standpoint and [it] actually would allow for effective checks and balances of the businesses.” Tayyar explained that the new business arm will primarily try to maximize profits, but also focus on core values that the businesses should follow, like making commitments to environmental sustainability.

This will leave the AMS able to focus on student services. “The AMS [has] a board of directors that are generally meddling in matters that might be a bit too small in scale,” said Parson. Instead, “[AMS Council] should be directed at higher-level strategic direction and more matters that are directly aligned with our mission, which is improving the lives in all areas for students at UBC,” Parson said. Gauf cautioned that implementing the new plan will be potentially tricky, but is optimistic. “The details will make or break it...I’m not 100 per cent confident that we can get all the details straight, but we definitely need to try in order to make things improve.” U

Google Earth used to gauge fish farming

$100,000 grants will help profs make cellphone diagnosis

UBC joint study finds racial disparity in the courtroom

UVic pro-life club loses meeting privileges

UBC researchers are using Google Earth to measure the amount of fish being farmed in the Mediterranean Sea. The study, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, is the first to estimate seafood production using satellite imagery. Rsearchers counted nearly 21,000 individual cages measuring more than 40 metres across. “Our colleagues have repeatedly shown that accurate reporting of wild-caught fish has been a problem, and we wondered whether there might be similar issues for fish farming,” said lead author Pablo Trujillo, who conducted the study as a research assistant at the UBC Fisheries Centre.

Two UBC researchers will each receive a $100,000 grant to continue their research into how mobile phones can diagnose pneumonia and help treat AIDS patients in Africa. A cellphone-based “camera oximeter” has been developed by Walter Karlen, a post-doctoral fellow in Engineering. The device is meant to help rural health practitioners test patient oxygen saturation levels, a key indicator of pneumonia. Richard Lester, an assistant clinical professor at UBC, has created a program which sends weekly text messages to patients to remind them to follow drug therapies and address any problems they might have.

UBC economics professor M. Marit Rehavi and University of Michigan law professor Sonja Starr conducted a study which focused on how people of different races, arrested for the same offence, are sentenced for their crimes. The research found that black men were, on average, more than twice as likely to be charged for a crime that carried a mandatory minimum sentence as were white men, holding other factors constant. The study looked at 58,000 federal criminal cases in the US in order to determine the impact of decisions made by prosecutors (rather than judges) on racial disparity in sentence lengths.

The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) has passed a motion disciplining UVic’s pro-life club, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), for hosting a contentious demonstration on campus in November in which club members held large pictures of purportedly aborted fetuses with the word “choice?” overtop. The UVSS passed a motion citing a section of the UVSS Clubs Harassment policy, which identified YPY’s use of graphic images as communicating “with another person or group of a manner that harasses.” “I’m disappointed with the decision,” said YPY vice-president Catherine Shenton. U

News briefs

After several incidents this week on campus including a robbery and a verbal altercation, the UBC RCMP are asking students to be more aware of their surroundings. After a woman was attacked and robbed Tuesday evening, the UBC RCMP issued a public warning. The woman was leaving the Village food court and heading towards the university when she was attacked from behind outside Mahony & Sons, said Paul Wong, manager of crime prevention and community relations of UBC Security. “Somebody came up from behind and tried to steal her wallet and hit her, and [she] fell to the ground,” he said. The victim believes the attacker was male and potentially wearing a green jacket, but doesn’t recall too much information after being struck, according to an RCMP press release. Wong wanted to remind students to be diligent at night. “Safewalk is one of the best services out there,” he said. An additional altercation happened Monday in the Gateway student space in Irving K Barber, which is reserved for first-year programs including Arts One and Science One. A male student who did not belong to the program started yelling at a female Gateway student, and the situation escalated. “This case involved inappropriate language that was used by one of the students. The student was requested to leave,” said Wong. Corporal Holly Marks confirmed that RCMP were also called. The male appeared to be in his late 20s, said Lucia Balabuk, an administrator for the Science One program. She suspected that he was not a Gateway student. All students should continue to be aware of their surroundings and their personal belongings, said Balabuk. U

4 | News | 02.13.2012 ELECTIONS >>

AMS results pass despite email mix-up

VST and St. Mark’s students did not receive voter login information during elections Andrew Bates Senior Web Writer

Results from the 2012 AMS elections were made official on Wednesday night despite irregularities that may have prevented over 300 students from voting and potentially allowed some students to vote when they shouldn’t have. According to Carolee Changfoot, AMS elections administrator, emails with the instructions required to vote may never have been sent to students at the Vancouver School of Theology (VST) and St. Mark’s College. The issue first arose when the VST Students’ Association (VSTSA) filed a complaint with the Elections Committee on Monday, February 6 that VST students had not received the unique IDs necessary to log in to the online voting software. “I don’t think it’s fair that students were not able to vote,” said Changfoot. Both VST and St. Mark’s are theological colleges that are affiliated with, but independent of, UBC. However, since students attending the colleges are members of the AMS, they are eligible to vote and should be sent voter logins by the registrars of each of the individual schools. The Ubyssey has confirmed that

VST students did not receive voting instructions because one VST staff member simply forgot to send them. The AMS Elections Committee sent a draft email containing the voting instructions to VST registrar Anita Fast on Thursday, January 19. Fast said that she wanted to ensure that the enrolment list was up to date, so she forwarded the email to VST coordinator of academic records and admissions Margaret Trim, with the expectation that she would send the email to all 108 VST students. Trim, however, confirmed in an email to The Ubyssey that she did not send out the voting instructions. “Anita did send me an email to forward on to the students,” Trim wrote. “I missed sending it out and consequently the students were not aware of the upcoming AMS elections.” Changfoot said the instructions had also not been sent to St. Mark’s students because the St. Mark’s registrar’s office never responded to the AMS’s emails. “If the registrar’s not contacting us to give us the information for the students so that they can vote, it makes it very difficult for our office to be able to create a system for the students to vote,” she said. St. Mark’s acting registrar Gabriel Tillay said that although he did not reply to the email, he received it and


AMS Council approved the elections results at the February 8 meeting.

forwarded it to his coordinator of activities. “During that point I was away,” Tillay said. “I had assumed everything had gone through, so this is the first I’m actually hearing that it didn’t.” Tillay estimated around 200 St. Mark’s students would have been eligible to vote. Regardless, VSTSA representative Emily Jarrett, who had filed the initial complaint to the

Elections Committee, said that the VSTSA wanted the results to stand. “We are content not to dispute the current election, but we would like to see a procedure in place for the next year to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.” Ben Cappellacci, who unsuccessfully ran for AMS president, argued that these irregularities demonstrate serious flaws in how

AMS elections are run. “If you’re a fee-paying member of the AMS, you need to be able to exercise your right to vote and it’s the AMS’s job to ensure that,” he said. Also, former AMS President Bijan Ahmadian told Council that accepting the results could leave the AMS vulnerable to a lawsuit. But since the results were ratified, additional concerns have been raised that students from Regent College may have voted in elections for the UBC Senate and UBC’s Board of Governors. Similar to VST and St. Mark’s, Regent College students are members of the AMS, but not UBC students. “I am somewhat surprised to learn that non-UBC students would have been allowed to vote in the Board of Governors election,” said UBC triennial returning officer Chris Eaton. “But if they did vote, I actually am somewhat worried, depending on how many of them voted.” Eaton said that he is in the process of confirming with Changfoot what happened with the affiliated colleges. “Once we hear back from her, we’ll know how to proceed in that regard.” U —With files from Micki Cowan, Will McDonald and Laura Rodgers.


02.13.2012 |


Editor: Ginny Monaco



UBC and UVic battle in cross-Georgian tradition

Andrew Bates

Drinking from the Coastal Cup A love letter to sexy lit

Alex Lush (left), from UBC, and Tom Gracie, of UVic, fight for the Coastal Cup.

Laura Rodgers Staff Writer

At first glance, the Cup doesn’t look very impressive. It was rumoured to once have been a hotel ice bucket, but it now serves a nobler purpose. It’s emblazoned with the UBC Engineers’ red logo and has two large horns glued to the sides. But this funny-looking drinking vessel can launch a dozen engineers across the Georgia Strait at a moment’s notice. It’s called the Coastal Cup, and there is fierce competition for it between engineering students at UBC and UVic. “The school with the Cup will call up the other school, and they will say ‘Cup Run!’ And that school has a set period of time,” explained Ian Campbell, VP Finance of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). “And they have to get from the other school to the school with the Cup within that period of time. If

they make it there, it’s generally done on the night of a large party for the side with the Cup, and they’ll get the Cup filled with alcohol. “They’ll have a good time, and at the end of the night they’ll take the Cup with them, and they’ll return the favour,” said Campbell. “If they fail to come within the time owe the other school a keg,” said third-year UVic engineer Kevin Lavery. Lavery was at UBC over the weekend, called over for a Cup Run with 12 other UVic students. They were invited over for Red Knight, the boisterous closing party for UBC’s EUS E-Week. Loud dance music and the ever-present smell of beer wafted through the Cheeze—the EUS’s clubhouse and headquarters—as a number of engineers began to share tales of quests for the Cup. “It’s always a little bit of a scramble. A lot of [runs] are like, ‘We need someone for this,’ you run into them in the hall, ‘Do you want

U There’s a reason “culture” starts with “cult.” Stop by Mondays at 2 and find out why.




to go to Vancouver tonight?’ And, bam, you’re on a ferry in an hour,” said Lavery. “I’ve gone clubbing in sweatpants before because of Cup Runs.” Tom Gracie is a third-year software engineering student at UVic and the VP External for UVic’s Engineering Student Society. He was here for his first Cup Run. “Not all [engineering] events are drinking-related, but because the Cup...[is] large enough to hold a lot of beer, usually there is drinking happening, and beer is usually served in the Cup,” said Gracie. “Because we live on Vancouver Island, we have issues of being detached from the rest of the student societies,” he explained. “Any chance that we get to come out and interact with the other schools is a really good opportunity for us to make friends. Added Lavery, “Everyone gets to know each other from the different schools, and they mingle. “It’s the best type of networking.” U

Senior Web Writer

“Here’s a cute little story,” said Ralph Stanton. The head of UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections department gestured to a series of books in the Love! in the Library? exhibition, which is running for Valentine’s Day. The exhibition—which includes limited reprintings of Shakespeare, compilations of love letters, linoleum printing plates and a series of covers from a Montréal fetish magazine—tries to analyze how people have used books to talk about love and sex. “We’ve often thought about bringing out [these] seldom-seen things in the library,” Stanton said. “I think these things are common throughout human existence and I think they’re just expressed in different ways.” The collection includes about ten issues of Bizarre, a bondage and fetish magazine authored and illustrated by John Coutts between 1946 and 1959. “A second lieutenant in the British Army, [Coutts] married what’s described as a ‘showgirl,’” Stanton said. “You had to ask your commanding officer if you could marry at the time...[so] he got turfed out of the army, came to Montréal and started this periodical, which is pretty amazing.” The books are themed around leather fetishism, but Stanton said there is an undercurrent of social commentary. “Women have had all these jobs during the Second World War,” he said. “Suddenly all these very competent women and the guys who have been fighting are kind of at sea.” Not all of the books depict smooth sailing. Several pieces, including a Leonard Cohen poem, reference the Song of Solomon from the Bible. “The Song of Solomon is described


as an erotic poem, but the subtext is a criticism of King Solomon and the fact that he had so many wives,” Stanton said. “His wives turned away his heart. They were not happy with him.” One book includes love letters from BC landscape painter Toni Onley. “ We have these beautiful erotic drawings by Toni with a very elegant, beautiful love letter to her,” Stanton said, pointing to a poem written over a watercolour of a nude woman. Next to it is a more formal letter with custom letterhead. “Then the relationship starts to come apart through these letters, and then we end up with a letter called ‘Dispatches from an Emotional Swamp.’” Ultimately, the exhibition is meant to be a break from the collection’s educational focus. “It’s a bit of fun, so I’m hoping they’ll enjoy it,” he said. “I hope couples come to see this because it’s kind of enjoyable and it talks about personal things in an interesting way.” U

6 | News | 02.13.2012

Travers Roy Wimble 1928-2012

“We never knew your name, but we all knew your face. We never knew you in person, but we regret that we haven’t. We hope you rest in peace and the place you move on to will be as comfortable as this chair.” —A message left on the chair occupied almost daily by Travers Roy Wimble

02.13.2012 | News | 7


By Justin McElroy and Laura Rodgers

ravers Roy Wimble started almost every morning the same way. “I’d see him at McDonald’s, having a coffee,” says Michael Benz, a man who collects cans and bottles on UBC campus. “It was at about a quarter to six. And then at about 6:30, I’d catch him going back over to the Student Union Building.” Once inside, Wimble would sit down in a wide, square chair near the entrance to the south concourse—sandwiched innocuously between vending machines and the wall—and begin to read a newspaper. But last Thursday, when Wimble failed to appear, AMS janitor Tootsa Gheorgheos noticed immediately. “I was worried, because I saw in the last couple months that he was more pale than usual, and he was quite old,” she says. Later that morning, Gheorgheos learned why Wimble was not in his chair. The night before, he had collapsed near the corner of Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard and when the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services reached Wimble, he had already passed away. Wimble was 83. Immediately, thousands of students began to pay their respects to a man few knew but everyone saw. Some spoke to him for years without knowing his age or background. For most, even his name was a mystery. Some called him Santa—for his beard—or Abraham Lincoln, for his stoic presence: seated deep in the chair like the memorial in Washington. Many called him Chairbo, or simply, “the man in the SUB.” But Travers was called “Travis” or “Trev” by friends, and treasured his privacy. In a span of nearly 25 years at UBC, he revealed little about himself. And yet a campus is mourning in a way he might not have expected. He didn’t have a home. But he had a community. ••• “I was thinking this story should have been written when he was alive, you know?” says Irfan Reayat, an AMS security guard who occasionally talked to Wimble. What we do know can be pieced together from the recollections of those that spoke with him often. Walking back and forth from Wreck Beach, Anthony Wheyne would often talk to Wimble, sometimes giving him a newspaper. He says of the man, “He was a listener, which I think was one of his charming attributes.” Wimble was born in 1928 and grew up in Vancouver, raised by his mother. “I don’t know about other brothers and sisters,” Wheyne says. “He didn’t mention that, but I got the impression that times were sort of tough for him.” To make money as a kid during the Depression, Travers would ride on the bumpers of cars, helping drivers steer when visibility was low. “In those days [there were] major pollution problems, like fog so thick you couldn’t even [see],” Wheyne says. “Travis as a child used to ride on the bumpers of cars through Hastings Street, pointing out which way for the guy to steer, because you couldn’t drive through there some days.” Wimble told people that he served in the Korean War as an adult. He married and began raising a family. At one point, according to Wheyne, he mentioned working in a laundromat. But he lost both his wife and daughter to accidents, incidents which those who knew Wimble say left him heartbroken. “I would say, ‘Trevor, God really loves you,’” a UBC Food Services worker told Global News. “And he said, ‘No, God doesn’t love me, because he took my wife and my daughter.’…It made him very sad.” ••• Wimble began sitting in the south concourse six years ago, but had been a daily visitor to the SUB since 2002, and UBC Security says he had been on campus for nearly 25 years. The university generally prevents homeless people from becoming regular patrons of any one place, but made an exception for Wimble. “At first, I asked, ‘Why do we allow him here?’” says Sindy Sohi, who became manager of SUB custodial services two years ago. “I was told that he was allowed to stay, that campus security was fine with him, because he was so decent.” “When I came here I was told about [some homeless people] causing trouble,” says Shaun Wilson, AMS Security manager. “But we were told that he was fine, never causing trouble.” SUB staff would often give him leftover food at the end of the day, while some students would offer him food or change. Some jokingly referred to him as the guardian of the building—a description that wasn’t far off. Thomas Weidner, who has worked for the SUB proctor’s office for six years, says Wimble kept a benevolent eye on all that went on around him.

The “old man in the SUB” remembered “I wish you were here to see just how many people are missing your presence in the SUB—people who didn’t really show it when you were here. I wish you could know that people actually cared that you sat there.” “You were known as ‘Chairbo’ and ‘old guy in the SUB.’ But I simply called you the man with no home. I hope you’ve finally found your home.” “I’ll never forget when once I walked up to him and said: ‘Excuse me sir, would you accept it if I gave you $5 for lunch?’ The smile that appeared on his face was something I’ll never forget. He didn’t know what to say at first, then he shook my hand, took the money and was looking at it, as if he couldnt believe it. Then he smiled again, very warmly and kindly, thanking me. I wished him an enjoyable afternoon and left.” “I hope you’ve understood by now that my incredible shyness and fear of offending you prevented me from having a long conversation with you. I hope to know your story. I will miss you. Rest in peace. “When I came back to UBC this fall after a few years, the first person I looked to find was you. I can’t believe you’re gone. Everyone at UBC will miss you. You were like a kind grandpa, your presence always comforting and reassuring. “I wish I had bothered to talk to you or buy you food. Now I won’t ever get the chance. If there is an afterlife, I’m sure you would be in a better place now. Over here, we’ll make sure your seat is never taken by anyone else.” “You don’t realize how much you miss someone until they’re gone. I wish you were here to see just how many people are missing your presence in the SUB. People who didn’t really show it when you were here. I wish you could know that people actually cared that you sat there. It’s like you were watching over us this entire time. I am sure you are a man full of stories to share, I wish I’d taken the opportunity to ask you about them.” —notes posted on Wimble’s chair. “The only thing that I grabbed was that life is bitter, can be bitter sometimes. The good thing is what you can extract from that bitterness, and to be more positive. I hope that he is in peace and I also think that there are so many other stories like him moving around us, all we need to do is, in our busy life, just ponder these people—who are they, where do they come from and why they are in a state and what can be done? Because he is someone who made a difference. —Irfan Reayat “That’s why he was a rather special person actually, and he went suddenly, which meant he really kept it to himself, which I really admire. He was a real bird, he looked good right until the end, then just disappeared.” —Anthony Wheyne

“[He was] keeping an eye on the building, making sure nothing bad was going on,” says Weidner. “He would give tips on people he saw coming into the building that he thought were shady-looking. He would let me know, or [let] security know, to watch that guy. There are people in the past we’ve had trouble with, [and] he would let us know right away. “Three years ago, there was a guy that came in and lit some microwaves on fire downstairs in the food service area. He saw him, and let us know who it was.” Wimble could be seen leaving the SUB each evening, but there is debate about where he finished his days. Some say he used to sleep near the Lutheran Campus Centre across from CIBC, others say he stayed closer to Alma, and others claim he was staying in a hotel downtown at the time of his death. UBYSSEY FILE PHOTO It was one of those Travers Wimble, seen here in a 2006 photo, was well-known to students and things he didn’t like to talk about. Wimble SUB staff. would be happy to talk with people in the SUB who engaged with him, but preferred to keep the conversation away from his personal life. “He had a sense of humour and it wasn’t too hard to get a chuckle or a laugh out of him,” Wheyne says, “[but] he told me he didn’t really discuss his life. He was a very sort of private, proud person and you just didn’t go there.” Though some tried. “I did try to be curious about who he was but he didn’t want us to find out,” Reayat says. “I wondered what he did, where he lived. He did say that he liked sitting here, that it was just like home to him, but he never discussed his past. “[But] even while commenting difficult life can be sometimes, he always said you can take something positive from it.” ••• Despite Wimble’s age, his death came as a shock to many who knew him. “I was shocked because...he didn’t seem to be sick or ill or [to have] any disease, ‘cause he was walking fine, he never complained,” Reayat says. “He looked good right until the end, then just disappeared,” Wheyne says. Reports of Wimble’s death trickled in from unconfirmed sources beginning on February 8, and by February 10 his passing had been confirmed by the regional coroner’s office, and police notified his surviving kin. “Initial investigation suggests that [Wimble] died of natural causes,” says Corporal Robert Ploughman of the RCMP’s university detachment. “He was someone who was well-known to us all, and was a part of the university community.” David Pendlebury, the AMS Security employee who first confirmed Wimble’s death, was also saddened when he heard the news. “I’ve known Trevor for two and a half years, and talked to him quite a few times. I’m actually slightly devastated that he’s gone. “It’s going to be weird not seeing him there every day.” Within a day, the well-worn chair he used to sit in had become a sort of shrine, overflowing with flowers, candles, newspapers and heartfelt notes, paper cranes, cookies and five cups of coffee. Hundreds expressed their feelings on Facebook and Twitter, sharing anecdotes and the occasional nickname that had been thought up for the often-taciturn Wimble. One note read, “I’m sure you are a man full of stories to share, I wish I’d taken the opportunity to ask you about them. It’s funny how someone’s mere presence can connect and bring people together. You were part of our everyday atmosphere, and we will miss you in that chair of yours.” Another said simply, “You were cool, chair dude! We’ll remember you!” The flowers, cookies and candles won’t stay on the chair forever, but two UBC students, Erik MacKinnon and Paula Samper, have already begun to plan for a more lasting memorial for the much-beloved figure. They will ask AMS Council to dedicate a bench in his honour, and are also considering a plaque. Over the decades, without either side fully realizing it, a quiet respect had grown between Wimble and this campus. The flowers, notes, newspapers and food placed in front of his chair speak to a remarkable relationship. Or, as one note said simply: “He probably didn’t think he affected us. But he did.” U


02.13.2012 |


Editor: Drake Fenton


T-Bird Standings V-Ball (M) W L


UBC fought back from a 3-0 deficit on Friday night but were unable to persevere, losing 5-4. The ‘Birds came out flat Saturday night, getting blown out by the Huskies 5-0.

‘Birds blown out in weekend series UBC lost 5-0 to Saskatchewan Saturday, team hopes to peak for playoffs Snap Shots Alison Mah Here it is, the stretch drive, and the Thunderbirds are attempting to accelerate in time for the big show. Curse a poll of CIS coaches that anticipated a last place finish at the beginning of the season. UBC is going to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. “We want to make sure we send our graduating players off on a positive note, and there’s no better way than having success in the playoffs,” said UBC head coach Milan Dragicevic. “We want to make sure when these guys leave the program that it’s in better hands than it was when they first got here.” The regular season work isn’t done yet, though. There’s still a pair of games to play next weekend in Manitoba, although they will have no impact in determining UBC’s overall place in the standings. The Thunderbirds lost that chance this past weekend, when a win would have given them a chance to overtake Calgary and capture the fourth

place seed. The ‘Birds would have hosted the first round of the playoffs at home, a feat that hasn’t occurred since 1971. But after two losses to the Saskatchewan Huskies, Calgary is too far out of reach, and UBC will have to settle for fifth place, meaning the hill becomes that much steeper. The T-Birds have stumbled on the road this year, posting a record of 4-6-2 and scoring just 28 goals to 41 against. The last month has arguably been the most crucial—and yet the most difficult—of the season for the Thunderbirds. In the span of three weeks, UBC split their series against top-seeded Alberta, squandered two separate 2-0 leads against secondranked Manitoba, and dropped both games against third-seeded Saskatchewan this past weekend. Their record during that time is 1-5. “The lesson we learned is that these are good teams,” said Dragicevic. “If we want to consider ourselves an elite program and an elite hockey team, we have to find ways to beat these guys and play for 60 minutes. We’re not good enough to play for two periods and win, and to me that’s the biggest thing. We need 20 guys working their butts off

and playing to our identity for us to have a chance.” On Friday night at Father Bauer Arena, the Thunderbirds fought back from a 3-0 first period deficit to even the score 4-4 before surrendering the game on a late power play goal. “We weren’t physical in the body, we weren’t chipping the puck,” said Dragicevic on Friday. “Everything we wanted to do in the last two periods, we didn’t do in the first.” But any lessons the Thunderbirds professed to take away from Friday’s miserable first period didn’t seem to be sticking Saturday night. Thirteen seconds into the game, Kyle Ross drove to the net and beat backup UBC goaltender Kraymer Barnstable to give the Huskies the early advantage. Just three minutes later, Chris Durand swept in shorthanded and beat Barnstable five-hole to make it 2-0 Saskatchewan. For UBC, it seemed a repeat performance of the previous night’s first period nightmare. But unlike Friday when they managed to miraculously turn the game around, things got progressively worse for the Thunderbirds. Five minutes into the second frame, Derek Hulak shot a puck through a screen that snuck past Barnstable to make it 3-0. Barnstable was pulled in favour of Jordan White two minutes later after Travis Brisebois sniped a shot, unscreened this time, past the goalie’s glove. But with three minutes left in the period and UBC on another power play, Craig McCallum cut in on White and scored Saskatchewan’s second shorthanded goal of the night to make it 5-0. It was a disappointing effort in light of the inspired pushback the night before. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to turn it around,” said Dragicevic.

“How are we supposed to turn things around when we’re down so early? We didn’t execute. They scored two shorthanded goals, and we gave up four breakaways on the power play. I think that says it all.” Compared to last season, in which UBC’s goal differential was an ugly -25, this season’s Thunderbirds have scored 72 goals and allowed 80. That tighter differential is reflected in their improved standings—already they have one more win than last year, with two games to go—but it also reflects their inconsistency. It should be noted that UBC has played one third of their season without last year’s leading point scorer, captain Justin McCrae, a highly skilled player and role model both on and off the ice. As he eases back into rhythm, the team should gain a boost from his contributions going into the playoffs. But UBC will need more help than just the return of McCrae if they want to make it out of the first round for only the third time in 40 years. Of 2009’s playoff team, only Jordan Inglis, Ryan Kakoske and Matt Pepe still remain—so there’s an issue of post-season inexperience at this level. But UBC’s problems run deeper than that. Inconsistency, lapses in puck management and an anemic power play converting at just 14.7 per cent have plagued the team all year long. “We’ve given way too many free goals to the opposition, and we have to work for our goals,” said Dragicevic. “That kills us.” Given these difficulties, the reality of a first-round exit is quite conceivable. But there’s still a chance, a hope—there always is—and that’s all the Thunderbirds will need when they finish up the regular season in Manitoba next weekend, and then touch down in Calgary for the playoffs in two weeks. Time to hit the accelerator. U

TWU x Manitoba x Alberta x Calgary x Brandon x UBC x UBC - O x Winnipeg Regi na Sask TRU

19 18 15 11 11 10 8 7 4 4 3

V-Ball (W)


UBC xy Alberta x Winnipeg x TWU x Calgary x Manitoba x TRU x Brandon UBC - O Regina Sask.

18 2 14 6 14 6 13 7 11 9 11 9 9 11 9 11 6 14 5 15 0 20

1 2 5 9 9 10 12 13 16 16 17

x: clinched playoff spot y: CW Final Four host

Top 7 qualify for playoffs

Hockey (M) W L OL Manitoba x Alberta x Sask. x Calgary x UBC x Lethbridge Regina

18 18 17 15 12 7 5

5 6 6 11 11 16 18

3 2 3 2 3 3 3

x: clinched playoff spot Top 6 qualify for playoffs CW champion qualifies for CIS nationals

Bird Droppings Women’s basketball: UBC takes down Victoria at home In their final regular season home game at War Memorial Gym, the UBC women’s basketball team overcame an 18-point first half deficit to take down the University of Victoria Vikes 8366 on Friday night. The Vikes punished the ‘Birds in the first half with precise sharpshooting from the field. UBC’s slow start allowed Victoria to take a ten point lead by the end of the first quarter. In the second half, UBC clawed back into the game by dominating on the glass. By the game’s end, UBC had pulled in 19 offensive rebounds, and had outscored Victoria 24-5 on second chance points. UBC’s offensive outburst proved to be too much for Victoria to handle, as the ‘Birds cruised to victory in the fourth quarter. Kris Young and Zara Huntley led the ‘Birds with two lights-out performances. Young notched 14 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists. Huntley was a force at the rim and on the glass, scoring 17 points and hauling in 15 rebounds. UBC will end their regular season next week with a rematch in Victoria. U To read the full recap and our men’s basketball coverage, visit

02.13.2012 | Sports | 9 BASKETBALL >>

UVic transfer making a name for herself at UBC Point guard Kristen Hughes’s sharpshooting has helped UBC become one of the nation’s top teams CJ Pentland Staff Writer

Be it in the classroom or on the court, Kristen Hughes means business. As a Commerce student who also stars as the starting point guard for the UBC women’s basketball team, Hughes knows that hard work is crucial to success. And in her case, the effort is paying off right now. Hughes is in her first year of playing with the Thunderbirds after transferring from the University of Victoria two years ago and redshirting last season. However, despite the change of scenery and a new position, she has found it to be a very smooth transition. “I was lucky enough that I knew a lot of the Vancouver girls coming into this. Playing against them, I got to know them even better, and they’ve made it very easy for me,” said Hughes. As a graduate of Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver, Hughes grew up playing with and against several of her current Thunderbird teammates. Now reunited back at UBC, the team is putting up impressive results. The T-Birds are currently ranked No. 4 in the nation and have secured a playoff berth with a 14-3 regular season record. Hughes has been an integral part of this success, with head coach Deb Huband calling her the team’s “floor general,” a role

that Hughes did not expect when she first came to UBC. “[The leadership role] took a bit of getting used to. But I’m always still learning, and I’m glad that [Huband] sees me in that role because I’ve been trying to get more of a leadership and communicative role on the team,” said Hughes, who is second on the team in minutes played per game. On the offensive side of the ball, Hughes has been a deadly threat from beyond the arc for the ‘Birds. The point guard has made the most three-pointers on the team this season with 33 in 17 games, showing a confidence in her shooting that has grown over her university career. “My last year at Victoria was when I really started shooting the ball well. So that gave me more confidence with shooting the ball, and Deb has given me the okay to shoot the ball whenever I feel like it. I worked really hard to get that.” The hard work Hughes has put in on the court is clearly evident in her stats and the team’s record this year, but the work she puts in outside the game has also provided results. In the offseason, the Commerce student will start an internship with the Vancouver business firm KPMG. After that, she hopes to get her chartered accountant designation. Hughes cites former T-Bird standout and North Vancouver product Erica McGuinness as a significant influence on her career


Hughes has been dynamite from downtown this year, leading UBC with 33 three-pointers.

path. McGuinness holds the record for most career points scored in UBC women’s basketball history and was also a graduate of the Sauder School of Business. “I know that doing Commerce and basketball together is a huge

load to deal with, so seeing that she has been able to do it has helped me a lot,” she said. Business has always been an interest for Hughes, and after she finishes school she hopes to follow that passion.

“I’m hoping to take my business degree and maybe use it in the fashion industry later on. Or if I could do something in the financial side of sports and be able to combine both of those, I would be the happiest.” As of right now, Hughes’s focus is on the remainder of the basketball season. There are only two games left in the regular season before the playoff starts, and these dates have been circled on her calendar for quite some time now. UBC’s final series is against UVic, and for the first time Hughes will be playing against her former teammates. But for two 40-minute games, the friendships she has with her opponents will be set aside as the ‘Birds fight for two important wins. “I love those girls, they were like a family to me over there. It’ll be good, they were understanding of my reasons to come back here. I do really want to beat them, but it will just be like playing with friends out there.” Last season, the T-Birds suffered a first round playoff loss to the University of Alberta, and with the playoffs looming, Hughes believes the team can avoid that result this year. “We have the potential to do so well, so we’re just trying to keep going as the playoffs come closer.” With Hughes’s shooting prowess and leadership, UBC may have found the missing puzzle piece in their bid for playoff success. U


02.13.2012 |


Editor: Brian Platt

Green College series meant to challenge Letters


The Last Word Parting shots and snap judgments on today’s issues The AMS’s smart plan to branch off its businesses At the February 8 AMS Council meeting, VP Finance Elin Tayyar laid out an ambitious plan to have the AMS form a separate company to run its businesses. This company would run independently from the student government side and focus on maximizing profits. Those profits would then flow back into the student government to help fund student services. This makes a lot of sense. The AMS is already unique among Canadian student unions for the amount of money it makes off its business operations, and this new plan would provide those businesses with stable and professional management—as opposed to a 40-person council filled with student politicians, most of whom know little about how to run a business. The danger, of course, is that the AMS loses all control of its business operations and its outlets start gouging students to make a buck. But the plan lays out enough safeguards that we are confident this won’t be a significant problem. In the long term, this plan could enable the AMS to provide more student services without needing to raise student fees, and that is good news for all of us.

If only we could have more of the Davis Cup atmosphere Last weekend saw the world of tennis descend upon UBC, as France and Canada played in the Davis Cup. The Davis Cup is like the Champion’s League of tennis, so this event was a pretty big deal (unless you don’t follow tennis or soccer, in which case that analogy didn’t help you). Thunderbird Arena was transformed into a tennis court and 5000 fans screamed their hearts out for the home team, creating a lovely and loud world-class viewing experience. The problem, of course, is that this almost never happens. The biggest white elephant of the 2010 Olympics is the regularly-vacant Thunderbird Sports Centre. While the Olympic

Village was a financial disaster, at least people inhabit it. The same can’t be said for our arena. Some of this is due to 6000-person concerts no longer being a viable model, but part of it is due to UBC’s frustrating and byzantine bureaucracy that functions in place of an actual government. So if you enjoyed the atmosphere in Thunderbird Arena this weekend, savour it. Odds are it’ll be a while before it happens again.

Where the @#%# is the WTF campaign? Seven BC student unions have banded together for the Where’s the Funding Campaign, but if you haven’t heard of it, you can blame the campaign’s shoddy marketing strategy. There has been a sparse presence at WTF’s booth in the SUB conversation pit. When people are actually there, they hand out Valentine’s Day card parodies that very vaguely indicate the campaign’s purpose. “Let’s not drag this out...I want to break up with interest rates on student loans,” reads one card. Another: “This budget I’m looking for a little love... Core funding is at the heart of this relationship.” The only other information on the cards is the list of student unions involved in the campaign and its website. This may have seemed clever when it was first conjured up, but the cards are hardly helpful if you are looking to engage students on their way to class amid the bustle of commercial booths during the Valentine’s Day market. We can’t help but point out that this ineffective initiative is falling in the wake of the well-organized and nationally visible Day of Action held by the Canadian Federation of Students. The AMS might be confident that they can lobby government on post-secondary funding without being part of a national lobbying group, but they aren’t proving it with this campaign. They either need to get the provincial lobby group together, or put some serious

work into improving their grassroots campaigning ability.

A professor who sets the standard for social media Although the communications staff in UBC’s various departments often use Twitter and Facebook to get their messages out, only a handful of its faculty really “get” social media. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a professor who really engages with his students online in a way that isn’t superficial. And in that regard, Raul Pacheco-Vega—the subject of this week’s “Our Campus” profile—is at the head of the pack. With over two thousand users following his research account and several thousand more on his personal feed, Pacheco-Vega is a minor celebrity by Twitter standards—and a large portion of those followers are his students. He uses the platform to post updates on his research, link to work opportunities in his field and give students real-time feedback on assignments. Through this unfettered interaction with students, Pacheco-Vega makes his work feel vibrant and alive, and it gives the political science department a sense of openness and innovation. Other professors should take note.

The elections administrator needs to be hired in the summer Although this year’s AMS elections campaign was generally free of scandal (along with being free of vigorous campaigning by most candidates), a bit of trouble has arisen with the theological colleges. It turns out that some of them were unable to vote because their registrar did not send out the emails with voting instructions. We’ve said it before: the AMS needs to hire the elections administrator (EA) in the summer, rather than waiting until the winter as they did this year. The problems this year clearly stem from a lack of communication; in the future, the EA needs as much time as possible to sort these issues out ahead of time. U

UBC has a Public Affairs Office that communicates the “UBC Plan and the UBC Brand to the internal community...and to the broader external community.” The February edition of its newspaper, UBC Reports, features an article entitled “Animals in Research,” and this article includes a link to what is described as “UBC Green College Dialogues.” As the convenors of this Green College Thematic Speaker Series on animals at the university (“Bringing the Collective Together: Nonhuman Animals, Humans and Practice at the University”), we write to clarify the origins of our series, and our hopes for it. The UBC Reports article opens with Vice-President Research & International John Hepburn introducing four mini-essays written by UBC scholars. Hepburn describes these mini-essays as “part of an ongoing academic dialogue to evolve our thinking and practices on the issue of animal research.” As it turns out, three of these four scholars have been panelists in the Green College series (Bill Milsom, Jodey Castricano, David Fraser). Next to their mini-essays, a sidebar adds, “Let the conversation continue,” and the reader is linked to the Green College series. Taken altogether, this framing may give the impression that the UBC administration has coordinated an “ongoing academic dialogue to evolve our thinking and practices,”

and that the Green College series falls under the auspices of this centralized undertaking. This is not the case. The Green College series belongs to the grassroots of the UBC community. It was the near absence at UBC of community awareness and open critical scholarly discussion that inspired undergraduates from a 2010 political science seminar (“Political Theory and Nonhuman Life”) to convene scholars from across disciplines to interrogate the university’s use of animals. Green College, which is external to the central administration, and whose mandate is to “exceed the ordinary limits of academic discourse and to provide a venue hospitable to constructive thinking,” stepped up to fund and host our series. Evidently the UBC administration appreciates the scholarly deliberation being fostered at Green College; we series convenors warmly welcome this. But our aim is not to affirm UBC as a place of openness to legitimate standing practices. Rather, we aim to cultivate robust critical engagement that yields change if and where appropriate to the university’s governance of animals. Given the talent on our campus, we believe UBC can be an innovative global leader around the use of animals at the university. —Afsoun Afsahi, Darren Chang, Aylon Cohen, Viara Gioreva, Dalaina Heiberg, Laura Janara, Lucas Pinheiro, Shirin Shushtarian and Kaitlin Wood

Classes shouldn’t come with buyer’s risk Perspectives >> Gordon Katic

In high school, I had some romantic notions of what university ought to be. I was expecting a place which sought to nurture non-market values, encourage critical thought and foster a vibrant campus culture. I was confident that UBC would mold me from a boy to a man, and from an ignorant student to an engaged citizen. To some extent, this has proven true; but I have come to realize that, more than anything, I was being molded into a consumer. In my first year, I wondered if I was attending a university or wandering a shopping mall. Walking to class involved passing bazaars filled with cheap trinkets, being sold on the merits of high-definition television, refusing discount subscriptions to sub-par newspapers and being annoyed by a series of corporate giveaways (gum, Kraft dinner, soda, energy drinks, razors, frisbees). Sure enough, I became a shopper in this mall. To say nothing of tuition, I paid exorbitant prices for textbooks, sweaters, sandwiches, laptops and lattes—they even made me pay for hot water! Isn’t it fitting that many of UBC’s roads have the word “mall” in them? Granted, my analogy isn’t perfect; I can’t think of a mall that will ask me to rent a gown and pay for a photograph as I walk out the door. Contrary to what the @freefoodubc Twitter account will tell

you, there’s no free lunch at UBC; students and their families pay for this experience. Despite treating us like consumers, UBC doesn’t quite function like a market. Picking classes at UBC is not like buying clothes in a mall or tickets to a movie; it’s more like gambling. Imagine the movie industry had no trailers, no posters, no Oscars and no critics. How often would you buy a movie ticket? Until your later years when you become better acquainted with your department, you really have no idea what to expect. How often did you know what a professor was going to be like in terms of content, course structure and teaching style? How many of your years began with enthusiasm but waned when you learned your classes were too insipid to wake up for? We’ve all made bad bets on classes, but there’s very little we could have done to prevent it. You could sit in on the first class or two (“course shopping”), but this is like judging a movie by its first ten minutes. If UBC will continue to treat us as consumers, it should consider providing us the information we need to make informed purchases (releasing teaching evaluations, streamlining and standardizing professor bios, writing detailed and accurate course descriptions, publishing the learning objectives of a class, etc.). This wouldn’t quite be the vision of education I had four years ago, but at least I would know what I’m paying for. U


02.13.2012 |


Pictures and words on your university experience


The art of being anti-social

I got the university experience I was looking for. Now I guess it’s time to get old? Melodramatic Musings Will Johnson People go to university for a lot of different reasons. When I first left to study at UVic, my goal was simple: I wanted to live a student lifestyle. I had spent a few years lifeguarding part-time while I took random college classes. I was constantly worried about money and never had a real chance to immerse myself in the academic environment. I was busy picking up extra shifts and struggling to get by financially. Then I saw friends who had completely adopted the student persona—partying every weekend and going to class in pyjama bottoms. Their biggest worries were upcoming deadlines and gruelling midterms, and they either lived off student loans or a regular cash influx from their parents. It was like being in elementary school all over again. It was like an invitation from the universe to take it easy, to take a few more years to figure out my life. So I took out some student loans, packed up my shit, and moved to the Island.

Sure, I was interested in my coursework. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, I thought getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was a worthwhile endeavour. But I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that a large part of the reason I sought out a post-secondary education was to buck the looming spectres of responsibility and adulthood. It was a good four years. I met lifelong friends, I travelled for job placements, I furthered my career and I partied. Hard. But now that I’m starting my MFA at UBC, things are starting to feel a little different. I’m a little more aware of the extra weight my regular diet of beer and nachos provided me with. All of a sudden, being productive seems better than being lazy. Staying home to watch TV or read a book seems like an alluring option. And I’ve started to value a solid night’s sleep. I also routinely realize I’ve reached the ancient age of 27 years old, and after I overcome the shock, I start to worry about what I’m going to accomplish with the next few years. I mean, I’m going to be 30 soon! I guess that niggling, uncomfortable feeling is what they call ambition. I’ve got a girlfriend now too, and I’m finding my motivation to meet new people is dwindling. Whether or not I realized it at the time, most


While I still enjoy getting wasted, it doesn’t quite add up to a good night’s sleep and a day of sober self reflection.

of my social interactions were at least a little bit motivated by the possibility of sex. Take that out of the equation, and what’s the point of paying too much for drinks at the bar? Shit, what’s the point of doing anything?

I hate to admit it, but it’s true: I’m a big fucking cliché. It’s still good to show my face in public occasionally. And I can consume my fair share of intoxicants. But I’ve made room in my life for days where I don’t leave the

house, and stay home to study and work. I’ve started to relish being alone. And I’ve even started jogging, which is a surprisingly meditative form of exercise. Is this what growing up feels like? U

February 13, 2012  

The Ubyssey for February 13, 2012

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