We had hoped to provide you with a point/counterpoint on the burning issue of the day: the impending removal of AMS President and VP External from office.

We offered Hillson Tse, creator of the Facebook group “Impeach the AMS President and VP External” to argue for, and Yifan Sin Razon, creator of the Facebook group “We oppose the AMS impeachment of Blake Frederick and Tim Chu” to argue against this resolution: “AMS Council should remove the President and VP External from office.”

Unfortunately, we only received one submission. If anyone wants to write a piece arguing against the resolution above, please email it to me (contact on sidebar).

Hillson Tse
4th Year, Political Science and Economics

For AMS Council to not remove the President and VP External from office would undermine the principles of accountability and trust that are critical to any form of democracy while also setting a very dangerous precedent for future years. At the very core of the issue is whether or not submitting a legal complaint on behalf of AMS Council without Council approval constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty and disregard for due process. A lot of the arguments by those that oppose removal from office have focused on the merits of the UN complaint, AMS tuition fee policy and the keeping of campaign promises made by Blake and Tim. While such points have brought about lively debate from both sides, they fail to address the core issue of democratic integrity and act to muddle the debate.

So why must Blake and Tim be removed from their positions? I’ll quickly list off the reasons before going into more depth: purposeful deceit of Council, premeditated circumnavigation of Council procedures, a lack of remorse and continued attempts to whitewash their actions.

It’s an undisputed fact that Blake and Tim had been planning to deceive Council about the UN complaint from the very beginning. As Tim himself eloquently stated, the reason it was never brought to Council was because, “there are certain people at AMS Council who wouldn’t approve of filing the complaint”, which indicates both a guilty mind and act. This alone is sufficient cause for removal from office. AMS Council is not a one or two man show. We elected a President and VP External; not a dictator and propaganda minister. While the two hold their own political beliefs and goals, they have absolutely no right to hold their views above those of the 30+ elected Council. There is bound to be disagreement in Council as there is no homogenous student body or voice. That is all the more reason why decisions and policy has to be reached through deliberation and mutual consensus, not by unilateral action. Once again, the merits of the UN complaint do not come into play but rather Blake and Tim’s lack of respect for democracy and procedure. By keeping Council in the dark, they have not only breached democratic principles but have also lost the confidence of Council. How can the 30+ members of Council continue to trust Blake and Tim and look to them for leadership when this betrayal has reveal just how much Blake and Tim respect their opinions?

Throughout this entire event, there has also been a serious lack of actual concern and remorse by Blake and Tim. Pictures of Blake and Tim put them at a NDP convention after party while Council was deliberating their resignation. I have no objection to them being involved politically, although one would think that since the convention ended at 5:00 pm, they would find their resignation hearing to be a tad more important than an after party. Let us also not forget the mass email which was sent to first and second year students using official AMS letterhead which presented a one sided personal account of what had occurred. For lack of a better word, that email was quite simply propaganda. All that culminates in a disturbing sense that Blake and Tim have either not realized the severity of their actions or have chosen to continue spreading misinformation in order to impede their removal from office.

Council must take into account this betrayal of their trust and also future liabilities on whether or not to remove Blake and Tim from office. If this blatant act of deceit and betrayal does not merit removal, then what would? Let us not forget about the upcoming 2010 Olympics which are taking place in Vancouver and more importantly at UBC. Failure to remove Blake and Tim puts the AMS at risk for further stunts undertaken without Council approval. If we thought that the UN complaint was embarrassing enough, imagine what could happen when the entire world has its eyes on UBC. Enough is enough. Blake and Tim have lost all credibility with students and Council. This has not been their first gaffe but one in a series of many. They are no longer fit to continue in their positions and the only solution is their removal from office.


3 Comments so far

  1. PJ katie on December 7, 2009 12:11 pm

    Isn’t Hillson Tse and AMS employee? Should he be blogging about council matters? Maybe AMS employees shouldn’t be vocal about this stuff.

  2. Jeremy - Arts AMS on December 7, 2009 1:35 pm

    I believe the current policy stipulates that AMS employees cannot speak to the media on matters regarding the AMS, but the AMS resource groups are equally vocal on the other side of this discussion, and many of them are employees too.

    So I’m confused. I am an ardent supporter of free speech and freedom of association, and I don’t like that AMS policy restricts this. The one group you should be able to actively disagree with should be your employers, as your relationship is far more relevant. This is definitely something to look into.

  3. Neal Yonson on December 7, 2009 2:53 pm

    This issue has come up, oh, a thousand times before, including at the last council meeting on Wednesday. If you work for the AMS, you essentially exist as two separate people: “Me, AMS employee” and “Me, private citizen”. It all boils down to which hat you are wearing when you comment. It is my understanding that current AMS communications policy prevents staffers from commenting as “Me, AMS employee”, however, being employed does not (and should not) prevent them from voicing opinions as “Me, private citizen”.

    To take a random example, if Blake Frederick had sent a complaint to the UN as “Blake Frederick, student” rather than “Blake Frederick, AMS President”, we would not be where we are today. However, he chose to speak in his role as AMS President, not as a private citizen, and there may be consequences to that decision.

    In this case Hillson is not speaking in his role as AMS employee. He is speaking as a student.

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