Liveblogging the Presidential Debate

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8:44 – That’s all folks!

8:42 – Neither of the candidates need this job. Bijan says that he is the most experienced candidates, and Natalie says that she has been able to bring people together.

I need this on my resume, so vote for me.
Pak Ho

8:38 – Do you agree with differential international tuition fees, and do you support different rates of increase? Bijan – Yes, and I won’t give you an answer because there are differences in contexts. Natalie says yes to the first question as well. Natalie… suggests that naked Council meetings are a good idea. (ed. note – go on?)

8:36 – What would you do to help international students? Natalie answers in what is a very general answer to a very general question. Bijan gives a personal anecdote about his international students experience, and how there are emergency funding options.

8:33 – Would you build the SUB if it couldn’t be Platinum Sustainability Rated? Pak Ho and Bijan say yes, with the latter elaborating Natalie makes a case that basically say that we might be able to proceed in a sustainable manner without getting the certification. She also joins the others in saying ‘build the building’.

8:29 – Natalie says that she wishes that the SUB negotiations would be moving faster, and says that she will stand firm when she needs to. Bijan says that the AMS has played too much hardball in the past couple of years, especially in terms of how the debt capacity of the AMS is changing. Natalie asks Bijan what he himself has done, to which he responds that he has taken approaches that have gotten next steps done for the AMS, but that he has generally shut out of the SUB negotiations and information flow there by the current executive.

8:25 – How do you respond to the (RBT) criticism that Bijan is more divisive? Bijan actually answers with the true statements that he doesn’t mind speaking his mind, but that he does make up his mind and does have a measure of support on Council, something that he alleges that Natalie doesn’t do. Bijan would defer to Council if there was a difference of opinion. Natalie defends herself by saying that her abstentions are her way of saying that more due diligence needs to be done on those motions.

8:22 – Would you resign if Council asked you to resign? Bijan talks about fostering a council of transparency, and says that he would do what Council asks him to do. Natalie said that she recommended to Blake that he resign, and in the same situation she would to.

You get 25 gs and free rez. I won’t resign.
Pak Ho

8:21 – Bijan talks about the ‘success’ of the Campus Plan Consultation video, and how the university

8:15 – There is a conversation around the idea of University Town, and how the University has not been good of telling what the potential of University Town is. This particular place is about where my break with Bijan usually comes, but he handles the question well, and defends himself by saying that he has been trying to fight the idea of consultation by representation, the idea that by consulting the BoG reps, you are consulting all students. Natalie attacks the idea of over-consultation, and making sure that the consultation process should be tailored to solicit better consultation.

8:11 – Pak Ho is obliterating every point of AMS orthodoxy!

8:10 – On the question of what should be in the U-Blvd stop, all the candidates (except Pak Ho, who wants a roller coaster – BSul whispers to me that this would be a novel re-imagining of the Knoll) vacillate. Bijan commits to the idea of more housing in the idea. Natalie thinks that the SUB has to be a cornerstone of the area. She also says that student housing should not be prioritized over green space (ed. note – WHAAAAAAAAA?)

8:06 – Bijan says that his answer on the question of lifting the cap on professional programs would be, at the moment, an unequivocal no. Bijan also extols the virtues of Policy 72, and repeats a minor fallacy about how the province makes money on our students loans. It’s not quite true. While they do make money off of us, the program itself is managed so badly and structured so poorly that everybody loses money on the program. Natalie talks about the encouragement of increased funding from the provincial government.

8:03 – Bijan says that the VANOC committee exclusion was a major failure for the last exec. Natalie thinks that the inability to bring professionalism to every interaction was a problem for the last executive.

7:59 – Bijan is, in general, running rings around the competition in this debate. He’s defending the methods that he uses as being able to deliver results, and says that he does push back. Natalie says that governance issues are going to be the number one thing where UBC and student opinions may differ. Natalie also claims that BoG members are apparently not representatives of students. Bijan says that the AMS can’t go to the province without the University because we have no relationship with them right now.

7:55 – The Equity Representatives. Natalie has voted no on the referendum already. Bijan says that he will stick to his principles even when they get him nailed to a stick. Natalie wants to take a consultative approach that will take into account the best interests of the AMS and the underrepresented groups.

It felt that anything I said on that was going to get nailed to the stake.

Why aren’t there more Chinese people in the AMS? … You see us everywhere?
Pak Ho

7:50 – On the question of the Equity Representatives, Natalie finally gets called out on not taking a stand. She does, and says that she would probably vote against the program now, in retrospect, but would have back then. Bijan talks about the administrative problems in Equity program, and how anonymity breeds abuse. I personally think that the way the system is being abused is remarkably similar to the way that the way that Human Rights Tribunals are being abused in a similar way on a national and provincial scale in Canada.

It’s less about a celebration of our differences, and more and more about censorship.
Natalie Swift on the Equity Program

7:48 – The question on slates. Bijan basically outlines the argument for unbanning slates, with reference to the invisible slates theory, and Natalie articulates the basic arguments against. Pak Ho says that political parties would make campus politics a lot more fun.

7:45 -Bijan is talking about the success of the campus plan consultations, spiraling off the question about engagement. Natalie talks about the financial barriers to engagement, and the relationship between housing and engagement.

If AMS politics wasn’t so dry.
-Pak Ho

7:39 – The debate just moved into the governance portion. I’m glad I’m here for this. The question is on how the inevitably of the provincial government crafting the UBC governence strucutre, and how consultation would factor into it. Natalie says that she wants present an alternative governance structure. Bijan basically goes into the UBC case in students terms for UBC local governance. However, there is a problem, because students don’t have much expertise. Ahh, he means that people can build knowledge and work the system if they stay here longer, and thus students would be functionally underrepresented in the system. Natalie attacks him on this, but Bijan pretty convincingly defends against this by saying that the structural design off the organization should just take this fact into account.

What do I care?
-Pak Ho

7:35 – I’ve just arrived at the Presidential debate. The place is reasonably filled up – I’m actually pretty impressed. The debate is better, although I was again … surprised isn’t the word … by the fact that the first thing I heard was Natalie emphatically not taking a stand on the NCAA.


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