Due to a hole in WordPress, this post’s author is misattributed. The follow was written by former Insiders editor Maayan Kreitzman.

Don’t forget the below posts. It’s a busy week!

Well, unoficial results are in, and all the questions have been approved with a majority ‘yes’ vote. Here are the numbers:

Overall turnout: 44%
Total votes: 18,446

U-Pass renewal NO: 500 YES: 17,945 ; 97.2% in favour
Bylaw reforms NO: 1284 YES: 4357 ; 77.3% in favour
WUSC (student refugee subsidy) NO: 2162 YES: 8363 ; 79.4% in favour
SUB renewal fee NO: 6228 YES: 7342; 54% in favour

Good overall turnout – the quorum of 10% of daytime students was met in every question easily. SUB renewal fee passed by a very thin margin. I suspect the AMS will have to do a helluva good consultation to create the level of buy-in that’s really needed. 54% isn’t great – particularly considering that all the students that voted will be paying $40/year max towards the building (not much compared to the cost to future cycles of students). More discussion of SUB renew to come.


33 Comments so far

  1. Steven Klein on April 2, 2008 5:57 am

    Hah…500 against the U-Pass. Who are these people?? I’m glad SUB Renew passed, despite serious misgivings about the fee structure. It will certainly strengthen the students’ hands in dealing with the U-Blvd area.

  2. Steven Klein on April 2, 2008 5:59 am

    And what sort of bastards vote against giving a refugee scholarship fund 50 more cents?

  3. Sunshine on April 2, 2008 7:24 am

    I would like to thank Patrick, Jessa and Matthew for doing such a superb job promoting this referendum. A job very well done, guys. 44% voter turnout is definitely very impressive, and you should be proud of yourselves. And I would also like to thank everyone who played a part in ensuring voter turnout and convincing people to vote YES on all the questions. You might not feel like you did a lot, but you did, even if you just talked to a couple friends. Had it not been for your help, we might not have gotten those critical 1114 votes that made SUB Renew pass.

    To answer Steven’s question:
    I would argue that a sizeable proportion of the 500 people who voted NO for WUSC are frat boys. Let’s not forget that Sean Kearney, outgoing IFC president/current Beta president had “Sean VOTE YES for a NEW SUB and Upass… NO on refugees.”, and many variations on the theme, as his facebook status. I’m a little shocked by his political stance, to say the least, because for as long as I’ve known Sean, he’s been a really swell guy.

    – Sonja

  4. Matthew Naylor on April 2, 2008 8:18 am

    I wish the WUSC had both asked for more money, and that they had asked for a greater degree of support from the University.

    Matt Hayles… you are a god among men.

    Most importantly than anything else, the bylaws are changed (by just 100 votes or so), so we are able to be a more flexible and responsive student society, and change to accommodate external pressures. This will help our Society develop in ways that will make the lives of students, and how they interact with the AMS, better.

  5. Sunshine on April 2, 2008 5:07 pm

    Oh, oops, I just realised that over 2162 people voted NO for WUSC, the 500 was referring to the U-Pass. My bad.


  6. Bruce on April 2, 2008 5:37 pm

    My first thought was ‘what the heck is WUSC and why is it so deserving,’ – I only voted yes because others whom I trust supported it.

    So what’s the gist of the new bylaws then?

  7. Anonymous on April 2, 2008 5:56 pm

    I see two perfectly good arguments for voting against WUSC.

    1. You have no clue what it is and don’t care to find out and are cheap.

    2. Its mandatory charity. This is more along the lines of Steven’s principled approach to the AMS Council ruling on Student Court. There is little to differentiate WUSC from Covenant House or the Salvation Army or Amnesty International or a million other organizations like that. If the WUSC can have a bylaw binding fee, why not everyone else? How can you discriminate amongst them? Is it moral to force all students to give to charity without consensus?

    Its a bit of an asinine position, true, but I’d think its perfectly valid and perfectly legitimate.

    Calling people that support this position “bastards” and “frat boys” and the like is just silly. There’s no need for that. This isn’t the Student Court decision debate :)

  8. Fire Hydrant on April 2, 2008 6:05 pm

    The new bylaws will allow us to

    a) know what quorum is (quorum is also reduced for general meetings)

    b) waive student fees for people who really shouldn’t be fee-paying members (e.g. seniors, distance-ed, continuing ed)

    c) lease things without going to referendum (e.g. new SUB or EUS building)

    d) add “Vancouver” to our name

    e) recognize changes in the University Act over the past 20 years around fees, and

    f) invest in single-A investments, not just double-A and above (makes ethical investing easier, gives marginally higher returns)

    Truly earth-shattering. (Several of these were really badly needed)

  9. Steven Klein on April 2, 2008 6:18 pm

    “2. Its mandatory charity. This is more along the lines of Steven’s principled approach to the AMS Council ruling on Student Court. There is little to differentiate WUSC from Covenant House or the Salvation Army or Amnesty International or a million other organizations like that. If the WUSC can have a bylaw binding fee, why not everyone else? How can you discriminate amongst them? Is it moral to force all students to give to charity without consensus?”

    I suppose that is *almost* a valid argument, aside from the fact that from my understanding WUSC relies almost completely on this sort of fee from Student Unions. It is meant to specifically be a joint project of Canadian university students to support refugees through scholarships. So, it makes sense for there to be mandatory payments to that even while there are other worthwhile causes, such as Amnesty, Oxfam, etc. And then, of course, its a piddly fee that on an individual level is almost completely irrelevant. I have my doubts, though, that people who voted against it had such a morally rigorous reason. They were probably just bastards.

  10. Sunshine on April 2, 2008 6:21 pm

    Anon 10:56:

    I believe that students will be able to opt out of the WUSC fee. Take a look at http://www.students.ubc.ca/finance/fees.cfm?page=student
    My intuition tells me that it would be placed with the other fees with opt-out provisions, such as the Student Aid Bursary Fund, Student Legal Fund, and Ubyssey publication fee. So, if you really don’t want to pay the $1.50, you won’t have to.

    Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong here.

    As for the WUSC fee being “mandatory charity”, I will accept this argument, but, you would have to apply the same concept to the fees for the Student Aid Bursary Fund, the Student Legal Fund, and the SASC.

  11. Steven Klein on April 2, 2008 6:32 pm

    Oh, and it has nothing to do with me identifying my argument as principled. I am arguing we should do the right thing even if it is inconvenient and imperfect. I think that is generally true. The principle at play in that argument against voting for WUSC is, fortunately, not generally true. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone decided not to give to a particular charity because it would be unfair to other ones.

    The non-consenuality argument is probably the one that swayed more of the fratboy idiots (FBIs). I’m sure many are resentful of having to buy into the AMS and support various student services at all. However, a certain degree of non-consenuality is inherent in all democratic decision making, where a minority has to abide by the decision of the majority. But, this is generally OK given that the issue can always be re-opened and that the FBIs has plenty of time to make their case against giving refugees scholarships. However, for there to be democratic buy-in that accepts majority decisions, the elected officials running the show must be elected clear of doubt and suspicion, and *especially* clear of a decision made by an election appeals body to disqualify them. And that is why we need a new VP-Academic race.

  12. Patrick Meehan on April 2, 2008 11:11 pm

    Interestingly, we had over 12,000 votes in the first 24 hours, representing about 36% of the student body.

    This means that over the course of wednesday through monday the total vote increased by only about 8%, or less thahn 4,000 votes.

    Meaning that after 24 hours, most of the races were probably already decided.

  13. steven klein on April 2, 2008 11:15 pm

    “wow, your such an ideological tool that you were able to tie in support for refugees into your mindless crusade to harm the student society.

    Congratulations. Tool.”

    Haha…Jesus Christ. Someone else brought up my “principled argument” argument and I was only pushing that tangent. Lighten up.

  14. steven on April 3, 2008 12:08 am

    And to the first anonymous:

    I was probably a little harsh in responding to you. You’re right that it is an asinine but valid argument. But I still have a hard time finding it at all compelling.

  15. Mike Thicke on April 3, 2008 1:21 am

    If the WUSC fee were not opt-outable I might have problems with it. I don’t know anything about WUSC’s operations, but there are many charitable organizations that probably do more harm than good. I wouldn’t want to be compelled to support an external organization I thought was harmful. It’s possible that the people who voted against the WUSC fee either looked at the organization and didn’t like what they saw, or think that in general any kind of charity is, in the long run, harmful. I’d probably want to ask someone who voted against it why they did so before labeling them cheap asinine bastards :-).

  16. Brittany Tyson on April 3, 2008 1:41 am

    A huge congrats to everyone for all of their hard work on the referenda!

    For info: the current WUSC Refugee Reserve Fund fee is mandatory, and students cannot opt out of it. I’m not sure if it was WUSC-UBC’s intention to make it opt-outable with their referendum question, but I’m pretty sure it will remain a mandatory fee.

  17. Patrick Meehan on April 3, 2008 3:06 am

    Brittany said what I was about to, and is, to my knowledge as the Elections Admin, completely right.

  18. Sunshine on April 3, 2008 3:21 am

    Thanks for correcting me, Brittany and Patrick. I appreciate it.

    “I don’t know anything about WUSC’s operations, but there are many charitable organizations that probably do more harm than good. I wouldn’t want to be compelled to support an external organization I thought was harmful. It’s possible that the people who voted against the WUSC fee either looked at the organization and didn’t like what they saw, or think that in general any kind of charity is, in the long run, harmful.”

    Mike, I can see where you’re coming from. There are definitely some organizations that I am not sure if I would support, and my reasoning would be the same as yours.

    There are two important things that I think give WUSC credibility. One; all the funds collected from UBC students will go directly towards supporting the student refugees, not towards administrative/overhead costs. Many people have issues with charities that have large overheads, and I understand that, and share the same concerns.

    The second, and perhaps more important, reason is the fact that WUSC is supported by the Government of Canada. One thing that I don’t think gets publicized a lot, is the fact that the student refugees who come to Canada to study (through WUSC), are actually given Canadian permanent residency when they come here. And let me assure you, the federal government does not take handing out immigration documents lightly at all. You can probably imagine the kind of scrutiny that WUSC has to go through in order to be a government-backed organization. It would make the system extremely, extremely difficult to abuse.

    In short: I see an organization supported by UBC, other universities across Canada, and the federal government. If the support of all those bodies isn’t a compelling enough reason to believe in WUSC’s credibility, then I don’t know what is.

  19. Matthew Naylor on April 3, 2008 2:03 pm

    WUSC is not supported by the university enough, but thats beside the point. I’m fine with mandatory charity, as long as it gets ratified as it did.

    Also, WUSC is basically flow through costs, and uses the volunteer club to run it, making it almost by default one of the most efficient chairties in Canada. By comparison, Mothers Against Drinking and Driving have used up to 80% of donations on administrative costs. I would bet WUSC is around 1%.

  20. Anonymous on April 3, 2008 4:08 pm

    Matt, just because YOU aren’t against forced charity doesn’t mean you should (or even can) force it onto other people (at least morally speaking). That sounds an awful lot like tyranny of the majority.

    (Note: This same argument can be used on any fee/tax though.)

  21. Sunshine on April 3, 2008 7:02 pm

    Anon 9:08,

    What you describe as “tyranny of the majority” one might also describe as “democracy”.

  22. Anonymous on April 3, 2008 8:18 pm

    Yes, one might.
    But one could also describe Iraq circa the late 90s as a democracy. I seem to recall Saddam winning with 99% in favour.

    Its splinting hairs. Every true democracy has an enshrinement of basic liberties and protection of minorities.

    Taxes is a funny game however. They are technically the government tacking your money by force without your authorization. Yet, somehow we’re alright with it. Strange system.

    This is slightly worse though: its not even a government using your money. .They are just taking it and giving it to someone else.

    Its an interesting moral conundrum that more or less lies in the middle of the left-right divide in politics. The right doesn’t want taxes, the left does. How do you resolve it? Majority wins? It can’t be that simple, can it?

  23. Anonymous on April 4, 2008 12:59 am

    I’m happy to hear that students will be having the UPass for another couple of years. Ugh. I wish we had a referenda to get rid of the athletics and recreation fee; it’s over 200 frickin dollars. My god…

  24. Sunshine on April 4, 2008 1:14 am

    Athletics and Rec fees are mandated by UBC, not by the AMS. So, unfortunately, the AMS can’t call a referendum for their abolishment. It’s unfortunate, really.

  25. Neal Yonson on April 4, 2008 6:29 am

    I don’t want to derail the comments, but for anon 5:59: While unfortunately that referendum is impossible, what you should do is pressure Bob Philip (head of athletics) and Brian Sullivan (VP students) to put that money to better use. As a quasi-ancillary, Athletics and Rec exists in a sort of bubble where they don’t get a whole lot of pressure to do much of anything.

    You could also talk to Mike Tan at UBC Rec to find out why they don’t provide better service for the money you pay.

    If you or anyone else out there really cares, it’s likely quite possible to get yourself onto the University Athletics Council with me and Mike Duncan.

  26. Le Grand Gateau on April 4, 2008 8:36 am

    As a frat boy, i voted in favour of wusc- and here’s why, because shockingly I make my own mind up about issues posed to me. I have the ability for critical thought, and exercise that ability daily- just like every other student who was deemed capable of attending this institution. If you want to take one member of an organization as a benchmark for all the others then why Sean Kearney? Why not Rudo Mugwawa, an Alpha Phi, who has been working hard with WUSC in support of this referendum all year? I think it’s a really obnoxious double standard that members of the greek system are treated like homogenous, hive minded, conservative, idiots when the reality is they do more philanthropy, and community outreach than many clubs that are designated for that purpose alone.
    Grow up.
    -Shawn Stewart
    AMS Clubs Commissioner

  27. Steven on April 4, 2008 9:25 am

    Shawn, you’re right, and I apologize for what I said and have been regretting it as an unfair generalization. It’s unfortunate that some frat members seem to embrace the worst stereotypes possible, but I’m sure many others are as put off by that as I am.

  28. Anonymous on April 4, 2008 10:21 am

    Its unfortunate that in any group you have people that take pride in living up to stereotypes.

    Of course, if you didnt have that, then we wouldnt be able to laugh at the radical left for batshit raving lunatics like Ed Durgan.

  29. Sunshine on April 4, 2008 6:52 pm

    Why did I take Sean as an example? For a simple reason, really: he *was* IFC president. I think it would be hard to argue that given his position, his views wouldn’t be at all influential.

    You can’t dispute the fact that leaders have the ability/power to influence people that know them. And this isn’t even limited to the Greek system. As an example, I’m sure that many science students (including myself) would be influenced by Mike Duncan’s views/opinions.

  30. Zim on April 4, 2008 7:30 pm

    Sunshine, does that mean, since I’m a teetotaler and the new IFC President, we should attribute my personal views on the fraternity system? That would be kind of funny.

    Greeks at UBC are just as diverse a body on campus as any other group, regardless of their leadership. Lets all make an effort to stop with the generalizations, as I know I’m guilty of stereotyping in certain circumstances too. Nobody’s perfect.

    PS I voted yes for WUSC and I’m very happy to see such great voter turnout for the referendum!

  31. Alfie on April 5, 2008 2:44 am


    Thanks for the research and clarification. Also, the vice-chair WUSC is our very own UBC President Stephen Toope. So it’s a very credible organization with a lot of Canadian universities backing

  32. hayles on April 6, 2008 7:03 am

    Kind of late in the game here, but I wanted to stop in and thank everybody I had the pleasure of working with these past few months. The last exec and the current exec both put a ton of effort in, and all our volunteers and the AMS councillors were awesome. It was a fast and sometimes hard-fought campaign, and I enjoyed every second of it. Plus, I couldn’t be happier to see the WUSC question, the only one I didn’t get to work with directly, pass with such a clear majority. So: thanks, everyone. All 45,000 of you.

  33. Marc on April 9, 2008 4:57 pm

    They should do a recount for the SUB renewal. That was too close to call. How do we know it’s not rigged by AMS executives. Maybe Alex Lougheed has something to do with this. He seems to be the expert in rigging elections anyway

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