U THE UBYSSEY
JUNE 29, 2021 | VOLUME CIII | ISSUE II SWEATING SINCE 1918
04 Calls grow for review of honorary degree recipients NEWS
Finding your Five worst things community online to do in Vancouver during Pride month this summer CULTURE
Here’s how mRNA Former UBC football vaccines actually players charged with work sexual assault SCIENCE
AS ONLINE INSTRUCTION ENTERS ITS FIFTH TERM, STUDENTS ABROAD ARE STILL STRAINED BY TIME ZONE GAPS // 8
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
YOUR GUIDE TO UBC PEOPLE
HUNDREDS OF SHOES, THOUSANDS OF SOULS
ON THE COVER Isabella Falsetti Photo Editor
COVER BY Isabella Falsetti
U THE UBYSSEY
JUNE 29, 2021 | VOLUME CIII | ISSUE I
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Content Warning: This article describes the trauma inf licted upon Indigenous children in the residential school system and contains details and images that some viewers may find distressing.
Hundreds of children’s belongings line the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery to honour the thousands of Indigenous children recently discovered in unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools across Canada. Each pair of shoes represents a missing child who never made it home. Visitors have gathered to pay
their respects by reflecting on the memorial, writing messages in a guest book, signing online petitions and painting a banner with orange handprints in solidarity with the victims. U The National Indian Residential School Crisis line provides 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others who may need it: 1-866-925-4419.
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITORS NATHAN BAWAAN + CHARLOTTE ALDEN
INDIGENOUS RELATIONS //
‘A hindrance’: Indigenous poet criticizes AMS, UBC finance systems after waiting a month to be paid for contract work
GOING GREEN //
Cannabis store proposed to open in Uni Village
Nathan Bawaan Web News Editor
“[I]’m so exhausted chasing down invoices … this week was particularly bad,” Samantha Marie Nock, a Cree-Métis writer, tweeted on May 14. That week, Nock was waiting for an invoice from the AMS. A month earlier, she had facilitated a poetry workshop for the UBC Climate Hub’s Climate Creative Workshop series. Following the event, Nock had received a document from the AMS outlining her terms of payment: a $300 honorarium would be e-Transferred within three days. But, one month later, she still had not been paid. “[H]ello @AMS_UBC can you please explain to me why my payment for being an Indigenous facilitator for a workshop hosted by one of your student groups is a month negligent at this point?” she wrote in another tweet from May 14. The AMS saw Nock’s tweet. After exchanging emails with President Cole Evans and members of the VP Finance office, she was told that her payment would be sent by May 19. Nock received the honorarium on May 19 as scheduled, but was left frustrated by the slow payment processing time. “This payment was groceries and paying my phonebill. Slow payment to Indigenous artists means no money in our pockets, that we need to survive off of,” she wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey. Nock doesn’t blame the student from UBC Climate Hub who originally invited her to lead the workshop — that same student offered to pay Nock from their own bank account — but rather, she blames the AMS. “[They’re] literally impacting people’s ability to eat and access basic human needs while making a steady salary at a giant institution, why don’t [they] care?” In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, VP Finance Mary Gan wrote that the AMS regrets that Nock had to wait over a month to get paid. She pointed to the high
Sydney Cristall Staff Writer
Nock and the AMS president exchanged emails but never had a meeting.
volume of internal and external reimbursement requests as the cause, but said that the AMS is actively working to address the issue. “The AMS has been working for the past 12 months on transitioning to a cloud-based accounting system which should see efficiency be improved. This system implementation is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2021,” the statement read. Gan also wrote that the AMS remains committed to supporting the labour of Indigenous and other marginalized communities. ‘ONE PART OF A MUCH LARGER PROBLEM’ Nock said that her experience with the AMS was not an isolated incident. “The AMS is only one part of a much larger problem of large institutions not respecting the time and labour of Black and Indigenous artists and knowledge keepers,” she said. “I have been contacted by more than a dozen Indigenous people who are
Nock’s initial Twitter thread, posted on May 14.
SCREENSHOT VIA TWITTER
currently dealing with late or slow payment from either UBC or the AMS.” According to Nock, the AMS and UBC’s finance systems are “a hindrance to actually working with Indigenous communities.” Part of the problem is that these organizations ask nonstaff contractors for personal information like SIN and direct deposit numbers when processing payments, which Indigenous people may not be comfortable sharing. “Historically Indigenous communities have been mistreated by the institution (re: unethical research practices, land theft, etc) so there is not a lot of trust,” she said. Nock also criticized the university’s Indigenous Action Plan for failing to address this bureaucratic obstacle. “I think this really points to institutions creating policy and lip service, but never actually getting to the core of why [they’re] alienating to Indigenous people: they run on systems built by colonialism that they are unwilling to change at their core.” Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs at UBC Media Relations, acknowledged Nock’s frustration with slow payment times in a written statement to The Ubyssey, but said that UBC needs information like SIN for tax purposes. Ramsey wrote that the university’s Indigenous Research Support Initiative (IRSI) has been working to make the finance system more accommodating to Indigenous people. “IRSI and VP Finance are nearing the completion of a set of Indigenous Finance Guidelines that will go a long way to resolving the issues,” he said. He also thanked the Indigenous contractors, advisors,
FILE ZUBAIR HIRJI
Elders and community members who have contributed to this effort. THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWLEDGE AND A VOICE After finally receiving her honorarium, Nock sent the AMS an email with recommendations as to how to make the student society more welcoming to Indigenous people. Nock suggested that the AMS hire an Indigenous consulting firm to direct policy changes, participate in a decolonial practices workshop, publish a statement of accountability to Indigenous people on their website and settle any outstanding payments to BIPOC artists and contractors. “To not do this work is to continue working within white supremacy and colonialism, you are no better than the systems of which you refuse to dismantle,” her email continues. Nock emphasized to The Ubyssey that she had the privilege of pre-existing knowledge of the AMS and UBC’s finance systems as an alumni and former staff member. “I am comfortable and confident navigating these waters … I have institutional knowledge and privilege and I want to use it to make sure people are respected and get paid,” she wrote. She also said that she would likely still be waiting to get paid had it not been for her social media presence. “I am privileged in many senses, but one of them is that I do have a larger platform on social media and I was able to get attention with this,” she said. “I’m really taking this extra far because I am not the only one that is awaiting payment, other artists are too.” U
The Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) is seeking the public’s input on the potential opening of a new cannabis store in University Village. On May 6, Burb Cannabis Corporation applied to the University Endowment Lands (UEL) to amend the UEL Land Use, Building and Community Administration Bylaw to allow for the conditional use of a nonmedical cannabis retail store at 5784 University Boulevard. In September 2019, BC’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch awarded Burb, a cannabis lifestyle brand, two cannabis retail store licences. These licences allowed Burb to add recreational cannabis products to the shelves of both its retail stores in Port Coquitlam. Now in 2021, Burb is seeking to open a non-medical cannabis store near UBC. Metro Vancouver Director for Electoral Area A Jen McCutcheon said the cannabis application would first need to go through the UEL rezoning application process. If it passes, that will go to Metro Vancouver for final approval. “As your Electoral Area A representative, I encourage residents to participate in all local land use planning processes.” According to the Manager of UEL John Braman, the UEL Official Community Plan has the policy to consider up to one cannabis retail store, subject to appropriate approvals. “The application is seeking a Cannabis Retail Store Licence from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, a separate process through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General,” he said. Before any decisions regarding the rezoning application are made, UBC/UEL/UNA residents can submit comments to the MVRD. Residents’ comments will inform MVRD’s recommendations on the licensee’s application to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Board of Governors faculty representative Anna Kindler expressed hesitation about the application at the June People, Community and International Committee meeting. “I am very concerned about the impact of the proposed store potentially on our young student population, those who are the most vulnerable,” Kindler said. Committee chair Kavie Toor redirected the conversation of whether the Board should have a position on the application to closed session. U
4 | NEWS | TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021 HONORARY DEGREES //
Calls grow for ‘rigorous review’ of honorary degree recipients as Senate considers revoking Bishop John O’Grady’s degree Charlotte Alden and Nathan Bawaan News Editors
Following UBC’s announcement that it would be reconsidering the degree given to Bishop John O’Grady — a former principal at the Kamloops Indian Residential School — pressure has grown from the academic community to conduct an audit of all honorary degree recipients. The AMS has joined the calls for a fulsome review of honorary degree recipients, as have faculty from the Allard School of Law. Professor Emeritus John H.V. Gilbert, chair of the Senate Tributes Committee — the committee responsible for awarding honorary degrees — wrote in a UBC Broadcast on June 10 that the Tributes Committee is “gathering what information it can” on O’Grady. “We do not intend to delay our consideration of this matter should that information not be forthcoming,” he wrote. Gilbert also acknowledged the broader calls for “any honours granted to anyone associated with the residential school system to be reconsidered.” “The Tributes Committee understands the Senate must have transparent processes and criteria for reconsidering honorary degrees so that those who were honoured by the university in the past are
accorded fairness,” Gilbert wrote, adding that the committee will consult with the university and First Nations communities on this work. AMS VP Academic and University Affairs and student senator Eshana Bhangu said that UBC should revoke O’Grady’s award and review others as “it’s shameful to see that our university has given honorary degrees to people who have been complicit in genocide.” Bhangu said that as the university makes commitments to reconciliation and the Indigenous Strategic Plan, the institution has to address this. If the university chooses not to revoke O’Grady’s award, Bhangu said the university’s “words and commitments to truth and reconciliation are just that. Words.” Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, an Allard law professor and director at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC, agreed with the need to review honorary degree recipients. “I like the idea of having some sort of audit — like a rigorous review — and reconsideration of the situation that of course involves fairness for those recipients who are still with us in particular … they have a right to be heard as well,” Turpel-Lafond told The Ubyssey. Turpel-Lafond said that the review process should involve consul-
The university is considering revoking Bishop John O’Grady’s degree.
tations with Indigenous peoples and survivors of the residential school system, as well as with honorary degree recipients who are still alive. So far, she thinks that the Senate is on the right track. In particular, she pointed to UBC Chancellor Steven Point’s help in the process. “We’re so fortunate to have Steven as UBC Chancellor to inform some of the cultural protocols and principles that need to guide us,”
Turpel-Lafond said. Bhangu said that it’s essential for the Senate to be transparent in this process, as it’s an “unprecedented situation.” She criticised the communications already — specifically that the Tributes Committee statement was not sent out to students. “Key parts of the process need to be transparency and communication with all members of the UBC community,” she said.
Along with the review, Turpel-Lafond believes that UBC should do more to support residential school survivors. “We have given honorary doctorates to some [survivors], but I think we should … really be thinking about how we lend support — an affirmation — to their life work in terms of telling the story of what happened at the schools,” she said. U
UBC progresses on anti-racism commitments, more work needed to address systemic issues
A Black Lives Matter protest in Vancouver last June.
Caylie WarkentIn Staff Writer
In the past fifteen months, Canadians have experienced heightened racial tension exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Anti-Asian racism has become disturbingly prevalent — recently a Korean student was physically assaulted just off campus, an attack prefaced by a racist comment. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests across North America in June 2020, UBC President Santa Ono committed to addressing UBC’s systemic racism and prioritizing inclusivity for students, staff and faculty. In statements on June 1 and June 16, Ono committed to enact five major anti-racism commitments through a series of varied
and multifaceted actions. From creating recruitment awards for Black students to implementing the Inclusion Action Plan, UBC has already completed some of the actions, but many are forthcoming. Since April 2021, the UBC Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) has worked extensively in collaboration with people throughout the university who are affected by, or involved with, enacting systemic change. The goal is to “develop a series of initiatives and recommendations across the university,” UBC Vancouver VP Students Ainsley Carry and Provost and UBC Okanagan VP Academic Ananya Mukherjee Reed wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey.
FILE SARAH ZHAO
“While progress has been made in the commitment to begin addressing systemic racism, there are areas that require focussed and sustained attention,” they wrote. The recommendations from ARIE are expected to be completed by late summer.
PROGRESS ON ANTI-RACISM ACTIONS Some tangible results of the commitments can already be seen. As a part of the commitment to recruit and support Black students, faculty and staff, Ono established the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Award — an award meant to provide support to Black students with financial need. Dr. Henry Yu, former chair of
the Asian Canadian Community Engagement Committee, worked in consultation with UBC to ensure that the actions committed by Ono were meaningful and pertinent. One result was the creation of the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism, a virtual event hosted in mid-June that connected scholars and students from across the country to share their stories and experiences as Asian-Canadians. Yu said that the forum was “a direct result of President Ono’s commitment, because he committed for UBC to convene it to a national coalition.” “It’s one thing to say our president’s committed to something, and much more powerful to say a university across the board has become committed to finding solutions because that collective effort is going to have huge impacts.”
IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINED COMMITMENTS TO ANTI-RACISM Other actions will take longer to implement as they are deeply entwined with how UBC is structured, Yu said, speaking specifically about the lack of diversity in admin. Yu spoke favourably of UBC’s listening sessions to understand the living stories of people who are affected by these structural inequalities and lack of diversity. “When you’re talking about people’s lives and their sense of their own potential and being passed over and seeing people who come into an organization with less experience and being promoted
past them … what is it actually like to be in an organization where this is a living reality? That’s the difference between reading about it, and having listening sessions and talking,” Yu said. As progress is made on the five commitments, Carry and Mukherjee Reed emphasized that the commitments will need to be continuously revised and reviewed to ensure that the work is not “driven solely by expediency, but by responsibility to its core mandate.” Yu said it will take a “tremendous amount of will and real action to change institutional culture.” “The violence of the last year has not been a recent phenomenon — it’s embedded into the structure of our society.” Yu said he felt a profound sense of hope when he attended the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism. “What we felt, especially from those younger participants, was ‘We’re not going to wait. We want to act, we are going to act and so either get on board or get out of the way.’ “What happened a year ago today was you had the president commit as leader of the university — what I think you see now a year later, is the empowerment of that commitment, the effect of the empowerment that had so many people who perhaps a year ago would have just checked out, or thought we can’t change this,” Yu said. “That’s where I would measure change … literally talking to colleagues or talking to a student: do they have hope?” U
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITOR TIANNE JENSEN-DESJARDINS
The Town Without Television explores what tech transitions leave behind Tova Gaster Senior Staff Writer
My preteen sister’s friends know her Roblox avatar better than they know her face. Not to be a nostalgic geezer, but when I was her age, my tech entertainment was limited to watching The Incredibles on DVD (as a treat). It feels too early, and too simplistic, to claim that an online upbringing is worse than an unplugged one. Like many in the digital generation, I have a negative gut reaction to unequivocally harsh criticisms of new media. Attacks on TikTok dances and Snapchat filters often feel like attacks on their main user base: teenagers — especially young women. Still, from toddlers to university students, rapid technological change is undeniably influencing our social and emotional development. The Town Without Television, a new webcomic by Australian cartoonist Stuart McMillen, takes us back to the psychological impacts of one of the major tech transitions of the past century. How did the first generation of network television impact kids? And how can researchers mobilize to understand new tech’s impacts before the latest innovation has already taken over, and has already begun to move on to the next big thing? ‘THE TOWN WITHOUT TELEVISION’ McMillen portrays the real-life late UBC psychology professor, Dr. Tannis MacBeth, as she raced to document the “before” and “after” of the last Canadian town to adopt TVs in the 70s.
COURTESY OF STUART MCMILLEN
Currently only Part 1 of the webcomic is released.
The study was urgent as TV had already taken off in the rest of the nation. The small BC town, which MacBeth codenamed “Notel,” was slated to receive TV by the end of the year. It had only been neglected until that point due to its geographic isolation in the Rocky Mountains. Currently, only Part 1 of the webcomic has been released. It introduces us to Tannis and sets the scene. Parts 2 and 3, which will explore the impacts of TV on individuals and on the community, will be released within the next couple of months. SCIENCE EDUCATION VIA WEBCOMIC In McMillen’s webcomic, MacBeth becomes a heroic figure, drawn with bobbed brown hair and expressive cartoon eyebrows. The way comics integrate text
and visuals is uniquely suited to breaking down complex concepts while engaging readers. From Sunday morning cartoons to manga to infographics, the medium is already familiar and accessible. “It’s an experiment that’s well-documented, but relatively unknown on the web,” said McMillen in an interview with The Ubyssey. “I feel like if they did all these thousands of hours of work into the experiment that I should try and present it in as compelling a way as possible.” TV TRANSFORMED ‘NOTEL’ In the two-year study, conveyed via McMillen’s three-part comic, MacBeth examined TV’s behavioural and cognitive impacts on children — with disheartening conclusions. “One of the conclusions of
[MacBeth’s] book is that, in almost every way, television had a negative influence on people, even when it came to things like gender stereotypes,” said McMillen. These research findings are specific to 70s programming, which featured a lot more blatant sexism and racism than present-day Netflix’s relatively diverse selection. Still, MacBeth’s research demonstrates the influence of media on childrens’ perceptions of the world and of their own potential. TV also seemingly began to erode the town’s sense of community. “Previously, there was big participation in sports matches and community suppers, and the sort of things where the town would come together,” said McMillen. “Whereas when the default thing
that people did with themselves every night was just go home and watch TV, that reduced participation.” McMillen hopes, if not to get people off their phones, to spark new appreciation for the community gatherings that we’ve missed and may soon be able to rejoin. Social media can also turn TV into an area of social bonding. Like most societal change, technology innovations are rarely solely damaging or purely progressive. “TV came around before I was a child, and I watched a fair amount of it myself,” said McMillen. “It’s so much part of the background noise of the world that we live in at the moment, in the ways that we receive information.” “It definitely makes you think about the landscape that we’ve inherited.” U
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE //
Salmonberry Stories: Protect the people, protect the land Z. Aazadeh Raja Staff Writer
Generosity and Reciprocity
On May 21, a day before UN World Cultural Diversity Day, the UBC Botanical Garden hosted Salmonberry Stories: Signs of Culture in Forest Biological Diversity led by Dr. Sm’hayetsk Teresa Ryan, an Aboriginal fisheries scientist. The talk was a part of the Biodiversity Days series — a series of experiences that highlight the important impact biodiversity has on future generations. Ryan has integrated her Indigenous ancestral knowledge into her work on salmon fishing technology. She has implemented strategies that are being used in order to increase salmon populations and maintain salmon biological diversity while contributing marine-derived nitrogen to healthy coastal forests. During this talk, Ryan underlined the importance of an Indig-
enous perspective when thinking about forest biodiversity. She started off by emphasizing how Indigenous lands help protect the biodiversity of the area and explaining that members of Indigenous communities carry out stewardship practices by increasing the productivity of these resources. This idea was beautifully explained through interesting concepts such as generosity and reciprocity. “When you give, there is something that returns to you,” Ryan said. This idea was further developed in the context of salmonberries: when salmonberries blossom, they attract bugs which end up feeding juvenile salmon. In Ryan’s culture, salmon bones are returned to the ocean in the belief that they will transform into salmon people. This transformation gives rise to the connection between the physical
and spiritual world, and in turn, this connection gives strength and cohesion to their communities. The cyclical nature reminds each member of these communities that they have a role to play in protecting the physical world. The removal of Indigenous peoples off of their land has had grave consequences for the environment in terms of biodiversity declining. This event emphasized the importance of Indigenous cultures because of the way they shape the environment and its inhabitants. “There are similar types of knowledge systems in other areas of the world, and it’s those cultures that should be protected, because they have information about our life here on this planet … how to protect that life, how to cherish it, and make sure that we’re looking after the very life support system that we all depend on,” Ryan said. U
6 | CULTURE | TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021 BEYOND THE NUCLEAR FAMILY //
Good’s Five Little Indians: Building community Tianne Jensen-DesJardins Culture Editor
Content Warning: This article contains descriptions of violence and trauma within the residential school system which may be distressing to some readers. “This isn’t something that I really needed to research or study … because I’ve been living with survivors and intergenerational survivors,” said Indigenous author and advocate Michelle Good in an interview with The Ubyssey. “That’s who my cohort is, that’s who my community is made up of — those people.” As a Cree lawyer, poet and writer, Good’s representation of residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors in her novel, Five Little Indians, comes from lived experience. The UBC alum’s novel features five protagonists, and while the characters are fictional, the traumas they display are very real. FICTIONAL CHARACTERS BASED ON REAL EXPERIENCES “What I did was, I looked at the kinds of abuses that students experienced while they were in the schools, and I looked at what were reasonable outcomes of those injuries, what a person could expect, and then how their lives would unfold after that,” Good said. “I really wanted to be sure to cover a lot of the trauma-related injuries that continued throughout the rest of their lives.” Good’s characters show the lingering effects of residential schools and the various approaches survivors have taken while trying to deal with their trauma. Take one of the novel’s protagonists, Clara, for example. As a child, Clara forms a spiritual connection on a walk through some birch trees. When she is forced into the residential school, they teach her that her traditional spirituality is sinful and wrong. This inner conflict about spirituality – her traditional spirituality versus the Church’s teachings – stays with Clara for years after she is free from the school. Clara’s path to healing begins with community. With a wounded shoulder and the National Guard on her tail, Clara is left in the care of Mariah. Mariah, an elderly woman who lives alone in a house in a secluded forest, offers Clara the opportunity to reconnect with her traditional culture. Under Mariah’s care, Clara begins to heal not only her physical wounds, but some of her emotional ones too. Reconnecting with cultural traditions isn’t a choice Clara makes lightly. Her journey is confusing and painful as it draws up traumatic memories. This struggle, this pain, is not confined to fictional characters; it is a reality for survivors who were cut off from their culture by a system designed to decimate Indigenous populations in the pursuit of a cultural genocide. The process of reconnecting with one’s culture is more than being reintroduced to traditional teachings, it is also the unlearning of the teachings
While the characters are fictional, the traumas they display are very real.
that the Church instilled in the children during their time at the schools. “That is a renaissance,” Good said. “What Indigenous survivors experienced when they left the residential schools and those that found their way back to their cultural traditions – that was a real renaissance.” WHY SURVIVORS CAN’T ‘JUST GET OVER IT’ “Anytime there’s any kinds of issues arising out of ... the residential school legacy, there’s this ongoing question of ‘Why can’t they just get over it?’ and so this book is a response to that,” Good said. Good’s novel shows realistic responses to trauma. Her characters make some good choices and some bad choices, but all of their choices are affected by the traumas of the residential school. This trauma doesn’t stop at the survivors, it bleeds into the lives of their families for generations. In Good’s novel, Kendra is a tangible example of intergenerational trauma. She is the daughter of residential school survivors, Lucy and Kenny, who display various trauma responses. Lucy responds to the trauma by develop-
ing OCD-like tendencies and takes to cleaning and reorganizing her house in order to gain a semblance of control. Kenny, on the other hand, feels constrained when he stays in one place too long, and in turn, feels a sense of restlessness when he stays with his wife and child for too long. “Children that are being raised by traumatized parents who are dealing with trauma-related psychological injury, they’re learning trauma responses to the world like the way children learn from parents that don’t have trauma-related issues: they observe and they learn, and [the way] they learn to interact in the world is as though they are traumatized,” Good said. “Trauma is like radiation: it has a half-life that goes on and on and on and on.” As Kendra grows up, she is hurt by her father’s absence and can’t understand why her mother lets him come back into their lives time and time again. Only after Kenny’s funeral does Kendra start to learn about the wounds Kenny was suffering and is able to start to understand why he couldn’t be the father she needed. But Kendra was never alone. Throughout her life, she finds support in other members of the community. As a young child, it was the members of the local Friendship Centre
who helped her mother fix up and furnish her house. When her mother couldn’t afford a place on her own, it was Clara who helped her find a place and pay the rent. All her life, Kendra is supported by a family unit that goes beyond the nuclear ‘mother, father and child’ mold. “We were not traditionally nuclear family people, we were extended family people, and the extended family moves into the whole community. Imagine these communities for 120 years being completely devoid of children and what that does in terms of the roles of parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc.,” Good said. “It’s a direct hit on the social fabric of the community.” ‘MISSING CHILDREN AND BURIAL INFORMATION’ In Good’s novel, Clara’s close friend at the residential school, Lily, gets sick and dies. When Clara questions the nuns about where Lily went, they only reply that she is “gone to Jesus,” and they do not speak about what happened to Lily’s body. It isn’t until years later that Clara is able to bring Lily’s body home. When asked about the recent news of the remains of the 215 children from the Kamloops
Indian Residential School, Good spoke about the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She explained that in the Calls to Actions, numbers 71 through 76 all fall under the Missing Children and Burial Information heading. “When that roadmap of those Calls to Action was given to the federal government … it basically said ‘This is what needs to be done,’ and the government just said ‘No’,” Good said. It’s been six years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and only now is there a public outcry to return the children’s bodies to their communities. But the 2015 Commission wasn’t the first time this issue has been raised. Good explained that even as far back as the 1920s, there were reports of the injustices against Indigenous peoples in regards to residential schools. The last residential school closed in 1996. “Murray Sinclair recently opined that he thought there could be 25,000 kids dead in these unmarked graves and I think that’s even modest. That’s a conservative estimate as far as I’m concerned,” Good said. “So it’s not like this wasn’t known by the government – it was known for 100 years.” U
7 | TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021
Finding your Community Online During Pride Month KAILA JOHNSON illustrations by
MAHIN E ALAM
Pride parades have gone virtual and finding friends on Grindr isn’t ideal. Cultivating community online can be difficult when being 2SLGBTQIA+ is your only common ground. Since many UBC clubs are not active until September, here are some ways to make new friends before the school year begins.
FIND YOUR NICHE I found a queer community during the pandemic through Beloved Arise, a Seattlebased organization that uplifts and empowers Queer youth of faith. While there’s nothing like a group of Queer people with religious trauma, it might not be right for you. I was once put in a group chat with at least ten other girls because we all liked One Direction. There has to be a similar type of community on Twitter for 2SLGBTQIA+ K-Pop stans.
TO DATING APP OR NOT TO DATING APP Like I said earlier, this isn’t the ideal way to make friends, but it is possible. If you do end up on a dating app, I expect Tinder would be the best way to go about it because of the sheer volume of potential matches. I don’t know
enough about Grindr to suggest downloading it for the purpose of friendship. Bumble has an option specifically for making friends, but I don’t know anyone who has tried using it.
ONLINE EVENTS Zoom events are still in full swing. Facebook and Instagram are great ways to find online Pride events. This can be a great way to find out what 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations are near you. Check to see what your city is doing to celebrate Pride month! To learn more about how to celebrate if you live near UBC campuses, check out UBC’s Pride Collective, Vancouver Pride Society and the UBCSUO Pride Resource Centre.
THE BEAUTY OF MEMES A lot of my Explore page on Instagram and my For You Page on TikTok have been flooded with 2SLGBTQIA+ content. There are some Facebook groups, such as “make a move, you useless sapphic” and “sounds gay, i’m in,” which are dedicated to connecting with other Queer people and of course, posting good quality Queer memes. U
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITORS NATHAN BAWAAN + CHARLOTTE ALDEN
AS ONLINE INSTRUCTION ENTERS ITS FIFTH TERM, STUDENTS ABROAD ARE STILL STRAINED BY TIME ZONE GAPS MATTHEW ASUNCION design by
MAHIN E ALAM Under normal circumstances, waking up in time to go to lecture or take an exam might be taken for granted. But for some students living abroad over this past year of online learning, everyday tasks became consistent challenges. Last summer, Sauder School of Business told its undergraduate students that if they couldn’t attend live classes, they should withdraw from their courses. But as the difficulty of online classes grew heading into the winter session, so too did students’ concerns about if and how instructors and faculties would accommodate those living overseas. The issue is far from UBC-specific; stories from universities across Canada touch on the challenges faced by international students trying to remain in Canada during the pandemic and the mental and physical strain faced by students studying late into the night. But with a full school year of online learning on the books and the fate of the fall term still uncertain for many international students, it’s worth reflecting on how students in different time zones fared over the past year. We’ll take a look at how some students dealt with learning across time zones, how some instructors adapted to the circumstances and how university policies and faculty recommendations stood up to students’ calls for action. ‘I NEEDED TO CHUG A RED BULL EVERY MORNING TO STAY AWAKE.’ For first-year arts student Dania Shadid, the transition to university was exhausting. “I don’t feel like I’ve been prepared to go into university,” said Shadid. “It’s been really lonely and the workload is very heavy.” Shadid completed her first year at home in the Philippines — a 15- to 16hour time difference from Vancouver. Starting university, Shadid knew that she would have to make some adjustments — she was transitioning from IB classes to university-style instruction, and her circumstances left her hoping that her professors would be accommodating. But it appeared that some instructors, too, were still learning how to make their courses suitable for online learning. Shadid said that in term one she was in an English class that required live, in-class participation, even though it was at 4 a.m. in the Phillipines. She ended up dropping it within the first few weeks. “Even though the professor said [lectures] would be asynchronous, live participation was still worth ten
per cent of your grade,” said Shadid. “I needed to chug a Red Bull every morning to stay awake.” As the term continued, Shadid found herself beset with a constant flurry of quizzes and midterms — and time zone differences meant that exam days called for an “inverted schedule,” where she would sleep around 7 p.m. and wake up around 2 in the morning. Her speech sciences major required her to take a biology course that held synchronous exams at 4 a.m. her time. Despite the potential consequences, she dropped the course halfway through the term, hoping to try again under more practical conditions. “I just decided I’ve had enough,” said Shadid. Khushi Patil, another first-year arts student, took a more drastic approach to studying from a different time zone: she adapted her entire life to Vancouver time. Asked to describe her first year, Patil simply replied, “It’s been mostly
just looking into a screen, you know?” Patil said she committed to the noctural lifestyle for two reasons. Academically, her schedule saw classes and tutorials slotted from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and again from 5 to 6 a.m., and she said sleeping between those would’ve been “too risky.” Socially, Patil volunteered with the Arts Undergraduate Society and wanted to block out time to call and chat with friends she made around the globe. “I recognize that not everything can adjust for us, so I feel like we have to do the best that we can to accommodate for everything going on,” said Patil. That being said, Patil recognizes that her experience was more positive
than many of her peers. She says she was lucky that most of her professors were accommodating for assignments and midterms, though she encountered the same obstacle that other students abroad faced come finals season. “Last term, I had a class where midterms were open for 24 hours, but when the finals schedule came out, the exam was at 1 a.m.,” said Patil. “I hadn’t done the full switch yet, so my options were either to wake up really early or stay up really late.” Despite this, Patil said that the support from her family, professors and the camaraderie she found with other students kept her going. “It does feel very disconnected be-
ing like this, having most of my interactions in college [so far] being through a laptop,” said Patil. “But surprisingly, I made a lot of friends through clubs, so it’s not that bad.” Similarly, Rowan Ifill, a first-year science student at UBC Okanagan, encountered a heap of logistical challenges while bridging the time zone gap. iClicker questions, notorious mainstays of large-lecture courses at UBC, compelled students to physically come to class and give their responses. But Ifill said that live participation marks meant she had to wake up for 4 a.m. computer science lectures in Hong Kong. “I didn’t want to wake up at 4 a.m., as the lecture is the [morning] after I have work all day,” said Ifill. The professor offered to shift participation marks to the final exam, but Ifill ultimately decided against it. However, Ifill’s concerns focused primarily around exam timing. According to Ifill, her course grades depended mostly on how well she did on exams. In term one, Ifill had a final exam scheduled for the early morning in Hong Kong. She reached out to her professor, who pointed her to the associate dean of the faculty of science. “They basically said they’re not making any concessions for international students,” said Ifill. According to communications from
EDITORS NATHAN BAWAAN + CHARLOTTE ALDEN
the UBC Okanagan Irving K. Barber faculty of science, accommodations for time zone hardship were unlikely even for finals in term two. “Students are expected to write their final exams at the time scheduled to avoid hardships and clashes. We will NOT consider out-of-time exam requests solely based on differences in time zones,” the faculty wrote in an April email to students. TIME ZONE DIFFERENCES AND INCREASED WORKLOADS FORCED INSTRUCTORS TO IMPROVISE Dr. Jackie Stewart is no stranger to experimenting with her course structure. However, bringing classes online and making them accessible to students around the world was a challenge in its own right. “Despite my over 15 years of teaching chemistry, I’m not an expert in online teaching,” said Stewart. “So I set that bar of like, ‘I’m really excited about this and it’s a good opportunity, but I’m not going to claim to have it all figured out.’” Stewart’s pedagogy emphasized collaborative learning and student engagement. But no physical classroom and students joining from around the world made Stewart wonder how she would approach teaching online. As it turns out, most things stayed
the same. For SCI 113, a first-year seminar on studying and communicating science, the project-focused course structure transferred almost seamlessly. But in CHEM 100, a more content-focused, entry-level course on the foundations of chemistry, the transition was a bit trickier. Not everything was in Stewart’s control. To her surprise, tutorials moved to 8 p.m. Vancouver time; she said the department intended to accommodate students in different time zones, but attendance was low. Otherwise, other parts of the course appeared successful. Although Stewart preferred that students attend class live at 12 p.m. Vancouver time to ask questions and engage with other students, recordings were available. She adjusted her assignments to make them open for 24 hours and assessments to be done individually instead of in a group. Stewart added a midterm to the course — half an individual, multiple-choice assessment, and half a short-answer section based in small breakout groups. To dissuade cheating, Stewart restricted students’ ability to revise previous answers and implemented a time limit. “I was really scared to use openbook exams in the past because I really doubted my own ability to make a good exam,” Stewart said. “[This year,] I really tried to trust that I was asking questions which, first of all, weren’t Googleable. And second of all, if they did Google it, I would know it.” But when it came to the logistics, exam timing could only be so flexible. Stewart offered two sittings for the midterm, but faculty guidance to not
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accommodate for time zones during final exams in term one led her to stick to the assigned time of 8:30 a.m. PDT, stretching into the late-night hours for students in East Asia. “I definitely absolve myself of [the faculty decision] because I’m like, ‘Okay, if this is the messaging, it’s crappy, but everybody’s in the same boat,’” said Stewart. “[I]f a student felt like they really performed poorly on this or it was super stressful and bad for their mental health, I feel terrible about that. I’m not in the business of making people miserable.” Similar sentiments were shared by Dr. Anka Lekhi, an assistant professor in the department of chemistry. In term one, Lekhi taught CHEM 120 to over 2,000 students, over a hundred of whom were international students within Vantage College, which hosts programs for students who don’t yet meet the English language admission requirement for UBC. Lekhi implemented 24-hour lecture quizzes in lieu of clicker questions, weekly homework which remained open for 7 days prior to the deadline and midterm exams that were open for 16 hours. However, the CHEM 120 final exam was synchronous, with its time likewise set for 8:30 a.m. in Vancouver. “Faculty of Science guidance was that instructors were not required to provide additional final exam times and that it can introduce unfairness if different versions are harder/easier,” Lekhi told The Ubyssey in an email. But in the end, experience and comfort with different modes of teaching varies widely by instructor. “I view it like instructors [being] on this continuum of how they like to teach and how they do their assessments ... active versus more lecture-y. I feel like this [year] pushed everyone,” Stewart said. CURRENT POLICIES LEAVE LITTLE GUIDANCE FOR ACCOMMODATING ACROSS TIME ZONES There’s a wide divide between policy and implementation. Conditions for examination hardship and clashes are currently governed by Policy J-102. The AMS proposed an amendment to the policy to ensure that students scheduled to take exams in the middle of the night would be eligible for examination hardship, but it was rejected by the Senate Academic Policy Committee on March 9. The amendment would have required an instructor or faculty to provide an alternate exam time or format should a student request a scheduling change. “This should not be creating more burden [for instructors], but the underlying principle is that they need to be accommodating and these are resources they can use to do so,” former VP Academic and University Affairs Georgia Yee said during a February meeting of the AMS Advocacy Committee. In the Senate, Academic Policy Committee Chair Dr. Kin Lo recommended that in lieu of policy changes, deans should reiterate UBC’s Academic Concession policy and encourage instructors to accommodate their students as they see fit. “Some of the considerations
EDITORS NATHAN BAWAAN + CHARLOTTE ALDEN
included that a lot of these exam situations are already being handled by instructors,” Lo told The Ubyssey in March. “So that reduces the need to have this in policy.” Implementing measures such as 24-hour exam periods, alternate start times or take-home assignments in lieu of exams all depends on faculty, subject matter and the instructor’s course design preferences, according to Simon Bates, associate provost, teaching and learning. “Whilst it may look ad hoc, it is crucial to understand that one approach to assessment may not work for all course contexts and that is why the faculties and faculty members are able to decide which option works for them,” said Bates in a written statement to The Ubyssey. This gave faculties the freedom — and challenge — of working with instructors to make their courses accessible. “Our guidance to instructors has been to be compassionate, accommodating and flexible where possible, recognizing that the entire UBC Science community — students, TAs, and faculty members — are balancing challenges in the online learning environment,” said Sara Harris, associate dean academic of the faculty of science in a written statement. Harris noted that the faculty encouraged instructors to shift marks away from high-stakes assessments like midterms and finals and implement flexible grading approaches like allowing students to drop their lowest marks on a set number of assignments. As for final exams themselves, Harris said that the faculty still advised that most students write them at the scheduled time, with one notable exception: “Sometimes, usually for large classes, we need to offer alternative exam times to accommodate students with hardships under UBC’s official policy [Policy 102] — so we also recommended that instructors offer students with significant time-zone challenges the opportunity to write exams at those alternate times,” said Harris. This differs from the response taken by the faculty of science at UBC Okanagan, which didn’t offer out-oftime exam requests based on time zone differences alone. “This is to limit uncertainty in the final exam schedule and to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, exam anxiety for the greatest number of students,” said Nathan Skolski, associate director, public affairs, Okanagan, in a written statement. ‘THIS SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN LIMITED TO US.’ While some instructors insist that every student attend synchronous exams and class activities, one fifthyear science student thinks that more could be done to ensure that students in different time zones receive support. The student, who requested to be anonymous due to perceived stigma around having a disability and potential for academic retaliation, believes that the only reason they were able to get time zone accommodations was because they have a neurological disability and were registered with the Centre for Accessibility.
The student said that they had multiple courses where an instructor explicitly told students that no accommodations would be made to students in different time zones, but were granted accommodations in their case due to their relationship with the centre. “For other students, it sucks. I’m in the same [circumstances] as them. I just have extra documentation enforcing [an] adjusted exam time,” said the student. The student noted that they had been registered with the centre for years, but moving home to an often loud and disruptive environment and a large time zone difference prompted them to seek out additional accommodations. The student said they were baffled when the centre told them they needed a psychiatrist’s note to affirm that the medicine they took rendered them unfit to take an exam at 3 a.m. “I got new documentation that explicitly stated that ‘this person can only function during [normal working] hours,’” said the student. “Which is what every single person also has — neurotypical brains also have [normal working] hours.” Given that the student’s classes saw one or two midterms and a final make up between 50 and 100 per cent of their course grades, they believe that the ability to take exams at an appropriate time would have been beneficial to many students
abroad. “I think that when professors have a student [who’s] already in their class with these accommodations, that creates a great opportunity for them to accommodate other students,” they said. The fifth-year science student wants to see consistency in how instructors, faculty and administration approach students in different time zones. “I think UBC should have been able to be like, ‘We know, there’s so many different classes and types of teaching, but these are some of the guidelines that we would like to enforce for all the online classes,’” said the student. FOR NOW, STUDENTS CONSIDER WHAT THEIR OPTIONS ARE — AND WHAT THEY COULD BE With courses looking to be primarily in-person come the fall, international students are still wondering whether they’ll be able to enter the country or if they’ll start a second year of online learning. While Patil wanted to move to Vancouver in term two, her study permit application was stuck amidst the backlog of cases at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Requirements regarding entry into Canada, especially from regions facing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases,
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are still changing. As global conditions change, students continue to navigate a patchwork of faculty and instructor responses to find out what options are available to them this summer. Student senators have long echoed concerns around prompt communication with faculty and students, and exam concessions for students in different time zones was no different. “The exam concessions policy is designed to protect and to support students, but interpretation of that policy and the way that it is applied through different instructors isn’t necessarily uniform across the institution or in line with the true intent of flexibilities,” student senator Julia Burnham said to The Ubyssey in March. And for first years new to university classes or students who have had less-than-pleasant experiences reaching out to instructors, advisors or administrators, reaching out for help isn’t always as simple as it seems. “There is a certain level of privilege that comes from, or it manifests itself in those who think it’s okay to ask for something,” said Dr. Jackie Stewart. “Those students who asked for an extension are confident enough to put themselves out there and to directly ask their professor like ‘Hey, can I have more time for this reason,’ but lots of students never asked.” U
FROM THE BLOG
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITOR THOMAS MCLEOD
The five worst things to do in Vancouver this summer
The author, truly, does not recommend falling in love in any city — it only ever culminates in worldly attachments, and then you’ll just have a hell of a time attaining nirvana.
Sun’s out, buns out! What do you have to lose? Your dignity? You lost that a long time ago, that one night at Koerner’s. You know what I’m talking about. Yeah, you do. Don’t act like you don’t know. His brother? Really just — just shameful stuff.
toned after a year on the Nordic Skiing team, were all too eager to eschew the laces of any godfearing civilian and lope your way up that Icarian peak. As you fall interminably to the earth, you’ll shoot past Hot Declan from the Varsity Outdoor Club, and become resigned to your death after having so embarrassed yourself.
HIKE IN CROCS
GO TO THE BEACH
When you’re tumbling ass-overankles down the Grouse Grind, asking yourself, “How did I get here? My god! What have I done?” I’ll tell ya, we all saw it coming. You and your chiseled calves,
I’ll tell you what — lather yourself up with olive oil, and I’ll just toss sand on you, like we’re at Holi in the Thunderbird parking lot. Here, gimme your shoes, too. Sand in ‘em. If you can wear it, you can get sand in it. Gimme
Thomas McLeod Blog and Opinion Editor
your — gimme your fanny pack. Sand. Just skip going altogether. Get real. There’re like a million people at Kits! Or just hang out at the park or something: “the grass beach,” as they call it in Manitoba. SWEAT TO DEATH “Heat hot this heat hot heat” — Henry Marshall Tory, founder of UBC. FALL IN LOVE The author, truly, does not recommend this activity in any city — it only ever culminates in worldly attachments, and then you’ll just have a hell of a time
attaining nirvana. The only place you should be falling in love is Saskatoon, and even then that’s just so you have something to do. But we digress — this is The Ubyssey, not The Sheaf. LINE UP FOR BRUNCH Time exists along a potentially infinite spectrum, in form and in magnitude, and the entirety of human history is contained within only the most infinitesimal blip in the patently undisturbed movements of universal bodies. When the sun consumes the Earth — an unimaginably long time after our self-inflicted extinction — this will not even rate as a notable event in the
grand designs of the cosmos, and neither will the sun’s inevitable collapse into supernova. Time, in trillions of trillions of years, will become meaningless in itself as the last black holes wink out of existence, shooting dying rays of light into the crushing nothingness of space like soldiers firing into oblivion to sacrifice their lives for ideals that are unfathomably displaced from their cause. All that being said, do you really want to spend a whole hour on Saturday — the only day you have off from your job at the garden centre — lined up outside Jam in 24 degree heat? Yeah, why not. Get a double mimosa, I’ll be there in fifteen. U
The Dingbat: Guys we gave honorary degrees to without any kind of background check GENE SIMMONS, KISS We didn’t know that he already had the key to the city of Winnipeg, seems like overkill at this point. GRITTY This was only because he dropped out of his PhD in Anglo-Saxon literature before defending his thesis.
Who among us can say they never gave out an honoris causa on a dare?
Thomas McLeod Blog and Opinion Editor
We here at The University of Bad Choices have made some real whoopsies in the past — we only recently closed the portal to Hell under the Chemistry Building — but this is the last one for real.
We have been required by FIPPA to disclose this classified list of past recipients of honorary degrees from our institution: GASSY JACK, statue with an expiration date Don’t look him up, I know we didn’t, but for real don’t.
FILE ZUBAIR HIRJI
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, hand model Yeah yeah, he already had a degree from here, our bad. THANOS People called him an environmentalist, and we thought that’s what you goddamn granola-munchers wanted.
BISHOP BON (BO) BRADY, unprincipled We thought he was a gimme, just like every other Catholic priest! MERYL STREEP I don’t think she’s done any kind of philanthropy, but wasn’t she fabulous in Sophie’s Choice? DARTH MAUL Yeah, it was from a write-in campaign and we were a few drinks deep, but how were we
to know there would be this sweeping wave of accountability that included anyone who’s ever killed a Jawa? FIDEL CASTRO, hat model We had a whole phase. DON CHERRY, talking couch Another unproblematic slam dunk BESMIRCHED by the tyranny of facts! J.K. ROWLING, British We just never thought to ask! CHIP WILSON, yoga pant dealer He was gonna buy us a library! We were young, we were naive and we were broke! ROBERTO LUONGO, stack of hockey pads The 2011 Stanley cup finals was a different time, man. There was something in the air. U
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITOR THOMAS MCLEOD
ASK IMAN //
Ask Iman: AB-sence makes the heart grow fonder
Like you, I hated living in my city in Alberta.
MAHIN E ALAM
Iman Janmohamed Columnist
leaving my family and moving on to better things?
Dear Iman, I hate living in my city in Alberta and I’m moving to campus soon. How do I not feel guilty about
Now that, my friends, is what we call a loaded question. The guilt of growing up and leaving the nest is tough. But of course, I can
help you out. If you asked me this question six months ago, I would have had no answer for you. Like you, I hated living in my city in Alberta, was moving to campus soon and of course, felt guilty about leaving
my family (and friends) at home. My advice is to keep your head up. It’s scary to move away from home. Your loved ones are difficult to leave behind. You absolutely should not feel guilty about wanting your independence. You have tons of people who love you at home. Your move is a new stage in life — not just for you, but for your parents, siblings, friends and others. Moving out is hard. There are so many changes and stresses that come with it. But moving out is also one of the first steps of growing up. Though it may feel like you’re leaving your parents, siblings and friends in the dust, I can assure you that they’re happy for you, even if that means that they’ll see you less. I mean, absence does make the heart grow fonder! Instead of dwelling on how much I’d miss everyone, I tried to spend my time with my family and friends in an effort to make some memories before I moved. But of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about my move, how many new people I would meet,
assignments I would forget to do and times I’d miss my bus stop, but that also comes with thinking about how much I’ll miss everyone back home.
I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THEY’RE HAPPY FOR YOU, EVEN IF THAT MEANS THAT THEY’LL SEE YOU LESS. Something to remember is that this is a fresh start, a new beginning — though it sucks to leave your loved ones, new experiences are worth it. The separation will be tough at first — it was for me, but that’s just growing up! Yes, they’ll miss you. And yes, you’ll miss them, too. But I promise you, there is nothing that tastes better than sweet, sweet independence. You’re doing great. Keep it up! U Need advice? Send your questions, queries or problems to advice@ ubyssey.ca, or submit anonymously at ubyssey.ca/advice!
Letter: Internationally Ignored, Palestine and UBC Sabreena Shukul and Touleen Bajj Contributors
How easily history repeats itself. The world has stood silently by as genocides have taken place right in the middle of the Western world. Today, they have come for the Palestinians, and again nobody cares. In fact, they have been coming for the Palestinians for almost a century and the world has stayed largely silent. Where is the hue and cry from neighbouring countries, from international organizations of peace and from self-acclaimed liberators of the oppressed who would stop this new genocide! For reasons undefined, there has largely been a deafening silence on this continued occurrence of human rights violations. Universities, which are the bastions of advocating awareness, are silent. UBC as an incredibly multicultural and international organization, too, remains silent. Neither the UBC administration nor the UBC President have released any public statement of support for their own students affected by this situation, much less for the entirety of Palestine. The AMS has not released a statement or referred students to any mental health or financial resources. In 2017, the AMS Council rejected a motion to direct the BDS referendum (Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel for its war crimes) to the Student Court, with aims to revisit this topic at a later date, which they never did. Numerous UBC organizations and clubs, despite their vocality on other human rights issues, continue to remain in the shadows, from all the undergraduate societies to departmental clubs to student associations. Here is
a short list of a few clubs which seem to have spoken up: UBC SPHR (Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights), UBC SASC (Sexual Assault Support Centre), the BSA (Bangladeshi Student Association), the MSA (Muslim Student Association) and the ESA (Egyptian Student Organization). Otherwise, UBC and the rest of the world seem to be telling the Palestinians that, to survive, they must silently accept the systematic erasure of their peoples. It might make sense had this been a conflict between two equal sides, but it is not. It is an occupation and a series of ongoing and continuous acts of aggression by a highly financed and powerful military state against displaced, impoverished and marginalized peoples. When you want a land without its peoples, the goal is to remove said peoples by whatever means necessary. This policy, enabled by Western nations, is by definition genocidal. The reality of the situation is that Gaza is the largest open air prison in the world. The Israeli onslaught against people unable to escape the assault has hit a death toll of almost 250, including almost 100 children. Israeli rockets have displaced over 50,000 Palestinians and destroyed over 500 homes. The Palestinian offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and the Ministry of Health, as well as medical aid and trauma response buildings (MSF, PCRF Office) and the only COVID testing centre in Gaza have been levelled. The systematic destruction of infrastructure has resulted in a lack of access of Palestinian civilians to the basic necessities of life including food, water, electricity, medical aid and education. This
Universities, which are the bastions of advocating awareness, are silent.
continual assault on Gaza is a violation of multiple human rights. It is obvious that Israel has no intention of ceasing their efforts to subdue the Palestinian people — illustrated by the fact that just days after agreeing to a ceasefire, Israeli settlers and forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, firing tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd of worshippers, injuring over 300 people, allegedly in response to some stone throwers. The authors of this article stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle and resistance against the occupation and the apartheid state of Israel. We condemn all acts of violence, whether by Hamas or by Israel. Our condemnation of the Israeli government does not extend to the Israeli
people or people of Jewish descent. We are aware of the concerns of safety of our fellow students of Israeli and Jewish descent. We continue to reject all acts of antisemitism, and extend our support to the Jewish community during this difficult time. We know that there are many Jewish organizations that are working towards establishing peace in the conflict zones. We want to remind everyone that oppression of a people is against humanitarian ideals and can never result in lasting peace. To stand with Palestine is to stand with humanity. The authors of this article do not claim to know all the answers, nor ask any reader to blindly accept what we are saying — we are simply asking
you to care enough to educate yourselves on these matters. We are asking you to hold those in power responsible for their silence and for their ignorance on this subject, especially when the consequences of this deafening silence are the mass suffering and the loss of human life. We can start with UBC: by putting pressure on our AMS constituencies and undergraduate clubs and societies to stand in solidarity with Palestine, and by putting pressure on the UBC administration to release a public statement. While this issue might be occurring halfway across the world for some of you, it is very much happening at home for your fellow students and friends. Speak up. We hear your silence, we see your silence. U
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITOR SOPHIA RUSSO
SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! //
Here’s how mRNA vaccines actually work Shanzeh Chaudhry Contributor
In December 2020, Health Canada authorized two mRNA vaccines effective against COVID-19 from the pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. As vaccines become accessible to college-aged residents through BC’s COVID-19 immunization plan, the insight from UBC experts regarding these so-called “game-changer” mRNA vaccines merits an introduction — we figured we would give it a shot.
START WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS A little bit of biochem 101: mRNA vaccines inject messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) into the body. mRNA is a molecule that provides cells with the instructions to produce proteins, hence why it’s known as a messenger. In the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, mRNA prompts cells to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus causing COVID-19 and helps the virus cling to human cells. “With an RNA vaccine, what we are doing is giving the body an instruction manual and saying ‘Actually, you read this, you make the proteins yourself,’” Dr. Manish Sadarangani, director of the Vaccine Evaluation Center at BC Children’s Hospital and professor in the department of infectious diseases, explained in an interview with Global News. Once the protein is made, immune cells degrade the instructions (mRNA) and display a piece of the spike protein on their surface. The immune system then recognizes the protein as foreign, leading to an immune response and the production of antibodies. Now, the body is ready for a counterstrike in the event of reexposure with the protein (and the virus that it is attached to). “Your fighter cells are primed,” said Sadarangani. “They know what they are looking for.”
TOP-TIER DELIVERY mRNA vaccines are considered a type of gene therapy as they utilize genetic material like RNA to induce an immune response in the vaccinated subject. Beyond mRNA vaccines, there are more traditional gene therapies that have been studied. So, why break tradition? The Ubyssey attended a Life Sciences Institute seminar on January 15, 2021 featuring Dr. Pieter Cullis, a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and CEO of Nanomedicines Innovation Network. A UBC researcher whose work, according to CBC News, “paved the way” for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, Cullis explained the distinction between traditional gene therapies and the recent developments applied in mRNA vaccines. Some background: traditional viral vector-based vaccines, in contrast to mRNA vaccines, work by injecting a harmless, engineered virus, typically of the adeno-asso-
“Your fighter cells are primed,” said Sadarangani. “They know what they are looking for.”
ciated virus (AAV) family, into the host. This AAV introduces genetic material specific to a protein of interest, which the host’s cells then make — in theory, spike proteins could also be manufactured in this way. The Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines take advantage of this technology. Cullis noted that traditional viral vector-based vaccines have their share of limitations. “Viral vectors have really proven to be very problematic. They have limited [genetic] capacity... [and] they are difficult to engineer and manufacture,” he said, regarding some of the problems viral vectors face. “Non-viral [mRNA] systems potentially have none of those issues.” But mRNA vaccines are not free of limitations either. The mRNA used in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is easily degraded in biological environments. Thus, it requires a carrier for protection and adequate penetration into target cells. This drawback is addressed with the use of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery systems. By packing the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles, not only is the mRNA protected but delivery into cells is made easier. The use of LNP systems may be new, with the first drug using LNP being approved by the FDA in 2018, but it is a feature critical to the function of mRNA vaccines. In his presentation, Cullis
acknowledged the collaborative efforts between himself and his colleagues Dr. Mick Hope, Dr. Tom Madden, Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Marcel Bally. Together, this team laid the groundwork for mRNA vaccine technology when they began developing LNP systems that could deliver DNA and RNA molecules in the 1990s. In a recent interview with the CBC, Cullis discussed benefits of mRNA vaccines. “It’s a really elegant approach. You’re not putting the whole virus in. It’s only a very small segment,” said Cullis. “There’s no chance of viral transmission or anything like that.” Beyond vaccinating the public, Cullis highlighted in the interview that gene therapy is applicable in many areas of healthcare. “It’s a vaccination technique that I think we’re going to see coming in quite a variety of other applications,” said Cullis. “Everything from influenza to HIV, cancer vaccines, etc. So it’s a very powerful approach to vaccination.”
FAST AND ADAPTABLE Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccines were approved “after a thorough, independent review of the evidence” on stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements, said Health Canada. Under normal circumstances, it can take years for a vaccine to be
approved in Canada. According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, COVID-19 vaccines were made available to the public on a faster timescale due to an “expedited” approval process, made possible by reduced time delays, international research collaborations, increased funding and rapid recruitment of patients for clinical trials. “We’re in the pandemic and time is not on our side,” Sadarangani said. “So we need something that we can get out into the population as quickly as possible.” This is where mRNA vaccines come into the mix. Sadarangani explained that the application of mRNA vaccine technology in itself can facilitate faster introduction into clinical trials. “The fact that we don’t have to do all the work in the lab to create the proteins … [and we can] just give the body the manual [mRNA], means that you can get this vaccine into clinical trials much much quicker,” said Sadarangani. The appearance of a series of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 has highlighted the importance of a vaccine that is both efficacious and adaptable — as Sadarangani explained, our little instruction manual touting mRNA vaccines fit the bill. “If a new strain comes along, you can adapt these vaccines very very quickly once you have the genetic information or once you have the manual of the new strain,”
GIVING IT A SHOT For students interested in giving the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine a shot, they can register online on the BC Immunization Plan website using their Personal Health Number, which can be found on the back of your BC Driver’s License, BC Services Card or CareCard. Students who do not have a Personal Health Number can get one by phone at 1.833.838.2323. According to the BC Immunization Plan website, “It doesn’t matter if you are a Canadian citizen or not. Register even if you have already received dose 1 in another location. All of your information will be kept private and will never be shared with other agencies or parts of [the] government.” From March 29 to August 2021, the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building at 2405 Westbrook Mall will act as an on-campus vaccination clinic. Around eight weeks after your first shot, you can expect to get an invitation to book your second dose. Students can refer to the BC Immunization Plan website, the BCCDC or peer-reviewed journals (like Nature and Frontiers) to further educate themselves about getting vaccinated and potentially making the choice to join the ranks of Canadians who are living that vaxxed life. U
14 | SCIENCE | TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021 SHUT UP //
Dialing it down: How noise pollution has changed during the pandemic Polina Petlitsyna Contributor
Since the pandemic lockdowns, noise levels have fluctuated on campus, across BC and around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to elevated noise levels or noise pollution is the second most detrimental type of environmental pollution for human health, behind only air pollution. “We can tolerate a lot of noise for a short amount of time,” said Dr. Hugh Davies, associate professor at the School of Population and Public Health. “But as the exposure gets longer, the tolerance gets shorter and the health effects change as well.” Worldwide, noise pollution has been associated with short-term health effects like symptoms of stress and discomfort, and long-term impacts like cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairment. Following the March 2020 lockdowns, Paris and Barcelona reported average noise reductions of 7.6 decibels (dB) and 9 dB, respectively. Dublin showed a significant reduction in noise levels after collecting data from 12 sound monitoring stations, which the study attributed to “both road
and air traffic movements.” In Vancouver, compiled noise data revealed around a 50 per cent drop in noise levels as traffic levels and aircraft flights decreased during last year’s lockdown, according to Davies. While noise levels in Toronto were not assessed during the pandemic, the city previously attributed 60 per cent of its noise as having a traffic origin, suggesting that the lockdown may have had a positive impact on noise levels. One paper revealed that a reduction in commercial shipping traffic in the Port of Vancouver in the first four months of 2020 was associated with a 1.5 dB decrease in average weekly noise levels compared to 2019. In an interview with the CBC, Dr. Richard Dewey, director of science at Ocean Networks Canada, explained that this reduction in shipping noise will be useful for scientists to investigate the effects of water noise on southern resident killer whale populations, which rely on echolocation to find their prey. According to Dewey, as of June 2020, the Salish Sea saw a noise reduction of about 75 per cent — levels of noise that have not been seen since the 1980s. “The anticipation is that the quieter environment will help the
killer whales in communicating, in socializing, in navigating and most importantly, in finding food,” Dewey said. Contrary to the trends above, the number of local noise complaints went up, according to Davies. “People started to hear things they have not heard before. They used to go to work during the day, but now they are home,” he said. Globally, the drop in background noise following lockdowns also reduced the amount of seismic activity. In Brussels, the seismic activity dropped by 30 to 50 per cent since the pandemic. Less seismic noise from traffic and aircraft flights revealed to seismologists other sounds like distant earthquakes that they couldn’t detect before, according to an article published by National Geographic. Meanwhile, construction noise has not subsided, according to Davies. “[Construction was] one of the few industries that just kept going because they are mostly outdoors, they already have a safety culture so it was definitely easier to add another layer in,” he said. According to UBC’s Construction Office, the 2019/20 construction projects logged a record-break-
Noise pollution is the second most detrimental type of environmental pollution on human health.
ing 8,969 hours of work, a growth of 47 per cent from previous years. Construction noise has been linked to lower-level health outcomes like annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance, Davies said. Jacqueline Hughes, a fourthyear chemistry student, has lived in Exchange Residence since September 2019, and said she has witnessed “constant” construction noise from the Pacific Residence project next door. “I’m also in a nanosuite, so I can’t really go to any other part of the unit to get away from [the noise],” Hughes said. “It’s just
always there.” The problem with prolonged exposure to noise, construction or otherwise, is that it can also be a powerful stressor, Davies explained. He recommended closing windows during nighttime, putting on music or masking noise by running a fan in the room to avoid exposure to outside noise of construction, traffic and roadwork. “If you are a student that is stressed out about COVID-19, exams, rent, you should avoid noise because it’s just going to add to your stress,” he said. U
BIG BRAIN TIME //
In tune with your brain: Neuroscience and the power of music
“Why do we have music at all? Maybe it’s because music is a form of connection to other people.”
Sophia Russo Science Editor
“What happens in your brain when you listen to music?” Posed by graduate student and host Mikey Jose, this was one of the many questions asked at the In Tune With Your Brain Virtual Symposium held by UBC Brain and Music student group on May 15. The panel featured neuroscientists and musicians from across the globe and catered to viewers from over 21 countries. From spotlighted research to live studio production sessions, the seminar delved into the intricate relationship between music and the mind.
‘WHY DOES MUSIC MOVE US?’ The keynote speaker, Gram-
my-award winner and Assistant Professor in the department of music at Northeastern University, Dr. Psyche Loui, discussed how brain structure relates to our experience of music. Her previous work investigated why some of us get “chills” when we listen to music. According to Loui’s findings, chills aren’t the only thing separating those music listeners from others — the very structure of their brains are different. Individuals who get chills showed greater connectivity between key brain regions involved in hearing and emotion: the superior temporal gyrus (involved in auditory perception), the anterior insula (involved in emotional states) and the medial prefrontal cortex (involved in assigning subjective value to music and social processes).
The appearance of brain structures involved in emotion and social cognition, for Loui, can provide insight into the value of music. Why do we have music at all? “Maybe it’s because music is a form of connection to other people,” said Loui. “Especially, in neuroscience terms, it might be because music is an auditory channel towards areas of the brain that are important for emotion and for social processing.”
MUSIC TO IMPROVE MEMORY The potential for music as a therapy for dementia was also explored in Loui’s talk. She explained that dementia-related illnesses are complex disorders characterized by abnormal changes that range from the molecular and neural systems level
to behaviour marked by memory and learning deficits. Using an electroencephalogram (EEG), researchers can probe the integrity of our neural systems, by detecting wave patterns emitted from our brains. In older adults, brain rhythms that have fallen out of sync (or lost their “coupling”) have been observed to correlate with cognitive impairment and worsened working memory — the kind of memory used to organize information by temporarily holding it in your brain while planning out subsequent goal-directed behaviour. Brain stimulation, through electrodes placed on the scalp, has been shown to improve the coupling of brain waves in older adults and their memory performance. Gamma light stimulation uses lights tuned to flash at a frequency corresponding to “gamma waves” in the brain and has been used on mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Here, gamma light stimulation was shown to improve memory deficits and reduce molecular markers of the disease (such as amyloid plaques). Given this previous work, Loui and her colleagues have theorized that combining music-based interventions with gamma light stimulation could lead to greater therapeutic benefits for those suffering from memory impairment. “Music is actually a very good way of stimulating the brain, and especially [since] music already intrinsically has rhythm,” said Loui. “So, this is one way in which music … can actually be translated towards novel interventions.”
YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC The symposium spotlighted speakers who delved deeper into the significance of music, with talks from Dr. Lynn Raymond, President Santa
Ono, Dr. Karen Chan Barrett, Dr. Lara Boyd, Dr. Leigh VanHandel, Francis Arevalo, Cynthia Friesen, Zoë Thomson, Alex Lau and Dr. Roger Wong. An interactive studio production session with Brazilian singer-songwriter Victor Franco was also featured, as well as a cello performance by Ono. Boyd, a professor in the department of physical therapy at UBC, discussed music training as an inducer of neuroplasticity. For example, previous work has observed that the brains of avid pianists appeared to change their structure over the course of several years of consistent practice with their instrument. “This is something we call neuroplasticity and that’s really an important concept when you think about why we might be having art in our lives,” said Boyd. “What might art and music be doing to our brains, in terms of changing it in terms of neuroplasticity?” Currently, Boyd and her colleagues are researching neuroplasticity and music via the Wall Opera Project, an ongoing study looking at the effect of different artistic training regimes on brain structure. As she wrapped up her talk, Boyd took a moment to discuss the importance of music in our communities, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. “The arts have been absolutely devastated by this pandemic,” she said. Boyd encouraged viewers to consider ways to invigorate the arts in their respective communities – a task, she argues, might be for the better of your brain. “I don’t know where we would be without [the arts],” said Boyd. “And I would suggest to you without them, our brains would be much less healthy than they are for having them around us.” U
JUNE 29, 2021 TUESDAY
EDITOR DIANA HONG
Three former UBC football players charged with sexual assault
FILE ALEX NGUYEN
All three have been charged with one count of sexual assault.
Diana Hong, Nathan Bawaan and Charlotte Alden Sports & Rec and News Editor
Following an RCMP investigation, three former UBC football players have been arrested on sexual assault charges. The three former players — Tremont Levy, Trivel Pinto and Ben Cummings — are in police custody and will appear in a Richmond Provincial Court at a future date, according to a press release from the University RCMP
June 5. All three have been charged with one count of sexual assault, but Levy has also been charged with one count of voyeurism. On November 5, 2018, University RCMP received a 911 call from a woman who reported she had been sexually assaulted by three men at a residence on Acadia Road. The RCMP Major Crime Section (MCS) led the investigation following the report. In a statement published on June 5, VP Students Ainsley Carry wrote, “On behalf of UBC, I would
like to express our collective and deep concern for the wellbeing of those impacted by the alleged sexual assault off-campus on Nov. 5 2018.” “UBC Athletics and the entire university are shocked and saddened by the allegations in this case.” Carry emphasized that varsity athletes sign the Varsity Code of Conduct and they must attend mandatory education sessions conducted by the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office.
“Sexual violence has no place here at UBC and I can tell you those accused are no longer students at the university,” wrote Carry. In a statement shared on Instagram on June 7, the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) reinstated their commitment to sexual assault survivors. “We support all survivors, regardless of whether they choose to report or not. We believe you, and we see you,” the post reads.
The SASC also wrote that they had previously tried to offer educational training to UBC sports teams in 2018, but were “met with a lack of response.” “The SASC urges the university to refrain from dismissing this incident as an anomaly and encourages them to take radical steps towards redressing rape culture on campus,” SASC wrote in the post. A former U Sports first-team All-Canadian and Canada West receptions record holder, Pinto was suspended from play for two years in 2019 after testing positive for cocaine in 2019. Before his suspension, Pinto received an Athlete of the Month award back in 2018 and was picked by the Calgary Stampeders in the 2020 CFL draft. Levy, a former defensive lineman for the Thunderbirds, contributed to AMS Safewalk in 2016 in an effort to ensure the safety of students living on campus. Cummings, one of the key running backs during his time at UBC, graduated in 2019. Acting Officer-In-Charge Superintendent Sanjaya Wijayakoon of the BC RCMP MCS declined to provide further information as the matter is now before the court. “Our priority at this time is to prepare for, and to continue to provide support for the victim through the upcoming court process,” Wijayakoon wrote in the press release.U
Four T-Birds and alumni nominated to the NextGen roster for the Pan-American Volleyball Cup
They will proceed to the Pan American Cup in Veracruz, Mexico from August 22 to 30.
Elizabeth Wang Staff Writer
Volleyball Canada released the NextGen (Senior B) national team roster this year. Two UBC Thunderbirds from the men’s volleyball team are going to join
the two UBC alumni in Gatineau, Quebec this summer to prepare for the Pan-American Cup in August. Coltyn Liu, the fourth-year outside hitter, and Matt Neaves, the third-year opposite are going to reunite with Fynn McCarthy
COURTESY UBC ATHLETICS
and Byron Keturakis, who were also members of the 2018 National Championship team. They started training with the National Team in May and they will proceed to the Pan-American Cup in Veracruz, Mexico from August 22 to 30.
According to UBC Athletics, the NextGen team, coached by Joao Bravo, Matt Harris and Chris Voth, is made up of athletes who “have the potential to represent Canada at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.” “I feel really blessed about [getting nominated to the team], being a part of the national team was a pretty long dream of mine and one of my end-goals is to compete at the Olympics one day. I know this is the next step, I feel really fortunate that I was one of the 16 guys to have made the team, and I’m really pumped for this summer,” said Liu. This is also going to be the first time the four UBC T-birds play together since the National Championship game in 2018. After the 2018 National Championship, the former setter Keturakis graduated from the applied science program and went playing pro with Narbonne Volley of France’s Pro A League. With three years of professional volleyball experience in his pocket, Keturakis is returning to Canada for the NextGen team from the Netzhoppers in the German Bundesliga. Former middle blocker McCarthy also chose the
professional path after winning the championship in his first year, signing with the Montpellier UC in the French league A. “I think it’s really great to be able to play with my teammates in the national team,” said Neaves. “My best friend is Coltyn, so I’m very excited to see him in the summer. I’ve never played with Byron who graduated a year before I came in, so I’m super excited to go and learn from him. I’ve been playing with Fynn McCarthy in the junior national team. I really liked him, so I’m excited just to continue playing with them.” Prior to being selected for the NextGen team, Neaves was training with the National Excellence Program (NEP), which helped him prepare for the upcoming Pan-American Cup in August. To the Thunderbirds, being able to step onto the game court again after a one-year pause due to the pandemic is both stressful and motivating. “I will say I’m more excited than anything else. I’m just really pumped just to be able to represent Canada,” Liu said with confidence.U
16 | GAMES | TUESDAY JUNE 29, 2021
CROSSWORD PUZZLE ACROSS 1. Rips 6. Alternatively 10. Getting___ years 14. Foil maker 15. The Longest Day city 16. Panamanian baby 17. Actress Streep 18. House member 19. Good grief! 20. Lacto-___vegetarian 21. Potala Palace site 23. Bearings 24. Corpulent 26. Work out 27. Pledge 29. Where there’s ___... 31. Breast milk 32. City near Gainesville 33. Pacific paste 36. Direct 40. Broke bread 41. French Impressionist 42. Winglike parts 43. Biblical king 44. Richards of Jurassic Park 46. Nestling pigeon 48. Singer Bonnie 49. Take ___ for the worse 50. Nebraska city 52. Summer quaff 55. Capricorn’s animal 56. Fail to mention 57. Toil 59. Viscount’s superior 60. Word that can precede war, biotic and climax 61. President before Polk 62. Diminutive suffix 63. One of the Jackson 5 64. Lulus
DOWN 1. ___ -shanter (Scottish cap) 2. Hgt. 3. First sprout of germination 4. Singer Orbison 5. Yellowish color 6. Showy display 7. Vientiane is its capital 8. Vaccines 9. Close 10. Mourning Becomes Electra playwright 11. Israeli desert region 12. Ludicrous 13. Actor Beatty and others 22. Attila, for one 23. Wisdom tooth, e.g. 25. Toodle-oo 26. Fodder’s place 27. Casablanca role 28. Damon of Good Will Hunting 29. Trod the boards 30. Float 32. This can’t be! 33. Agreeable to the taste 34. Algerian seaport 35. Bean sprout? 37. That is to say... 38. Clothes 39. Hold on! 43. Move with great speed 44. Sound of satisfaction 45. Theater district 46. Summer ermine 47. Liquid measure 48. Proportion 49. “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” author 50. Old Dodge model 51. Baseball glove 53. Go-getter 54. Stumbles 56. Cereal grain 58. Novelist Rand
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