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March 29, 2012 | VOL. XCIII ISS. LI

Puking our guts out SINCE 1918


TALENT P9 UBC’s top performers take the stage Thursday evening





WALL The Ubyssey takes a crack at one of campus’ most quintessential experiences, despite being the least athletic students on campus


Our women’s supplement examines some of the obstacles women face at universities












2 | Page 2 | 03.29.2012


This week, may we suggest...

Our Campus

One on one with the people who make UBC

UBC’s Got Talent: 7:30 @ Old Auditorium

The second annual talent show will highlight the talents of the UBC community: singing, dancing, theatre, musical acrobatic etc. Unfortunately, Stephen Toope will not be singing any 80s classics this time around.

30 FRI




The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody: 7pm @ The Norm Porn at the Norm is back! This time, they’ll be showing a porno parody of the Coen Bros’ classic. Creepy? Well, that’s just your opinion, man.


Farha Khan has hosted CiTR’s popular show Prof Talk for four years. “To get the person behind the research was a big goal.”

Farha Khan a smooth prof-talker Justin McElroy

31 SAT

Coordinating Editor


Democracy on Demand @ Global Lounge A conference on one of today’s most important questions: how does new media impact democratization? Features wine-andcheese, keynote speaker and a wide range of panelists. Register @



UBC A Cappella presents: Pitch, Please! @ the Norm UBC A Cappella and Dance Horizons present their year-end performance, Pitch, Please! at the Norm Theatre. More info at

Stem Cell drive: 9am-5pm outside SUB Hillel House and the UBC Medical program will be holding a stem cell drive outside the SUB. The procedure is simple: Donors will have their cheek swabbed, and their information will be added to a database. They will be contacted if someone is in need of a marrow transplant.


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

THE UBYSSEY March 29, 2012, Volume XCIII, Issue LI


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


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, MarkAndre Gessaroli, Natalya Kautz, Kai Jacobson, RJ Reid, Colin Chia, Ming Wong, CJ Pentland, Laura Rodgers, Jeff Aschkinasi, Collyn Chan, Anthony Poon, Vinicius Cid, Veronika Bondarenko, Yara DJong

—You can listen to Prof Talk at

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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, 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

When she gets them to open up, the conversations are stimulating. But she acknowledges that some of the faculty stereotypes still come through. “Anyone on the humanities side are similar,” she says with a laugh. “They’re great talkers and they can talk sometimes longer than the entire show. I can’t even get to the second question! And then scientists, not so much. They answer things to the point, and I’m scrambling to find the next question.” Khan recently decided to make the full leap back into academia, and is entering UBC’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program in the fall. But it’s safe to say that in the last four years, she’s gotten an interdisciplinary education that few students could match. “I’ve always been fascinated with research in general, not just my own discipline,” she says. “Prof Talk makes me so excited, because at the end of the day, I’m learning something new that I never would have thought of otherwise.” U

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In 2008, Farha Khan, a UBC employee in enrolment services, considered applying to the UBC School of Journalism. She wrote a few articles for The Ubyssey, and found she really liked talking to professors about their research. Really, really liked it. So much so that she decided to start a show on CiTR dedicated to just that. “The name came to me one night, Prof Talk. It seemed really silly, but it’s perfect,” she said. “UBC is such a big university, so how we can find ways to connect together, especially the researchers? “It wouldn’t be an arts show, it wouldn’t be a science show, it wouldn’t be an engineering show, it would be for everyone.” Now in its fourth year, Prof Talk on CiTR has featured Khan—and for a brief period, students from the School of Journalism—speaking to some of the most acclaimed professors about their research. One of the original goals of the show was to show students the other side of their teachers.

“Professors teach their classes, they may be teaching something that isn’t relevant to their specific research and students may not know what they really do,” she said. “It’s only at the graduate level that you really start to figure it out…but at the undergraduate, you’re taking classes and going through without really knowing.” Her subjects have included recipients of the Order of Canada (Michael Hayden), Nobel Prize winners (Carl Wieman) and more Killam Teaching Prize winners than you could shake a stick at. But Khan says the secret to getting professors to open up is, ironically, to make them stop thinking about their title. “I always get a sense that I’m able to get them feeling relaxed,” she said. “The title sitting on their head, I never call them Doctor. I say ‘Steve’ or ‘Sharon’ to treat them as people. “To get the person behind the research was a big goal,” she added. “My interviewing tries to make them comfortable, so they can talk about their research, but also themselves, in an intimate one-on-one environment.”

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.

Correction In your recent article, “UBC experiment cleared of animal cruelty allegations” (March 21) the statement by animal activist Ann Birthistle suggests the monkeys in question were subject to severe pain. In fact, they were not. The injection of MPTP interferes with voluntary sensorimotor control, which is why it is used in Parkinson’s research, but the procedure is not painful. Helen M. Burt, PhD Associate Vice-President Research & international


03.29.2012 |


Editors: Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan


Network forms to mend gaps in mental health support at UBC Karina Palmitesta Copy Editor

In 2010, UBC alumnus Joshua Beharry approached UBC Counselling Services for support while suffering from depression. However, he didn’t like what he found—the practice of quickly referring students to off-campus psychiatrists and therapists. “I’d like to see UBC be able to provide long term [care] for people on campus, and not just refer people off

campus,” he said. As a result of his experiences, Beharry created the Mental Health Network (MHN) last year. The MHN is a student-run organization that holds monthly meetings to connect and cross-promote mental health initiatives on campus. According to Beharry, the MHN fills a much-needed niche at UBC. “If you go online at UBC and search for mental health, it’s hard to figure out where to go for what, which can be extremely frustrating if you’re actually dealing with mental health issues.”

Although the MHN mainly liaises with mental health-focused groups such as the AMS’s crisis support centre, Speakeasy, they also maintain contact with organizations like the UBC Yoga Club and the Arts Undergraduate Society. One of the MHN’s recent initiatives has been to create and distribute an info sheet that lists all of the mental health support services on campus. Speakeasy coordinator Vivian Lam said that the MHN is a helpful addition to campus.

“Having worked on mental health at UBC for a number of years, you find that departments who have different mandates and whose services mandates don’t really overlap, don’t talk to each other often, if at all,” she said. Lam identified lack of availability as a major problem at UBC Counselling Services. However, she added, most universities across North America are currently dealing with an overload of mental health cases. “This is certainly not something


Military still looks to campus for recruits Vinicius Cid Staff Writer

Anti-war activists may be happy to learn that the Department of National Defence has been gradually reducing its academic funding to Canadian universities. But it looks like recruitment campaigns will continue at campuses like UBC. “At the height of the war on Afghanistan, people wanted to join the army so it was easy to recruit,” said Allan Craigie, a UBC post-doctoratal fellow in political science and an army reservist. “But now there are more people in training than the system can handle, so there’s a backlog in the army. Some trades have shortages, but overall the recruitment drive has definitively toned down.” While a university campus might not be the most natural place to find battle-hardened individuals, that doesn’t mean that the military isn’t interested in recruiting personnel at bastions of academia. Far from it. “In the army, even for frontline positions, a high level of thinking is required,” said Craigie. “They don’t want people with small minds—they want people who realize that there aren’t simple answers to everything. And in university, there are young, motivated individuals who understand that.” UBC’s ties with the Department of National Defence (DND) are primarily through the Liu Institute. It is one 13 of centres across Canada with funding from the Security and Defence Forum Program. The funding is used to pay for academic research as well as student groups’ activities, like the International Relations Student Association.

that’s unique to UBC,” she said. Patricia Mirwaldt, director of UBC Student Health Services, stressed the same point. “We do acknowledge that it isn’t a great system, but that isn’t a UBC issue, it’s a Canadian issue. So we are part of that issue,” she said. Mirwaldt called the MHN a terrific addition to UBC. “I think student groups [reach out] in a way that’s much more effective than doctors or nurses or psychologists talking about it.” U RESEARCH >>

Muehlmann takes new Canadian Research Chair


Ivana Litaveez Contributor


Canadian Forces set up a recruitment booth in the SUB mid-March.

“The program was always operated in a ‘hands-off’ fashion by the Department of National Defence,” said UBC political science professor, Brian Job in an email. He stressed that no recruitment activity went on through the program, although the Centre of International Relations at UBC advertised policy internships available with DND in the same manner as they have for the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs. “We were never told what to do, or what not to do. Security and defence policy was interpreted broadly, and criticism of Canadian policies were not discouraged,” Job said. But the Security and Defence Forum Program funding will come

to an end across Canada at the end of this month, Job added. While diminishing DND funding may be seen as a loss to its proponents, anti-military activists want potential recruits to continue questioning the role the Canadian military really plays. Derrick O’Keefe, co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance and member of StopWar Vancouver, said the Canadian Forces (CF) isn’t explicit about all aspects of military service when it tries to recruit university students. “Right now we’re in a tough job market and young people are struggling to find jobs, and the Canadian Forces’ pitch appeals to those who are looking for opportunities,” O’Keefe said.

“They focus on the positive aspects of being in the CF–like training, education, health, paid employment and adventure. But they rarely emphasize the war aspect, the involvement in death and killing overseas.” O’Keefe said it’s important to educate potential recruits on all facets of the Canadian Forces and its mission and in order to promote discussion. But when looking for workers who already have expertise, the university is still a place the military wants to draw from. “At the end of the day, the Canadian Forces are just like any other organization who recruits on campus,” said Craigie, “they want the best people to work for them.” U

PhD students petition for more funding and tuition waivers

UBC’s strategic plan opens for feedback

Students place third in Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive

Caffeine more of a bust than a boost at work, says UBC study

Graduate students have created a petition asking UBC to increase funding for PhD students who take longer than four years to complete their degree. The petition asks for increased funding, tuition waivers and TA hiring preference to be universally extended beyond the first four years of a PhD program. Some of the petition’s concerns are similar to those of the UBC teaching assistant (TA) union, CUPE 2278, whose ongoing labour negotiations with UBC recently resulted in a successful strike vote. Almost 200 people had signed the petition as of press time.

Place and Promise, the strategic plan meant to align faculty budgets around goals like aboriginal engagement, alumni engagement, intercultural understanding and sustainability, is now open for feedback. Patricia Stevens, director of the president’s office, said Place and Promise is so far achieving its goals, but success needs to be quantified. “The focus this year at the executive level is to start developing those metrics and they link right directly into the action statements,” said Stevens. The survey closed last Friday, but the President’s Office will continue to accept feedback until March 30.

Two UBC students from Sauder School of Business, Christopher Larryant and Veronica Yeung, won third place in Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive competition. The contest asked ten groups to develop marketing strategies for new vehicles from General Motors. The winning campaign was created by Kailee Jaimeson and Ryan Moran of DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Emily Dimyntosh and Elizabeth Harris of the Queen’s School of Business earned second place. The winning team won two cars, while first and second place received scholarships of $2500 and $1000.

A UBC study has found that caffeine can cause some workers to slack off. The study found that more industrious rats were less motivated after consuming stimulants. It also suggests that the amount of attention people devote to a task determines how drugs affect them. “Every day, millions of people use stimulants to wake up, stay alert and increase their productivity—from truckers driving all night to students cramming for exams,” said Jay Hosking, who led the study. “These findings suggest that some stimulants may actually have an opposite effect for people who naturally favour the difficult tasks of life.” U

News briefs

Shaylih Muehlmann, an assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at UBC, will bring environmental sustainability and social justice to the fore as the new Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Language, Culture and the Environment. Muehlmann’s research focuses on environmental conflict, language and identity, particularly in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. She recently explored the effect of water scarcity on an indigenous group in northern Mexico as a result of competition over the Colorado River by groups on both sides of the US-Mexico border. “I hope that my research will eventually have an impact on wider discussions related to these themes,” she said. Muehlmann’s current research project focuses on the relationship between ‘narco’ violence and the local rural population. What makes Muehlmann’s research most distinctive is her approach to broader-scale processes through a focus on “how ordinary people experience on an everyday basis larger social and environmental problems such as water scarcity, social inequality and violence.” The federal CRC program was established 12 years ago to promote research and development, and now supports 2000 research professorships in over 70 post-secondary institutions across the nation. The new appointments bring the number of chairholders at UBC to 157, making UBC the second largest CRC nominating university in Canada. Muehlmann was one of three other UBC researchers appointed as CRCs in the past month. Astrophysicist Gary Hinshaw was appointed to the new CRC in Observational Cosmology. The other new CRC appointment, in Premodern Literature and Culture, was awarded to Asian Studies professor Christina Laffin. U

4 | News | 03.29.2012 WORKPLACE >>

Faculty, staff surveyed on UBC experience Less than half feel they can achieve their career objectives working at UBC Natalya Kautz Staff Writer

The results of UBC’s second Workplace Experiences Survey are in, and while the university ranked poorly on career opportunities for faculty and staff, there are plans to find solutions on a departmental basis. UBC polled 27 per cent of employees at both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses—over 3600 faculty and staff in total. But less than half felt they could achieve their career objectives at the university, and both groups agreed that “the number of career opportunities are too limited.” Other concerns raised in the report centred around equity—only one-third of survey responders believed that promotions, transfers and appointments were “made fairly” at UBC. While UBC is currently in the process of developing a website to help employees chart career plans, the university said they’re also redeveloping their human resource strategy in response to the survey. Alex Bayne, director of UBC Human Resources (HR) Integrated Strategies, was responsible for implementing and assessing the survey. She said that alongside

The General Services Administration Building is home to many aspects of human resources at UBC.

university-wide programs, HR is creating over one hundred unique reports for faculties and large departments on the two campuses. In contrast, Bayne said that implementation of the 2009 survey results were stunted by being too broad without any focus on faculties, departments or VP portfolios. “If you actually asked someone in

a faculty what they did with the [2009] results it was probably not very much.” Assistant Dean of Science David Shorthouse is responsible for assessing the faculty’s report. He said this year’s report will help departments understand their diverse employee groups and move forward with faculty-based solutions.


“In science we have non-academic departments and many of them are very large. It’s important for us and the department heads to know what’s going on in their respective departments...It’s critical to have them at a unit level.” But Bayne warned that results from the survey can be deceiving. While 37 per cent of respondents

said they are likely to leave UBC in the next three years, she said that HR isn’t giving much weight to this statistic. “Our actual voluntary turnover rate is around 6 per cent, so I think you have to look at both sides of that coin. Lots of people would think about leaving should the right opportunity come along, but you have to balance it out with the actual turnover.” But despite HR’s plans, the survey results reported that most UBC employees doubt their concerns will be effectively addressed. When asked if they believed UBC’s senior leaders would take meaningful action on the issues identified in the survey, only one third of staff and faculty agreed. Shorthouse attributed the perception to UBC’s size. “Its just such a large organization, I think people are right to believe with some caution that it’s hard to change the culture of a large organization,” he said. However, due to the changes in assessing the 2011 survey, Shorthouse believed the results will be put into practice in a more meaningful way. “It’s easier to change the culture within specific faculties, and down the road that actually will improve the culture across the university.” U


Spothelfer to replace Owen as VP Will McDonald Staff Writer

UBC has brought in a new face for a new position. The Board of Governors appointed Pascal Spothelfer, a veteran of the private sector, as the new VP communications and community partnership. UBC changed the name of the portfolio—formerly called VP external, legal and community relations and held by Stephen Owen—to reflect new values and responsibilities. Spothelfer said the retooled portfolio emphasizes communicating UBC’s stories, as well as “proactively, and strategically and systematically engaging” with communities outside UBC. Although Spothelfer has a PhD in law from the University of Basel, he said removing “legal” from the portfolio will improve its effectiveness. “Having taken the ‘legal’ out of the portfolio, I think will allow me to be kind of more outward-looking than Stephen Owen could be, given the mandates that were in his portfolio during his tenure.” Spothelfer has extensive experience in business and management consulting both abroad and in BC. He was planning to return to private industry, until he heard of the opening at UBC. “What attracted me to UBC was the organization itself, the institution itself and what it means for society...I think universities are increasingly important to equip us going forward.” He worked as the senior VP of strategic development for Teekay Shipping, but said it offered a narrow view of the world. “They’re very smart, but they’re not as curious.” Spothelfer said his most recent


Pascal Spothelfer will take office as the newest UBC vice president in May.

experience as the president and CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) from 2007 to 2011, offered him a wider view of government relations and policy development, which translates well to his new job. “When you work in a company, it’s a very narrow view of the world...[BCTIA] was suddenly the broad view of the strategy affecting the entire community.” Spothelfer said that his experience with BCTIA taught him that the key to government relations is developing an ongoing dialogue with all levels of government, rather than just talking about problems as they arise. “Government relations is particularly successful if it’s not issuedriven...You don’t want [only] to call somebody up when you have a problem,” he said.

Media relations also fall under Spothelfer’s portfolio. He said press releases should be timely and stick to the facts. “I think at the end of the day, media relations’ role is to tell the stories the way they are. It’s not about putting a veneer over things. “The more proactive it is, the better, because that doesn’t leave the media time to concoct stories because they lack information,” said Spothelfer He said the key to success in his new position will be developing necessary relationships, as well as creating a plan for the next five years. “So, this is the work of year number one, I think, to establish these success factors. And we will not be able to establish them just by sitting in our four walls and discussing them.” U





Write for News and have your words read by thousands. Kalyeena Makortoff + Micki Cowan

03.29.2012 | News | 5 UNION UPDATE>>

A UBC labour primer What you need to know about union unrest on campus and what will happen in the event of a strike


Mediation Strike vote Net zero mandate

When the two sides appoint a third party to facilitate the bargaining process, usually when attempts to reach an agreement have failed. If the third party is asked to make a binding decision, the process is arbitration. Conducted over one to three days, union members vote in a secret ballot on whether or not to approve a strike. If successful, this doesn’t mean that there is a strike, but they have permission to call one. A provincial policy in place since 2010 that forbids public sector workers from receiving pay increases unless equivalent benefits are removed from the contract. Unions are now operating under a policy called co-operative gains, which allows for increases equivalent to decreases from the budget of the relevant institution.

Who are they?

26 security guards that work for the AMS, monitoring the building and providing security for bar parties. Some of the security guards are students. COPE 378 has also represented AMS administrative staff since the 1960s, although they aren’t in a dispute with the AMS. CUPE 116 has the most expansive and diverse membership of any of the unions still at the bargaining table. Its 2000 members include custodians, food service workers, IT workers, tradespeople, bookstore employees, parking service workers, campus security, research technicians and many others. They also represent workers of the Graduate Student Society. Lifeguards working at the UBC Aquatic Centre are also represented by the same local, but they negotiate a separate agreement with the university.

CUPE 2278

UBC’s 2300 teaching assistants, tutors and markers. TAs mark exams and run seminars and labs. CUPE 2278 also represents continuing studies instructors at the English Language Institute, but these workers are not currently contemplating a strike.

What are they bargaining for?

What if there’s a work stoppage?

AMS Security employees have long-standing demands on wages and benefits, as the average wage has decreased from $16.00 in 2008 to $11.50 for incoming workers, according to COPE 378. The union is also concerned that the AMS has been hiring private security for Pit Night staffing and big events like the Welcome Back BBQ. There are allegations that the AMS has attempted to influence bargaining behind the union’s back on more than one occasion, talking to AMS security workers about summer hour cut-backs and offering positions with the private security firm. The unanimous strike vote followed the five-day suspension of a security supervisor who was one of the key union organizers back in the fall. The union maintains that the supervisor, Irfan

When COPE 378 had issued their strike notice, it was clear that despite the union’s small size, a work stoppage would have a much larger impact. The union that represents UBC clerical and library staff told its members to not cross potential picket lines around the SUB, and it’s possible that CUPE members in the SUB—like UBC Food Service and SUB store staff—would have come to the same conclusion in the event of a strike. The likelihood of a strike has dramatically decreased since the AMS invoked a rule about newly unionized workplaces, which brings in a mediator to help resolve the dispute. Although the mediator does have the power to let the union strike, it’s unlikely negotiations will deteriorate to that point.

According to CUPE 116 President Colleen Garbe, the union has three general grievances: benefits, job security and cost of living increases. But beyond that, we don’t know specifics. CUPE and the university have an agreement to not talk to the media about bargaining. It is known however that last year, the local filed a complaint about the presence of food carts on campus, arguing that it hurt their members’ job security. AMS Security has nothing to do with the net zero mandate as they are not public employees, but private.

The TAs are looking for similar wages as TAs at the University of Toronto. U of T pays its TAs roughly the same amount of money per year as UBC, but UBC TAs must work many more hours. UBC estimates the cost of these proposals as over $30 million dollars. TAs are also pushing for a number of other measures, including tuition waivers and giving graduate students priority for TA positions later into their degrees. They are also awsking that their wages be tied to inflation. However, according to UBC’s bargaining updates, the university has made headway in resolving non-wage issues including: •protection from academic harm: grades won’t be affected by work-related issues •Work hours capped at 24 hours per week •Leave provisions have been expanded, creating two new categories of unpaid leave

The union’s membership voted 86 per cent in favour of a strike. But according to UBC’s bargaining updates, CUPE 116 told the university that the vote was “to demonstrate greater strength at the bargaining table.” If a strike was to occur, it would have far-reaching consequences across the university. Everything from custodial services to the UBC Bookstore to the security on campus would be impacted. According to UBC, the university “is increasing its preparation for this possibility, with a greater focus on the needs of students as we near the end of classes and the start of exam period, and a review of essential service levels.” It remains unclear exactly what sort of contingency plans are in place.

The TA union most recently went on strike in 2003, cancelling tutorials and other TA work. While some students refused to cross picket lines, UBC continued operating for three weeks in March until the provincial government brought in back-to-work legislation. The university has said they are reviewing essential service levels and preparing for the possibility of a strike. According to UBC Public Affairs director Lucie McNeill, if a work stoppage ran into the exam period, the university would have discussions with faculty deans to determine what would happen. McNeill did not confirm whether faculty would be asked to invigilate or mark exams instead. McNeill said UBC had an excellent session with CUPE 2278 on Tuesday and have agreed to meet again on March 29.

6 | Features | 03.29.2012

A long way to go

On average, male professors at UBC are paid $3000 more than their female counterparts. In the past century, men have dominated the AMS executive. When it comes to women’s equity on campus, there’s still ...

The Ubyssey’s annual supplement on women’s issues

Trying to solve UBC’s gender pay inequality Karina Palmitesta Copy Editor

On UBC’s website, you’ll find an official statement on how seriously the university regards discrimination against the 13 groups protected under the BC Human Rights Code. But according to a 2010 data analysis report commissioned by the UBC Faculty Association and the Office of the Provost, gender discrimination continues to be a substantial problem. The report found that on average, female professors at UBC are paid $3000 less than their male counterparts—and this figure cannot be explained by factors such as rank, level of experience and unbalanced gender ratios in faculties. Pay inequity often takes root at the very start of a female professor’s career. Unlike some universities, UBC has no predetermined salary grid for faculty positions; instead, new professors bargain their starting pay with the hiring committee. “It’s a total free-for-all,” said Lara Boyd, an associate professor in the department of physical therapy who was on the data report’s research committee. “Different universities have a tradition of having a grid or not, and UBC has never had one.” But if an applicant wants to base their bargaining on current salaries in the department, they run into difficulties. “That is not readily accessible information. It’s not easy to discover that,” said Boyd. “You can actually search salaries. They’re published but they’re about two years old, so you’re always a couple years behind.” This lack of information and

guidance in the hiring process often leads to a lower starting salary for female applicants. “Women [often] aren’t as aggressive in negotiating starting salaries,” said Boyd. “If you start off in a $5000 or $10,000 hole, you never dig yourself out of that.” Boyd ruled out the possibility that women simply aren’t as productive as men. UBC awards yearly bonuses to faculty based on merit and productivity, and the report examined 2010 merit awards and found that they were distributed evenly to male and female professors. This showed conclusively that at UBC, equal productivity does not necessarily mean equal pay.

Progress lost “I think that too many of our universities have a very strong statement [on equity] and then fail to follow through effectively,” said Penni Stewart, past president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. “We have a federal government that has really dropped the ball on its commitment to equity. Although many of our universities are... members of a federal contractors program—so they should have plans, they should have censuses, they should be doing-doing-doing—we don’t actually see that.” When asked whether UBC falls into this category, Boyd said, “I think they have in the past, I do. I think that we’ve talked the talk, but that hasn’t been followed up with action.” From 2004 to 2006, the UBC Faculty Association’s Status of Women Committee operated without a chairperson. Although it was

never officially disbanded, committee meetings became irregular and advocacy was more or less put on hold. The committee was responsible for safeguarding against gender inequity, particularly those related to pay equity and discrimination in hiring and promotion.

If you start off in a $5000 or $10,000 hole, you never dig yourself out of that. Lara Boyd Associate professor, member of equity report research committee “It’s one of those cautionary tales...I think the idea was progress has been made, and so we didn’t need to be vigilant,” said Boyd. Rachel Kuske, UBC’s senior advisor to the provost on women faculty, thought that equity may have fallen by the wayside as a result of “growing pains” that UBC has experienced in its bid to become a global university. Expanding faculties, a higher rate of employment turnover and more proactive recruitment have all contributed to transforming UBC, she said. “The shift may have already happened without necessarily getting all the pieces lined up...Now we’ve expanded, we have all of these people, and we need to make sure that things are working for them.”

The awareness gap In 2007, three years after the Status of Women Committee fell silent, an

early data report showing signs of inequity was “very quietly put out,” said Boyd. Brenda Peterson, then-president of the Faculty Association, revived the Status of Women Committee that year. “We were very alarmed, those of us who were on that committee, by what was in the report,” said Boyd. “We’re fortunate that...we didn’t have to beat our heads into the wall too hard before we got people’s attention. When the [reports] came out, the university was fully on board. Since then, it’s just been a matter of how fast we can get things done.” But correcting the pay gap is easier said than done. Bumping salaries of current female faculty is about as effective as duct-taping a bursting pipe; inequities simply re-emerge with the next batch of female hires. Changing hiring or promotion policies can be a labourious business as well. “Universities are not necessarily known for embracing change,” said Kuske. “Pretty much every faculty I’ve talked to, they’ll go through and say, ‘No, we’re absolutely not [discriminating].’ “But then if you [ask], ‘Do you do this proactive thing?’ they may say no, because they never thought about it, they haven’t been trained...” With these hurdles in mind, Kuske said that for the moment, she is focused on raising awareness and gradually incorporating practices that will narrow the pay gap in the long term. “Do I see lots of effort going on? Absolutely. Do I see everything getting covered right away? No.” However, Boyd said that transparency around departmental salaries is a concrete step that needs to be

taken soon. “I mean if it’s a man or a woman or a fish, we don’t care,” she said. “[We should] say, this is what assistant professors this is what you should be using as a basis for your negotiations.”

A commitment of effort Despite the current situation, both Kuske and Boyd expressed optimism about the future of equity at UBC. Kuske cited the recent creation of her own job title as proof that UBC is taking the issue seriously. “It’s a commitment of effort, a commitment of resources,” she said. “I’m hopeful it’s changing,” said Boyd. “I have two little girls, and my goal is I don’t want them to have to be on this committee when they grow up.” Stewart said that pay equity was improving, but cautioned against relaxing after an initial burst of action. “It’s really important that we continue to insist that all the gaps be eradicated, and that we continue to monitor progress, because it slips away very easily...You turn your back and it’s back again.” U

03.29.2012 | Features | 7

Why aren’t more women running our student union? Micki Cowan News Editor

The numbers don’t lie: when it comes to female representation on the AMS executive, our student government has a lot of explaining to do. According to AMS archives, women often filled only one of the executive positions in the years between 1915 and 1980. There were only two female presidents in that 65-year span. Then, coinciding with secondwave feminist movements, women’s representation increased dramatically from 1981 to 2004. Ten of the 23 presidents were women and the five-seat executive was twice composed of four women. But since then, the AMS has fallen behind again. There have been no female presidents in the last eight years, and all but two years only had one female executive. Since 2005, the AMS executive has had female representation of barely 20 per cent.

The recent drop in female representation coincided with the AMS banning slates, meaning that students running for different positions were not allowed to coordinate their campaigns. According to UBC political science professor Richard Johnston, slate systems ensure that people are discussing gender, race and religious representation. “The existence of slates is not a sufficient condition to ensure the representation of either gender groups or others, but it is almost a necessary one,” said Johnston. “If you’re going to construct a slate, that means that you’re going to be deliberating on the groups on the campus that you think are relevant for representational purposes.” Sylvia Fuller, a sociology professor at UBC who focuses on labour market inequalities, said that while slates are likely part of the reason for the drop of women’s representation, she also attributed it to the gendered quality of politics. “We can think of politics as something that is culturally coded

as male,” said Fuller. “Women set a higher standard for themselves in terms of thinking about themselves as being good at a task when that task is coded as male.” Since slates were abolished, there have been no regulatory attempts to create a system with more gender representation. Johnston said that it is more likely to see women ascend the ladder when the ladder has a centralized regulatory element to it. Current AMS President Matt Parson said the only current plans to address gender representation in the AMS is to make the elections more accessible next year by communicating clearly and targeting communities across UBC. Fuller is working on a more active way to help address gender inequalities at UBC as a member of the newly-created Status of Women Committee. She said that UBC has acknowledged that there is a problem and is negotiating with the committee to address pay inequality. One of the initiatives the committee is looking at is establishing


AMS executives from the past four years. From left: Ekaterina Dovjenko, Katherine Tyson, Caroline Wong, Kiran Mahal and Crystal Hon.

a mentor program for new female faculty members. “Certainly you see that in organizations that have higher levels of women in management, women tend to do better,” said Fuller, “so that speaks to the importance of mentoring, role-models and so forth.” Despite the AMS not actively seeking a change, Ekaterina Dovjenko, the VP Administration in 2010-2011,

is optmistic for the future. For one thing, women have been holding more diverse roles on the executive. “The fact that we’ve had females elected to VP External and then VP Academic the past couple of years, it’s kind of changing and that’s a good thing. “Hopefully gender won’t be an issue in the distant future, but it definitely still is.” U

Proportion of women on the AMS executive, 1915-2012 *

80 % 70 % Student-wide executive elections resume

60 % 50 %

Student-wide executive elections end, Council members choose the executive

3-member executive: • President, treasurer, secretary • The secretary was always a woman

40 %



* *



Slates banned






30 %


20 %

13 Female presidents, with 10 of


them between 1978 and 2004

0 Female presidents since 2004

10 %













Every executive since 1915 has had at least one female member JEFF ACSHKINASI/THE UBYSSEY

Source: AMS Archivist Sheldon Goldfarb

A controversial name change The university’s gender studies department drops ‘women’ from its title Georgia Rigg Contributor

On April 1, the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWAGS) and the Women and Gender Studies Undergraduate Program (WAGS) will merge into one institution. This new institution will reflect the faculty’s reputation as a pioneer of interdisciplinary research, including both graduate and undergraduate programs, along with a research centre. With this new collaboration comes a new name change, and the chosen title has caused a stir: The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. According to some critics, an arguably essential word has been dropped from the title: ‘women.’ Gillian Creese, head of the new institute at UBC, said dropping ‘women’ from the name was a difficult decision. “Some students and faculty don’t like that because they think it’s a tradition, and it should be held onto. So

it has been somewhat controversial.” The department’s faculty were unable to reach consensus on a name change, but in the end a vote was taken and the new name was chosen by majority. With its growth into the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC’s gender studies department is now the only one in Canada to explicitly identify race and social justice. Creese said that the new name does a good job of reflecting the work being done at UBC. “Anti-racist feminism has always been at the centre of what we do,” said Creese. “A lot of people are also working around issues of sexuality, and there’s always, and with all of us, been an emphasis on social justice.” UBC is not the only university to have a name change for its gender studies faculty in the past few years. At SFU, the Women’s Studies Department changed to the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies in 2009. “Our name change process took us over three years and took extensive

internal discussion and research,” said Catherine Murray, head of the SFU department. Murray said that the name change was made to reflect a change in the field. “To start with, women’s studies sprang up as a part of the movement of state feminism. But what has happened, which makes it such an exciting field today, is the challenge of queer theory as well as the challenge of post-colonial theory.” When considering a name change, SFU faculty members were aware that more people felt women’s courses were outdated and not inclusive. They extensively debated leaving the word women out of the title, but in the end they decided to keep it. “We decided against invisibilizing women,” said Murray. The history of the department at SFU, which was one of the first women’s departments in Canada, was too important to erase. “We simply did not want to leave that behind. We don’t like the fact that women often get pushed off the agenda in the neo-liberal state. So in our department, we have a

balance...and we are still keeping our old historical links.” Murray believed that although the dropping of the word ‘women’ from the title of the new institute at UBC must have been “very painfully argued about,” the final decision was a brave one. She pointed out that the new name reflects the work that goes on within the department; UBC has leading scholars doing “tremendous research and public outreach” within the realm of sexuality, social justice and critical race studies. “The name I hear here is trying to signal a brave stance for intersectionality...and I applaud them,” said Murray. “But it wasn’t our answer. It’s not for us. And the more differentiation in the field the better, because that should be signalling that the ‘universal woman’ is as much a liberal fiction today as it was yesterday.” “I would be lying if I didn’t admit that not having ‘women’ or ‘feminism’ in the name is a bit disappointing,” said UBC WAGS student Caity Goerke. “It would be a shame to forget all the women who fought for

programs like Women and Gender Studies to exist.” But Goerke said that practically speaking, one can’t talk about gender without talking about race, class and sexual orientation. “Feminism of today isn’t just an issue about gender. You can’t untangle sexism from racism, homophobia, classism, or any other form of oppression. We have to talk about race, sexuality and social justice in a more holistic sense in order to understand the multitude of systemic and structural conditions that operate to oppress not just women but all marginalized groups.” Murray agreed with that line of thinking. She said that those highly critical of UBC for losing the word ‘women’ have made a categorical error. “They’re saying only the word women signals feminism, which is completely false.” For her part, Creese said that the new title puts what feminism has always been about front and centre. “It’s about social justice. What else can it be about?” U


03.29.2012 |


Editor: Drake Fenton


ome athletes are destined for greatness. They are fated to break records and captivate millions. They are idols to the masses who crave heroes to vicariously live through. Their physiques are immaculate. Their dress sense unparalleled. They star in Gillette Fusion commercials. Not one person at The Ubyssey is that type of athlete. In fact, everyone that works at The Ubyssey is the antithetical representation of that athlete. People at The Ubyssey drink heavily, forgo exercise and in most cases, eat very poorly. They do not star in Gillette Fusion commercials. Yet on Tuesday afternoon, at the annual UBC Rec hosted Storm the Wall competition, five members of The Ubyssey transcended their stereotype to become the new demigods of UBC. Perhaps that was hyperbolic, but these young, strapping men and women did finish second in their heat, and advanced to the semifinals. Despite minimal preparation and participating in events that may have been detrimental to their cause, these five are this paper’s best shot at athletic glory since, well, ever. Here is an underdog story, told candidly and uncensored from the the participants themselves, News Editors Micki Cowan and Kalyeena Makortoff, Senior Web writer Andrew Bates, Managing Editor, Print Jonny Wakefield and Art Director Geoff Lister.

Wednesday, March 21. Cowan: Remembered at 5:05pm that registration closed at 5:00pm. We hastily ran over to UBC Rec to try and register in person. Success! Signed up for a clinic on Thursday morning.

Thursday, March 22 Cowan: Four people showed up for the clinic initially. Team captain Wakefield drops the ball and shows up late and misses the video that shows you all the things you can be disqualified for. Lister: Woke up, got out of bed, nearly passed out, got back into bed. Took copious amounts of cold medication. Slept. Bates: During the training session I went over the wall first. It was a flashback to all of the times I failed at climbing fences.

Friday, March 23 Lister: Woke up, told the cold virus to go fuck itself. Wakefield: Worked in the office all day. In the evening, drank beer at a house on Toronto Road. Decided to walk home to 16th and Crown through Pacific Spirit Park. Roughly a 5 kilometre walk. Bates: Wandered home through the forest with Wakefield. While drinking wine we encountered an owl. Cowan: Worked all day. Thought about running, didn’t. Makortoff: I had eggs for breakfast. Protein is good.

Saturday, March 24 Lister: Slept in. Did sit-ups later Wakefield: Things escalated very quickly Saturday evening. Before I knew it, we were leaving a Donnelly Pub at 3am. Then I remember eating

The Ubyssey

Storms the wall

Munchies on the roof of a Shoppers. I woke up on a couch at a friend’s place at around 5am. The world was spinning. I tried to get to the kitchen but too late—vomit, everywhere. Cowan: Planned on having a few beers while watching the Canucks game. That turned into getting drunk and may have included a trip to a Donnelly Pub with Wakefield.

Makortoff: I was going to go for a run, but then I remembered that I didn’t have to physically exert myself in the race. How can climbing a wall be hard? I don’t know the last time I exercised. Bates: I decided to meet Wakefield and Cowan for a drink. I rode my bike to meet them for practice. I was constantly out of breath. When I turned onto Arbutus some guys on motorcycles chirped me. I tried to ignore them.

Sunday, March 25 Lister: Day of rest. Tired from not training. Spent ten hours in the office putting out the newspaper. Cowan: Hung over. I was planning to exercise but we didn’t finishing making the paper till 10pm. Hangover + work = no exercise. Makortoff: Ten hours in the dungeon that is our office. Ate way too much Indian food.

Bates: Was planning on doing brunch with Wakefield and the person whose house he slept at. Received a text from said person: “[WAKEFIELD] PUKED ON MY COUCH.” That was Sunday.

Wakefield: Woke up around noon. Work starts at noon. Apologized to my host and cleaned up what I could. I had vomit all over my clothes. Got to work at 2pm.

Monday, March 26 Lister: Had a cold shower. Had eggs. Drank orange juice to kill cold virus. Did not work. Wakefield: Decided to get my life in order. Biked to school, went to class and generally had my shit together. Went to bed at 1am. Cowan: It was raining which made exercise impossible. Did some laundry. I would say housework counts as light exercise? Makortoff: I went to the bar for a beer and accidentally got drunk. Bates: I recently got a new bike, so on my way home from work I tried looping War Memorial parking lot a few times. It didn’t feel quite right.

Tuesday, March 27 (RACE DAY) Lister: Had eggs for breakfast. The decision would come back to haunt

me. I was doing the swimming portion of the race. Had the lead for the first half of the nine laps and placed second overall. My arms felt like lead, my legs stopped kicking. I am so out of shape. As soon as we went up the wall I puked everywhere. At least we could lift Bates up.

Wakefield: Got jacked up listen to Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” in the office. I was running the one kilometre portion of the race. After Bates finished with the bike I took off. Big arms and long strides. But no one was near me, so there was no chance of advancing or falling behind. I pushed through the gates to the wall and helped hoist Bates over. Cowan: I was doing the sprint. My legs felt like jelly, should have gone for that run on Friday. Still, I managed to push a man double my size (Bates) up the wall. I was also able to get up the wall without anyone pulling my legs up. It felt pretty good to take a collective team picture at the end of it all, after Lister wiped the vomit off his face. Makortoff: I was hung over. I had absolutely no faith in our team, but we killed it! Cowan beat everyone in the sprint, Bates pulled ahead in the cycling and Wakefield did well during the run. But my favourite part was watching Lister projectile vomit into the garbage afterwards. Good job, team!

Bates: I had the advantage of an early start because of Cowan and Lister’s strong performances. My new bike took some getting used to but by the third lap I felt like everything was firing properly. When we got to the wall I was first up. I failed to lean into the wall on my first attempt and flailed around for a brief moment. But I readjusted and was able to fling myself over the wall. We hauled the rest up, and finished. We did it. We stormed the wall.

The next step The Ubyssey’s team raced in the coed campus wide competitive division. Their time of 20:06 was good for second in their heat. They qualified for the semifinals on Thursday. While no one expects this team to advance any further, least of all themselves, by advancing through the first heat the members of The Ubyssey proved that anyone can compete in Storm the Wall. Storm is a quintessential UBC experience (see our March Madness bracket online at www. for proof). It brings out people from all corners of campus, from the varsity community to those weirdos strutting around in their red engineer jackets. Unlike that last statement, Storm doesn’t discriminate. If you’ve ever been too intimidated to try, let The Ubyssey be your inspiration that climbing a 12-foot wall is possible. U

03.29.2012 | Culture | 9 UBC’S GOT TALENT >>

Just a big ole’ talent show UBC students, staff, faculty and residents to take the stage for UBC’s Got Talent Andrew Bates Senior Web Writer

The campus community is ready to take the stage. The second iteration of UBC’s Got Talent will kick off Tuesday, bringing 14 performers from the UBC community to the stage at the Old Auditorium for a talent competition. “What I really like about this event is that it brings out that very quiet, talented person...who has never done anything in public,” said organizer Bijan Ahmadian. “Now we’re putting them on the stage and celebrating what a talented person they are.” Seventy-five audition tapes were whittled down to 14 by a panel of judges that included theatre professor Jerry Wasserman and former UBC VP Students Brian Sullivan. The contest was open to students, staff, faculty, alumni and residents of the UNA, and all groups are represented, according to Ahmadian. “I think we’ve got a really strong, diverse representation of the UBC community,” he said. “[Last year] the idea was to have something that brings all of the five constituencies together. To do something together, plan it together, perform it together and come watch it together and give everyone a sense of community. “The big campus felt small for a night because we all got together and celebrated.” The acts include singers, dancers, slam poetry and a spoken word piece about tuition. “Our youngest performer is 11. He’s playing with his sister, who’s 13. They’re doing the piano [duet],” he said. The kids

live on campus, and their parents go to UBC. “They’re just so talented, gifted kids...the audience is going to be really wowed.” Last year’s UBC’s Got Talent was run as an AMS event by Ahmadian, who was AMS president at the time. This year, the UBC Bookstore is the producer, assuming legal authority and responsibility. It is unclear whether the event will continue after Ahmadian, a student for 13 years, graduates with his law degree this year. He compared the current situation to the early stages of now-established events like Imagine Day and Storm the Wall. “All of them went through a bit of a pilot phase first, and then people across UBC kind of looked at it and assessed it and said, ‘Okay, what do we want to do with this?’” he said. “That’s the phase that UBC’s Got Talent is going through.” Ahmadian said the event might not be held next year, but if it did happen, he would like to be involved somehow. “I’m going to be involved as an alumni with UBC one way or another,” he said. “I think if there is an opportunity to help out with this event, I will.” One of Ahmadian’s favourite performers is a student who will be singing at the event. “He told us that he had never sung in front of an audience, the only place he’s ever sung is in his washroom. He’s jokingly saying that the theatre is going to be his washroom tonight,” Ahmadian said. “I’m very pleased to give this person an opportunity to be seen.” U Go to for interviews with UBC’s Got Talent performers.

Clockwise from top: Arthur and Angeni Zhao (piano duet), Damiano Angoli (piano and acordion), Howard Lee (singer and guitarist), Sayata Gabriel (spoken word poetry), Derrick Pawlowski (left) and Kai Ozaki (musicians), Naheel Jaiwaid (dance). Photos by Geoff Lister, Peter Wojnar and Alexandra Downing


03.29.2012 |


Editor: Brian Platt

The alternate history of UBC’s campus Editor’s Notebook Justin McElroy


UBC combines two of its quintessential experiences.

Letters on Justine Davidson’s nude protest Correction Re: “UBC to discipline nude protester,” and “UBC’s response to nude protest is unjust and unfair,” March 26. In our last issue, we published a story about Justine Davidson’s nude protest against the Genocide Awareness project. The headline read “UBC to discipline nude protester.” We also wrote an editorial critical of UBC, on the assumption that they had begun the process of discipline. That, regrettably, turned out not to be true. The end result of the meeting between Chad Hyson and Davidson was that Hyson decided to dismiss the case. A letter was written for internal purposes. And that was that. However, Hyson communicated this poorly to Davidson, making her think a letter of warning was being issued. Hyson didn’t want to discuss the details of the case with us on Friday. Public Affairs didn’t get back to us over the weekend. So we went with Davidson’s account of the case, which ended up being incorrect. While we believe Campus Security shouldn’t have brought up the matter in the first place, our criticism should have been solely levelled at them, not UBC. We apologize for the error, and if you want a longer explanation of the non-academic disciplinary process in place, please go to our website for a longer account of how we got this wrong. —Justin McElroy, Coordinating Editor

Letters While I appreciate The Ubyssey’s opinion in this matter, I would like to frame what happened in the context of Professor Stephen Toope’s March 3, 2009 message to the UBC community regarding respectful debate. Professor Toope writes, “As a university community, we place a paramount value on the free and lawful expression of ideas and viewpoints.” In the case of Ms. Davidson’s choice to remove her clothes as a form of protest, it is the notion of

“lawful expression” that is the pertinent issue, including the choices Ms. Davidson made when asked to put back on her clothes by a Campus Security staff member. The reason that Ms. Davidson was invited to speak with the Student Conduct Manager was not only because she chose to take off her clothes, but also because she refused to put them back on, and further that she informed Campus Security that she was not a student, when in fact, she was. It was because of these choices that Campus Security, quite properly, brought the allegations of a breach of the Student Code of Conduct to the attention of the Student Conduct Manager, who in turn, met Ms. Davidson to discuss the allegations. Ms. Davidson is not being disciplined—under the University Act, the President is the only person who can discipline a student. Before the President could make such a decision, the case would be heard by the President’s UBC Vancouver nonacademic misconduct committee. As part of this formal process, the student would be invited to attend a hearing to fully explain/defend her/his actions. The complete rules for the Committee process can be found here: http://universitycounsel. I believe our actions in this case demonstrate that common sense was applied—the student was not disciplined. Moreover, the new Student Code of Conduct, and the way in which it was implemented, demonstrate our ability to be flexible and respond in an appropriate way to the specifics of each case. We are not debating one form of free expression versus another. We are simply applying a code of conduct with the kind of care and understanding to which our students are entitled. —Louise Cowin, UBC Vice-President Students We do not bring The Genocide Awareness Project on campus and expect to be met with open arms and high fives. The pictures depicting abortion are terrible and we

rightfully expect people to get angry at the appalling images, just as we pro-lifers do. After all, how can they not be mad? The pictures show little babies with their limbs torn off and lying in a pool of their own blood. I was there when Justine Davidson took off her clothes, and she is right in pointing out that her actions did not in any way block or disturb our display. If anything, Justine helped drive across our point that abortion has become so widely accepted and unquestioned, people find themselves at a loss for words when confronted with its graphic brutality. We were encouraged to find that on March 8 and 9, there were students open to discussion, and with all due respect to The Ubyssey editors, minds were changed during those few days. We are not comparing women who have had abortions to Nazis, but rather we focus on the manner in which victims of past genocides have been dehumanized and stripped of their rights. GAP is displayed on campus year after year because we believe students deserve to know exactly what abortion does to the pre-born child. They deserve to see the truth, and the brutality of the procedure should no longer remain hidden behind sterile clinic doors. If something is so horrible that we cannot stomach looking at it, perhaps we should not be tolerating it. We, the members of Lifeline, have no problem with pro-choice supporters showing up and protesting during our events. In fact, we welcome the debate, and encourage those who disagree with us to come out and voice their concerns. I think Voltaire does a pretty good job of summing up the way those holding different views should approach their opponents: “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.” I hope Justine stops by our display again next spring and this time verbalizes her concerns. We, after all, are students at one of Canada’s most prestigious universities, and should continue debating issues we may not all see eye to eye on. —Ania Kasprzak, on behalf of Lifeline

OCTOBER 15, 2015: The University of British Columbia held a lavish ceremony yesterday, celebrating 100 years of existence at their main campus at Laurel and West 10th Avenue. “We began offering classes in 1915, and while we have grown from our humble beginnings, we’ve always had our heart in the centre of Vancouver, and we hope to be here for another 100 years,” said President Stephen Toope to the crowd. UBC, ranked 8th in the world, has been able to provide students with an elite educational experience thanks to its endowment, which is as large as some in the Ivy League. Much of this is due to the University Endownment Lands, the luxury community of 50,000 people west of Blanca located next to the UBC School of Graduate Studies. “Using the Endowment Lands primarily for development and graduate students rather than undergrads was an incredibly cagey move,” said Vancouver historian Sue Dunham. “By slowly building the community in consultation with residents over the last 50 years, UBC was able to continually raise the money available to make the undergraduate experience one of the best and most affordable in the world.” And while undergraduate students may not have the amazing views that graduate students have in Point Grey, they aren’t complaining. To ensure young people would stay in Vancouver, the city implemented rent controls in the Fairview neighbourhoods decades ago, creating a vibrant cultural community between Kitsilano and Mt. Pleasant.

While the residences for students aren’t amazing, they are cheap, and students certainly don’t go months without hot showers in their homes. “We have a fantastic relationship with the Vancouver Police Department and the municipal government,” said AMS President Indiana Joel. “They know we have the same rights as any Vancouver resident, and we can always vote for councillors who will care about our unique community that keeps this city young, vibrant and affordable.” Indeed, with a municipal government, affordable housing, a booming cultural scene and weekly beer gardens, it’s no wonder that the campus newspaper The Ubyssey decided in 2012 to transform into an alt-weekly to serve the general community. And even if students choose not to live in “The Gage Grotto,” the central location and easy access to the Canada Line means commuting is less than an hour for 90 per cent of UBC students. “Sure, there’s no 24-hour transit service, or a rapid bus line that leaves every four minutes to campus,” said Drew Snider, communications director for TransLink, “but the central location of the university makes things simple for students.” He added, “Can you imagine the hassle if all students lived out in Point Grey? Think of the congestion on Broadway!” pausing for a laugh. Ironically, Snider’s joke was once a distinct possibility. In 1922, students rallied the government to provide the funding to move UBC to Point Grey as originally promised. But the funding dried up, and the university was forced to negotiate with the city of Vancouver for the land needed to expand in the decades after. “It’s tempting to think what would have happened if the Great Trek succeeded,” said Toope, when asked about UBC’s unlikely development. “But ultimately, historical fiction is a game for suckers. Right?” U

A gap in GAP coverage Letters Profound disappointment, even disillusionment, fails to capture my impression of The Ubyssey’s pathetic coverage of the Genocide Awareness Project’s presence on UBC’s campus, on International Women’s Day no less, spreading its obscene and contemptible message that access to free and safe abortions is akin to genocide. This blatant act of provocation, which not surprisingly drew a crowd of angry protesters, garners barely three paragraphs in your paper’s online editorial section, and a pusillanimous three paragraphs at that. Here I quote a sad extract: “Whether graphic photos such as GAP’s should be displayed outdoors in a prominent location on campus is debatable. But we try to avoid that debate, because it allows GAP to play the victim and make this an argument about free speech.” Why avoid the debate? Isn’t that a newspaper’s role, to wade into such debates, without fear or favour? Furthermore, a UBC student, Justine Davidson, launched her own unique protest—stripping naked beside GAP’s banners—in order, as she states in her blog, to make the point

that “... control over my own body without shame or fear is a freedom I want all people to have because only when all people are free from oppression and shame will we live in a universally peaceful and egalitarian society.” While I’m tempted to explain why the GAP’s tactics and presence on any university campus is an affront to women’s rights, I’ll leave that to those better equipped to eviscerate all comers from that truly reprehensible anti-abortion group. But I will address the matter of free speech and The Ubyssey’s inexplicable avoidance of the issue as it relates to yet another episode of a far rightwing organization ostensibly receiving a free pass from those charged with challenging groups like GAP to justify itself. In this instance, The Ubyssey’s pundits and journalists didn’t merely fail to bring their A-game—they failed to show up at all. Pull up your damned journalistic bootstraps and get to work, dig where it’s uncomfortable and fulfill your proper function as the campus’s fourth estate, and not some cheap bulletin board for booze specials, dating advice and campus socials. — Jason Unrau


03.29.2012 |


Pictures and words on your university experience


Climb the wall is fun for all!! Warnes’ World Bryce Warnes

This week, the most exciting thing at UBC (and the world!) is happening. It’s called: Climb the Wall! Climb that Wall is technically a Sport, which means it is about one thing and one thing only: trying your best and believing in yourself. This event is a great way for students to get out there and boost their self esteem, and also show the world what UBC is made of. Which is: Walls! But Climb a Wall is more than just an exciting outdoor activity that teaches you to be your best every day. You see, we all have our own walls to climb, walls that we make in our heads and our hearts. And we all have got to try our best at getting over those walls. Like, for instance maybe a wall you have is, you are not allowed in McDonald’s anymore because of that time you were waiting in line at like three in the morning, and it was taking too long, so you faked a grand mal seizure, which nobody thought was funny, and the police and ambulance came.

You can get over that wall! Because Climb Some Walls isn’t just one thing. There is a bunch of stuff you do for Wall Climb, such as: swimming, bicycle, run, monkey bars, etc. And each of those symbolizes a challenge for you, in your personal life.

We all have our own walls to climb, walls that we make with our heads and our hearts. For instance, the biking portion represents how that one chick with the hair who works at McDonald’s totally recognizes you. Maybe you should “bicycle” a giant pair of sunglasses and a fake beard onto your face and trick her! “Pranked!” The run part of Climbing Wall symbolizes the restraining order you got after you bit that paramedic on the arm and peed your pants. After a long run, you drink Gatorade, which tastes kind of salty and weird—just like the paramedic’s arm. Monkey bars represent: just have fun!

STAY ON THE NEWS CYCLE Micki Cowan and Kalyeena Makortoff |


Not all walls are 12 feet tall and made out of wood! Some people may put invisible walls in your way, by like, banning you from McDonalds.

Finally, the swimming part of Wall Climbers is all about breath control. Maybe you should tell the provincially-appointed therapist that you now see on a weekly basis that you will hold your breath until she stops asking questions about your family.

There you go! Just by participating in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, you have grown as a human person and become a whole lot better. The most important thing you must remember though is: Nobody can do it alone (except for Super Iron Men, but you’re probably no “Robert

Downey Junior”!). Just like in real life, doing Wall Whitman’s Leaves of Grass takes friendship. So maybe you should show your friends how special they are to you by buying them all Double Bacon Cheeseburgers. Don’t worry: they’re on me! U

12 | Games | 03.29.2012


Maze by Printed with permission.

March 29, 2012 (12 pages)  

The most recent issue of The Ubyssey

March 29, 2012 (12 pages)  

The most recent issue of The Ubyssey