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    Here at Insiders central, if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s leaving old websites in our wake.

    First there was Insiders 1.0. No joke, it was pretty awesome. It gave everyone a great outlet to talk about issues, occasionally flame each other, but most of all to learn about the issues of the day.

    About a year ago, Insiders got some new editors and moved away from the dinosaur known as blogspot to these swanky new WordPress digs as part of UBC Blogs (back when it was a more exclusive club). It may have been slightly aesthetically lacking but the core was based on some really kick-ass stories.

    This is one final post to announce the creation of, AKA “UBC Insiders 3.0” where we now live and have discovered the that using pictures is a good thing. We’re excited and hope you’ll continue to visit us there.

    The AMS’s 2010-11 budget is coming up for approval tonight, and it’s something councilors should be looking at very closely, as there are some concerning things in there.

    First of all, the format used makes it difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on sometimes. There are no actual totals from last year included, and lines that have been eliminated from the budget (Block Party, Equity and Diversity, Safety Coordinator, Policy Analyst) do not appear in the document to let you know that they did in fact exist in last year’s budget.

    Going into the content, it’s important to know that this budgeting process has been ongoing for a while now. Back in March, council overwhelmingly supported the principle of eliminating the structural deficit. And this budget has met that goal: nothing is coming out of unreplenished funds (savings, essentially) to make it balance.

    However, how they ended up there is not exactly how they said they’d do it in March. At the time, they played the doomsday card in order to undertake the cutting/restructuring of some AMS Services, Equity, and Safety. And it wasn’t just the services that would be cut; other parts of the AMS would suffer too. The preliminary budget presented in March summarized the major cuts as follows:

    Change in Prelim Budget Description Change in Actual Budget
    – 22,000 Contribution to UBC Ombuds Office – 22,000
    – 15,000 Safety Office – 15,000
    – 12,000 Equity and Diversity – 11,300
    – 6,000 AMS Ombuds Office – $5,500
    – 42,000 Exec Offices + 28,000
    – 11,000 SAC – 11,000
    + 24,000 Committee Chairs + 26,000
    – 7,000 FirstWeek – 15,000
    – 7,000 Welcome Back BBQ – 9,000
    – 7,000 Block Party – 38,000 (eliminated)

    For the most part, they stuck to the targets, with two glaring exceptions. At the time, they still planned to hold Block Party, albeit with a reduced budget. Instead, they unceremoniously dumped the entire event.

    And then there’s that line that goes from a fairly large red number on the left to a fairly large green number on the right: Exec Offices. Rather than trimming their budgets by $42,000 as promised, it actually increased by $28,000. Read more

    First meeting in a month, but a relatively light agenda. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up.


    Strategic Plan – Bijan Ahmadian
    Budget Committee – Elin Tayyar/Ben Cappellacci

    Vague titles, but you can guess what sorts of things will be in them. The presentation arising from the Final Report on Systemic Discrimination in the AMS was slated to happen this month but is not. The reason given by Ekat is “BECAUSE WE ARE EVIL”. That may have been a joke answer, with the real reason being that they didn’t want to have too many presentations on the agenda. However, using “keeping the meeting short” as a reason to leave things off the agenda should really be considered a joke as well.

    2010-2011 AMS Budget

    “BE IT RESOLVED THAT the 2010/2011 AMS Budget be accepted as presented.”

    Dear Councilors: please scrutinize this budget in depth. If you have not read the budget in detail, abstain from voting on it. Voting on things you haven’t read through fails pretty much everyone. Read more

    It’s been a bit quiet around Insiders lately: writing long posts take work, and we’d rather be enjoying the sunshine. But that doesn’t mean things have stopped happening. Make sure to check out AMS Confidential’s News for N00bs for the latest news (and lulz!); rather than overlap, we’ll come up with our own alliterative title and report even hackier things for you. Without further ado… Read more

    Coming to the Board of Governors in early June is a new set of Parking Rules for UBC. According to the document, the reasons they are looking to enact new rules are:

    (a) revise UBC’s traffic and parking regime so that it interlocks with the new legislative framework;
    (b) update and streamline the existing traffic and parking rules, which have been overtaken in many instances by changing technology, management practices and by the evolving character of the Point Grey campus;
    (c) establish a uniform traffic and parking system for UBC and UBC Okanagan; and
    (d) add flexibility in order to meet future changes

    Someone who regularly drives to and parks a car on campus might now be interested to hear what changes are in store for them. In response, UBC would like you to stop paying attention, because this process is not a big deal and should be entirely uncontroversial because it’s simply formalizing current practice.

    It is unlikely that the users of parking services at either UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver will even realize that the Proposed Rules have been adopted unless they take the time to read and compare them with the existing rules.

    In fairness, that’s largely accurate: the new parking regulations are indeed mostly a restatement, in better legalese, of UBC Parking’s current parking regulations.

    That’s the problem. Read more

    UBC Insiders Reader Feedback Survey!

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    Last September UBC Insiders had a bit of a rejuvenation with a new website, new staff, and new ethos. At the time, we weren’t sure how it would work out, and we’re still not: that’s why we want to know what you think. Please let us know how we’re doing by filling out the survey below.

    On a more personal level, this past year has brought out the highs (digging into some really interesting stories; seeing change as a result of things that have been written) and lows (endless meetings; being worked to the point of exhaustion during AMS Elections) of working on a blog like this but it’s always been rewarding and worthwhile. Thank you for reading.

    Lougheed note: A huge thanks to all those who have offered support during this venture. This was definitely my proudest side-project this year, and it couldn’t have happened without the constant feedback, positive or negative. In particular, I’d like to offer a huge thanks to Neal, whose cunning, acumen and persistence kept me going even when there was no midnight oil left to burn.

    Policy 116: Coca-Cola and the Freedom of UBC’s Information

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    Back in January, UBC Insiders broke a story about email voting by the Board of Governors. At the time, we intended to actually go into the board policies that were involved. Life and AMS elections got in the way.

    Hubert Lai, University Counsel (ie. UBC’s lawyer), gave an interview about Policy 116: Commercial Agreements Initiated by External Affairs and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, where he explained what the policy was and why it was repealed. Most of all, he repeatedly played down the importance of the repealing of this policy, saying it was obsolete and should have been taken off the books years ago.
    Read more

    When UBC stopped liquor service at Koerner’s Pub in late March, it seemed to come out of the blue. It would have taken quite a bit of foresight to predict a possible shutdown of Koerner’s might be on the horizon…

    The Pub has had two under-age drinking incidents in the 2008-2009 period and a contravention notice was served by the RCMP. This has had wider repercussions for other liquor license holders at UBC, and if a further contravention were to occur the reputation of the GSS and its relations with other key stakeholders on Campus would suffer a significant set-back.

    – GSS External Review by MMK Consulting, dated Feb 2, 2010

    Read more

    Might as well go a bit further into the Student Court ruling, for the sake of the archives. (The next time Student Court makes a questionable ruling, hopefully people will come here to find out why the last one was questionable too.) But not too in depth, so don’t be scared off. Unlike Naylor’s “Rising Scourge of Kritarchy”, reading the ruling is hopefully not a pre-requisite to understanding this post.

    In going through the ruling, Student Court’s decision-making narrative appeared to go something like this:

    [1] Mr. Trasolini, the Appellant, would like us to rule on the validity of Ricardo Bortolon’s decision to count a disputed ballot in favour of Mr. Platt.

    [2] AMS Code gives constituencies the ability to make their own rules governing elections, provided that a set of 20 conditions are met.

    [3] In AUS electoral code some of those conditions are met explicitly but some are only met implicitly, by giving the AUS Elections Committee (AUSEC) the discretion to set specific rules.

    [4] There seem to be two main issues with which the Court is presented in this case:

    1) Was the electoral framework sound? And, if so
    2) Was the application of the framework correct in this case?

    [5] For the parts of AUS Code where the AUSEC is given discretion, they did not set specific rules before the election. Instead, they used their discretion to deal with issues as they arose.

    [6] AUS Code, by not having explicit rules and simply giving the AUSEC discretion to make decisions, does not satisfy the conditions set out in AMS Code governing constituency elections.

    [7] We find the AUS Constitution to be in violation of AMS Code.

    [8] In the event of a violation of AMS Code, the AMS Bylaws give us the power to render an action “void and of no effect”

    [9] We consider the AUS Presidential Election to be an action, and declare it to be void and of no effect.

    [10] Since the election has been invalidated, it is unnecessary to rule on the validity of the disputed ballot.
    Read more

    On Friday, Student Court handed down a decision in Trasolini v. AUS Elections Committee which concluded that this year’s AUS Presidential Election is “void and of no effect”.

    Upon reviewing the decision, Brian Platt sent an email to AUS council announcing that he was stepping down immediately. Elysia Pine, who was elected as AUS VP Internal this year, ascends to the presidency on an interim basis until the AUS can figure out what to do next. Basically the two major details that need to be worked out:

    1) Who is the interim president? Should it be Elysia or should AUS council appoint someone else to fill this role?

    2) When should the by-election be held? Could the AUS really hold a legitimate presidential election during exams, or worse, during the summer? Or is September the only viable option?

    There will almost certainly be a special AUS council meeting held this week devoted to figuring out these details. Unfortunately there’s no obvious best course of action here.

    Read more

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