The Sexy Referendum

25Jan10

We’re trying to make this as simple as possible for you normal, less hacktastic folk out there. We’re not lovers of code either, so bear with us.

When you vote online between January 25-29 (here is how to vote and what to expect), besides choosing candidates (here are our endorsements) you will get to vote YES or NO to 9 questions. We’ll present the questions to you now, with full analysis after the jump.

[Editor’s note: On your ballot, these referenda will be in a different order. We apologize for the confusion.]

1) Do you support the removal of Blake Frederick from the office of President?

2) Do you support the removal of Tim Chu from the office of VP External Affairs?

3) Do you support the AMS establishing a $5.00 refundable Engagement Levy to help improve student engagement by encouraging voter turnout and funding engagement related projects?

4) Do you support indexing the fees of the AMS to the Canadian Core Consumer Price Index?

5) Do you support the amendment of the AMS Bylaws as presented, for the purposes of enabling Student Council to remove an individual from a position as an officer of Council, and other amendments as outlined?

6) Do you support an increase in student fees beginning September 2010 of $1 per part-time student and $2 per full-time student per semester to be directed to the Access UBC Association of Disabled Students for the purpose of increasing accessibility, participation and inclusion for all people with disabilities on campus and in society?

7) Do you support the amendment of the AMS Bylaws as presented, based on the recommendations of a consultant hired to review the operations of Student Court and of a special AMS joint committee, for the purpose of revising the rules concerning Student Court?

8 ) Should the AMS create a voting seat on AMS Council for students with disabilities by amending Bylaw 5.2(a)?

9) Should the AMS actively lobby for reduced tuition fees and increased government funding?

We could easily write an entire post per question as Issues That Matter has. However, we prefer to doodle so if you are really into reading the facts about Issues That Matter, we’ll link you their posts. In the meantime, enjoy some pink ballot fun.

1) Do you support the removal of Blake Frederick from the office of President? and 2) Do you support the removal of Tim Chu from the office of VP External Affairs?

You’re voting NO: and you’re also voting for Tim Chu for VP External.

You’re voting YES because…: You’re the average UBC student who thinks its ridiculous that we ended up on FailBlog. You cared enough to join a Facebook group, maybe you showed up to the council meetings, but most of all you think this is all ridiculous (seriously, the fucking UNITED NATIONS?!?!) and you just want shit to go down like you expected back in December. Revenge is a bitch, and so is democracy.

You’re voting NO because….: As “Do Me Now” Duncan said, you agree that Blim Fru was in the wrong. However, the storm is over and you would just like to see the transition happen smoothly between Presidents and move on with human rights intact, leaving spite aside.

You’re voting YES because…: As a hack, you believe this is what democracy is and how it should be played out. With the guidance of Chairman Naylor, you will vote for the respect of your beloved AMS back, and to show Blim Fru who’s boss (We are COUNCIL, damnit!).

3) Do you support the AMS establishing a $5.00 refundable Engagement Levy to help improve student engagement by encouraging voter turnout and funding engagement related projects?

YES: Everyone should vote and make informed decisions, and those that don’t should pay $5, with which the fun and engaged folk will party encourage the not-so-fun and engaged folk to vote next year.

NO: You don’t want to vote and it’s your democratic right not to vote. $5 is a beer you’ll never get back. OR; You are engaged, you think others should be engaged, but you don’t want people just randomly clicking buttons in online voting to get a “free” beer. (see: Ubyssey editorial)

4) Do you support indexing the fees of the AMS to the Canadian Core Consumer Price Index?

This editor didn’t do stellar in Economics with Gateman, so bear with us. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the rate that things go up each year due to inflation. Yeah, we don’t know exactly what inflation is either, but it has something to do with why penny candy no longer costs a penny. Currently, our tuition is tied to CPI and this would make our student fees do the same. It makes relative sense to us when you look at it like this: the AMS’ costs go up each year thanks to CPI. The money they have coming in (via student fees) stays the same. This means they lose money in the real world where CPI exists. If we tie the fees to CPI then everything (hopefully) comes into balance and the AMS can plan longterm things that involve the real world and CPI, like our shiny new SUB. Because, apparently, the AMS was “about $10 million short on the initial estimates for building a new SUB because the fees weren’t linked to CPI. Oops! This should help to fix that problem.” Also, according to the same source (remember: we’re lazy) it will only be about a $2.25 increase per student per year.

I've just always wanted to do this.

5) Do you support the amendment of the AMS Bylaws as presented, for the purposes of enabling Student Council to remove an individual from a position as an officer of Council, and other amendments as outlined?

If you are  a code nerd, go here. Others, be cautioned, it made my brain hurt, like this: this is a referenda to make sure that another referenda doesn’t need to happen, of which this other referenda is placed on the same referendum. I think we mixed up the referenda/referendum grammar, but oh well. The AMS code has some issues with it, especially in regards to Bylaws. Like the CPI, this editor doesn’t really know what exactly a bylaw is. We think it has something to do with parking tickets and animal control in cities. The motivation behind this is to update the Bylaws to be legally compliant with the BC Society Act, which has something to do with the AMS. Here goes…

The amendment of the AMS Bylaws would make it so:

  • The definition of Executives would change to allow them to be impeached with a 2/3 vote (coming from the legal opinon from back when the UN invaded)
  • Councillors would be automatically removed if they missed five meetings, or the constituency (eg. Arts, Science) deems them ineligible.
  • Voting seats would be created for Regent College, St. Marks College, Vancouver School of Theology, and Corpus Christi College. These students are already paying AMS fees so it makes sense that they should then have full representation through voting on AMS Council.
  • Some Honoraria clause that isn’t used now anyway would be deleted.
  • A referenda needs to explicitly state that it involves fees (yeah..that makes sense. However, you can be tricked! See #6)

Despite your opinions on whether we should impeach now or not, the ability for AMS Council to impeach in the first place seems pretty necessary. After all, wouldn’t it be easier if/when the next President goes to NATO, we can simply go all Bill Clinton on his/her ass and impeach them in a quick 2/3 vote? Yeah, we thought so.

Yeah, we'll never learn to use Psychic Attack.

6) Do you support an increase in student fees beginning September 2010 of $1 per part-time student and $2 per full-time student per semester to be directed to the Access UBC Association of Disabled Students for the purpose of increasing accessibility, participation and inclusion for all people with disabilities on campus and in society?

Doesn’t this question sound all hunky dory? Awwwww, $2/semester for people to have more inclusion on campus? Sure, why not! However, it is a trick. Thanks to the detective work by our own UBC Olsen & Olsen Mystery Agency, they have discovered that this is all bullshit. While the Access UBC Association of Disabled Students sounds entirely professional, it isn’t. Basically, no one knows who they are or what they do, and they’ve refused to explain themselves further, so don’t give them your toonie.

Will solve any crime by dinnertime.

BREAK TIME!

Your head is going to really hurt after this, so cheer up and here is a rainbow.

7) Do you support the amendment of the AMS Bylaws as presented, based on the recommendations of a consultant hired to review the operations of Student Court and of a special AMS joint committee, for the purpose of revising the rules concerning Student Court?

When these questions first came up, our Very Special Correspondent identified five major changes this referenda would make to the bylaws.  Now, things have changed a little since then, but the five major points still stand:

  1. Fees: Revises the upper limit of the fees student court can impose.  Currently this is $10.00—not exactly a deterrent.
  2. Finality: In 2008’s Crompton v. Elections Commissioner (ie: LougheedGate), Council overruled student court and overturned their verdict.  These changes would mean that this could no longer happen.
  3. Power to interpret: if you and someone else have a disagreement on the interpretation of a piece of code, you would normally, a la Civics class, ask the judicial branch (aka Court).  Questions like these would now be referred to the Legislative Procedures Committee, currently headed by our Chairman Naylor.
  4. Referenda questions: The court decides what a “clear question” is—important when presenting to an unengaged student body.  Changes indicate that this would now be Naylor & the Legislators’ problem.  (BTW: band name?)
  5. Composition: Some changes to the composition of the court would be prescribed—namely, that of its seven judges, at least two must be from faculties other than Law.  (But how will they pad their resumes now??)

All these changes seem reasonable, and none of the real news sources have so far raised any objections.  The goal here—possibly because these changes were generated by an outside source—genuinely seems to be to make the bylaws clearer and the operations of the AMS more efficient.

Phewf!  Okay, big drink, because there’s only two left.

8 ) Should the AMS create a voting seat on AMS Council for students with disabilities by amending Bylaw 5.2(a)?

YES: People with disabilities face unique challenges and have a valuable perspective on how the university should be run; this perspective is largely ignored by the existing university structure.

NO: All students can come to Council and voice their ideas; however, Council is a proportionally representative body with divisions based on faculties.  Creating a voting seat for a self-defined group means that some students will be doubly represented (i.e., will go from claimed underrepresentation to very real overrepresentation); in addition, it sets a dangerous precedent that could see the creation of special interest seats.  In other words, adding a disabilities seat to Council is somewhat akin to adding a disabilities seat to Parliament; it’s an attempt to address a legitimate concern, but it goes about it in entirely the wrong way.

9) Should the AMS actively lobby for reduced tuition fees and increased government funding?

At first glance, this referenda appears ludicrously commonsensical.  Doesn’t the AMS already try to keep tuition fees within a reasonable limit?  And don’t we want government funding, and so would continue to ask for it?  You can check the Issuetastic Code Breakdown, which explains exactly how this referenda fights existing policy and generally confuses the issue, or you can take our word for it that the vote breakdown goes like this:

YES: I support broad statements that read like the continuation of a political agenda with its roots in the UN Debacle!  I also like puppies! and exclamation marks!

NO: This is poorly-thought-out and makes no real changes to policy, but is clearly designed to appeal to uninformed voters.  Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

Congratulations, you made it!

Now, GO VOTE in the Election! Do it now! Click Here! Also, vote for us! Exclamation mark!!1!!1!

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3 Responses to “The Sexy Referendum”

  1. 1 Peter

    Your Gateman photo has endeared me to your blog.
    You have my VFM support.

    Also the mystery agency crack. Well played.

  2. 2 istarbel

    love the blog but i believe you have the order wrong so it could be confusing for ppl.


  1. 1 The Scoop: Our campus media opinion roundtable | News

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