Srs Bsns: Bijan and AMS Councillors Can’t Be VFM

Dearest readers who are normal students and not hacks: bear with us. This is going to get a little code intensive, but we’re SUPER FREAKING STOKED because this is our first lead that we’ve thought of, researched, and wrote all on our own!

Despite AMS Councillors being active in VFM the last few years (see Geoff’s Place, Radical Beer) and Brian Platt currently writing for UBC Vanguard while Crystal Hon is writing for UBC Insiders, AMS Code actually stipulates that they are not allowed to be compensated by the AMS, who supplies the money for Voter Funded Media.

Before owls start hooting and hollering, we’re not writing this to stir up shit about Brian Platt. Instead, Bijan has registered Bijan.ca as a Voter Funded Media for the Elections VFM.

  1. WTF, this is just stupid
  2. Bijan’s job is to COMMUNICATE WITH STUDENTS and be the PUBLIC FACE OF THE AMS.
  3. Seriously, you’re trying to make more money from student fees?
  4. He also hasn’t written ANYTHING ABOUT THE ELECTIONS.

so what, we already used this, our brains hurt.

However, AMS Code of Procedures says Bijan can’t get money from VFM.

Directors shall not receive monetary compensation from the Society unless such monetary compensation is received as a direct result of their positions:

i) as a Director;
ii) as an employee or paid volunteer of one of the Society’s business operations, Services, Resource Groups, programs or clubs, provided however that the Director was an employee or paid volunteer continuously in the Business, Service, Resource Group, Program or Club position prior to being nominated for the position of Director; or
iii) within one of the Society’s Constituencies.

Translation: People on AMS Council  can’t get paid for anything else that isn’t their job. They’re not allowed to pick up random catering shifts, or be a security guard (real life examples with councillors) because they are a Director of the Society. So why would getting paid for a VFM blog be any different?

Read on only if you want to get super hacky or are on AMS Council.

Directors vote on the budget, and on Wednesday will be voting on VFM. This is obviously a conflict of interest, and we give you these extra goodies from code:

No Director may, in his or her role as a Director, participate in any decision, exercise an official power or perform an official duty or function in which he or she may have either a conflict of interest or an apparent conflict of interest.

A Director has a conflict of interest when the Director, in his or her capacity as a Director, exercises an official power or performs an official duty or function and at the same time knows that in the exercise of the power or in the performance of the duty or function there is an opportunity to further his or her private interest. (aka make money off the society?)

A Director must not use his or her office to seek to influence a decision, to be made by another person, to further the Director’s private interest.

Regarding the last little gem, we think that creating a blog with a massive header saying 101st President, creating multiple videos talking about your role as President, and marketing yourself as BIJAN THE PRESIDENT is using your office to seek to influence a decision (vote) to further your private interest (money, fame, and glory for all).

Not to mention that Code says you’re not allowed to accept compensation (student fee money) for anything other than your job.

*IT ONLY GETS MORE HACKY BELOW, WARNING*

So, we’ve already established that it’s a big fucking conflict of interest and that code says AMS Council can’t get paid. However, there’s more.On Wednesday, AMS Council will have to vote as to whether they will suspend Code or not (for Condorcet) but ALSO because Code specifies that…

…the ballot shall provide the following five options as award amounts: NO MONEY, $500, $1000, $1500 and $2000. The online ballot shall show the default vote of NO MONEY pre-selected for each contestant.

And since they’ve made the Elections VFM Budget $2000 instead of $8000 (to put the rest of the money towards funding blogs ALL YEAR ROUND) this will need to be changed.

How will this affect the vote? Well, we’re predicting that bijan.ca will win VFM in the Elections Round, simply because of his name recognition. That, or Radical Beer Faction will take first place again. Simply put, people vote for the names they recognize. UBC Vanguard has said they’re in this for the Elections money and not the Continuous money. So if council (cough Bijan and Brian cough) decides to NOT go with what was originally intended and instead keep with code, then they’re essentially putting a fuckload of more money in their own pockets.

WILL YOU PLEASE LISTEN TO ME NOW, AMS COUNCIL, AND TALK ABOUT THIS GODDAMN ISSUE? HEARTS AND UNICORNS, T.

17 thoughts on “Srs Bsns: Bijan and AMS Councillors Can’t Be VFM

  1. Dr What

    Awesome. Fucking. Work.

    And I’m sure Brian will not vote on this thing since it is a conflict of interest. Brian and I will have to discuss what to do about us but I’d still be in it to win it without him.

    I believe that elections VFM has more value than continuous VFM and I intend to prove it tomorrow. With numbers and everything.

  2. brian platt

    I remember when we were first talking about this, and I said I didn’t think Councilors could be VFM. And then Sheldon told me they could. So I went with what Sheldon said. SHELDON KNOWS EVERYTHING

  3. Ellen

    I don’t understand. Didn’t previous councillors win money from VFM? Why were they allowed to participate and why is it a big deal now?

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  5. Sheldon Goldfarb

    Is there more than one Sheldon?

    I will add this, though: when Council created VFM, they did not explicitly exclude Councillors; the Code section in the electoral procedures says nothing about excluding them. What I don’t think anyone, including me, noticed at the time was that the conflict of interest section of Code (the part that Taylor has quoted) does forbid remunerating Councillors, with just a couple of exceptions.

    Council, of course, could make another exception for VFM. The main point of the conflict of interest section is to prevent Councillors from taking advantage of their position to take paying AMS jobs at the outlets or wherever. Taking part in a competition judged by the voters seems a bit different to me, though others may disagree.

  6. Sheldon Goldfarb

    Oh, also, in the beginning VFM compensation did not come from the Society; it came from Mark Latham, who paid out of his own pocket the first two years.

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