When UBC stopped liquor service at Koerner’s Pub in late March, it seemed to come out of the blue. It would have taken quite a bit of foresight to predict a possible shutdown of Koerner’s might be on the horizon…

The Pub has had two under-age drinking incidents in the 2008-2009 period and a contravention notice was served by the RCMP. This has had wider repercussions for other liquor license holders at UBC, and if a further contravention were to occur the reputation of the GSS and its relations with other key stakeholders on Campus would suffer a significant set-back.

– GSS External Review by MMK Consulting, dated Feb 2, 2010

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An “amicable divorce.” This is what UBC VP External, Legal and Community Relations Stephen Owen is calling the most recent development in the university’s battle with Metro Vancouver over land use on campus. Decisions on property development will no longer be made by Metro Vancouver, but will now rest in the hands of the provincial government—something that UBC is more than pleased about.

If Bill 20 (see Part 3—Community and Rural Development Amendments), which is going through Parliament at the moment, passes, the decision-making power on land-use planning at UBC will be transferred to the province’s Ministry of Community and Rural Development. From there, the province will engage in a consultation with stakeholders (me, you, a dog named Blue and your neighbours in the University Neighbourhoods Association) to develop an appropriate governance model for UBC. This could mean more autonomy for UBC, and that it can control where and when it wants to build various projects on campus—instead of it operating like a city, as it does now, it could be a city.

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New SUB Lease Signed

Posted by: | April 30, 2010 | Comments Off

Over the course of the next hour, the New SUB Lease agreements will be signed. We’re currently at the AMS Council meeting, trying to figure out the details.

Of current particular note:

1. The AMS will retain any space needed to meet its programming needs in the Old SUB. In 8 years after the building’s constructed, this space is forfeited to UBC under the condition that they find similar space for the activities therein.
2. There are only two permitted liquor primaries in the New SUB. Neither of these bars are to be visible from University Square nor are they to have entrances or exits directly to the outside of the building. This is due to a monopoly deal UBC struck with Mahony and Sons, the private pub located on University Boulevard.

The signing ceremony will take place at 5:00pm Today (Friday) at the SUB Partyroom.

AUS Student Court Ruling: WTF?

Posted by: | April 28, 2010 | 4 Comments

Might as well go a bit further into the Student Court ruling, for the sake of the archives. (The next time Student Court makes a questionable ruling, hopefully people will come here to find out why the last one was questionable too.) But not too in depth, so don’t be scared off. Unlike Naylor’s “Rising Scourge of Kritarchy”, reading the ruling is hopefully not a pre-requisite to understanding this post.

In going through the ruling, Student Court’s decision-making narrative appeared to go something like this:

[1] Mr. Trasolini, the Appellant, would like us to rule on the validity of Ricardo Bortolon’s decision to count a disputed ballot in favour of Mr. Platt.

[2] AMS Code gives constituencies the ability to make their own rules governing elections, provided that a set of 20 conditions are met.

[3] In AUS electoral code some of those conditions are met explicitly but some are only met implicitly, by giving the AUS Elections Committee (AUSEC) the discretion to set specific rules.

[4] There seem to be two main issues with which the Court is presented in this case:

1) Was the electoral framework sound? And, if so
2) Was the application of the framework correct in this case?

[5] For the parts of AUS Code where the AUSEC is given discretion, they did not set specific rules before the election. Instead, they used their discretion to deal with issues as they arose.

[6] AUS Code, by not having explicit rules and simply giving the AUSEC discretion to make decisions, does not satisfy the conditions set out in AMS Code governing constituency elections.

[7] We find the AUS Constitution to be in violation of AMS Code.

[8] In the event of a violation of AMS Code, the AMS Bylaws give us the power to render an action “void and of no effect”

[9] We consider the AUS Presidential Election to be an action, and declare it to be void and of no effect.

[10] Since the election has been invalidated, it is unnecessary to rule on the validity of the disputed ballot.
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The UBC Board of Governors will be holding an extraordinary Board Committee meeting tomorrow, April 21st, to approve the new Commerce student fees and a Board 3 for the Sauder building upgrades (agenda). It’s important to note that the date-stamp on the agenda is April 19th. This means that there was only two days of notice given to the public (and Board members, as I have confirmed). This gives extremely little time for any consultation or feedback to happen. As members of the public are required to apply for tickets at least 24 hrs in advance, it makes it extremely hard for any interested parties to attend.

The agenda lists only the following four open items, and Sean Heisler, student Board rep, has confirmed that there are no closed items on the agenda:

Finance Committee

  • 1.1 2010/2011 Tuition Fees Correction to Schedule ‘A’
  • 1.2 Alma Mater Society UBC Vancouver Commerce Undergraduate Society Student Building Fee (approved by student referendum)
  • 1.3 Graduate Student Society UBC Vancouver – MBA, ECM & MMOR Sauder Student Building Fee (approved by student referendum)

Join Property & Planning and Finance Committee

  • 2.1 Sauder School of Business Building Project

Considering all the controversy surrounding the CUS Building Fee, it’s alarming to see this being pushed through so quickly and under the table.

In particular, this meeting raises a number of interesting questions:

1. Why is this so pressing that an extraordinary meeting has to be called?
2. Knowing the controversy surrounding this fee and the building project, is this being deliberately done semi-secretly?
3. There is no extraordinary Full Board meeting scheduled. Will these resolutions be brought into effect prior to a resolution of the full Board?
4. Is the Board 3 being rushed to prevent students from being able to change the building program now that they are a major donor?

Further discussion, rampant speculation, and a detailed analysis of each item after the jump.
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On Friday, Student Court handed down a decision in Trasolini v. AUS Elections Committee which concluded that this year’s AUS Presidential Election is “void and of no effect”.

Upon reviewing the decision, Brian Platt sent an email to AUS council announcing that he was stepping down immediately. Elysia Pine, who was elected as AUS VP Internal this year, ascends to the presidency on an interim basis until the AUS can figure out what to do next. Basically the two major details that need to be worked out:

1) Who is the interim president? Should it be Elysia or should AUS council appoint someone else to fill this role?

2) When should the by-election be held? Could the AUS really hold a legitimate presidential election during exams, or worse, during the summer? Or is September the only viable option?

There will almost certainly be a special AUS council meeting held this week devoted to figuring out these details. Unfortunately there’s no obvious best course of action here.

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SUB Architects Short-listed

Posted by: | April 17, 2010 | 1 Comment

Vote results are out, and the three lucky short-listed firms are:

These three now compete to have the AMS’ New SUB Committee to sign them on over the others. We’re pretty happy about the short-list as it’s a happy medium between the Insiders editors choices.

It remains unclear what process the Committee will be going through to assess the three firms, and whether or not public input will still be solicited for advisement.

Hopefully by now, many of you will have watched the videos or read my articles about the 7 architects vying for our project. I tried to give a fair assessment of the architectural firms in my write ups in order to give the readers a chance to form their own opinions. I have been asked by many students to write an article about who I’m voting for and my reasoning behind it. I’ve hesitated to do this because I unsure if it would do more harm to the architect selection then it would do good. I’ve had the chance to talk to a few people who are more experienced and know a lot more about architects and I feel confident in my choices. I’d like to remind readers and students that this is my personal opinion and that at the end of the day, you should vote according to what you think. I can’t see it doing more harm then good.

Before I start, I want to speak a little as to why its so important to vote. The architectural firm that we pick will absolutely influence the way our building looks. While student consultation will help shape it, ultimately it will be up to the architects to bring our words and ideas to life. This is why its so important to take a little time to watch the videos of the presentations, read the firm profiles at the Ubyssey, (part 1 part 2) or my coverage (left column at the top of this page)! If you don’t take the time, the building could end up being something we don’t want.

Do you want this to be your SUB? (Don't laugh, Paint is hard to navigate)

Do you want this to be your SUB? (Don't laugh, Paint is hard to navigate)

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Stantec Architecture / 3XN

According to their website, “Stantec Architecture and 3XN Architects, together, bring an outstanding depth of relevant experience, significant international design achievements and a very strong Vancouver based “capacity to perform” to this project. Integrating world caliber Design, rigorous Danish Sustainable Design and LEEF Certification experience with Vancouver depth of experience and resources and a commitment to ongoing work together, we are a “naturally” integrated team-we’ll poised to deliver an outstanding, innovative and ground breaking-sustainable SUB Renewal building design.”

UBC Okanangan University Centre (Stantec designed)

UBC Okanangan University Centre (Stantec designed)

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Henriquez Partners Architects / IBI Group

According to their website, “The Student Union Building is the core around which student life revolves – establishing the UBC student body as a community and providing the functions that server and define the community.” Henriquez Partners Architects / IBI Group is a partnership between Henriquez Partners Architects and IBI Group. Together, they have built the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC.

Michael Smith Laboratories

Michael Smith Laboratories

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