AUGUST 30, 2022 | VOLUME CIV | ISSUE V UBYSLAYING SINCE 1918
Students struggle to find housing
Review: Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Editorial: Our 104th masthead’s mission
The science of burnout: Cool the burn inside!
T-Birds defeat NCAA Div I Runnin’ Rebels
‘ I KNOW HE KNOWS ’ Inside UBC’s sexual assault reporting process // 8–10
AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
YOUR GUIDE TO UBC PEOPLE
ON THE COVER
Samsel Kenston is the newest Graduate Student Society president
Isabella Falsetti and Mahin E Alam
U THE UBYSSEY
AUGUST 30, 2022 | VOLUME CIV | ISSUE V
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“The good thing is I go home to two active young kids who make me forget about all the stress at work.”
Emiko Wijeysundera Contributor
Tucked away in the northwest corner of campus, across the road from the Museum of Anthropology and flanked by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies is the Thea Koerner House, home to the UBC Graduate Student Society (GSS). The building, like the society it houses, feels hidden from the rest of campus, shielded behind a sculpted fountain and tall purple flowers. It is here that I visited the new president of the GSS, Dr. Samsel Kenston, in his office. Kenston was wearing a fuzzy grey sweater and simple blue jeans as he opened his office door to greet me. Standing at over six feet, his head seemed to nearly graze the door frame. Kenston is a licensed medical doctor and full-time PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health. He spends half of the week in the research lab, developing his thesis on the impact of the built environment on cancer risk and incidence. To say that Kenston has a lot on his plate is an understatement. He admits “It’s a lot of challenge, I must say it’s not easy, but I live strictly by my calendar. That’s my only hope!” On evenings and weekends, Kenston spends time with his wife and two young children, aged two and five. Family time helps Kenston alleviate the stress of his position. “I’ve programmed life from the morning. And before you realize [it]
ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY
it’s nighttime. But the good thing is I go home to two active young kids who make me forget about all the stress at work, and I just have fun with them.” “I prioritize my family, and I balance my work and family life. So when I’m out of here, I’m out, and I spend time with [my family] ... My son loves to play the ukulele and I play the guitar. My daughter just loves to sing like Anna [from Disney’s Frozen].” At the start of each day, Kenston checks his beloved calendar and prioritizes his meetings “from morning to evening.” The key responsibilities of the president include responding to emails, overseeing the executive team, checking in with staff and approving financial requests. While many of these tasks overflow into the weekends and evenings, he doesn’t complain “because advocacy takes time.” “Graduate students are struggling,” explained Kenston. “Combining research with part-time jobs so that they can afford food, prescriptions [and] a lot of graduate students have family.” “How can you make life here a little bit more comfortable during these years [at UBC]?” he said. “That’s [the GSS’s] point.” As a member of last year’s administration, Kenston has firsthand experience with “telling [the dean and vice provost of graduate and postdoctoral studies] why graduate students are suffering and need their help” year after year. Kenston appeared frustrated.
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“Last year, everything we talked about — we have to repeat ourselves again this year! It’s as if when the COVID[-19 mask] mandate was lifted … everything is back to normal. But no! [The] COVID[-19 mask] mandate was lifted, but the financial burdens [that the previous administration advocated against] are still there.” That’s not to say that the previous two administrations led by Kimani Karangu — Kenston’s predecessor — were unsuccessful. Karangu’s administration established an anti-racism task force and increased the university-wide minimum funding policy for PhD students from $18k to $22k per year. “There is definitely an overlap between some of the things we are advocating for and some of the things done by my predecessor,” Kenston said. Kenston’s passion for advocacy has pushed him around the globe. “Whenever I find myself in a different country, it’s like you have to fight for yourself and fight for those in similar situations as you.” Now in Canada, Kenston continues the fight with ambitious goals within his term of office. “The long-term goal is free PhD for all,” Kenston said with a determined grin, “but within my term of office, we want to see [PhD funding go from] four-year funding to fiveyear funding and guaranteed minimum funding for master’s students.” This vision builds on the previous administration’s research allowance advocacy in prior years. Kenston’s administration also plans to advocate for expanded intentional fellowships for BIPOC graduate students and students with disabilities. In his words, these students “should be recognized. By so doing you realize that their situation is unique.” The administration is also advocating for a freeze on the annual rent increase in UBC graduate student housing. Lastly, the administration hopes to create more child care facilities on campus. As Kenston puts it, “We want to shed light on what [UBC can] do to increase child care facilities in and around UBC to help graduate students and undergraduate students with families.” Ultimately, Kenston asserted the high price of rent, food insecurity, high tuition costs and inaccessible child care services are risks that threaten the mental health of graduate students. “Accessibility for housing is not there,” he said, “and then when you get it the rent is so high you just break down.” With his administration’s goals, Kenston hopes to alleviate some of these stressors. Kenston also encourages his fellow graduate students to get involved with the GSS. “If we have a lot of people on board, your voice becomes even louder … we can maximize our potentials … then definitely we will see the change that we desire.” U
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AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITORS NATHAN BAWAAN + ANABELLA MCELROY
Masks to remain optional at UBC going into fall term Nathan Bawaan Web News Editor
UBC will continue to not require masks in the fall term. Instead, UBC is recommending that community members wear masks. President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UBC Okanagan Lesley Cormack announced the mask policies in a broadcast message published August 25. “This approach reflects advice from our internal experts and public health guidance, as well as discussions with student leaders, Deans, Senate Planning Committee and unions, and is in alignment with other BC public post-secondary institutions,” Ono and Cormack wrote. In an August 17 report, the BC COVID-19 Modelling Group — which includes six UBC professors — said the BA.5-driven Omicron wave has crested in BC and across Canada, but noted that cases remain high and that protective safety measures such as mask-wearing could reduce case numbers. The university lifted its mask mandate earlier this summer after continuing to require masks when the province lifted its mandate in March. Notably, the Life Sciences Institute announced it would keep a mandate in place, despite the
Instead UBC will continue to recommend community members wear masks.
university’s decision. The AMS also lifted its mask mandate in the Nest shortly after UBC. The student society has not announced plans to reimplement a mandate ahead of fall classes. UBC’s announcement comes as several universities across Canada say they will extend or reimple-
ment COVID-19 safety measures for the fall term. The University of New Brunswick will require masks in classrooms, the University of Toronto will require vaccines in student residences and Western University will require masks and booster shots in classrooms. Many community members
ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY
have been calling on UBC to reimplement a mask mandate ahead of the start of fall classes via social media in recent weeks. Along with recommending mask-wearing, Ono and Cormack reminded community members to wash their hands regularly, complete a daily COVID-19 self-assess-
ment and get vaccinated if they have not already. “UBC will continue to monitor the situation regarding COVID-19, and is well placed to adjust its approach should circumstances change. Wishing you a safe and successful start to the academic year,” Ono and Cormack wrote. U
Students struggling to find housing on, off campus
MAHIN E ALAM / THE UBYSSEY
“It’s just been really, really stressful.”
Nicholas Viegas and Tina Yong Contributor and Senior Staff Writer
Limited housing around Vancouver has left many UBC students scrambling to secure a home for the upcoming fall term. Students have taken to social media to voice their discontent with the arduous and distressing process of searching for housing — both on campus with UBC housing and off campus with the Vancouver housing market. Chhavi Mehra, a first-year graduate student in the UBC School of Journalism who recently moved to Canada from India, said the experi-
ence has been “disheartening.” Mehra has been looking for housing since July on platforms like Facebook, Kijiji and Craigslist. She said that after contacting over 65 people and receiving only a few responses — none of which have turned into a viable accommodation — she feels like she is “running out of options.” “Not having housing is so anxiety-inducing because this is just more on my plate in addition to preparing to take on a grad program,” she said. “The first thing I do the moment I wake up in the morning is look for housing, and it’s just been really, really stressful.”
Mehra said that her options are also limited because she is new to the area and lacks the connections that could help her land an offer more quickly. She also said she has safety concerns as a woman that further restrict which offers she is comfortable pursuing. Andrew Parr, the associate vice-president of Student Housing and Community Services, said UBC had extended the period to cancel winter housing offers for free in July in an attempt to open up in-demand residences. “Demand for upper-year units for winter session, by both newto-UBC and continuing students
remains high,” he wrote in an email to The Ubyssey in July. While some speculated that UBC extended the cancellation period because it had overallocated winter housing offers, Parr clarified that “[UBC Housing] decided to extend the deadline by which students could cancel their contract without penalty … to encourage students who had decided not to move in, to let [them] know as soon as possible, so rooms could be offered to students on the waitlist.” According to Brian Deng, a third-year science student, the offer of free cancellation for winter housing didn’t change anything. Waitlisted for housing in his second year, Deng was eager to be among the first batch of students to receive a housing offer for the upcoming winter terms. “When I first got [the email], I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t planning on canceling [my housing offer].” Parr acknowledged that “the housing and rental market in Vancouver is a challenge for UBC students, staff and faculty, and the university is working as hard as possible to meet that challenge.” “Since 2011, the university has invested more than $634 million in new student housing developments, adding 5,555 new beds to our campuses,” he said. “UBC has more on-campus housing than any university in Canada and is among the top student residence providers in North America with more than 15,000 beds on both campuses as of spring 2022.” Parr also pointed to the online
resources offered by UBC to assist students in their housing search, such as lists of available search tools and platforms, things to look for when renting and reminders about utilities and renter’s insurance. Mehra said she wished the university could provide more “active instead of passive support,” noting that despite the online resources that she has received from UBC so far, she still feels like she is “on [her] own.” “I wish to have someone who can actually guide me through the process … [like] being paired with an advisor who can check in with me,” Mehra said. “It’s hard to initiate these interactions on your own.” When asked about what the AMS is doing for students amidst the housing crisis, President Eshana Bhangu pointed to the student society’s call for a 2023 rent freeze that has the support of 304,400 students, an Emergency Housing Toolkit that is currently in the works and the peer support and education workshop opportunities that are offered to students by the AMS Housing Service. “While [we’ll] continue to support students throughout this stressful time, the university and the government have the responsibility to step up,” she said. “The university should aggressively build more student housing on campus . . . [and] the AMS is interested in seeing how Vancouver municipal parties plan to build more housing and prioritize affordable non-profit options to assist our student body.” U
4 | NEWS | TUESDAY AUGUST 30, 2022 RECONCILIATION //
Senate rescinds former residential school principal’s honorary degree Nathan Bawaan Web News Editor
This article contains mention of residential schools. The Senate voted to rescind Bishop John O’Grady’s honorary degree during a special session on August 17, bringing an end to a 15-monthlong review. In May 2021, UBC announced the Senate would conduct an “expedited” review of O’Grady’s degree after facing community backlash for awarding him an honorary degree in 1986. O’Grady was the principal of the Kamloops Residential School — where the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation detected the remains of 215 Indigenous children last May — between 1939 and 1952. At the end of May this year, a subcommittee of the Senate Tributes Committee — which oversees the awarding of honorary degrees — released a report recommending that UBC rescind O’Grady’s degree. The vote came after a public feedback period on the report. Before debate on the motion, Katherine Hensel, who is Secwépemc and serves as legal counsel to the Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, spoke about the significance of UBC conducting a review of O’Grady’s degree. “To all of us who are directly,
ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY
The motion to rescind passed with one absention.
intergenerationally and laterally affected by the legacy of residential schools, the pain is acute and it is helpful to have that acknowledged by UBC and other institutions,” said Hensel. Senators were largely in support of the motion, with many also thanking Hensel for her testimony. Senator Steven Pelech was the only senator to voice opposition to rescinding O’Grady’s degree, although he supported the other parts of the
motion. “We have only one decision to make today: … vote to revoke and rescind the honorary degree that was granted by UBC to Bishop O’Grady and to continue to clear the records of previous offenders ... that are as bad or worse than Bishop O’Grady in his attempts to erase Indianness from our communities and culture,” said Senator Charles Menzies, who is a member of the Gitxaala Nation. A few senators also asked if the
Tributes Committee would review other honorary degree recipients who have been identified as having ties to the residential school system. Senator John Gilbert, chair of the Tributes Committee, and Senate Clerk Christopher Eaton said the committee was working on a policy to formalize the review process of past honorary degree recipients. Along with voting to rescind O’Grady’s degree, senators
also approved two other recommendations from the subcommittee. The first urges UBC to review its role in the subjugation of Indigenous peoples and communities, while the second calls on the university to create conditions for the study and preservation of records and activities related to the residential school system. The omnibus motion passed with one abstention. U
AMS projects $1.25 million deficit in 2022/23 budget front,” Bhangu said. HOW WILL THE AMS ADDRESS ITS $1.25 MILLION DEFICIT?
The AMS is expecting to collect $4.2 million in discretionary revenue and run a $1.25 million deficit.
Fiona Sjaus Contributor
The AMS is expecting to collect $4.2 million in discretionary revenue, spend $5.45 million and run a $1.25 million deficit during the 2022/23 fiscal year. While there was no preliminary budget this year following two separate suspensions of code, AMS Council approved the final budget at its June 22 meeting after hearing a brief presentation on the budget at its June 1 meeting. A public version of the budget was not available until June 27, but the June 1 presentation on the budget contained some major differences from the public version released three weeks later. Projected expenditures leaped from $5.36 million to $5.45 million and the deficit
increased from $1.16 to $1.25 million. It is unclear what contributed to these changes. Here is a breakdown of this year’s budget. WHERE IS THE $4.2 MILLION IN REVENUE COMING FROM? The AMS is expecting $4.2 million in revenue for the 2022/23 fiscal year. This is based on $3.3 million in discretionary income and $873,986 in transfers in the budget from the Sexual Assault Initiatives Fund and the Indigenous Fund. In total, the student society is projected to collect $27.2 million in various student fees, including almost $12 million from the Health & Dental Plan fee, $5.5 million from the Student Union Building renewal fee and $2.5 million from the general
GEOFF LISTER / THE UBYSSEY
membership fee. The AMS also expects to get $500,000 from its investments and $372,188 from its businesses in the Nest. However, a majority of these revenues are considered non-discretionary funds, meaning the AMS has already committed to spending this money on existing projects like the Health & Dental Fund. In total, the AMS has $24,745,673 in non-discretionary income this year. In an August statement sent to The Ubyssey, AMS President and interim VP Finance Eshana Bhangu said the pandemic and its effects on the student society’s businesses was the primary factor that impacted this year’s budget. “Pre-Covid, the AMS businesses were contributing over $1 million to the operating budget so there has been a dramatic change on that
How the AMS plans to address this year’s $1.25 million deficit — an $455,000 increase from last year — remains largely unclear. Ahead of the vote on the final budget at AMS Council, Bhangu and Managing Director Keith Hester said the AMS would need to consider increasing its general fee instead of relying on revenues from businesses in the Nest to address the deficit. Bhangu also said she would work with then-VP Finance Rita Jin to write a report detailing the AMS’s plans to address the deficit. In her August statement, Bhangu said the report would be presented to Council by the fall, but did not provide details on what would be included in that report. Bhangu said that any fee increase or restructure would include stakeholder consultations and get approval from the student body via referndum. The Ubyssey did not hear back to its request for additional comment about the source of the deficit before print time. HOW IS STUDENT MONEY BEING SPENT? The AMS is mostly spending money to support student services and pay for overhead costs — administration, human resources and information systems. Of the almost $1.6 million in student services expenses — a $400,000 increase from last year’s budget — a
significant proportion will be allocated to the AMS Food Bank, Safewalk and the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) in comparison to last year, while expenses towards the AMS Peer Support program will be cut by $10,000. “We want to ensure we’re contributing to helping reduce food insecurity, increasing campus safety, and providing support for survivors,” Bhangu wrote. Spending for the Food Bank is up $25,000 this year to offset less support from UBC, spending for the SASC is up $270,00 due to the increase in its student fee approved during AMS elections last March and Safewalk spending is up $50,000. Overhead costs account for nearly $1.9 million in expenses, an overall increase of $200,000 and a $100,000 increase in admin costs. Expenditures on AMS Events is $417,800, an increase from last year’s allocation of $370,000. A further estimated $777,604 will go to the AMS’s student execs and $375,714 will go to AMS Council, marking a $10,000 and $120,000 increase from last year respectively. Almost $419,000 will also go towards ancillary services — communications, a policy advisor and archives — over $13,500 more than last year. The AMS did not respond before press time when asked why it was increasing spending this year in all areas as it projects an over $1 million deficit. Total expenditures are set to accumulate to $5.45 million by the end of this fiscal year. U — With files from Nathan Bawaan
AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY | NEWS | 5 STUDENT FEES //
Breaking down undergraduate societies’ 2021/22 spending Himanaya Bajaj Contributor
Every year, a part of students’ tuition fees is allocated to undergraduate student societies. These budgets. which are generally tens of thousands of dollars, are spent on services for their constituent students. For the fourth year in a row, we broke down the budget of the four largest student societies at UBC — the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS), the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) and the Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) — to figure out where your student fees go. HOW WE DID IT While the budgets of the CUS and the SUS were obtained from their websites, the EUS emailed its budget from the 2021/22 year. The AUS budget was accessed through its website, but it provided projections rather than the actual budget for the 2021/22 year. We also spoke to the VP finance of each undergraduate society to better understand their budgets. HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING? As compared to the 2020/21 year, the AUS student fee remained the same at $13. The student fee for the SUS changed from $27.27 to $27.46. The CUS and the EUS reduced their fees — the CUS from $275.34 to $199 and the EUS from $106.50 to $46.42. All undergraduate society student fees are listed on the 2021/22 academic calendar. According to the EUS’s VP Finance Karisma Jutla, the EUS was able to reduce its student fees by more than 50 per cent because it had paid off the loan for the Engineering Student Centre.
For the fourth year in a row, we broke down the budget of the four largest student societies at UBC.
“[The loan] was tied to the [Consumer Price Index] and it was about $58 [per student]. Now we’ve completely eliminated that fee so students actually pay half of what they used to,” Jutla said. Nine dollars of the SUS fee went towards paying the mortgage for the Abdul Ladha Student Centre. According to the academic calendar, the AUS and CUS students paid an additional $26.50 and $574.91 respectively for the Arts Student Centre mortgage and the Sauder Building Renewal Project. SPENDING ON FIRST-YEAR EVENTS INCREASED With more events moved from online to in-person in 2021/22, the amount spent on first-year events increased for each society. The CUS’s Spark event was the most expensive first-year event,
costing $45,000. The AUS’s KickstART cost $4,005.63 in comparison to last year’s $878.42. Likewise, the expense on the SUS’s Science RXN increased from $4,270.17 to $5,111.64. The EUS’s Week E^0 cost $2,177.19 and deviated significantly from the original projection for the year because of the lower-than-expected cost of supplies for the event. An additional $10,496.30 was spent on Week E^0 kits and $860 for volunteer appreciation. MOST SOCIETIES REPORTED SURPLUSES LAST YEAR The AUS, EUS and SUS reported a surplus while the CUS reported a deficit. The AUS projected a surplus of $10,152 in its budget, but AUS VP Finance Alan Phuong said the society ended the year with $14,831.90.
MAHIN E ALAM / THE UBYSSEY
He said the larger-than-expected surplus was due to multiple events getting cancelled due to COVID-19 leading to lower costs. The CUS had an actual deficit of $180,571.54 after projecting a deficit of $330,452.89. According to its Q4 Budget Report, the deficit was less than what was projected because it was not able to fully spend portions of its budget to execute all planned events due to COVID-19 restrictions. The CUS did not reply before press time when asked about the source of its deficit. Meanwhile, the EUS reported a surplus of $3,110.26 after projecting $1,391.84 in leftover funds. According to Jutla, the increased amount of surplus was because the EUS had initially budgeted for a full in-person school year and had to reforecast due to COVID-19 restrictions. The SUS had a surplus of $185,272.78 but had only projected a surplus of $124.99. According to its VP Finance Kaye Chan, the huge deviation was because the SUS had to move many of SUS’s well-known and smaller events online due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Our administration team has been working hard to use this surplus towards refurnishing the Abdul Ladha Science Student Centre,” wrote Chan in a statement to The Ubyssey. “Our Student Life portfolio will also be using the surplus towards planning a larger number of higher quality and diverse flagship events this year,” Chan added. “The Finance portfolio will also continue to increase our Grant & Subsidy program. As such, we have a new [equity, diversity and inclusion] grant in the works that we are hoping to launch this year.” LOOKING AHEAD, TWO YEARS AFTER THE START OF COVID-19
Undergraduate society student fees (in CAD).
HIMANAYA BAJAJ / THE UBYSSEY
COVID-19 ådverseley impacted the budgets of all four student societies. However, the executives of the soci-
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eties said they are optimistic about their budgets for next year. “This year, we’re going in with a smaller budget in terms of office supplies because we’re not paying for a lot of video conferencing apps … So there are savings there,” Phuong said. He also said students should keep an eye out for a resource that he is developing to show “every single expense going out of the AUS.” The CUS expects to run more in-person events next year, said VP Finance Nikita Dao. She also said transparency is an area the CUS was working to improve. “I am working on increasing transparency of all spending of the CUS through effectively communicating by leveraging social media platforms a lot more than previous years,” she said. “I am hoping to implement a better method of tracking spending and enforcing strict following of the budget to ensure all student fees are effectively and appropriately used as always.” The SUS hopes to continue providing grants and subsidies. “This year, we will no longer be offering the [COVID-19 Equipment] grant but the amount will be dispersed into our other grants and subsidies to better provide for the students,” said Chan. “We also started offering the Course Material Subsidy last year and will continue to offer it in the coming year as we received a large positive response from it.” The EUS also hopes to increase conference attendance and other key events in the future. “For a couple of years I know a big thing that we’ve looked at increasing our conferences’ attendance,” said Jutla. “We’ve looked at putting that [surplus] towards having something like an e-retreat where we’re able to take more people.” U Alan Phuong was a staff writer for The Ubyssey in 2020 and 2021. He was not involved in the writing or editing of this piece.
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AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITOR TOVA GASTER
VANCOUVER QUEER FILM FESTIVAL (VQFF)//
OUT & ABOUT //
A newcomer’s review of Keep in Touch Nate Holers Contributor
It was my first Vancouver Pride event: Sunset Beach on July 31. The sun was beating down hard above the event space— a fluorescent petri dish of corporate tents with rainbows stapled on. The scents of sweat and weed mingled in the air. But none of it mattered, because my friends and I had found the tent for Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), which felt like a safe haven for genuine, not-purely-profit-motivated representation. Flipping through the program and chatting with one of the representatives, a short film collection called Keep in Touch caught my eye. The throughline of the collection was “masculine connections, from brief hookups to uncomfortable encounters with other men’s insecurities.” The representative said the shorts were mainly about people wrestling with masculinity, specifically “newcomers” to open gender-nonconformity. ‘Newcomers’ was a novel term for me which felt patronizing at first, as if it implied that people who struggle with their sexuality just don’t ‘get it’ yet. However, persistent as hope, the word has slowly weaved its way through my relationship with Queerness. ‘Newcomers’ is a word ripe with promise: a promise that one’s identity is not inextricably linked with hate; that discomfort is transient, and things get better with time. We’re just new. The first short film in the collection — Swedish director Jerry Carlsson’s Nattåget (The Night Train)— presents a connec-
tion stripped back to its boldest simplicity, foregoing dialogue in favour of a flirtation that is almost purely visual Confident closeups meditate on the betraying power of the human face. Minute behaviours can commuincate everything about a person. How do you hold yourself when you know someone’s looking at you? How long until you dare your eyes to meet theirs? Will you follow him into the cabin? Or will you make him follow you? We become well-acquainted with the faces of the two central characters: Oskar’s rosy embarrassment and Ahmed’s aquiline strength. The camera frequently exists in the space directly in between them, caught in the crossfire. The lack of dialogue leaves room for sharp sound design; from the sudden snap of Ahmed’s inciting glance to the juiciness of the symbolic orange slice—it all serves to enhance the subdued drama of the characters’ seduction. The film leaves us wondering: why do we even bother using language to voice our attractions, when a look can say it all? Words almost feel crude in comparison, like trying to capture a Romance painting on an Etch-A-Sketch. Next up, Christian Jacob Ramon’s Hard is a tender depiction of sexual frustration. In the apartment of a blossoming relationship, a recently-out man struggles to act on his feelings for a crush. The characters’ progression from tension to acceptance is easy on the palate — and I think it’s valuable to depict such honesty — but the subject matter feels like a fragmentof a longer and more interesting story. It reminded me
Arts & Culture Calendar
TOVA GASTER / THE UBYSSEY
Tova Gaster Culture Editor
VANCOUVER BLACK LIBRARY (VBL) OPENING PARTY September 2, 1 p.m.–5 p.m., Sun Wah Centre
The throughline of Keep In Touch was “masculine connections.”
of a gay Master of None episode, complete with self-aware millennials spelling out their emotions (the horror!). It’s enjoyable, but not particularly groundbreaking. Thirdly, we have a slam-poetry music video for the Queer proletariat… in case anyone was getting worried that they could recommend this event to their mom. In Lucie Rachel and Chrissie Hyde’s Factory Talk, images of clanging, mechanical labour are underscored by a young man’s poetic verses of inner turmoil. Day after day, the narrator twists metal with blunt instruments, and tempers his sexuality in an acid bath of self-hatred. Queerness and class struggle are not commonly associated with each other, so a depiction of their intersection feels both fresh and important. After all, your sexuality follows you in all facets of your life, even when it would be easier to leave it behind.
Those were the standouts from the collection, but Adam Baran’s Trade Center, Thy Tran’s SUMMERWINTERSUMMER and Kai Tillman’s Hey Man are all worth a watch. The VQFF has reminded me of a fact that’s too easily forgotten in our age of seemingly endless top-shelf content: that making films is hard. Getting actors to behave convincingly while you point the all-seeing, all-knowing lens of a camera in their face is really hard — and anyone who has the bravery to do so deserves loads of credit, particularly when they are exploring such sensitive subjects. Every artist who took risks in making this collection is a hero, full stop. To all the newcomers out there: share your experiences. Make art. You’ll never know just how much it could help people like you. U
THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL //
New mural in the Nest celebrates class of 2020 Gloria Rahgozar Contributor
In the Nest, along the curved wall by the Grand Noodle Emporium, stands a vibrant and bold new mural dedicated to the graduating class of 2020. The mural’s designer, Canadian artist Peter Ricq, described it as “fun, diverse, positive, weird, cartoony, busy yet simple.” According to AMS VP Administration Ben Du, the mural was intended to honour the UBC graduating class of 2020, who didn’t get an in-person graduation ceremony “We wanted to thematically incorporate a number of symbols of the university,” wrote Du in a statement to The Ubyssey, “such as the clock tower, the graduation cap toss, and the empowering message of ‘Tuum Est’, as both a farewell and a nod to the exciting endeavors of the graduating cohort.” Ricq creatively outlined the UBC experience through sequential illustrations, almost like free-form comic panels. With eye-catching imagery, it sweeps the hallway with new life. “I’ve been working in animation for over a decade, cartoons
The VBL, founded by UBC student Maya Preshyon, is a community hub by and for Black Vancouver. The opening party will feature ribbon-cutting and performances. Free admission, RSVP required. HI-5 QUEER DANCE PARTY September 2, 9 p.m.–1 a.m., 550 Malkin Ave Join Queers + Beers for a night of dancing, drag and cheap(er) alcohol. $5, 19+ VANCOUVER FRINGE FESTIVAL September 8–18, Granville Island BC’s biggest theatre festival features 11 days of stand-up comedy, one-man musicals and more experimental performances. $15 per show, all-ages. THE CALENDAR’S GARDEN PARTY September 5, 3 p.m.–9 p.m., UBC Farm Expect fairy lights, refreshing drinks and to fight tooth and nail for tickets to UBC event organizer The Calendar’s annual labour day shindig. $15-35. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW September 10, 11p.m, The Rio Theatre Audience participation and whacky costumes are encouraged at this camp cult classic. $16, all-ages. CITY OPERA VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN September 13–16, 6:30 p.m, 600 Hamilton Street Chinatown is an intergenerational and multilingual opera which addresses anti-Asian racism, resistance and the past and future of a neighborhood. $20, all-ages.
ʔəm̓i Ce:p Xʷiwəl (COME TOWARD THE FIRE) FESTIVAL September 17–18, UBC
New mural in the Nest, along the curved wall by Grand Noodle Emporium.
are dope and I love doing it,” said Ricq. When asked about his inspiration, Ricq shared, “I like being able to create something out of nothing. It’s fun to explore other styles and be able to send a message in your work.” His piece includes visuals of online learning and the Black Lives Matter movement to sym-
bolize the unprecedented times students in 2020 faced. Despite the struggles and grief which the class of 2020 weathered, the round cartoon people and whimsical cityscape of the mural emphasizes the importance of finding lightheartedness during difficult times. “Most of all, my main focus in my work is to always entertain the
GLORIA RAHGOZAR / THE UBYSSEY
viewers,” said Ricq. Beyond a commemoration of the graduating class, the mural will remain for classes to come. “This mural adds to the growing collection of public art in the Nest, collectively representing a special student signature to the Nest and distinguishing the building from others on the UBC Vancouver campus,” wrote Du. U
A new festival by the Chan Centre and Musqueam will include Indigenous artists, musicians, speakers and dancers. Free admission, all-ages.
SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE OPEN HOUSE September 17, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. A Saturday of free dance workshops downtown in styles including K-pop, bhangra and tap. Free admission, all-ages. U
AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY | CULTURE | 7 WORLDBUILDING //
UBC law student uses fandoms for climate justice with upcoming YA novel
CONCERT REVIEW //
Grammy winner Arooj Aftab’s experimental Sufi music melds into a minimalist blur
Aadya Arora Staff Writer
Rootbound is a young adult fantasy romance rooted in climate resistance.
Jasmine Cadeliña Manango Senior Staff Writer
Can you recall a single fictional story that you’ve read or watched that discusses the climate crisis without using it as a backdrop for the end of the world? In popular media, climate fiction — narratives about climate change — seems to have become a subgenre of post-apocalyptic fiction. Grace Nosek, PhD student at the Allard School of Law and founder of the UBC Climate Hub, is trying to change that. In her upcoming novel, Rootbound, Nosek attempts to shape a conversation about the climate crisis that is grounded in collective joy and action while also holding space for young people to process their fears and anxieties about the climate crisis. “After the last 10 years of studying fossil fuel industry misinformation … I’ve just seen how profoundly and invisibly the fossil fuel industry has shaped how we think about climate change and our present and our future,” said Nosek. “I wanted to push back against them. And I know that you can’t do that just through research. I wanted to do that through story as well.” ENGAGING WITH YOUTH ON THEIR OWN TERMS
The novel centres a girl whose sister goes missing at a climate protest. In her quest to find her sister, she discovers an ancient order of evil bent on destroying youth environmental justice resistance — and an arsenal of magical and realistic tools to organize against it. Nosek’s team is marketing Rootbound as a young adult fantasy romance rooted in community-based climate resistance. The choice to market it as a YA novel was a response to what Nosek described as the fossil fuel industry’s deliberate choice to target
fossil fuel misinformation at young people. Equally important, the target audience is also a way of acknowledging the pivotal role of young people in climate action movements. “I wanted to celebrate these youth protesters and these frontline defenders and really show that they are the heroes of our time,” said Nosek. By adding fantasy elements into the Rootbound universe, Nosek seeks to nurture the sense of possibility that people often associate with magic. Nosek wants to challenge the sense of apocalyptic apathy that many people bring to conversations about the climate crisis. The theory of change that Nosek wants to promote in Rootbound is grounded in collective joy. According to Nosek, the fossil fuel industry has almost succeeded in framing climate action as sacrifice — of jobs, of economic progress, of the Canadian way of life. But through Rootbound, Nosek wants to demonstrate the opposite. “We can actually create an even more joyful, just future if we really confront climate change,” she said. FIGHTING FIRE WITH FANDOM
To Nosek, one of the most exciting aspects of her plans for the Rootbound universe is its emphasis on collective storytelling through building a fandom around the project. “I’m trying to seed fanfiction and create the infrastructure for that world to build out,” said Nosek. “I’m trying to create that structure so that thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands, of people could come together and co-create a world that would challenge fossil fuel hegemony and give young people a sense of agency.” Nosek said fandoms are a powerful space for community-building and a potential platform for social justice-based organizing. She no-
JAZZ GRODEN-GILCHRIST / ROOTBOUND
ticed that people invest significant amounts of energy into fandoms based on films, games, music and other pop culture, but this kind of positive energy is rarely directed towards climate change-related media. “So many young people want to bring their skills to climate [organizing] and haven’t had an entryway to do that,” she said. “Now what we’re saying is, ‘If you’re a poet, if you’re a musician, if you do makeup, if you’re an actor, or an actress or a podcaster or you make memes, we need you.” It will be published serially on Wattpad starting in September, with the first chapter already available. Nosek is aiming to post updates weekly and have the majority of the book published by the end of 2022. She also plans on independently publishing an eBook and hard copy version of Rootbound in spring 2023. There will also be a Rootbound launch in partnership with the UBC Climate Hub in the fall along with other dedicated events where UBC students can get involved with the Rootbound universe. Nosek is hoping to link fanart, TikToks and other storytelling platforms to the Wattpad novel as the story is being published. She is also interested in hosting writers’ workshops and collaborating with educators so students can create related stories for academic credit. The Rootbound novel is only one component of the larger, interactive Rootbound universe Nosek is working to create with her team. A graphic novel spin-off based on one of the Rootbound characters created by one of Nosek’s colleagues will be published before Rootbound, the novel. The youth artists Nosek is working with include Jennie Zhou, Uma Le Daca, Nina Rossing and Jazz Groden-Gilchris. “Rootbound is so much larger than the book,” said Nosek. “In the end, my book is only going to be a small piece of the universe.” U
2022 Grammy Award winner Arooj Aftab performed at the Chan Centre on July 13 as part of the Indian Summer Festival. Aftab’s performance of her experimental jazz-influenced Sufi music created a unique mystical atmosphere, but the ambient chains of long notes all seemed to blend together. Occupying a small part of the stage for her entire performance, Aftab stood in a dramatic goth look — an all-black outfit with feathery sequined shoulder pads — accompanied by Gyan Riley on guitar and Darian Donovan Thompson on violin. She performed most of her latest album Vulture Prince. The stage setup, like the lyrics, was minimal, which helped the audience focus on the music. A small table with a bottle of wine, a wine glass and a vase of roses stood next to her. Throughout the performance, she threw roses, one by one, at the audience while joking about how she wished the audience would shower her with roses instead. Her jokes suggested self-awareness about her work: Aftab’s sparse vocals and ambient arrangements are critically acclaimed, but they aren’t for everyone. It helped that she clearly doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her sense of humour and showmanship kept the evening light yet hearty. She joked about her music being about sadness and sex, which describes it well: her voice is roaring yet sensual while the violin lines evoke longing and uncertainty. Born and brought up in Lahore, Pakistan, Aftab currently lives in New York, and her music is inspired
by both: an amalgamation of Sufi music and jazz. Her voice is deep, and she uses it as an instrument rather than just for singing lyrics. She often does renditions of old ghazals — a style of poetry written in the form of couplets, that is also a genre of music. She attempts to turn the old into something new. Though her experimentation with ghazals is interesting, it has not seemed to reach a concrete end result. Her minimal style forgoes most of the lyrics and so does not do justice to the ghazals, which are heavily dependent on words to convey their message. The second line of a couplet is often a continuation of the idea presented in the first. However, her long notes often disfigure the couplets to a point where the listener can’t piece together their meaning. She mentioned that Sirish Rao, founder of the Indian Summer Festival, suggested playing live translations for the Hindi-Urdu lyrics in the back. She told him that would be dull and repetitive because the lyrics all mean the same thing. However, even though a lot of songs are about longing, the ghazals carry a variety of messages and symbols. For audience-members who couldn’t understand the lyrics, would have appeared less uniform. She additionally does not use any percussion to help in building and keeping up the rhythm, making everything sound similarly fluid. Her music creates a mystical, spiritual space, built more for solitary meditation than definition. It’s music to listen to at the bus loop after 11 p.m., when a few meandering souls wait for the 99 or the 84 to carry them home. U
CALEIGH MAYER / INDIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Arooj Aftab performed her 2022 album Vulture Princeat the Chan Centre.
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‘ I KNOW
Inside UBC’s sexual assault reporting process words by Iman Janmohamed design by Isabella Falsetti & Mahin E Alam
This article contains mentions of sexual assault. Olivia’s name has been changed to protect her identity. Olivia picked up her phone early on a Monday morning last November to call her friend to recount the events of the night before. She was confused, with hazy memories of her night out. She vaguely remembered having sex. “‘[Olivia], you were sexually assaulted,’” her friend said on the other line when she finished recounting the events of the night before. It felt like a shock to her system. Olivia almost didn’t believe it at first, but slowly, she realized what she was describing was not sex. Olivia had been assaulted the night before. It was supposed to be a fun night. Three of Olivia’s colleagues came over to her place before they went out. The group of coworkers had been working together for a year, and Olivia was slowly becoming friends with one of her colleagues, Peter. Olivia called him Peter in an interview with The Ubyssey, but that’s not his real name. They pre-gamed at her apartment, and music, conversation and drinks set the tone for a fun night out. Olivia felt the excitement of coworkers turning to friends, bringing new social pressures with the changing relationships. “Myself, Peter and the third male coworker had been having a lot to drink, more than I would usually,” said Olivia. “Having these guys in my space I think I felt this desire to keep up and seem fun and maintain this fun coworker to personal relationship kind of transition that was happening.” Later that night, in the dark but busy Kitsilano bar, top 40 hits streamed from the dance floor and Olivia was having a great time. The bar was teeming with other UBC students since a club was using the bar as a venue that night. “At one point [Peter] starts holding my hand and taking me to the bar to buy more drinks,” said Olivia. She didn’t think much of it at the time. After all, they were friends. As the night wound down, Olivia and Peter decided to take an Uber home together since they lived in the same neighbourhood. As they waited for the Uber, Olivia impulsively turned to Peter and said, “You know we’re not having sex when we get back to my place, right?” She didn’t know why she felt the need to tell Peter. Everything seemed normal, they talked the entire way home. They walked up the stairs to her apartment, and as Olivia put her key in the door, she turned around and said again, “We’re not having sex in there.” The next thing she knew, they were in her bedroom. “I just remember feeling extremely confused,” Olivia said. “I was kind of laying there, these things are happening. I don’t really know what’s going on.” Olivia doesn’t remember much of what happened, but she remembers saying ‘no.’
“I can vividly remember telling him twice that I didn’t want this to happen, and I’m just so drunk; laying there in my own home at the mercy of whatever he’s doing to me,” said Olivia. Unfortunately, Olivia’s experience is not unique. 2021 saw an 18 per cent rise in cases of police-reported sexual misconduct in Canada, which was the highest rate since 1996. Many survivors of assault do not report incidents to law enforcement. In fact, a 2014 study estimated that 83 per cent of assaults are not reported to law enforcement. According to the Government of Canada, in 2014, 52 per cent of people who were assaulted that year knew their assailant beforehand. The 2022 AMS Academic Experience Survey reported that one in five UBC students have experienced sexual assault or miscounduct during their time at UBC. This statistic increased from one in seven students in 2019. Olivia is among the one in five.
What does UBC do for the one in five? Policy SC17 is UBC’s standalone sexual misconduct policy, which defines sexual misconduct as “any sexual act or act targeting an individual’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened, or attempted against an individual without that individual’s Consent.” This definition includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking and cyberstalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and the distribution of sexually explicit material. Policy SC17 and the UBC Investigations Office (IO) — the body responsible for investigating alleged breaches of Policy SC17 between members of the UBC community — were only established in 2017. In May 2016, the BC Legislature’s Bill 23 mandated that BC post-secondary institutions create a standalone sexual misconduct policy in the span of a year. But, it wasn’t just a mandate that made UBC create Policy SC17, formerly known as Policy 131; it was UBC’s mishandling of a string of sexual misconduct allegations and a human rights complaint about former UBC PhD student Dmitry Mordvinov and several other complaints. This string of assaults was first publicized by CBC’s The Fifth Estate in November 2015. After The Fifth Estate broke the story, UBC apologized and conducted an independent review, and then initiated the creation of a sexual misconduct policy. The independent review found UBC policies unclear on how students can report sexual misconduct. According to Board of Governors (BoG) documents from 2015, only 6 of 273 sexual misconduct reports had been investigated. In April 2017, the BoG approved Policy 131, “Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct.” This created the IO and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) — both services that Olivia would access four years later. According to its website, the SVPRO is a “confidential place for those who have experienced, or been impacted by, any form of sexual or gender-based violence, harassment, or harm.” The SVPRO can help survivors who disclose their sexual assault by filing a police report or a report with the IO, get academic concessions and help with alternative housing and finances. The SVPRO is essentially the physical embodiment of Policy SC17 and the provincial mandate. “We recognize that people have experienced great harm at the hands of institutions and systems and we want to be on the side of the person who is looking to
explore alternatives, whether it’s to healing or justice, or anything else,” said Alicia Oeser, SVPRO’s director, in an interview with The Ubyssey in February. After Olivia called her friend, she called SVPRO and the next day walked into its offices for the first time. The day after, Olivia went to UBC Hospital alone to complete a sexual assault evidence kit (SAEK), also known as a rape kit — a standardized method of evidence collection. SVPRO had offered to arrange for someone to go with her, but she wanted to go alone. She had her blood taken and took Plan B and other preventative STI pills, as is the standard procedure when treating sexual assault. UBC Hospital’s Urgent Care is one of two hospitals that offer sexual assault services in Vancouver, along with Vancouver General’s Emergency Department. These hospitals offer treatment of injuries and STIs, forensic sample collection, referrals to support services and can issue medical reports to police. According to 2016 Vice coverage, BC keeps the SAEK for six months to a year. “I really just wanted to feel like I had all of my bases covered for my own closure and clarity on the situation as much as possible,” said Olivia. After meeting with her support worker at the SVPRO, Olivia decided to file a report with the IO a week after her assault. Under Policy SC17, complainants have a right to pursue other legal action external to UBC, like filing a police report, in addition to a complaint to the IO. Fifty-five reports of sexual misconduct were made to the IO during the 2020/21 academic year. This is an 83 per cent increase from 30 reports in the 2019/20 academic year. Olivia submitted her report a week after her assault and was told she would have an investigator within two weeks. Two weeks after filing her report, the IO told her they needed more time to get her an investigator. Five weeks after she filed the report, on January 7, Olivia was assigned an investigator. The IO told her the delay was due to winter holiday breaks. Olivia met with her investigator and support worker from SVPRO to discuss her options — an investigation or an alternative resolution process (ARP). According to IO Director Carly Stanhope’s statement to The Ubyssey, “investigations and alternative resolution processes are fundamentally different in terms of process and outcome.” In an investigation, an investigator must collect and assess evidence to determine if Policy SC17 was breached. If Policy SC17 was breached, the investigation findings are forwarded to “the appropriate decision maker to determine what discipline is appropriate,” wrote Stanhope. Stanhope also said that investigations ensure that the voices of the complainant and respondent are heard before making a decision. “While it is always difficult for parties to discuss intimate and traumatic events, this is necessary to ensure fairness,” wrote Stanhope. “UBC has a responsibility to fully and fairly investigate complaints before imposing discipline on a community member.” If students do not want to pursue an investigation, they can participate in restorative justice circles, Indigenous peacemaking circles and “various forms of mediation” — all of which are considered part of the IO’s ARP. According to the IO’s website, ARP serves to build accountability and engage a complainant and respondent to engage in community repair. ARPs can include facilitated discussions, admissions of harm and agreements which outline how the complainant and respondent will interact for the remainder of their time at UBC. ARP processes vary on the type of
ARP they choose to participate in. Stanhope said the goals of ARPs differ depending on the form, but the process strives to ensure “parties feel heard and understood” while “inspiring accountability and change within the community.” However, ARPs are not available for every complainant. According to Stanhope, factors like the safety and wellbeing of parties, an employment relationship to UBC and power imbalances can lead to a complainant not being able to undergo an ARP. Olivia decided to undergo an ARP. To complete an ARP, Olivia and Peter — known in the policy as the complainant and respondent, respectively — must both be willing participants in the process. “It was just important for me to produce something that is the tangible outcome and resolution to this,” Olivia said. “This is what I can actually hold in my hand, actually read with my two eyes, it’s not my blurry recollection of what happened or a story that I told a friend.” If either party decides to withdraw from the process or if the respondent does not respond to the investigator reaching out to complete the ARP, the report could turn into an investigation with the consent of the complainant. If a complainant undergoes an ARP, the respondent will not face institutional repercussions. When asked how many reports have been withdrawn from investigation and how many ARPs have gone to become investigations since January 2018, Stanhope said the IO does not keep track of these numbers. “I wasn’t interested in filing [an investigation], at least from the get go. I did really want to have that reconciliation piece and have an opportunity to chat with this person … I felt very unsettled by these actions of this person that I would have considered a friend,” said Olivia.
Policy in practice For Olivia, her ARP consisted of an agreement Peter would sign and questions she planned to ask him during a Zoom meeting organized by the IO. Typically, the investigator drafts an agreement during the ARP meeting, resulting in it being signed after the meeting, but Olivia wanted to write the agreement herself and have it ready beforehand. Olivia’s proposed outcome agreement for the ARP included sexual misconduct training for Peter and a handwritten letter which would include a summary of learning, a summary of actions to end sexual misconduct, an acknowledgment of harm and an apology. The agreement also included work, school and personal arrangements for Olivia and Peter. On February 1, 2022, three months after that November night out, Olivia opened her laptop and clicked on a Zoom link. This link would take her face-to-face with Peter for the first time in months. It was early in the morning, too early to be crying her eyes out on Zoom. “But, it’s just what life had in store for me that day,” said Olivia. As the meeting started, Olivia and Peter were told boundaries for the meeting, outlined by the investigator. Then, Olivia had the floor. “I spoke … and I was emotional about it, as I should be,” she said. “That was my 15 minutes to say what had been on my mind for three months and will continue to be on my mind for the rest of my life … I wanted to do justice to myself in those 15 minutes.” Olivia was confused the night of her assault. And she wanted answers. Did you have any assumptions leading up to the night? Did you feel like your choices weren’t a good idea? Did
you feel off about anything? If yes, why did you continue? Did our interaction resemble a typical sexual interaction for you? If yes, do you feel good about that? If not, how was ours different? Olivia finally got answers to the questions which had been circling her mind for three months. But her experience with the IO didn’t bring her answers easily. Olivia said she needed to advocate for herself throughout the process. Olivia said her investigator tended to generalize sexual assault survivors as “one size fits all.” “I think that it was clear that [my investigator] had had experience with survivors with … similar experiences and I felt as though I didn’t necessarily fit that model,” said Olivia. “... When it involves two autonomous, individual, complex people coming together to reach a resolution, there is no one size fits all.” Section 1.4 of Policy SC17 states, “UBC is committed to reducing barriers to Disclosing and Reporting, and to taking a Trauma-informed Approach when responding to and addressing Disclosures and Reports, and when conducting Investigations.” Stanhope said investigators must have experience and training in trauma-informed investigations before being hired at the IO. She also said investigators must attend professional development of trauma-informed practice, including programs by Courage to Act, the Canadian Bar Association and others. To ensure investigators are trauma-informed, Stanhope meets with them regularly during an investigation process. But despite this training, Olivia had instances where she felt like her needs were not being met by her investigator. When Olivia was reading the agreement to Peter, she requested that he complete two SVPRO modules 21 days after the ARP Zoom meeting. Peter quickly said he completed the modules the night before because the investigator told him the training was part of Olivia’s proposed agreement. “That was a little disappointing and confusing for me and just caught me off guard, again, in this conversation where I was trying to feel in control,” said Olivia. “I felt like that moment left me feeling
a little embarrassed and awkward and just kind of minimized what I was asking for because I felt like he now had this moment of power.” Olivia’s investigator also asked Peter to verbally apologize to Olivia — something Olivia wasn’t expecting. She wanted that letter. Olivia wanted to hold onto something genuine and concrete after the resolution was complete. She didn’t want a verbal apology. After Peter apologized, the Zoom call was silent. Then, the investigator asked Olivia what she thought of the apology. “It is three months too late,” said Olivia to The Ubyssey. “It doesn’t change things for me or magically fix things for me … I appreciate the conversation, but I felt it was important for him to know how little his presence and his forced apology meant to me in the grand scheme of things.” Then, they went on break. Once Olivia was back in the Zoom meeting, the investigator pulled her aside into a breakout room and told her the ARP might not be working for her. “She said, ‘I’m seeing some anger from you,’” said Olivia. Olivia had to double down and advocate for herself. She was not angry. She was communicating her feelings and advocating for herself and what she wanted out of the ARP process, Olivia told The Ubyssey. Throughout her resolution meeting, Olivia’s investigator had internet issues, leading to the investigator suggesting postponing the rest of the ARP. “I’ve been sick over this call for a week, I didn’t sleep last night, a lot went into me being there and feeling good about being there that day and the thought of doing that again was really, really disheartening,” said Olivia. Despite times when Olivia felt the process was less than ideal, she said was happy with her ARP and her experience with the IO. “I had a really positive experience going through the process of finding somebody at SVPRO and filing a report with the Investigations Office and actually reaching an alternative resolution,” said Olivia. Three hours later, the meeting was over. Olivia and Peter had undergone the IO’s ARP.
The letter Just over three weeks later, Olivia got an email from the IO saying Peter had dropped off the letter she requested. “I actually had a shift at work that afternoon and I really wanted to read it in my own home … It’s really the last piece of this puzzle … I wanted it to feel like a full circle moment back in my home.” But Olivia couldn’t wait until she got home to open the letter. In the washroom of the Save-On-Foods in Wesbrook Village, which is across the street from the IO, Olivia sat on the bathroom floor, and the cold seeped its way into her legs. She locked the door, the click of the lock echoed through the washroom. She put in her earbuds and turned on the same song she listened to while writing her report — “I Think He Knows” by Taylor Swift. She didn’t want to associate any other song with her experience. This song was with her from the start. “To me the title of it always seemed … angry,” said Olivia. “I know he knows.” The air was thick with nerves. Olivia didn’t know what the letter would say. It would be the culmination of a months-long process. She opened the envelope. “It didn’t spark much for me…” said Olivia. “It didn’t feel overly emotional, or mind boggling, or groundbreaking or magically curing to me, not that I expected it to.” Since receiving the letter, things have been good for Olivia. She said she’s ready to close this chapter in her life for now. “I’m sharing my experience and hopefully, in some way, contribute to positive trajectories for other people in these terrible situations as well. I feel really, really fortunate to be here.” The letter now lives in her closet sitting untouched, but it’s comforting to know it exists. “I think I’m ready to make my peace with this one.” U
FROM THE BLOG
AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITOR IMAN JANMOHAMED
MOSQUITO MADNESS //
The Dingbat: UBC ecology study finds biodiversity less important than making sure ‘every mosquito burns in hell’ Tova Gaster Culture Editor
Previously, scientific consensus established mosquitos served an important function in the ecosystem, to pollinate plants and to feed the upper tiers of the food chain. However, shocking new evidence published in Scholarly Conversations on Repelling Insect Conservation and Habitat (SCR-ITCH) by Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity and UBC gnat sciences professor, Dr. Gabe Lin-Mode, revealed this to be false. “Mosquitoes serve literally no ecological purpose other than to make my life miserable,” said Lin-Mode in an interview, itching furiously. “The data is clear.” He cited figures in the article, including high-resolution photographs of 15 swollen mosquito bites — which he also began unbuttoning his shirt to display in person — accompanied by a graph of “itchies per hour” (known as IPH in the scientific community). The article’s recommendations for how to eliminate mosquitoes from UBC include using tuition hike funds to create a new executive role, the very first VP hitman, to personally track down and kill
You’re lucky this isn’t a picture of Lin-Mode’s chest.
each mosquito and their loved ones. “If all that UBC is going to do about students clearly sharing answers during my online exams is give them a slap on the wrist, might as well slap any mosquitos
that might be resting there,” he said. “Ever since school went online in March 2020, a couple cheaters have been flattening the wrong curve.” He also suggested introducing insect repellant into the water supply, although he acknowledges
TOVA GASTER / THE UBYSSEY
this may be a “deet-saster.” Yet, he recommends it as a possibility to eliminate bloodsuckers at all costs. This represents a complete reversal of the chair’s previous research, which upheld the importance of all species great and small
to the thriving ecosystems we call home. Although the rest of the lab is baffled by what Lin-Mode terms his “2022 switcheroo,” they have embraced the new research direction wholeheartedly. “Fuck them insects,” said atmospheric science department vape cloud research fellow, Mira “Off” Therecord. “We’re entering a mass extinction event, and I think the worst critters should die first — and that includes my sucky mansquito of an ex-boyfriend, Michael.” The change of direction has put Lin-Mode’s graduate student research assistant Juno Kangaroo’s entire career at stake, but she is taking it in stride. “My last ecology postdoc was taking funding from Exxon to publish stuff about how liquefied natural gas pipelines are good for grizzly bears because heavy metal contaminants in the water make their fur easy, breezy and beautiful,” said Kangaroo. “I respect that [Lin-Mode] is endorsing extinction purely because of his own discomfort, instead of by the demands of corporate funders!” U The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. You can send pitches or completed pieces to blog@ ubyssey.ca.
BEARLY BELOVED //
The Dingbat: Bearer of good news for those looking for Midsommar lovin’ Nathan Bawaan and Sophia Russo Web News Editor and Science Editor
A new report from a UBC researcher offers students some grizzly dating advice. Earlier this month, Dr. Barry Fuzze, an associate professor in the department of cultural studies, and his research team published a report titled “Dating has become unbearable: A sociological examination of dating practices on post-secondary campuses” summarizing the dating experiences of students at UBC. Fuzze recommended students ask their potential suit-ors on the first date if they think the boyfriend in Midsommar should have been sewn naked into a bear suit and burned alive. According to Fuzze, people who say ‘yes’ will make great significant others, but those who say ‘no’ should bearly be on your radar. “Not one man has invited me to the Swedish countryside for a psilocybin-induced date night. Not one,” Polly A. Morris, a fourth-year shroomology student, told Fuzze and his team. “I’m tired of feeling like I’m running around in circles trying to find my May Queen.” “Men keep asking me out on second dates, but then cancel an hour before,” said a Scandinavian studies student named Gru Paul. “If someone doesn’t think the boyfriend should have been set ablaze in Midsommar, then they probably think that being a nincom-
BETH MAY / THE UBYSSEY
“I’m just a guy with a PhD.”
poop to your girlfriend when she needs your support is acceptable in a relationship,” Fuzze wrote in the report. In the film, Christian — the boyfriend — repeatedly gaslights his girlfriend, Dani, after the death of her family, including planning to break up with her, forgetting her
birthday and ignoring her pleas to end their vacation early after witnessing a falling out. “It’s all about identifying those red flags,” Fuzze said in an interview with The Ubyssey in his Buchanan Tower office, which featured several bear skins, flower crowns and photos of Hårga.
The feat of writing this revolutionary paper wasn’t just undertaken by Fuzze himself, but with a team of UBC academics, one of whom is Ari Asker, a PhD student in film studies and fond bear lover. “When you look at the data, it becomes apparent that modern dating requires decisiveness early
Think you’re funny?
on,” said Asker. “If you are serious about some Midsommar lovin’, this is the way to go. And if you can’t take the heat — get out of the kitchen.” Fuzze acknowledged his team’s advice could be polarizing, but urged readers to look past its gruesome nature. “I’m not telling people to put their dates into a bear suit,” he said, adding he doesn’t even think he’s a respected source of information. “I’m just a guy with a PhD.” But, student experiences suggest this evidence-backed tip is nothing to hibernate on. Paul told The Ubyssey he met his boyfriend of four months after following Fuzze’s dating dogma. “Things are so great. We’re going to Burning Man together this year,” he said. “I’m ready to take this to the next step: moving into a cave along Wreck Beach together.” Talk about blossoming love! When asked why he recommends students ask such a niche question about a film from four years ago, Fuzze suggested they follow his Letterboxd and pointed to a framed Coursera film studies course certificate on his wall. “People always say art should imitate life. But why can’t the opposite be true?” U The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. You can send pitches or completed pieces to blog@ ubyssey.ca.
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AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITOR IMAN JANMOHAMED
Editorial: Our 104th masthead’s mission Ubyssey Editorial Board
We’re The Ubyssey — UBC’s student newspaper since 1918, independent since 1995. We’re the only active newspaper on campus. That means we’re responsible for keeping you and the community informed about all things UBC. Whether that’s governance, sports or other campus happenings, we want to be covering things you care about with nuance and accuracy. And we also want to be the number one sudoku provider in all of Vancouver (starting in September). This year, our editorial wanted to share our mission and goals so you know what we stand for and can hold us to it. ACCESSIBILITY, EDUCATION AND DIVERSE VOICES As a newspaper, we’re continuing our commitment to covering diverse stories. We are working to make our space — the Ubyssey office in room 2208 in the Nest — and students are welcome to view our budget in our business office, room 2209 of the Nest. We have also published our key policies on our website at ubyssey. ca/pages/how-we-run and welcome students to ask about our finances. We will publish our financial update in our September 13 issue. This year, our news section will host workshops on reporting on marginalized communities like 2SLGBTQIA+ and disabled groups to better equip our contributors with skills on how to approach stories and experiences respectfully and through a trauma-informed lens. Our culture section will focus on centring the creativity and joy of marginalized communities, and decentring the patriarchal eurocentrism that has historically dominated arts writing. After two turbulent and isolated years, we’re dedicated to connecting students to the arts
Come visit us in room 2208 in the Nest!
This year, our editorial is sharing our mission.
and to each other — on campus, off campus and online. Our features section, which focuses on longform journalism, will use longer articles to dig deep into the nuances of the issues that impact UBC students. Features is about bringing human faces to systemic issues and policy and we do this with the utmost care. We will tell the stories of UBC community members ethically and engagingly. The opinion section is looking to
ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY
further establish columns that amplify the voices of marginalized communities through the Black Voices at UBC and NDNs at UBC columns. Do you want to get involved with either column? Send an email to opinion@ ubyssey.ca. Our funny friends at the paper, the blog, want to make jokes to make this harsh world more bearable — while always using our satire to challenge the status quo. At our weekly section meetings, we’ll make
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humour writing accessible through workshops where you’ll learn how to turn your shower-thought jokes into polished pieces of satire. The blog is dedicated to platforming those traditionally left out of comedy circles like BIPOC, women and 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Blog also wants to produce a spoof issue that breaks the internet just as much as last year’s Girlbossmopolitan did. The science section strives to decolonize its reporting by prioritizing the voices of Indigenous researchers. We also want to make peer-reviewed research more accessible to students to spotlight and interrogate the groundbreaking research UBC produces. Our photo section wants to foster a diverse and welcoming community that facilitates access to the photojournalism industry and inspires a general interest in photography. The photo section also wants to include those traditionally underrepresented in visual narratives to increase both breadth and depth of coverage for those communities. We are committed to ethical and engaging visual reporting and hopes to provide guidance by hosting workshops and guest speakers . The visuals section — the paper’s graphic design and illustration team — wants to create a welcoming environment for students by holding workshops that focus on design fundamentals and providing a space for students’ art and creativity to flourish. Visuals will also be providing education on the Adobe Creative Suite, what we use to make our beautiful bi-weekly print issues.
HOLDING POWER TO ACCOUNT As the only newspaper that covers what’s going on at UBC down to a ‘T,’ we have an obligation to hold the power on our campus to account. Our news section is working to demystify governance, whether that’s about the University Neighbourhoods Association and how it impacts students, or our continued coverage of the AMS, Board of Governors (BoG) and Senate. And our news, features and sports sections are continuing their commitment to hold campus institutions — like the BoG and UBC Athletics — accountable through stories important to the community and investigative pieces. Like the news section, opinion is looking to demystify governance by re-establishing guest written columns that relate to student governance, as well as holding institutions on campus accountable for their sustainability promises through Unwreck the Beach, The Ubyssey’s sustainability column. KEEP US ACCOUNTABLE These are our goals for the next year and we ask that you hold us to them. With you keeping us accountable while we keep the institutions around us accountable, we’ll become better students and journalists, one article at a time. U If you have feedback, contact us at email@example.com.
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Welcome to UBC, Class of 2026 UBYSSEY EDITORIAL BOARD
Congrats, Class of 2026! Starting university is scary, but it’s also thrilling. It’s a big deal! Whether you live down the street from campus or are moving halfway across the world — this is a new chapter of your life and we’re so happy to have you here. There’s a sort of magic that comes with a new school year, and that magic feels all the more electric at UBC. Spend time in the Place Vanier commonsblock with your friends, sign up for a million clubs during Clubs Day (knowing that you’ll never participate) and of course, get rained on at homecoming. Whatever it is you do, UBC is an exciting place to be. That isn’t to say that UBC doesn’t come with its flaws. With on-campus housing hard to come by, tuition increases every year and no fucking SkyTrain to UBC (yet), it can be hard to love your school. It can seem that since UBC doesn’t care, students don’t either. But that’s not the case. Campus is filled with communities — whether that be in the classroom, on the MacInnes Field on the first sunny day in months or on the 99 B-Line all the way from Commercial Drive. You’ll find them or they’ll find you, and soon you’ll take part in classic UBC traditions with them. You’ll be convinced to Storm the Wall. Or you’ll fall incredibly ill after taking the plunge at the Polar Bear Swim at the end of term one. Maybe you’ll even come to The Ubyssey’s retreat on Pender Island and get (safely) shitfaced. These memories are what make these traditions worth it. Who knows, you might even create a few traditions of your own. Whether you’re taking your first few steps on campus or studying at IKB deep into your last year, know that you belong at UBC. But, if you need someone to rant to or celebrate your wins with, you have your friends and you also have us — a newspaper filled with students just like you. Come visit us in room 2208 in the AMS Student Nest. We have a microwave. And couches. And an Eeyore stuffed animal. Welcome to UBC! U
Illustration by Kylla Castillo
AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITOR SOPHIA RUSSO
The back-to-school burn: The science of burnout and stress
Burnout may feel like an uncontrollable hindrance to academic, professional or personal success.
Fiona Sjaus Contributor
As students come back to campus, the academic side of student life will be heavy on their minds — and with that comes the inevitable conversations around burnout. For students, burnout may feel like an uncontrollable hindrance to academic, professional or personal success. According to one Italian study published in Frontiers Psychology, one-third of university students surveyed met the criteria for being burned out. “Burnout is now a diagnosable syndrome,” said Dr. Andrea Grabovac, a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry. She explained the criteria for being burned out includes emotional exhaustion, cynicism and a feeling of not meeting professional goals. According to Grabovac, there is a subtype of burnout specifically for students called “study-related burnout.” She noted this subtype is characterized by feeling burdened and exhausted from overtaxing work and a lack of interest or a different attitude towards studying. Students may struggle with feeling less efficient and incompetent. STRESSED OUT Burnout can occur when the brain experiences a prolonged period of stress. “Most of us recognize that we can go through a period of stress and then we can recover from it.
But with burnout that ‘bounce back’ after a few days, that in some ways we expect or come to rely on, it doesn’t really happen,” Grabovac said. Stress can also impact executive functions like self control, working memory, information processing and decision making, according to Dr. Adele Diamond, Tier 1 Canada research chair in developmental cognitive neuroscience and professor of psychiatry at UBC. When it comes to burnout, Grabovac highlighted its impact extends beyond day-to-day life. “It’s these ongoing impairments that really affect, not just quality of life — I mean, that’s super important — [but] also functioning.” CORTISOL IS SO LAST SEASON. DOPAMINE IS IN Stress is often associated with increased levels of cortisol but Diamond explained increased cortisol levels in the brain are not always a bad thing. “It’s a real misconception to equate cortisol with stress as so many people do,” explained Diamond. “Cortisol correlates with stress, but it’s very different than a stress response.” Diamond pointed to exercise as an example of a beneficial situation where cortisol spikes. “So cortisol goes up when you exercise, but you’re not being stressed … Now often, [you] are aroused when you’re stressed, but
you’re not always aroused because you’re stressed. Sometimes you’re aroused for good things, but cortisol is still going to go up.” A more accurate interpretation of stress on the brain is the impact of dopamine on the prefrontal cortex, the hub of executive functioning. As the prefrontal cortex has difficulty clearing dopamine even under mild stress, it has to rely on secondary mechanisms for dopamine regulation. This makes the prefrontal cortex especially sensitive to increased dopamine levels. FORGET ASTROLOGY. ARE YOU A MET OR A VAL? If you are one to crumple under pressure, Diamond explained you might have an enzyme in your prefrontal cortex to thank for that. One of the secondary mechanisms the prefrontal cortex relies on to remove excess dopamine is known as catechol-O-methyltransferase. There are two major versions of this enzyme in the population that are associated with different stress coping. People with a valine in the gene coding for this enzyme have a faster version of it, meaning that they have less dopamine in their prefrontal cortex than those with a methionine in the gene. Since the latter group, known as ‘METs’, tend to slightly outperform their ‘VAL’ counterparts in executive functioning tasks, their level of dopamine may be imagined as “optimal,” while VALs don’t have enough.
EMMA HICKS / THE UBYSSEY
Since dopamine increases in times of stress, it has been theorized that stress should push VALs to the optimal dopamine level and they should perform better in stressful situations, while METs should struggle more when stressed. Though observations from previous literature did not fully back this model, an experiment in Diamond’s lab tried something different. In their experiment, they put students with either variant in a mildly stressful situation — students in the stressful condition had someone looking over their shoulder while they completed a test, while those in the calm condition wrote the test alone. This experiment, which is summarized in a 2020 paper published in Cerebral Cortex, revealed an exciting observation. Not only did VALs perform better in the stressful condition, but METs performed worse — just like the model predicted. COOLING THE BURN(OUT) According to Grabovac, practicing mindfulness regularly can help limit the chances of becoming burned out and mitigate the effects of burnout once it ensues. “[Mindfulness is the] ability to feel sensations in the body with a high degree of accuracy,” Grabovac said. “Really identifying with the thought … thinking that these thoughts aren’t me.” For third-year sociology student Gen Lee, who took her first year
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completely online from her home in South Korea, the feeling of burnout is all too real. She credits music and changing up her routine for helping her get through and recover from stressful situations. “The little changes that I make [in my daily routine], it helps my mood, it helps my motivation, and I think that is a more manageable way to deal with burnout than trying to deal with everything at once.” For third-year psychology student Jamal Armstrong, burnout was a time to reevaluate time management and separate his personal life from his school environment. Armstrong credits finding a way to distract himself from schoolwork as a way to mitigate burnout. “I either workout or go outside for a walk. I just take in Vancouver to really get my mind off school.” When asked about how post-secondary institutions can mitigate stress for all students, regardless of their physiological and external responses to it, Diamond emphasized the benefits of having multiple evaluations rather than one examination and grading without the use of a curve. “I think that it’s not good to impose any more stress on students than is absolutely necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea to justify and say, ‘We’re getting ready for the real world’ or anything else,” she said. “I think stress just doesn’t allow students to show everything they’re capable of and everything they know and that’s not fair.” U
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AUGUST 30, 2022 TUESDAY
EDITOR MIRIAM CELEBILER
UBC alum Travis Murao represents Canada in wheelchair rugby Manya Malhotra Staff Writer
Wheelchair rugby player and UBC alumnus Travis Murao is a four-time Paralympian who plays for the Canadian National Team. Murao was introduced to wheelchair rugby by one of the sport’s inventors, Duncan Campbell. Campbell happened to be Murao’s recreational therapist while he was undergoing rehabilitation after a snowboarding injury that occurred when he was 17 years old. Making the national team in 2006 was an important moment for Murao. “I thought that portion of my life had been taken from me when I had my accident … it was really cool to be able to identify as an athlete first again,” he said in an interview with The Ubyssey. Murao, whose team recently won the silver medal at the 2022 Canada Cup, was amazed at the talent the parasports world had to offer during his first Paralympic Games. While there, he was introduced to many sports for the first time and particularly took interest in the one-legged high jump. “I learned [that] … maybe my situation or my circumstances weren’t as unique as I thought and … there’s a whole world out there of people who are going through similar or worse struggles,” Murao said. He added
UBC alumnus Travis Murao (centre) plays wheelchair rugby for the Canadian National Team.
that seeing the achievements of the other para athletes at these games “was really inspiring and … motivated [him] to keep pushing further.” Murao attended UBC to pursue an undergraduate degree in English literature before transferring to the University of Arizona. While he does look back at a lot of his journey at UBC fondly, Murao faced accessibility challenges during his time at the university. The hilly terrain, long distances between classes and the lack of
an adapted or accessible athletics program were some of the concerns he brought to light during the interview. However, he admitted that UBC has come a long way since his time on campus. He hopes the university keeps working on bettering its accessibility facilities as he fears Canada is losing a lot of its parasport athletes to the US. Murao has a busy couple of months ahead of him, during which his team will be making the country proud at the Tri-Na-
MEGUMI MASUDA / WORLD WHEELCHAIR RUGBY
tions Cup in Alabama, competing against the US and Great Britain, the Quad Nations Cup in Wales and the World Championships in Denmark. When asked about what advice he would give to young players starting out, Murao said, “It’s great to love competing … but you also have to fall in love with the grind.” “I think my biggest advice would be, learn how to make your everyday training environment something that you’re excited about, happy about and passion-
ate about,” he said. Murao undergoes intense training for wheelchair rugby, including two sessions of on-court physical training per day, along with recovery and treatment when necessary. While Murao is a dedicated player on the court, he is also thoroughly invested in his life outside of the sport. “Having a life-sport balance … cultivating my other interests and keeping my mind active in other pursuits … is super important [to me].” U
BASKETBALL EXHIBITION //
T-Birds defeat Runnin’ Rebels in front of a sold-out home crowd
T-Bird forward Brian Wallack (right) makes a drive to the basket at the August 16 exhibition match versus the Runnin’ Rebels.
Miriam Celebiler Sports + Rec Editor
UBC men’s basketball prevailed against NCAA Division I University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Runnin’ Rebels 79–72 in a summertime exhibition game at the War Memorial Gym on August 16.
Fourth-year guard James Woods played an outstanding game with 33 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds. The Runnin’ Rebels came out strong at the start to get the first points on the board. Third-year T-Bird guard Jack Cruz-Dumont responded with a layup to set the
score even at 2–2. The T-Birds fell behind for the remainder of the quarter but kept the Runnin’ Rebels within a five-point difference trailing 28–23 at the end of the frame. Woods started the second quarter with a three to cut UNLV’s lead to 28–26, but the Runnin’
MIRIAM CELEBILER / THE UBYSSEY
Rebels brought the difference back up to four points. Coming into the quarter strong, fifth-year forward Sukhman Sandhu hit two consecutive three-pointers to lift UBC 32–30. A second triple from Woods widened the gap to five before UNLV’s Jackie Johnson crashed in with two layups. The
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Runnin’ Rebels sank two more threes, while Jamesley Jerome and Brian Wallack jumped in with layups to put points on the board for UBC. With two minutes remaining until the half, the Runnin’ Rebels held a fragile one-point lead. With the Rebels feeling the pressure, Sandhu was able to find an opening and sink another three to head into the half with a 42–40 lead for UBC. The ‘Birds held their lead throughout the third and fourth quarters. As the clock ran down at the end of the fourth, Woods calmly put up two free throws to capture a 79–72 home victory. The 2,103-person crowd roared as the final buzzer sounded. UBC saw a sold-out crowd despite charging $10 for tickets — tickets for the 21/22 season were free. UBC has a while to go until the start of conference games. Their first Canada West matchup is on November 12 hosting the University of Northern BC Timberwolves. “It’s tough because it is, you know, three months away from our first conference game,” said Thunderbirds head coach Kevin Hanson. “I think what it does do, is it gives our guys a lot of belief in themselves and belief in what we’re trying to achieve.” U
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