An opinion piece by Jesse Ferreras, M.J. Candidate, UBC School of Journalism. Counterpoint coming next week.

There’s a war on truth at this University, and a resurgent movement of leftist radicals is fighting on its front line. I’m speaking, of course, about the Knolligarchy, formerly a joke name that now encompasses UBC’s newly-visible activist front. It’s a group of people affiliated with the AMS Resource Groups that is hot off a “Resisting the University” conference, which culminated today with a march of about a dozen people and an invasion of a meeting in the Board of Governors chambers (to the amusement of all those present.)

First off, let’s give credit where it’s due. The activist well had run dry at this university – it’s been years since a decent protest has been held anywhere on the Point Grey campus, at least since the quiet, passive protests that came in advance of the Iraq War. In this context, the Knolligarchy is a breath of fresh air. They’ve managed to inject just a little bit of excitement into campus life with events such as Trek Park and Trek Park 2.0, as well as the recent conference. It was music to my ears to hear an activist yelling into a megaphone and leading a march across campus last Friday. It at least gave me the impression something was happening.

But that’s enough credit. Let’s cut to the facts.

The Knolligarchy gets its namesake from The Knoll, a partisan campus publication that seems to avoid editing and facts as a matter of editorial policy. Describing itself as a “Weekly” (a “Monthly” might be more accurate) it is published through the AMS Resource Groups. The groups collectively receive $1.50 per student per annum, according to outgoing VP Finance Brittany Tyson. This year the I can’t be sure of the amount of money that goes specifically to publishing the Knoll, but it must come from somewhere within that $1.50.

This money is put towards a publication that advertises itself as partisan news coverage and thereafter sets out on espousing what can be more accurately called revolutionary fervour than news, more anonymous articles than journalistic agency. They don’t, however, get their message out solely through the publication – they also do it through public appearances and direct action techniques.

An example is a little episode in the Ubyssey office in early January. Stefanie Ratjen, Jasmine Ramze Rezaee and Nate Crompton, three of the Knolligarchy’s most prominent members, came into the office to complain about the front page of its first issue in 2008. The top story, splashed across the top of the paper, was “Activists vandalize Ponderosa complex,” accompanied by pictures of broken glass. Beneath it, to the left, was “Trek Park bulldozed,” a story about the mysterious razing of the Trek Park installation.

Crompton, Ratjen and Ramze Rezaee, despite having a story on the front page, complained that the Ubyssey hadn’t put the Trek Park story at the top. They were unhappy about the association given to activists by placing the story at the top (a fair complaint) but also that the Trek Park story, despite being devoid of a good photo to accompany it, was not placed at the top. Crompton went on to complain that “I said all these interesting things,” going so far as to call the issue a “fraud.” Nate argued that the University had “declared war” on Trek Park, notably ignoring the fact that their protest had devolved into a trash heap after the elements caught up with it over the course of several months. The three of them left the office clearly dissatisfied with the dialogue they had with me and a few Ubyssey editors, with Ramze Rezaee remarking, “I hoped to get more out of this conversation.”

The campaign of misinformation began in earnest MKduring the AMS elections. Language is always subjective and contentious, but this group of students has taken misleading rhetoric at UBC to embarrassing new heights.

Stefanie Ratjen made grand overtures to students, spreading falsehoods like “Translink is a private corporation” until I called her on it on my blog. Ramze Rezaee was at her side throughout the campaign, at one point asking VP Academic candidates what they felt about military funding for the International Relations program. IRSA president Gordon Hawkins saved students the trouble of swallowing this tripe when he corrected her publicly, saying that the Liu Institute for the Study of Global Issues receives funding from the Department of National Defence, and not the IR program. Ramze Rezaee exclaimed, “It’s the same thing!”

The lies propagated by members of the Knolligarchy reached their peak when Ramze Rezaee created “Freeman Poritz Watch,” a Facebook group devoted to ruining his campaign for VP External, and had a curious similarity with the anti-Semitic “Jew Watch” website that Poritz himself noted. The group was registered under the name “Sandra Davidson” but the fact of its creation showed up in Ramze Rezaee’s Facebook mini-feed when she started it. In the group’s description she castigated Freeman as “anti-woman,” “militaristic,” a “frat boy” and “xenophobic,” with nothing credible to support the latter claim (the reason, if I remember correctly, was his unfortunate comment about feeling cheated that international students get their degrees and then leave – an impulsive comment, to be sure, but hardly xenophobic.) Its members eventually included Nate Crompton and others involved in the Knolligarchy. At some point the site was taken down, but Freeman was undoubtedly hurt by its claims, notably its unwarranted accusation of xenophobia and its similarity to “Jew Watch” – an antisemitic website.

Today we find the Knolligarchy in an unfettered quest for power at UBC – and they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. Tristan Markle, your new VP Administration, got them covered with ink when he was caught on camera February 27 defacing posters near the Pit that read “I support Alex Lougheed!” with the added slogan “Right to Cheat.” The posters themselves have come in response to a complaint from Nate Crompton, who alleges that Lougheed voted for himself 12 times in the AMS elections for the position of VP Academic. The votes weren’t counted and the complaint came more than 72 hours after the election results were announced, thus nullifying the complaint according to AMS Code Section IX, Article 8 (1). Markle, however, is living on the hope that he can help put three members of the Knolligarchy on the AMS Executive, even though another election would likely have to be held if Lougheed was impeached, the only way he can be removed from his position at this point.

The scariest thing about this is his tactics may be effective. If there is another byelection, I have little doubt that Nate will run again. And given the pathetic turnout of voters to byelections, as in the VP Admin campaign, he could very well win.

The Knolligarchy’s strength resides in caring about the things that most students don’t. They rallied to Tristan Markle’s side for his election to be VP Admin and succeeded in putting him in office. I hadn’t previously believed it when Patrick Meehan told me the Knolligarchy could count for approximately 400 votes for any candidate – these days I’m more inclined to agree with him.

In short, the Knolligarchy is a force to be reckoned with, and its publication, The Knoll, is a great avenue for them to get their message out. You’re helping it get out there by paying your AMS fees. A small amount of those fees are being placed towards the AMS Resource Groups, and a portion of that amount is ensuring that the Knolligarchy has a publication through which to advocate their leftist political leanings. It’s starting to succeed to the same degree that Conrad Black did in making Canada a more conservative place when he started the National Post – of cour
se, he wasn’t funded out of the public purse. It won’t stop until someone reviews how funds are being allocated to the AMS Resource Groups – and specifically, the Knoll.

In any other governmental system, it’s deeply unethical to put public funds towards a partisan cause. Here, purely by paying your AMS fees on top of your tuition, that’s exactly what’s happening. Those fees are being towards the AMS Resource Groups and subsequently the Knoll, which is in turn publishing reasons why its friends and close acquaintances should hold public office at UBC. It’s like the Government of Canada, rather than the Conservative Party, using a pamphlet to campaign for Stephen Harper. Why should students get away with it?

Activism certainly has a place on this campus – without the Great Trek, we wouldn’t be studying or living in the buildings that we’re in today. But truth deserves a place here too – and the Knolligarchy doesn’t seem too keen to let it stand in the way of its actions.


49 Comments so far

  1. Mike Thicke on March 8, 2008 9:16 pm

    When Gina/Tim/Maayan were using “Knolligarchy” it was somewhat amusing, coming from people who I considered friends, or at least friendly. Unfortunately it has now become a rallying cry for the openly hostile. Personally I’d prefer that group to stick with “Pinko Commie Fucktards”.

    I’ll save further comments until I see the counterpoint, other than to say that accusations of bias in regards to the Ubyssey seem quite credible if Jesse works for the Ubyssey.

  2. maayan kreitzman on March 8, 2008 9:56 pm

    My main issue with the Knoll is and has always been that they often publish anonymously, and the people writing are often the same ones being written about (even within the same issue!). There’s not much journalistic accountability in that situation – and it shows in the quality of articles. And while it’s a self-professed partisan publication, alot of readers don’t realize that it’s the same three people reporting basically on themselves and their own activites under different group labels, and endorsing their roomates, girl/boyfriends, and close friends in elections. And of course, the fact that we’re all paying for this is a bit unfair to other groups on campus that might want to add a media (or propaganda?) arm to their partisan causes.

  3. Jesse Ferreras on March 8, 2008 10:09 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your comments. We’ll have to disagree on the use of “Pinko Commie Fucktards,” though you’re definitely in the same boat as good ol’ Justin Visser on that one.

    In regards to allegations of bias, you might want to note a few things:

    1) I write for the Ubyssey, I do not work for it. I was culture editor until April of 2007 and am now a voting member of staff, but I do not collect any paycheques from the Ubyssey.

    2) The Ubyssey has 11 editors, all of them with differing political opinions, and many more staffers with even more opinions. You’d be fine to accuse some editors and staffers of political leanings on certain issues (even me) but it doesn’t add credence to overarching accusations of bias against the paper.

    3) It’s not particularly fair to blatantly accuse someone of bias when they’re trying to be critical of an individual or movement on campus. In the case of the Knolligarchy, certain of its members have openly spread falsehoods to suit their political agendas and shown some degree of derision for those who’ve called them on it. To level an accusation of bias is to denigrate an attempt by someone to do research and clarify what the truth is in regards to a specific issue (ie. Translink governance, military funding for political science programs).

    Please don’t reserve comments if you feel you have to, I’m more than happy to hear what you have to say on this post. And if I’m wrong about anything, by all means, call me on it.

  4. Anonymous on March 8, 2008 10:25 pm

    Nobody in the course of these last elections is free from error, and pure like a child, from Lougheed to Markle, from casting multiple ballots to writing a slogan on a poster.

    This type of attack on a publication like the Knoll is shameful, arrogant, and bashful. The Knoll alone reported on the attack to the Women’s Centre, Musqueam issues, U-Boulevard, and the Resource Groups stand for minorities on campus and are used by hundreds of people, who are welcomed and respected.

    Perhaps Jesse would like to turn campus into a shopping mall surrounded by expensive market housing and dirty underground buses.

    To assume that people writing for the Ubyssey are not biased is such a joke… To believe that broken windows on Ponderosa are more important than the destruction of a park built by students and endorsed by David Suzuki is not only irresponsible, uninformed, and misguided but also detrimental to the image of our university as a whole.

    You should give the same space for a rebuttal of this opinion piece from someone on the ‘attacked’ side. Jesse’s idea that the AMS is a public institution (e.g., “public office”, “public purse”), when it is actually private, shows he needs to check his facts before pretending to know the truth…


  5. Mike Thicke on March 8, 2008 10:32 pm

    Jesse – it was a bit unfair of me to allege bias and not back it up. I am trying to avoid stepping on the toes of whoever plans on writing the “counterpoint”. I imagine my perspective is different enough that I’ll ask to write something of my own on the topic later.

    To get minor things out of the way, I agree that accuracy is a duty of any publication, and that anonymity should not be used to further political goals or to create a false appearance of objectivity.

  6. Eden Hart on March 8, 2008 10:45 pm

    Apparently supporters of the Knoll, which criticizes everything that dares come across its path, believe that criticism and open debate regarding the Knoll is always “hameful, arrogant, and bashful,” which only shows what kind of a breeder of hypocrisy that piece of “journalistic” train wreck it truly is.

  7. Steven on March 8, 2008 11:24 pm


    While I hope a larger discussion can happen once a more comprehensive response to your piece is written, there are a few apparent factual errors and omissions you should comment on. First, the allegation that the IR program is supported through military funding has been vindicated once you realize all the main professors teaching it (with the exception of Michael Byers), as well as the Liu Institute, are on the military’s payroll. This no doubt has an effect on the tenor and content of the program as well as the research environment it is situated in. Jasmine has provided detailed research to support this fact, and it is part of a wider trend of the Canadian military intruding into research and teaching in Political Science departments around the country.

    As for Nathan Crompton’s court case against Alex Lougheed, your allegation that his case is null because it was entered after the 72 hour complaints period flies in the face of the fact that student court agreed to hear it. Student court still does have the power to remove Lougheed from office. I would have at least expected that you mentioned that.

    Considering that your major allegation is that the those associated with the Resource Groups distort the facts in pursuit of political power, I would think that you would act as a more careful and nuanced journalist. However, when your allegations reveal no effort to contact the individuals involved or fully explore the details of what you are talking about, or else to willfully omit those details, it exposes you to be as partisan as the Knoll, except without the ironic obviousness they bring to it.

  8. Jesse Ferreras on March 8, 2008 11:35 pm

    “The Knoll alone reported on the attack to the Women’s Centre”

    Click here:

    “Musqueam issues,”

    Click here:


    Click here:

    I’d take a shopping mall any day over the trash heaps that Trek Parks 1 and 2 have turned into. If that’s how public space is going to be treated then I no better case for a shopping centre. Interesting, isn’t it, that supporters of those installations have NEVER acknowledged how badly they’ve been maintained.

    And Mike – thanks again for your comments. I sincerely appreciate them.

  9. nathan on March 8, 2008 11:45 pm

    It seems like this article might actually cause people to want to join the pro-active, get-off-your-but “knolligarchy”! So I will try to decipher Jesse’s message in a sentence: for anybody who wants to get involved in organizing for democratic alternatives at UBC and against 1) the militarization of research, 2) the student debt system, 3) non-democratic University structures (especially Board of Governors), 4) racism, 5) unfair pay for sessional faculty, to a name a few things, there are two main groups you should know about: Students for a Democratic Society ( and The Knoll magazine ( We need help and people power! SDS meets Thursdays in the Resource Groups, SUB 245 at 12:30pm.

    Jesse will get people excited about the knolligarchy, against his will and even if there’s really no such thing. So will the UBC Insiders – I’m glad that UBC Insiders will give space for an upcoming rebuttal from this knolligarchy, even if there’s no organized group that could possibly write a response on its behalf, not even if we use Jesse’s own definition. When he says, “they don’t only use solely the publication [The Knoll] – they also [get things done] through public appearances and direct action techniques,” he’s referring to the Conference and the marches of this past week, and to the “mountain of student debt” from the week before (that protest was a huge success, we handed out 600 pamphlets with info about the average $25,000 of debt per graduating student). Our ‘public appearances’ have variously involved closer to 100 people, not 12. There were 40 people at yesterday’s demonstration, not 12 – Jesse could you correct this factual error? J This week at the Conference we held two and sometimes three separate speaker panel events per day (schedule at The average turnout was around 40-50 people, and our keynote, the well-known David Noble from York University, drew about 80 people. I am trying to understand how Jesse sees the knolligarchy as a small group – I presume that Jesse includes me as a member. But unfortunately the people who came on the march yesterday were people inspired by the conference, and actually only a few of us at the march and at the conference have ever even been involved with The Knoll magazine (be assured they’ve never read UBC Insiders). Or does Jesse mean that the knolligarchy are the people who want to save the grassy knoll? If that’s the case, could the knolligarchy really possibly write a response at all, a note on behalf of everyone involved in Students for a Democratic Society, the Resisting conference, the protests, etc.?

    It makes sense for the editors of The Knoll magazine to write a response, but only to clarify Jesse’s note about the $1.50 Resource Groups money. Here’s the clarification: The Knoll makes all of its money for AMS Elections issues in the Voter Funded Media contest, a democratic contest open to all media sources. In fact, we make way more then we spend on elections issues, and so the money goes to the Resource Groups, like our $1,600 cheque from the VFM this year (the elections issue was $300 to print). It’s amazing that even when people vote in majorities for The Knoll (VFM), for Tristan Markle, for Stef Ratjen, Jesse and UBC Insiders still speak as though for the “silent majority.”

    With all due respect to Maayan, Jesse, and anybody else who endorses these mostly-personal attacks against good people organizing in the community, why don’t you start organizing the silent majority? Find a cause, get signatures, get people involved – talk about the issues. If you want lots of student debt, if you love the Canadian Armed Forces, if capitalism is the panacea, if the bus loop is exciting and new, then get a movement going in that direction. I challenge you to for once talk about the issues and stop being so mean willed – you’ve written derisively about the Knoll magazine but you’ve never engaged in a dialogue or debate about the issues that we address. Why? Ask yourself who is the real vanguard minority.

  10. Jesse Ferreras on March 8, 2008 11:57 pm

    Hi Steven,

    I recommend you have a talk with Gordon Hawkins, president of the International Relations Student Association, who has vehemently expressed numerous times that the IR program receives NO funding from the Department of Defence.

    It’s a very dangerous claim, by the way, to say that faculty members are on the military payroll – faculty receive their pay from the University, and research to certain areas is funded by the Department of Defence. You’ll want to be more careful there, as I’m sure there are professors in the Department of International Relations who would be quite offended at that assumption.

    I take your point about the “null” comment. Student Court has agreed to hear it. However, under AMS Code, the results of that election result cannot be overturned because the complaint about an election irregularity came after the required 72-hour period. You’ll notice, however, if you read my post in its entirety, that I did raise the possibility of an impeachment.

    As to your allegations that I made “no effort” to contact people from the Resource Groups, that’s not true. I first started researching for this post over reading break, when I sent an e-mail to both Jeff Friedrich and Brittany Tyson about how funds are allocated to publish the Knoll. Both responded, and Brittany cc’ed Caterina, the Signing Officer for the Resource Group Allocation Committee (RGAC), whom she said could provide more information about how funding is granted to the Knoll from the Resource Groups.

    Caterina (whose last name I don’t know) did not respond to that e-mail. I sent her a message requesting information last Thursday, and still, no commentary was returned. I clarified the paragraphs in this post about the $1.50 per student that goes towards resource groups with Brendon Goodmurphy, who saw no problem with what I had written. I did, in fact, go to much effort to contact people associated with the RGAC, and held off on publishing this post until I could get some confirmation on certain things.

    Certain people associated with resource groups DO distort facts, and they do it through the Knoll. And some HAVE in fact done that in the pursuit of political power.

    Try again.

  11. Jesse Ferreras on March 9, 2008 12:01 am


    I saw the march yesterday. I didn’t do a head-count, sorry for that. I saw the march when it reached Main Mall and it looked closer to 12 than 40. But you’re right, I didn’t count every single person there.

    Thanks for clarifying an avenue through which the Knoll’s elections issues gets their money. Where does the cash for the other issues come from?

  12. nathan on March 9, 2008 12:05 am

    hey Jesse,

    Jasmine Ramze did extensive research on IR, the DND and its SDF program, and on the faculty connections with Political Science and the Liu Institute. She presented her findings at a panel this last week, where Gordon Hawkins was present. Gordon didn’t dispute any of Jasmine’s facts – I suggest you speak with him to get get clarification on the fact that, indeed, Political Science faculty recieve money for research donated by the Department of National Defence through IR and the SDF program. Keep an eye out for a full investigative story about this for print in next week’s Knoll magazine.


  13. maayan kreitzman on March 9, 2008 12:17 am

    Nate, we do discuss issues here on the blog. Not comprehensively, and maybe not on the topics you personally consider the most important, but U-boulevard, UBC governance, other development issues (campus plan/farm), academic quality, the Musqueam issue, and so on have been covered here extensively. There’s a post coming up soon about tuition costs. Another issue, which this post and the one next week are intended to discuss is the highetened partisan environment the AMS finds itself in over the last few months. That’s an issue too.

    I stand by my criticism that an activist and media wing can’t come from the same people with very good results.

  14. Anonymous on March 9, 2008 12:54 am

    LOL – Justin Visser reference comes out of nowhere! I love that guy.. I hear he’s coming back from Japan soon?

    Wow, my first UBC insiders post. I’m feeling nervous here…. I have a feeling my post is going to get picked apart. It’s seriously just my opinion and I really don’t want to get drawn into a long debate. I have to graduate in a couple of months!

    In any case, I attended the “Resisting the University” talk because I wanted to listen – not to have an open debate with Jasmine about her comments regarding SDF funding at Canadian universities. There were many more people at that event that had questions and there were other topics on the table so I certainly did not want to monopolize the conversation. Moreover, I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a debate in an environment where I am named personally as a liar and made direct reference to in the audience (just like the participant who was ‘encouraged’ to reveal himself as a member of the reserve forces after asking a particular question). I felt the environment was very confrontational (to me), but that could be just my opinion. In any case, I thought Jasmine made a good presentation and I appreciate her enthusiasm for the issue. I hope my attendance at the talk wasn’t confrontational in any way – I just think this is a University and I love hearing all viewpoints and engaging with people no matter what their beliefs are.

    My intent in writing a letter to the Ubyssey was not to wade into a big debate – I simply wanted to address a misconception as I saw it. It’s clear to me though that it doesn’t matter what we might be spending SDF funds on, some people who oppose it just think it’s wrong for no particular reason. Well, I encourage you to follow your passions and see if you can get SDF funding banned from campus. While we’re at it, let’s also ban SSHRC grants and essay contests from the Fraser Institute and Canada West. Money has an agenda – period. I believe that it’s not wrong to take money, but it all depends on what you spend it on. And before you go complaining that IRSA (and PSSA) hosts events with military people, and facilitates other events for UBC students related to military activities – these events are merely opportunities and nobody is forcing you to go to them. If you don’t want people to participate in them – say so! That’s fine. I don’t lose anything if nobody goes on the Comox trip, or if nobody shows up to a talk given by someone from the military. Fact is that the military is doing things related to foreign policy. Therefore, I think it’s relevant to our discussion on foreign policy. Was that all IRSA did this year? Absolutely not! We held events on US/Canadian relations, Uganda/Child Soldiers, landmines, diplomacy, public relations workshops, and UN federalism. I feel we could have done more, but I think we did do a lot. On Wednesday we will be holding a very interesting colloquium with Paul Collier, some speakers from the World Bank, SFU, UBC, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Foundation.

    I’m not presenting these events because I endorse their viewpoints. In fact, I would love it if UBC students opposed to the particular views presented by those speakers came and challenged them! I always like to see somebody with the facts in hand ask a good question.

    So in conclusion yes, money from the Department of National Defence is being spent on campus. I used it to buy food, make posters, and I think we’re got a shiny new tea kettle in the office. Slap the cuffs on me.

    In any case, I look forward to the Knoll’s piece. Maybe some of the faculty will then actually engage with students on this issue!

    I’m Gordon C. Hawkins and I approved this message.

  15. Steven on March 9, 2008 1:23 am

    Two things:


    When I faulted you for not having contacted the relevant people, I was referring specifically to the two factual errors I pointed to. You could have contacted Jasmine to ask about her evidence of the military funding of research in the humanities, and you should have certainly contacted Nate and printed the proper information about his complaint against Alex Lougheed.


    While I appreciate that discussing sensitive issues oftentimes creates tense environments, the reason I asked the fellow at our talk (who stayed for quite a while after to talk with myself and the panelists) if he was in the military was twofold:

    1) He was recording our talk without our permission, which had already made several people very uncomfortable.

    2) He asked about the panelists’ feelings towards reservist while not stating that he was in the army. I think the panelists felt like they were, or were potentially, being ambushed.

    As for the rest of your post, my personal view is that universities should not be accepting any money from the military. I realize not everyone shares this position. But it is extremely important that the nature, amount, and impact of that funding is discussed openly.

    So, Jesse, the idea that we should be afraid of offending professors for saying that they are funded by the military is just absurd.

  16. Jesse Ferreras on March 9, 2008 1:32 am

    Steven, you said the professors were on a military payroll. That means they collect cheques from the Department of Defence. That’s very difficult for me to swallow, and if you’re going to say those things you really should back it up rather than defer to Jasmine. I can’t be the only one who has a tough time believing it.

  17. Anonymous on March 9, 2008 3:33 am

    I’m sorry Jesse, but you’re outrageous. Let me explain. You’re claiming that because Freeman Watch has the word “Watch,” it’s somehow similar to a page called Jew Watch? This is outrageous. Make an apology and start writing with your brain, man. You’re really making yourself look like a right wing dumbass, not a journalist. The people who thought you helped advance the status quo cause are going to dump you if you’re not more rigorous.

    The group was created to raise awareness about Freeman’s misogynist views on women: “women are becoming more obnoxious and less traditional, I guess I’m stuck in the 19th century.”

    Anti-women past, check.

    Freeman then insisted in the debates that International Students are exploiting him and that they don’t deserve equal status at the University.

    Nativist, sure enough, check.

    Freeman is a male man man Alpha type womanizer and member of a frat. The ongoing joke during his campaign, as told by his campaign manager, was that campaigning wasn’t going well because every second person approached was an angry ex-girlfriend of Freeman’s.

    Frat boy. Check.

    Freeman also volunteers with the Israeli Military, a military. A military with a terrible human rights record; the IDF believes problems can be solved through violence, what often amounts to social and ethnic cleansing, if not extreme poverty, in the Occupied Territories.

    Militarist, check.

    The idea of watch groups is a widely used political tool. The best known watch group is called Campus Watch, a highly organized right wing group in the United States that monitors left wing professors, especially pro-Palestinian professors. The group is headed by David Horowitz, I believe. But it’s a general tactic, there’s also Human Rights Watch, Religious Right Watch, and so on. Why does Jesse suggest that Freeman Watch is anti-semetic. It’s Ironic that Jesse is criticizing Freeman Watch by claiming that it did not post evidence. The fact is that it did. Yet Jesse doesn’t have a shred of evidence to back up his claims about Freeman Watch.

    -proudly anonymous

  18. Steven on March 9, 2008 9:56 am

    “Steven, you said the professors were on a military payroll. That means they collect cheques from the Department of Defence. That’s very difficult for me to swallow, and if you’re going to say those things you really should back it up rather than defer to Jasmine. I can’t be the only one who has a tough time believing it.”

    Well they do collect cheques – as grants for their research. Grants make up a major part of any professor’s professional life. Your quibbling about exactly how to phrase that – are they “on the payroll” or is it just that their entire research disposition is being influenced by chasing military grants? – is really just a way of avoiding and obscuring the issues. Similarly, by focusing on supposed misuse of a very small amount of student money by one of the few spaces for political advocacy on this campus and not the MASSIVE misuse of student money that occurs everyday in how UBC is administrated, you are effectively ignoring the concrete question of what is happening on campus in favor of complacency about the current state of UBC.

    And yes, Gordon, I do think we should be capable of morally distinguishing between a government body like SSHRC or the various science councils and how they effect research (which is not always in a good way) with something like receiving direct funding from the military. That’s not too hard to figure out.

  19. Jesse Ferreras on March 9, 2008 5:49 pm

    All right, let’s address the issue then.

    I have NO problem that the Department of Defense funds research at this university. Chances are the DOD is looking to make advances in various areas of service (what, I don’t know, I admittedly haven’t done the research for that) and a supreme academic environment like UBC, lo and behold, is a good place to make that happen.

    Why, I’d like to know, are your members so xenophobic about the idea that the DOD is funding academic research? Are you worried that it’s being used to develop a nuclear weapon? Perhaps other new weapons technology? Are you concerned that the receipt of government money by professors automatically makes them government patsies too afraid to say anything critical?

    I’m more than happy to see a real discussion about these issues. In my post I brought up a number of instances in which people associated with the Knolligarchy have deliberately misinformed students or taken very questionable actions in the pursuit of political office at UBC.

    I have yet to see an acknowledgment of the poor job that has been done taking care of both Trek Parks; the morally reprehensible tactic of labelling Freeman Poritz a xenophobe in a Facebook group, and trying to do it anonymously; the fact that students are having to pay to spread this hogwash through the Knoll, and thus far a deliberate effort to avoid saying how it gets its money for anything but the AMS Elections issues.

    Instead of really engaging on these topics I’m incurring insults that I’m a “right-wing dumbass,” “outrageous,” and that I’m making a claim to speak for the “silent majority” at UBC. None of which is true. Is it a shock, Knolligarchians, that someone disagrees with you?

    Strike THREE Steven.

  20. Anonymous on March 9, 2008 5:53 pm

    I was under the impression we live in a free democracy, where it doesn’t mean that if you disagree with the military, you get lynched in the forest. So why is it such a big deal that professors even receive money from the department of defense?

  21. Gina Eom on March 9, 2008 6:16 pm

    I am not sure if it’s standard practice for the Knoll to publish their articles anonymously?

    As far as I can remember credit was given unless the author requested to remain anonymous.

    I am not sure if the same is true for the elections issue, I can’t remember and the Knoll website seems down.

  22. Mike Thicke on March 9, 2008 7:29 pm

    Jesse – note that you have slipped from denying that the IR program receives military funding to claiming that there isn’t anything wrong with the IR program receiving military funding.

    I thought this post was about journalistic accuracy, not about ideological stances.

  23. Jesse Ferreras on March 9, 2008 7:39 pm

    I never went back on my statement about the IR program receiving military funding. I’ve never denied that certain bodies at this university, ie. the Liu Institute, receive funding for research from the Department of Defense, but I never went back on my word and said that the IR program receives that funding. I also didn’t stretch my words so far as to say that professors are on a military payroll.

    I admit, again, that my research did not delve into that, though I do attach credibility to the statements of the IRSA president when he says that the IR program receives no military funding.

    The post was about truth, and the abuse of it by certain individuals at this university. I guess one’s loyalty to that idea becomes an ideological stance.

  24. Anonymous on March 9, 2008 7:58 pm

    I find it really disturbing that Jasmine and her cronies at the Knoll would hash up an overtly anti-semitic facebook group in order to derail Freeman’s campaign. That is really sick.

    Public funds should not be paying for any type of partisan media. That is theft.

    Jesse, great investigative journalism on this one. Those hobos at the Knoll must be up in arms at this post, as they should be.

  25. Anonymous on March 9, 2008 10:54 pm

    –Interruption of arguments, off current topic–

    In the future, remember to also complain about the elections fuck-ups that actually affected the outcome of the race! (Not just the exciting political shenanigans.) There were many: the AMS didn’t tell people it was holding an election, it didn’t adequately tell people it was holding a VFM campaign, and poll workers were woefully under-trained.

    Whether you’re Syndicalist/Situationist/National Front member/John Bircher or whatever, I think people on campus should demand better-run elections with professional oversight in the future.

    –You may now return to your regularly scheduled flamewar–

  26. Jesse Ferreras on March 10, 2008 12:42 am

    Now THAT is something I can agree with sans reservations.

  27. Jesse Ferreras on March 10, 2008 12:44 am

    Except the AMS did tell people it was running an election, and the VFM campaign got promoted really late, and its new voting pattern (whatever that consensus thingy is) did not mesh with the online voting system.

    It still, however, shows how important an election is to maintaining a solid student government is at UBC. And how important it is to hire a competent person as elections administrator.

  28. Anonymous on March 10, 2008 8:24 am

    No matter what, this witch hunt Jesse is leading is pathetic. He is just as partisan as anyone else in these hogwash mumble jumble discussions about how better you are from other people. Jesse, your self-righteous personal attack post is very ill researched: and that seems to be a pattern in your writing. It is also funny how much you can ‘swallow’ and how much you ‘don’t know’. You seem quite excitable and overblown. I suggest take it easy for a week, have a pint, travel, see if you can write about something that will help students instead of swamping them with your boring writing and looking half-witted and reactionary. Find something useful to spend your time on: take a tasting tour of campus fast food joints and write a report. I am sure it will be something actually readable that time around. Try again.

    *Sarah Silverstein

  29. J. Visser on March 10, 2008 8:26 am

    I dont even know where to begin with this one. First of all I never thought i’d see the day when the Ubyssey was being blamed for having a “right wing” bias. I for one have argued for a long time the Ubyssey was biased, but definitely biased the otherway, so this strikes me as kind of amusing, and shows what kind of trotskyite nutfuck mooonbats are running wild at UBC.

    Yes the Knoll gets money from the AMS Resource Groups. I am opposed to this, as I have been opposed to resource groups from the beginning. They do not ‘help’ students, instead they are divisive outlets for radical left wing thought, and are discriminatory by nature. I have a fundamental problem with this because I generally subscribe to the political theory that all men (and yes women, or womyn as the Pinko Commie Fuck Tards prefer) are equal under the law. Resource groups violate this by giving people benefits based on group rights (gender,ethnicity,sexual orientation, economic background). This however doesn’t bother those on the radical left because they subscribe to the theory (to quote George Orwell) “that some animals are more equal than others”.

    I personally sugested a while ago, and would have made an effort to get this passed on the AMS (had Gina Eom not thought it was personally necessary to mobilie the ‘knolligarchy’red guards against me to stop my getting a seat on the AMS for the AUS), that Resource Groups be funded by an “opt-In” from the AMS, meaning that all students wanting to seport resource groups would need to specifically aprove giving them $1.50 This seems fair to me because if like members of the resource groups allege, that their cause is really so justified, i dont see why students wouldnt be lining up by the thousands to give them money. I mean Barack can do ith, why Can’t Gina? My personal belief is that if this happened, the resource groups would only get funding from the ‘400 students’ referred to earlier, and that the 800 dollars wouldnt go very far when split 8 ways….which is fine by me because that means that each one could maybe afford to hold a pizza party every year….

  30. nathan on March 10, 2008 8:53 am

    for anyone whose interested, I get the posts sent to my email. Justin Visser’s now-removed post from 1:40AM, March 10, reads the following:

    And since when was it a bad thing to be a “male man man Alpha type womanizer and member of a frat.”

    I proudly subscribe to being a part of the above mentioned group, and would much rather continue to do so than be an unbathed, longhaired,deranged left wing moonbat,moonbat. God i wish we could deal with you people like they did back in the 60’s… send in the dogs.

  31. Anonymous on March 10, 2008 6:56 pm

    Posts like this by Jesse promote division and hatred, and the result is having to read such crap as these comments by this dumbass J Visser… Shame on you!


  32. Tim Louman-Gardiner on March 10, 2008 8:24 pm

    I think The Knoll is fantastic. Pretty much always have. (There was a brief blip when they didn’t endorse me, but I chalked that up to my own wounded ego and quickly recovered.) The bottom line is this: they’re engaged students who get off their asses and try to make campus a better place.

    The complaints tend to fall into three groups:
    1) They’re pinko commie fucktards
    2) They get student funds
    3) Their lobbying tactics are annoying

    1) Who cares? They have an ideological bias; so what? Anybody who pretends they don’t have an ideological bias is either lying or wrong. We all have ideological biases, the filters through which we view and analyze facts and arguments. I tend to respect those who are public about it. And just as importantly, they’re generally intellectually consistent. If you boil down most of their arguments, they depend on a critique of capitalism. And they’re good with that – in fact, they embrace it. And those critical voices are important, to keep people like me intellectually honest. Further, debate = good. The more strongly articulated voices out there, the better.

    2) Yeah, they get student money. (While I accept that there are distinctions between “Knoll” and “Resource Groups”, let’s be realistic for a second.) But here’s the thing – it was earned through referendum. That means students made an active choice to support the resource groups. It also means that students can make the active choice to take that money away. Nate’s right – if you have a problem, organize. Get people interested. Make your points. I suppose Maayan and Jesse are doing that through writing, but that goes to my earlier point – the more political conversation, the better. Further, there are remarkably few student groups dedicated to improving UBC; I happen to think the $1.50 is a wise investment. I know nothing about the Conference last week, but it appeared to me to be fantastic – if things like that are funded by the resource groups, then I’m all for it.

    3) I don’t share their approach to lobbying. I tend to prefer a different style. But the smart student movement is the one that recognizes that neither can succeed in isolation. The best complement to a student representative in a backroom schmoozy meeting is a noisy protest happening outside. And vice versa. And second, there’s no doubt that it occasionally gets results. There have been victories that ought to be celebrated.

    So in conclusion, Vive Le Knoll libre.

    (And I apologize for generalizing with my liberal use of the word “they.” I understand that “they” is not a monolithic entity, but chose the pronoun because I’m lazy.)

    Mike – Small quarrel: I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “Knolligarchy,” though you have to agree it’s a pretty funny term.

  33. Jesse Ferreras on March 10, 2008 9:07 pm

    I totally agree that the voice should be there. Like I said at the base of my post, activism has a place in this campus. The fact that we have the beautiful location we have today is owed purely to the Great Trek.

    Likewise the massive activist groundswell that took place in the late ’90’s at places like Seattle. That was a protest that effectively shut down a round of talks by the WTO. It was a movement that saw its first uprising at UBC during the APEC summit. That’s something that students should really be proud of.

    The Resource Groups are likewise a good thing that students have voted into existence. I have zero problem with them existing and doing some of the fine work they do to eradicate racism from this campus. In fact I’m pretty sure I voted in favour of it myself.

    What I do have a problem with is the funneling of student funds towards a partisan publication that’s being used to endorse its friends and put them into political office, as well as smear members of the AMS executive. That referendum happened before the Knoll began, and long before it was being used as a political tool. There’s no way students could have known it would turn out this way.

    What I’m advocating is a revisiting of the way that funds are allocated to publish the Knoll, as well as the publication’s mandate and whether it’s an efficacious use of student funds. I am personally uncomfortable with the idea that any of my money is going towards a newspaper whose mandate is to push a specific political agenda. I’ve spoken to a number of other students who are also uncomfortable with that.

    And obviously I’d like to see a dialogue about this. Preferably in an AMS council meeting.

  34. Mike Thicke on March 10, 2008 9:53 pm

    Just to be very clear—Both of The Knoll elections editions were profitable. No student funds ever went towards their production. Excess profits were donated to the Resource Groups. Partisan publications fall well-within Mark Latham’s original vision for VFM.

    The Knoll’s election edition has always had two explicit goals: articulate our vision of what the AMS’s role should be in the University, and to get our preferred candidates elected.

    Tim–Sorry! For some reason I thought you’d used the term, but you said “The Knoll’s defacto slate” or something to that effect.

  35. Jesse Ferreras on March 10, 2008 10:09 pm

    I already know about the AMS Elections edition. What about the other issues, then, that have likewise slammed people? Like the one before the byelection?

    This should really be formalized and made clear to students rather than in the commentary field on a blog.

  36. J. Visser on March 11, 2008 3:40 am

    Personally I am just happy that I was able to leave such a lasting contribution to UBC’s political discourse. Who would have thought that a term I came up with while I was drunk at a frat party could have become a UBC catch phrase. Pinko Commie Fuck Tards or PCFT’s seem to have embraced the term as a badge of honor. oh well, it at least sums up what I think of them.

    As far as activism goes, I think I speak for the vast majority of the fraternity/athletic community on campus when I say, I have better things to do, and in the long run it really doesnt make that much of a difference anyways. Why would I want to go hang out fighting with a bunch of idiot left wing protestors when I would much rather get 18 holes of golf in, go snowboarding, go to the beach, have a BBQ, Kegger, Social, Exchange, Bar Party, ect. This sounds shallow, but its the honest truth.

    And as I said, in the long run what does it matter, the radical left isnt growing, if they want to protest,incite class warfare, get pissed off, picket the olympics, vandalize student property, attend communist party meetings, and meet with Palestinian terroists then go ahead, just leave me out of it. I’ll be out enjoying my waspy imperialist priveldged existance, and really not having any second thoughts about doing so.

  37. Anonymous on March 11, 2008 9:15 am


    …poor dumbass… you know way too little…

  38. Anonymous on March 11, 2008 9:30 am

    …this poor imbecile is the living proof of how relevant are the resource groups at UBC today.

    I am glad someone so stupid as this peabrain Visser is allowed to post in this blog. Talk about backfiring. Like the Knoll, and in the spirit of the VFM, the UBC Insiders published endorsements, and the Ubyssey ignored key candidates, and omitted important info/reported poorly on the AMS elections. Jesse’s assumption that the EA was mainly to blame is ludicrous, and proves how misinformed he really is. Quite an eye opener for the Ubyssey community: on the one hand, the misguided, ranting, and careless wanna-be journalist, and on the other (Visser), an irresponsible and mindless infantile browned-diaper, poor spelling, yuppie-ass redneck who belongs in a psychiatric institution.

  39. J. Visser on March 11, 2008 10:40 am

    ahhh anonymous…

    really very mature of you, and also quite graphic with the allusion to diapers. You must have put some thought into that one. And I also do apologize for my poor spelling, I really don’t put all that much effort into this. The only reason I am posting on here is because somebody sent me the link to this blog and thought I would get a kick out of the fact that a year after I graduated that people were still using my catch phrase.

    As usual with communists, anybody who doesn’t agree with their viewpoint is obviously stupid, needs to be placed in a mental institution or ‘re-educated’.

    Mindless,Yuppie,Redneck hahaha wow this is just like old times. I would say that there are actually serious questions pertaining to resource groups, and the notion of assigning people rights based on membership in a certain groups, but obviously nobody wants to discuss this. Im pretty much over it anyways though, it’s really hard getting to worked up about anything going on at UBC when Im living in Tokyo.

  40. Jesse Ferreras on March 12, 2008 3:47 am

    Anonymous does have a bit of a point – Justin certainly is yin to the AMS Resource Group yang. Secretly, you who hate him must miss him – at least a little.

  41. Anonymous on March 14, 2008 7:49 am



    discrimination against freeman poritz for his association with the IDF is like discrimination against against an american politician for being part of the american government. The IDF is ideologically and constitutionally ethical by all standards, and that’s what matters because that is what Freeman Poritz was a part of. Just because certain soldiers in the IDF are dumbasses who don’t follow protocol doesn’t mean Freeman supports the killing of Innocent civilians… you people are hypocrites and fake hippies. He helped evacuate Gaza… did you not support that?

    You’re the ones who are unethical because you’re discriminating against him.

  42. Anonymous on March 14, 2008 7:52 am

    Saving the knoll has nothing to do with sustainability. Its just a knoll, nothing sustainable about it.
    whats more sustainable are the Energy efficient electric trolly busses that will be driving in and out of the bus loop that will be located where the knoll is now.

    Whats more sustainable is the fact that because of sacrificing the knoll, the transit system will expand and further encourage sustainability and use of public transit.

    So all you knoll people are hypocrites and fake hippies who don’t look at whats really going on and simply want to protest against something stupid.

  43. nathan on March 14, 2008 3:40 pm

    Dear anon 12:52AM

    The trolley buses will not enter the bus loop, they will remain above ground. when we’re talking about sustainability, you basically have to be asking only one question: will this change increase ridership. This bus loop in itself will not increase ridership because 1) it will not increase the amount of buses coming to campus, 2) it will not make transit fares and the Upass cheaper, 3) it will not increase the diversity and frequency of routes.

  44. Anonymous on March 15, 2008 6:26 am

    it will use land more efficiently and encourage a denser concentration of services and people.

  45. Anonymous on March 15, 2008 8:03 am

    You know, one day, when the Political Science department, including the International Relations Program, steps out with their budget and possibly an expenditure history, Jasmine Ramze is going to equally look and feel foolish. I can’t even begin to point out how many inaccuracies there were in that “feature article” in the Knoll Weekly. What are called “facts” researched by Jasmine is her own interpretations and opinion of the matter.

    A FACT IS A FACT IS A FACT. The department does not receive funding from the Canadian Department of National. Period. Full-stop. Therefore, our curriculum, rest assured, is far from tainted.

    Yes, certain professors do receive funds from SDF for their research purposes. Jasmine has chosen to conclude that this constitutes as “the military is invading our classrooms!”. I can tell you that I’m kind of ashamed that we have a student like this in our political science department… I can’t believe someone had the nerve to call that detailed research either LOL. By the way, newsflash: a good international relations class for example, that deals with peacekeeping operations will have to examine Canada’s role, which will in part, have to also examine the military and its evolution in-depth. OK – so these people at the Knoll are saying that professors should not receive funding from DND, and also not teach anything at all about the Canadian Forces! Let’s just scrap that then and leave a giant gaping hole in the issue. That’s sort of like, teaching a class how to cook without telling them about the utensils.

    I have no problems with the Knoll group… they can put up as many parks and publish as many weekly newspapers as they like. My problem is with them putting a prestigious department in jeopardy for some seriously flawed and ludicrous allegations. This makes me angry.

    Professors are human beings too, they are subjected to their own opinions and biases. But the department has upheld a high standard of teaching so that their subject of research and course content can be sharply separated. So if anybody has a problem, I suggest they politely take it up with the professor themselves or the department stuff. Jeez, isn’t this what free speech is about?

    Instead of constructively dealing with the issue, that is certain people do not want military funding at all in our university, they are fabricating lies and potentially damaging the reputation of a perfectly good research foundation like the Liu Institute. I can’t stand this because it’s petty and everyone loses.

    – Proud International Relations student since 2004

  46. Anonymous on March 15, 2008 8:06 am

    Even if profs did get money they still write and criticize the government more than anyone…

  47. Anonymous on March 15, 2008 8:10 am

    The brilliance of the post above was by demonstrated by Thomas Posyniak.

  48. Anonymous on March 15, 2008 8:31 am

    Most of these allegations on professors getting cheques from the DND are likely a load of crap. Nevertheless, I’d be quite pleased and proud to hear our Defence Department had the presence of mind to open up a mutually beneficial relationship with our academia.

    Maybe one day UBC can become like what Harvard or the RAND cooperation was for the American Department of Defence – a revolving door of bureaucrats and professors making Nuclear and ICBM policy. This was an undoubtedly successful relationship. Canada would be wise to consider the applications of a military-government-academia iron triangle.

    In Proud Support of the University Administration, the Department of Defence, and the Government of Canada,


    — Prince Metternich

  49. Dave on May 1, 2008 12:20 pm

    For anyone who thinks the SDS and the knolligarchy are as dumb as I do, check out this group (now with over 500 members) KNO TO THE KNOLL. This group is devoted to satirizing the tactics of the self-indulgent “resistance” Although they joke about it, the group isn’t about bulldozing the knoll, its about calling attention to manifest stupidity.

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