AMS Council: July 29, 2009

Posted by: | July 30, 2009 | Comments Off on AMS Council: July 29, 2009

Highlights from AMS Council tonight:

  • Art Gallery gets $23,000
  • New pricing policy for Whistler Lodge in February 2010

Long overdue, you can now get the agenda and documentation on the AMS’s own website!

Geoff Costeloe wants everyone to know he is hot and sweaty. But I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean it in the fun boy-girl way.

Art Gallery Renovations

Jeremy Jaud gave an in camera presentation

We were let back in just in time to learn about humidity control… oh the intrigue and secrecy of the AMS Art Gallery. Motion to allocate $23,000 to the Art Gallery for reasons unknown passes unanimously.

Budget Increases

Due to a miscommunication, Speakeasy training budget was only set to $5,000. This was upped to $10,732.50.

Voter Funded Media budget was set this year to $3,500, but code specifies the budget should be $8,000. Full budget restored! YAAAAY!

Blake’s Broadcast

Looking at plans to use UBCcard at food outlets, will be looked at more in depth by Business Operations Committee; Working with code and policy re: electoral code changes; Visit from UBCSUO (UBC-O student union); Met with Anne Dewolfe and Alnoor Aziz about McInnes Field issues, later spoke to Brian Sullivan who said that UBC will open up the field to student bookings, still waiting on specifics; Working on SUB, HR

Johannes’s Jargon

Went to Montreal for 22nd annual Conference on First Year Experience; Met with Anna Kindler re: First Year Seminar Program; Met with Andrew Parr about housing; UBC Bookstore in the past has been closed the Sunday before classes start, now they will be open; Progress on liquor issues; Internationalization report generated

Crystal’s Chat

SUB Renew coordinator working with faculty deans about integrating SUB into classrooms; All president’s dinner; FirstWeek; Renos at art gallery “as we heard about” (um… we didn’t); Creating more club offices in IFPO/copyright space.

Tom’s Tirade

Interviewed for HR Director; Got pulled over by Washington State Patrol but talked his way out of it; Met with Simon Fraser Student Society, hosted by health plan reps; Business Operations Committee still doing marketing and promotions; Spent some days in catering kitchen to see how things work and see what can be improved

Pavani’s prose

Putting together professional development workshop for coordinators and assistant coordinators; Shinerama team got started; Tutoring working on training tutors, putting together exam database and updating LEAD website; Speakeasy working on training; Food Bank recruiting volunteers

Tim’s talk

On July 23, BC Gov’t cut $16M in PSE funding: BC Gov never released info, only found out when people tried to apply for newly non-existent programs, external policy committee will look at it their next meeting; Creating Transportation-Olympics committee to suggest things for Translink to look at when considering Olympics reroutes; 40th anniversary of UBC childcare – attended block party; Simplifying U-Pass exemption application; Working on Imagine day, will have U-Pass costume walking around; Working with UBC Pride for pride parade entry this Sunday

Catering Motion

Ever since UBC Food merged with UBC Housing and Conferences, staff in the department have been instructed to recommend only Wescadia (the university’s catering company), and not present AMS Catering as an available option. They would like to pressure them to at least present AMS Catering as an option and have AMS council endorse these efforts.

Tom Dvorak made the point that the AMS uses catering income to pay for services that the university should provide, but doesn’t. He has addressed this issue with both Brian Sullivan and Stephen Toope. B.Sul was decidedly on UBC’s side, while Toope was much more sympathetic to the AMS, but the end result was “we’ll look into it.” The motion was passed unanimously and now the exec can go back to them with a council motion in hand.

Noise By-law

Johannes sits on a campus development committee where a lot of stakeholder groups on campus come together to talk about development issues. At a recent meeting David Grigg (with C&CP) presented a proposed noise rule for campus. This would require any group booking space on campus through Classroom Services or UBC Athletics to pay a deposit to make a booking which would be refunded only if there were no noise issues with the event. Where it gets worse is that they wanted to impose a limit of 55 decibels between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm, which is the level of a noisy office, and a level which council certainly exceeded at certain points tonight (mostly when Dave cracks jokes). In addition it would limit overnight noise to 35 decibels, which is the volume of a bird chirping.

This would have made for a ridiculous rule for a number of reasons (one is that nobody on campus even has equipment to measure decibel levels) and Johannes put a motion on the agenda for AMS council to oppose it. In the meantime, David Grigg and Anne DeWolfe quickly back tracked, saying that they will review it further, and also saying that it was intended to apply to “outside” groups like film crews, but not to students. (I have read the draft, and nowhere in the proposed rules is that distinction made.)

Since it was taken back for further review, Johannes instead wanted the motion referred to the Campus and Community Development Committee (an AMS committe), rather than opposing something that was being revised anyways. And that is what happened.

Whistler Lodge During the Olympics

Ordinarily, to manage the demand for beds during the winter break and reading week, the AMS runs a lottery open only to UBC students. If you win the lottery, you can book up to six nights during these periods at $30/night. (No lottery system the rest of the year.)

The agenda has the full details but the basic idea is that during February 2010, only half of the lodge (21 beds) will be operated under the lottery system. The other half (also 21 beds) would be rented out on a first-come, first-served basis at market rates, between $150-$200 per night. Students who don’t win the lottery will have first crack at these rooms at the market price, but if it still doesn’t fill up, these bunks would be made available to the general public. The idea is to capitalize on the Olympics to bring in some extra cash.

For further background, in 2007 VANOC presented the AMS with a plan to rent the entire lodge for two months encompassing the Olympics and Paralympics for a sum between $128-224K. At the time, AMS council turned it down because they believed it would be better for students to have access to the lodge during that period. Now the proposal on the table is a hybrid: allow student access and make profit.

Tom compared the potential revenue under the status quo versus the proposed system. If the market price was $149, the expectation was an extra $61,000 and at $199 that would go up to $91,000.

So where would this extra cash go? There are some projects at the lodge that are worthwhile, but never deemed worthy of dipping into other funds or savings. Examples include: trimming some trees that are in violation of fire code, a new TV, and the installation of lighting and a camera in the hot tub area. (It’s for security, how dare you suggest otherwise?! But, uh, chances of the live feed going directly into Tom’s office are probably about 50/50.)

The extra income would be especially we
lcome this year since business is down about 30% because of swine flu. Apparently the lodge regularly welcomes groups of Mexicans over the summer months, and due to swine flu and the recent decision of the federal government to start enforcing visa rules more strictly for Mexicans, there have been a lot of cancellations.

Of all the questions I was not expecting to hear tonight, Colin Simkus wanted to know why we weren’t planning on charging even more than $200/night as a market rate? Tom reminded everyone that what you get is a bunk in a communal lodge. BOC felt that over $200 would qualify as highway robbery. In the end, the motion passed as presented.

Conflict of Interest Motion

If you are a keen reader of UBC Insiders, you’ll remember that a very similar motion came to council at the June 17 council meeting but it was tabled because Matt Naylor, who submitted the motion, was not there to motivate it. Matt’s back and so is the motion, but this time it’s coming from Code and Policy, outlining the exact changes they’d like to make to Code. Matt’s underlying motivation for this is that it would protect the society from a legal perspective.

Dave took the opportunity to give us all a primer on Robert’s Rules, which I won’t go into here. His main point was to make people aware about what Robert’s Rules already say about conflicts of interest and to point out that the proposed amendments go beyond what is prescribed in parliamentary procedure.

Bijan spoke next, pointing out that this would be problematic for BoG reps. (that was kinda the point…) He brought up Mike Duncan’s situation as an example. Under the proposed changes, he would not be allowed to participate in any discussions about the New SUB project since those negotiations are between the AMS and UBC. As director of both UBC (as BoG rep) and the AMS (as councilor), Mike would be considered to be in a conflict of interest. But the silly part of this is that the AMS appointed Mike as a lifetime member of the New SUB committee.

For the record, Mike Duncan doesn’t even come to council anymore. That’s not meant as a dig; simply information. After sitting on council for a number of years, and being “Mr. AMS” 24/7 for his entire year as president, he has certainly put in his time and has earned a reprieve from council meetings.

Bijan also pointed out conflicts with Johannes being on the UNA board of directors and Tom being on the Alumni Association board.

Geoff Costeloe wanted clarity about what the definition of a “director” is. The answer from Matt Naylor is someone who has a fiduciary responsibility towards the group in question. Tahara got clarification that this policy would indeed apply to all motions, not just ones in camera.

Tom pointed out that one of the main reasons he is on the Alumni board is to act as a liaison. How can he possibly liaise if he is removed from the discussion? Colin Simkus wished that there was more flexibility in the wording to allow more discretion in determining what is and isn’t a conflict of interest, and with that Andrew Carne motioned for it to be referred back to Code and Policy. And that’s where it went.

Electoral Code Changes Consultation

Code and Policy is currently doing consultations about Electoral Code. They have even set up a wiki where you can give your thoughts about electoral code.

AMS Engagement Levy

I haven’t looked at the proposal for this, but from what I understood, the idea was to introduce a $5 fee that students could opt out in one of two ways. One would be to apply for an opt-out in the normal opt-out period at the beginning of the school year and the other way would be to vote in AMS elections. If a student did neither of those, the money would be put back into projects meant to stimulate engagement with the AMS. This plan was not up for any decision tonight. The motion was merely to refer this to an ad hoc committee to look at it and report back which they will do in October.

Of course, the obligatory Lougheed joke was made that for him the levy will be $35. And no Alex, we’re clearly not ready to drop it yet… until you come up with another equally fertile source of AMS council humour.

Ad Hoc Representation Engagement and Reform Committee

Since the AMS Engagement Levy was referred to this committee, it suddenly became necessary to actually have people on the committee. The membership appointed was:

Matt Naylor
Will Davis
Maria Cirstea
Ekatrina Dovjenko
Jeremy McElroy
Tim Chu
Geoff Costeloe
Colin Simkus (at large)


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