Even WikiLeaks Lite Gotta Make Rent, Bijan.

Yes, it’s true. On World Press Freedom Day, AMS Council cut off our VFM funding. Since like, only 50 of you actually vote (come ON! we have so many more hits than that!), you probably don’t care.

reports indicate an actual picture of a 'pink box' might be scandalous

Anyway, here is the Blackbox UBC Story, in point form. Like all True AMS Stories, its truth can only be known by the people involved, unless it came out in Council when no one was listening.

  • Blackbox UBC applied to be a VFM
  • Elections Administrator Erik Mackinnon accepted them
  • Bijan pulled a hissy fit and ordered Erik to reject them, because they leaked a super secret document (and had nothing to do with their anonymity)
  • They filed a complaint with the Ombudsperson (anonymously) against the AMS Executive and Elections Administrator for banning them from VFM
  • Executive Committee overruled Bijan and said they could be a VFM (Dear Political Rhetoric at UBC: note the difference? Execs, Executive, Exec Comm ≠ President.)
  • Erik freaked the fuck out and refused to make any more judgment calls re: VFM entrants until there were concrete rules surrounding continuous VFM
  • People raised questions regarding the anonymity of Blackbox, since (according to variously reliable sources) VFMs can’t be a) current candidates; or b) current councillors; or c) all of the above; or d) none of the above
  • AMS Council ignored all this shit and adjourned, thus FREEZING ALL THE VFM FUNDING—which you can imagine somebody isn’t happy about
  • Elin, VP Finance, (and we’re very disappointed if you still need that explanation of who Elin Tayyar is) ordered Erik to keep on making judgment calls to keep the money going; Erik refused in a manner completely unrelated to his political/social ties to Bijan
  • Elections are starting, yet there will be no continuous funding for the blogs (plus they decreased the one-time elections VFM), so what is the point of funding if you aren’t going to GIVE MONEY WHEN IT SUPER DUPER COUNTS? Or give incentive to new, virgin opinions?
  • Nobody reads The Ubyssey.

What the fuck? Yeah, let’s back up and rewind here. There are four major issues with all this Blackbox shit right now.

  1. The reason they weren’t accepted as a VFM was because Bijan didn’t like that they leaked something.
  2. There are technically no rules about who can or cannot be a VFM, which is hella wack.
  3. The real issue is whether the AMS should give money to anonymous persons, but because this is the AMS, the legitimate debate surrounding this (can, and should, we demand that people consider their sources?) will get totally lost in a shining clusterfuck of BIJAN IS MEAN and WHY DOES COUNCIL HATE US and SECRET CONSPIRACIES, YOU GUYS etcetera etcetera
  4. The AMS won’t be paying VFM during elections. Also uncool, guys.

So, yeah, what the fuck?

We dare you, National Post. We double-dog dare you.

oh, sorry, we meant this one instead:


Problem #1: Bijan acted unilaterally (ie like a dick) to ban a media outlet from funding because they leaked something. Going beyond that, is Bijan trying to threaten the student media on campus to make us stop making him into a Lorax in fear of getting less money or not being deemed a “credible” student media outlet? (More to the point, we were a credible student media outlet? God, we love this campus.)

Problem #2: There are technically no “real” rules about Continuous VFM (only the Elections VFM which is a one time vote). There is convention, however. A blog called Locust and Bumblebee applied and were turned down on the merit that they didn’t contribute any content that was UBC or AMS related. We are a rare species.

Problem #3: After stirring up a whole shitstorm about being concerned where their money is going with Gazapalooza, be that to Hamas via 100000 passing of hands or the building of a boat that will sink, the AMS & hangers on need to seriously consider applying that rhetoric to everything. For all they know, they could be funding a terrorist. Or a staffer.

Problem #4: How is this supposed to happen if you cut off the incentive? Sure, AMS Confidential and UBC Insiders will still post, but what about new talent? Last year we were one of the newcomers and wouldn’t have been able to enter if it wasn’t for Continuous VFM. Broke, sad ladies need blogs more than ever, guys. Bring back the subsidies!

Problem #5: We love you, Black Box, but your use of pull quotes is totally pretentious because you are quoting yourselves. Here, I’ll show you:

“Your use of pull quotes is totally pretentious and makes it seem like you think what you’re saying is really incredibly totally important.” — A Noted Blogger

Come on, AMS Council. Yeah, so you’re facing a ‘systemic deficit’ or whatever, but which do you need more: a working budget, or us? We know you love your Robot Unicorn, so why don’t you start feeding OUR unicorns? Exotic grasses are way expensive, and it’s getting harder and harder to deal with the Virgins’ Union and their constant demand for pay raises.

5 thoughts on “Even WikiLeaks Lite Gotta Make Rent, Bijan.

  1. michael haack

    ACTUALLY it’s a cover up: BIjan is contacting CSIS and/or FINTRAC to investigate BlackBox UBC and whether they could be a terrorist organization because of their anonymity.

  2. Michael C

    And Bijan finds that Julian Assange runs BlackBox and AMS Confidential predicts the future through photoshop skillzzzz!

  3. Mark Latham

    Hi Taylor —

    I’d like to clarify something related to this sentence in your post:

    “A blog called Locust and Bumblebee applied and were turned down on the merit that they didn’t contribute any content that was UBC or AMS related.”

    As you know, I run the VoterMedia.org project which provides the infrastructure for Continuous VoterMedia, including the ballot at http://votermedia.org/ubc. I advise the AMS on how best to use VoterMedia. I’m a UBC alum, but not currently a member of the AMS.

    I don’t know how much influence my advice had on this AMS decision, but I advised the AMS Elections Administrator to turn down Locust or Bumblebee (LorB)’s application to enter Continuous VoterMedia. I’d like to explain why I gave that advice.

    In my opinion, LorB’s content is UBC/AMS related. They focus on sustainability, an issue of great concern to UBC students. It’s an excellent blog, and I would love to welcome it into the Continuous VoterMedia competition. But I reluctantly advised turning down their application temporarily, because of a weakness in the VoterMedia.org infrastructure which we are now fixing.

    VoterMedia.org does not yet have a good enough login system to distinguish which voters are UBC students and which are not. This has not been a significant problem until now, because all competitors focused primarily on UBC and the AMS. The problem with LorB is that they are also likely to attract voters who are not UBC students. From their About page:

    “Through this gateway we hope to inform Vancouver’s populations of the decisions and activities occurring around them that negatively affect them, the environment, or even some distant population.”

    This is an admirable goal, and if UBC students want to fund it, I think that’s fine. So as soon as VoterMedia.org can distinguish UBC student voters well enough, I will recommend accepting LorB’s entry. We are hard at work improving our login system, and with luck we may have it ready next week.

    Meanwhile in addition to Continuous VoterMedia, we have been planning the usual annual 1-time VoterMedia competition on the January AMS election ballot. This has a UBC student login, so there would be no such concern about LorB’s entry into 1-time.

    BTW I posted a similar explanation on the VoterMedia Democracy Blog when this issue came up in November — see http://votermedia.blogspot.com/2010/11/locust-or-bumblebee-raises-votermedia.html (& comments).

    — Mark

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