Another Debate Liveblog – VPA, BoG, VPAU

Please remember to vote for the Radical Beer Tribune in Continuous VFM.
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1:03 – There’s one more question… How will you deal with executives ‘going rogue’? Ben speaks to his experience on the CUS board, and that it is only through communication that these decisions can be made. Rodrigo mentions his involvement in the GSS, and the handbook scandal…. and then is cut off. Bah, humbug. I’m done with this debate.

1:01 – What specific initiatives do you want to undertake? Rodrigo wants to create an AMS social science research institute. Ben wants to find a better way to use the data that we collect right now.

12:59 – If you don’t oppose it, where would you put the farm-displaced development? Ben talks about the need for student infill. Rodrigo says that he agrees with Ben, in that he thinks that it’s important to get student opinion, which is interesting, because that’s not really what Ben said. Rodrigo also wants to see a farmers market on the area that was the old bus loop.

12:57 – How would you approach governance? Rodrigo would serve as a communicator, that would do what students want. (And really, how many days do you go at a time without taking with your friends about how the Point Grey Peninsula should be governed). Ben gives an equally pablum answer.

12:54 – What problems would you fix, if you were magic? Ben says that quality of education is the biggest issue, and how many first year classes aren’t evaluated for curriculum, and that, on University Affairs, that the student voice should be heard more. Rodrigo says that textbook prices and out of touch Professors are major problems.

12:50 – Ben talks about the requirement to build more student housing, and mentions the redevelopment of the bus loop as one of the issues that should be explored. Rodrigo says that research and data collection will be very important here – Ben asks what this means, and Rodrigo says that it is in his platform, but that he would use an open source quantitative analysis program that is used in the social sciences. He doesn’t really say what measures would be evaluated.

So it’s basically something that would read student’s Twitter posts?

Not exactly

12:47 – A question about sexual assault. Rodrigo says that this is best summed up by what was said in the BoG debate (???), and we should talk to lawyers, but that it doesn’t matter what his opinion is. I … don’t get it. And, you know, your opinions do matter when you’re running for office, no? Ben talks about his experience with Safewalk, and wants to work with the Safety Coordinator and the ECSS to coordinate this.

12:43 – What would you do about the problems regarding licensed events? Ben gives a decent answer about talking to stakeholders and coordinating individuals. In my opinion the question is a little out of date – there has been a fairly significant shift in the relationship dynamics. Rodrigo, after getting the question repeated, gives an answer that surprises because he compliments Mr. Lougheed, and condemns the abolition of free beer at GSS meetings. They delve deeper into this very, very pressing issue.

12:42 – The VP Academic and University Affairs debate begins…

12:38 – Mike Duncan: How will you compromise your values to do right by students? Alan defers. Guillaume says that the only reason that he would break his own values is in the interest of students (this is … basically a reiteration of the question, no?). Azim pinpoints that this was about the email voting procedure.

I violate my values and my principles on pretty much a daily basis, because I represent an organization that is out of touch with students.*

*You know Blake, you could always resign…

12:36 – Why should students trust you (Blake)? Blake says that this is a question to be settled in the election. The other candidates answer, but this question wasn’t really about them.

12:33 – What was the biggest failure of AMS Council? Blake – disabilities seat. Guillaume – taking the personal conflicts out of the Council arena (I assume that he means a failure to do this). Alan for Sean – defers. Azim – nothing specific, but a failure to put personal politics aside.

12:30 – Candidates are asked a question that basically allows them to tout experience and their working styles. All of them say that ‘communication is important’, which is great. Guillaume gets cut off again because of the time limit – he’s one of an abundance of verbage.

12:26 – Do you feel you are capable of repairing the relationship, and what specifically would you do? Sean’s rep says that he is conciliatory (?) enough to work with the Board. Azim says that he too can speak the language, and get things done because of his time on Senate. Blake disagrees again that damage has been done. Guillaume says that he is a ‘friendly and approachable guy’, and touts his experience working with the Faculty of Arts.

12:24 – Rodrigo asks a ‘question’, if one could call it that. It’s on … governance, aboriginal representation, and the UBC Farm. Enjoy your issue smoothie, candidates. Guillaume, Alan and Azim all defer. Blake answers the question, and says about what you’d expect.

12:23 – Blake says that the issue is a matter of differing views on how students should be represented.

12:22 – Finally, some fireworks.

I will tell you right now that I couldn’t work with you on Board of Governors …. I don’t know how you can sit here and say that you work for the interest of a great majority of students.
Guillaume on Blake

12:18 – Blake responds to Guillaume, saying that his approach with the University has always been ‘diplomacy first’. I assume that he means gunboat diplomacy. There is nothing really that he has said that makes me more convinced that he has no idea what he did wrong, and that he will make no efforts to reform his behavior in the future.

Sometimes you do need to use the stick to make the University act in a certain way.

12:16 – Guillaume thinks the relationship is fine, but the relationship between certain individuals is now toxic. This not-so-subtle jibe provokes scattered applause from the audience. Azim generally deflects and pivots into some good, standard campaigning.

12:14 – Is the relationship between the AMS and University better or worse than a year ago? Blake thinks he’s super!

There is no permanent damage that has been done to [the AMS-UBC] relationship.
Blake Frederick

12:10 – The candidates are addressing each other now. Guillaume is talking about his qualities as a listener. I think this is probably true, but I have some concerns over his ability to work with a team effectively – the AUS exec has been fractious this year, and at least some of the blame for this has to lie at the feet of the President. Sean wants to … blah, blah … I don’t really think I can adequately judge his platform or his own opinions through a representative. Blake thinks that the backroom lobbying that UBC has been doing on governance is unacceptable – and will ride in to stop it on his War Griffin, or something like that. Whatever he said, it’s about as likely to happen as a legislative process without lobbying.

12:06 – What is the most pressing issue facing the Board? Azim says governance. This is, in the opinion of the RBT, correct. Blake says that he wants to run to ensure that the SUB Project is completed with students in mind. I worry that the more that Blake is involved in things, the less likely that things will come out OK. Guillaume also talks about governance as an issue, and the inadequate representation of students on a city council type Board. Alan says Sean is ‘here for the students first and foremost’, and wants to create a consultation metric.

12:04 – Alan Chen gives Sean’s opening statement. It’s an interesting dynamic, as there isn’t as much of a requirement to maintain the typical candidate’s modesty. On another interesting note, Azim is apparently the first teatotaling IFC President. Blake also speaks.

There has been a lot of criticism of my job performance recently…
Blake Frederick

12:03 – The BoG debate is beginning, and this is already more interesting because of the giant cut-out of Sean Heisler on the stage.

12:00 – On the current SUB, Michael wants to make it more amenable for clubs, and finding other club space on campus, possibly renting it from the university. Ekat says that she wants to review the space allocations so that the most efficient use of space is taking place.

11:58 – Ekat says that Michael is good at chalking – it’s very innovative. She also says that he’s charismatic. Ekat says that she has a a problem asking for favours, is shy, and is a bit of a worrywart. Michael says Ekat is experienced and easy to talk to. Michael has difficulties delegating, so sayeth he.

11:57 – I’m kind of creeped out by the lighting on the stage. It makes the speakers look like they’re in an Ed Wood movie.

11:56 – It’s amazing how an interesting topic can just be made so crushingly boring by a halting format.

11:54 – Blake Frederick asks a question about the SUB project, and the reporting structure for the Project Manager reporting relationship. What experience do you have managing or directing people? Michael has done some project management, and says that he wants to make sure that everyone is doing their job and is accountable on a day to day basis. Ekat talks about managing a business week, and working with Service Canada.

11:52 – Nat Swift asks about a time when they’ve screwed up, and how they fixed it. Michael and Ekat both give the standard job interview answer, and speak about focusing on where to go forward from the mistake.

11:51 – How will you know what you’re signing? Michael will read the documents. Ekat  says ‘read fast’, wants to review the signing officer duties, and creating a greater degree of trust in the executive. This is a little terrifying, as this is why the problem this year arose in the first place.

11:49 – There is a question on executive communication. The candidates basically agree with each other, and say that they want to facilitate things and work with the whole team, and with Council.

11:45 – Michael wouldn’t make any changes to the Equity Program. It should be student run… Ekat thinks that there should be some changes – maintaining autonomy, but giving more support from the office. Given that the VP Admin actually runs the program, it is a little disconcerting that there are no clear or constructive ideas on how to improve the program from either of the candidates.

11:44 – A kind of nothing question was asked about AMS groups endorsing candidates. It wasn’t really reflective of the current AMS situation, and doesn’t merit much comment.

11:43 – Scary Mike is still running too tight a ship. I would have preferred the Elections Committee contacting former moderators (one of whom was actually told they were moderating today) or members of the Debate Society. Councilors aren’t really cut out for debate.

11:42 – Michael asks Ekat about sustainability. Ekat talks about her experience with MHPM, and a case competition on sustainability. Michael also mentions a rooftop garden. In her rebuttal, Ekat also suggests that there be course integration in the development of the SUB.

Those are really good ideas.
Michael on Ekat’s ideas

11:39 – Ekat to Michael – What would you do about Clubs days? Michael wants to work with the clubs so that our membership can grow. He also talks about online submissions. This is an interesting idea, but I don’t know that making the clubs interact more with SAC is a good idea. I find that my club (woot! woot! UBCBCYL) functions better when it doesn’t interact with SAC. Ekat adds that she wants to im

11:38 – There is a question about commuter students. Michael focuses on the transit portion of the question, and says that working with the VP External would be important. Ekat talks about the

11:35 – The debate is apparently going to be more free-form this time around. I hope this goes well. I think that opening statements are going to improve the quality of the debates. Michael Haack reads out a nice, professional sounding opening statement. Ekaterina is more engaging, or at least a little more confident in what she is saying.


5 Responses to “Another Debate Liveblog – VPA, BoG, VPAU”

  1. 1 Patrick M.
    January 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Wow, this is an interesting style.

    Both candidates will talk as much as they want, and there really is no way to differentiate either one. Not that there appears to be much differentiation.

    Also, Niel Yonson is my hero. I like him.

  2. 2 Neal Yonson
    January 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Except… the abolition of free beer at GSS meetings has nothing to with SOL policy, which is what the question was about.

  3. 3 Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes
    January 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for this post,
    I would like to point out that, on the issue of the ‘sexual assault’ question what I meant to say was that it was a very important and sensitive issue. I said that a solution to the issue was above my opinion, because I believe there’s need for research on this issue and for understanding what are the possible courses of action we can take when someone is identified with sexual assault. I support completely initiatives that raise awareness and help prevent this issue – wholeheartedly. I do believe we do have to make sure we are aware of the law and its procedures before we prosecute or accuse anybody about anything. I try to be careful about this because both my parents are involved with the law – my father has been a São Paulo State Supreme Court Justice since 1998, and I grew up listening about different law cases. I only mention this to make a point that we cannot take these issues lightly. This is a very sensitive issue, and I felt it was irresponsible to pretend I was an expert on it.

    I do, however, have been involved with the resource groups helping to raise awareness on this issue. I had the opportunity to watch one of my very good friends, Jen Pitt, perform a stellar ‘angry vagina’ at the Vagina Monologues, and I met many people involved with that movement, and have collaborated with people from Pride UBC, as a student concerned about issues disproportionately affecting minorities on campus. I believe also that, as a male, I should be careful when I am representing an issue that disproportionately affects women and that is mainly caused by males.Also, I do think that people who commit sexual assault should not be allowed to be a student in this university, and should be brought to the attention of the police. I do not have the answer as to the precise way of going about with this. That’s what I meant to say.

    Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes

  4. 4 Neal Yonson
    January 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Also also, I’m now drinking beer at a GSS meeting.

  5. 5 Peter
    January 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Have they re-allowed free beer at the meetings? read their own minutes for more details. the beer ban was very unpopular and it apparently was a temporary idea – bad idea. was it free?

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