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The Ubyssey Jul 6, 2011

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July 6, 2011
SUMMER VOLUME 28, NUMBER 5
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JULY 6, 2011
SUMMER VOLUME XXVIII,  N° V
EDITORIAL
COORDINATING EDITOR
Justin McElroy: coordinating@ubyssey.ca
MANAGING EDITOR, PRINT
Jonny Wakefield: printeditor@ubyssey. ca
MANAGING EDITOR, WEB
Arshy Mann: webeditor@ubyssey.ca
NEWS EDITORS
Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan:
news@ubyssey.ca
ART DIRECTOR
Geoff Lister: art@ubyssey.ca
CULTURE EDITOR
Ginny Monaco: culture@ubyssey.ca
SENIOR CULTURE WRITER
Taylor Loren: tloren@ubyssey.ca
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Drake Fenton: sports@ubyssey.ca
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Brian Piatt:features@ubyssey.ca
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TREVOR RECORD
OKER CHEN
VIRGINIE MENARD
BRYCE WARNES
LEGAL
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the
University of British Columbia. It is published every Monday and Thursday during the winter semester by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an
autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are encouraged to participate
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the
staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of
The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appear-
ng in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey
Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs
and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced
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The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian
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Letters to the editor must be under 300 words
Please include your phone number, student number
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Press #0040878022
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CROSSWORD (CUP.CA)
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1. Actress Ruby
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44. Percentage of light reflect
54. Teacher
ed by a planet
58. Dauntless
46. Proceed in rays
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49. Bark sharply
63. Like some stadiums
51. Mata
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70. Numerous
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footnotes
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61. A small town
65. Doze
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home"
Ifyou know who Will
Shortz is, you have a
puzzle problem.
Get your fix. Edit our
games section.
Jonny Wakefield
printeditongmbysseyca
THEUBYSSEYca
Your campus radio station
with online streaming
and podcasts
CiTR
1Q1.9fm/CITR.ca
OWN YOUR FREQUENCY
and
publisher
of
»l^<#k» = l»x 2011.0 7.06/UBYSSEY.CA/NEWS/3
NEWS
EDITORS KALYEENA MAKORTOFF & MICKI COWAN»news@ubyssey.ca
Rumana Monzur returns to Vancouver
UBC pledges to fully support student who was blinded in assault in Bangladesh
KALYEENA MAKORTOFF
news@ubyssey.ca
Rumana Monzur, a UBC student
who was brutally attacked and
blinded by her husband during
a visit to Bangladesh in June, returned to Vancouver yesterday.
Monzur arrived at YVR Tuesday with her father. She was immediately transported to Vancouver General Hospital where
she was set to receive treatment
and consultation with what Janet Teasdale, acting UBC VP students, called some of the "best
medical care available."
At a press conference Tuesday
morning, Teasdale said that the
university has been in direct
contact with Monzur.
"In the last ten days, Rumana
made it clear that she wanted to
return to Canada and she was
interested in additional medical treatment and in finishing
her degree," she said.
"The university stands fully prepared and ready and has
made some extraordinary efforts to support the return of Rumana and her family to Canada."
Teasdale said that Monzur
and her father have been reserved a space at St John's College in family housing and extended thanks to Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the work on Monzur's
visa, which is expected to last
at least six months.
Monzur had a draft of her thesis prepared before going to Bangladesh and was nearing the completion of her degree. Teasdale
said the university would provide
tnxnoS
Supporters gathered downtown to protest the violence against Rumana Monzur last Sunday. EDWARD BUDIMAN PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
the support necessary for Monzur
to receive her PhD.
"The department of political
science and her supervisor stand
ready to provide both financial
and scholarship support so that
she can continue to study and
additional resources for a woman who, at this time, cannot see."
Teasdale could not comment on
speculation that a UBC-based op-
tomologist would be part of Monzur's assessment. "I think what we
can say is that the university has
the resources with respect to understanding issues like this and
we can call upon those resources."
Monzur's friends said they
had been in contact with her
sporadically in the month leading up to the attack.
"We've been very cognizant of
not directing too much communication at Rumana," said Pri-
ya Bala-Miller, Monzur's friend
and a PhD student in political
science. "This is a really difficult time for her and her family. It was heartwrenching to
see her in the media so vulnerable and so exposed in terms of
what she'd been through, so as
a friend that was extremely difficult to watch."
UBC law student Sotonye Godwin-Hart, another of Monzur's
friends, described her emotions
as she prepared to meet Monzur
upon her arrival at YVR. "I actually have mixed feelings. I'm
very excited but I'm also nervous and worried because she's
my very close friend. She's still
the same person but it's not the
same, so I really can't say..until
I get to see her."
From fund raising and over
550 individual donations, UBC
has collected over $41,000 to
support Monzur's family, and
would cover living expenses.
However, they are calling for
at least $70,000 in funds to support her family over the next
six months.
Bala-Miller said a petition is
circulating that asks that justice be served for Monzur's attacker. It has been signed by
over 500 people and is directed
at Canada's high commissioner
for Bangladesh. "I want to commend them for speaking to the
media and asking for exemplary punishment in this case." tl
Donations for Monzur can be
madeafrumana.givecentre.com
Perennially shaky, AMS Whistler lodge on thin ice
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL KINGSMILL/FLICKR
MICKI COWAN
news@ubyssey.ca
The AMS is seeking consultations to decide the fate of the
AMS Whistler Lodge, a student
service that AMS executives
have said is draining money
from the student society.
The troubles began after a
large amount of lodging options
became available following the
2010 Olympics. A leaky roof that
could cost tens of thousands of
dollars to repair and a lowered
number of bookings, attributed to the recession, led to a review ofthe financial feasibility
of maintaining the AMS Whistler Lodge.
The lodge, a popular option
for students heading up to hit
the slopes, lost nearly $30,000
lastyear.
AMS VP Finance Elin Tayyar
said that the real loss from the
lodge maybe even greater, considering the projected gain was
$56,000, resulting in $85,000
less earnings than expected.
"If we didn't have the Whistler Lodge, that [deficit] problem would have been gone,"
said Tayyar
From 2005-2010, the Whistler
Lodge brought $375,000 in revenue, but expenses during that
period reached $500,000.
Despite the losses, the AMS
says it recognizes that the lodge
is a service to students. "It's a
big part of the AMS, a massive
asset of ours. And it's an important one," said Tayyar.
CharlottSandorJohansen, former president of the UBC Ski
and Board Club, says her club
relies heavily on the spaces that
are specially reserved for UBC
students.
"As a club, we do use the UBC
Whistler Lodge a lot. When we
have sign-ups for the lodge for
Christmas and reading break
we generally have a line-up out
of the door. The AMS lodge is
pretty integral in our lodging
options for our members."
Sandor Johansen did say that
some improvements could be
made, including general renovations and lowering the age
limit to 18, which would allow
first-year students to take advantage ofthe facilities.
VP Administration Mike Silley, the AMS executive member
in charge ofthe lodge, said that
AMS Council had approved consultations on whether to keep
the lodge
"What we passed in council
was $40,000 to hire consultants
to look into what our options
are—whether it be build a new
lodge, restructure the business
model, whether it be to move,
shut it down or sell the lodge
all together," said Silley
"There are quite a few students on campus that we felt
needed the service, so we didn't
want to arbitrarily cut it.
"That was a precursor to our
decision to...hire consultants to
give us a better picture of what's
happening."
Tayyar was certain that
change would come out of the
consultations. "We're starting
a big process of reviewing the
lodge: the past, the current market and what we want for the future. What I can say is we won't
be looking at continuing in this
trend."
Regardless of the decision
that is made, students can expect to find out the results of
these consultations—and the
fate ofthe lodge—come September 2011. tJ 4/UBYSSEY.CA/FEATURE/2011.06.21
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David Johnston, Waterloo $1,041,881
Mahdouh Shoukri,York $480,030
Indira Samarasekera, Alberta $479,000
Alastair Summerlee, Guelph $440,590
Stephen Toope, UBC $483,418
DavidTurpin,Victoria $417,075
Michael Stevenson, SFU $398,876
David Naylor,Toronto $380,100
David Atkinson, Kwantlen, $235,274
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Roger Barnsley,Thompson Rivers $240,662
Greg Lee, Capilano $190,105
Mark Evered, FraserValley $160,719
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Gavin Stuart, Medicine $431,451
Daniel Muzyka, Sauder $413,010
Mary Anne Bobinski, Law $283,784
Charles F. Shuler, Dentistry $255,623
Simon M. Peacock, Science $255,219
Robert Sindelar, Pharmacy $250,932
John N. Saddler, Forestry $250,729
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Tyseer Aboulnasr, Applied Science $244,550 AAA A ^^-0_-0_S_-0-5_5_-0-5_5_-0-S_-S--0_5_-0-5_5_-0-S.
Jon E. Shapiro, Education $210,247
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Murray Isman, Land & Food Systems $208,334
Barbara Evans, Graduate Studies $203,943
■
GENDER DIVIDES PROFESSOR PAY
Perhaps the most glaring discrepancy in the breakdown of
salaries at our university is between genders.
Of UBC's top 20 earners in
2009/2010, none were women.
Of the top 100, only 11 were
women and even when expanded to the top 1000, only 223 were
female.
"I think the issue.. .of greatest
concern to the Faculty Association right now would be gender
equity and pay, so we're working
with the administration to see
what can be done on that issue,"
said Faculty Association President Nancy Langton.
"We have concern at two levels. One, are women being systematically paid less than men
for doing comparable work? Research reports point to some systemic discriminating. But the
other issue is, are women being promoted at the same rate
to senior administration that
men are?"
A 2009 Statistics Canada report on salaries across all Canadian universities showed
that the average male professor earned $123,702, compared
to $107,143 for females.
The Faculty Association also
released two reports in conjunction with the Provost Office on
the subject.
Langton stressed that general awareness among senior administrators would be a key step
to combating gender equity, but
also noted that when tenured
professors originally set their
salaries with UBC, men tend to
negotiate a higher salary rate.
"I think we need more awareness of how salaries get set at the
beginning. There is research
evidence that women don't negotiate salaries as well as men
do. If there was more information...potential new hires could
look at that," she said.
—Justin McElroy
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PAYING
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WHICH UBC EMPLOYEES ARE PAID THE MOST, AND WHY? 2011.06.21/UBYSSEY.CA/FEATURE/5
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Last month, The Vancouver Sun released their annual database of public-
sector employees in British Columbia who make at least
$75,000. Because of the length
of time it takes for various public bodies to release their information, the salaries listed were
from the 2009/2010year—where
3504 people were paid more
than $75,000 by UBC.
Naturally, the raw numbers
provoke interest. How much
does my favourite professor
make? Which dean makes the
most? What sort of gap is there
between males and females?
We've charted out some of that
information here.
At the same time, the basic
data can paint a confusing picture. Severance and administrative leave packages can skew
numbers and faculty often have
secondary sources of income
which aren't publicly released.
How much a professor makes
has as much to do with their negotiating skills as it does their
talent. And of course, the figures are out of date by as much
as two years.
Still, the information is revealing. We've spoken with
members of the UBC Faculty
Association—the body that represents all UBC faculty—to get
a better sense of what the numbers mean.
HOW PROFS GET PAID
1 Each year, UBC sets the budget that each faculty can spend on
professor salaries. This budget is jointly negotiated between the
VP Finance, Provost and respective Dean's offices.
2 When a new professor is hired or receives tenure, the faculty
and professor jointly negotiate their starting salary. What an average starting salary is varies greatly across departments. "Different faculties have different salaries, so a finance professor is paid
considerably more than an English professor and that has to do
with market pressures," explained Langton.
3 Once in a tenure position, there are no automatic raises—at
least in the current two-year agreement which expires in 2012. Instead, increases happen as a result of "Career Progress Increments"
and adjustments made based on merit (a one-year measurement of
research, teaching and service accomplishments) and performance
salary adjustment (a three-year measurement).
4 While full-time tenured faculty cannot hold another job with
a different institution, there are alternative ways for professors to
earn extra income, including being named a research chair, publishing a book or giving "executive education" lectures to middle and
senior management at various institutions. However, much of this
income may be paid to a separate business set up by the professor,
and thus would not be included in the Vancouver Suns calculations.
THE TOP 1000 PAID PEOPLE AT UBC IN
2009/2010, BROKEN DOWN BY DEPARTMENT
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SCIENCE 178
ARTS-113
UBC 110
SAUDER-97
APPLIED SCIENCE-66
EDUCATION-36
LAW-27
SCHOOL OF HUMAN POPULATION AND PUBLIC
HEALTH-16
PHARMACY-16
COLLEGE OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES 16
F0RESTRY-14
DENTISTRY-12
LAND AND FOOD SYSTEMS-12
SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE-4
HUMAN KINETICS-7
NURSING-7
SCHOOL OF COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING-4
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH-2
UBC LIBRARY DEPARTMENT-2
COLLEGE OF HEALTH DISCIPLINES 1
SESSIONALS GET SHORT END OF SALARY STICK
Because of the flexibility and
lower salary inherent in sessional rather than tenured positions, many cash-strapped faculties have opted to use more sessionals over the last decade and
UBC is no exception.
"It's a problem," admits Langton. "Salaries for sessionals are
considerably lower than those
for tenure-stream faculty..sessionals are paid less at UBC, on
average, than they are at some
colleges." The faculty association
pushed for changes to their
agreement, but were rebuffed
in the most recent round of collective bargaining lastyear.
Faculties are required to pay
sessionals a minimum salary
that is on a sliding scale, based
on credits taught per-term and
an eight step scale that every lecturer is placed on which reflects
seniority and other factors.
Newly hired sessionals are automatically paid the rate of the
lowest step when they begin.
You can find the exact calculations online, but a professor at
the first step, teaching 9 credits
every semester, makes $53,730
in ayear.
In 2009/2010, the highest paid sessional lecturers at
UBC were Chuck Campbell in
the Sauder School of Business
($164,941), followed by Economics Professor Robert Gateman
($139,494).
—Justin McElroy 6/U BYSSEY. CA/S PORTS/2011.0 7.06
SPORTS 8 CULTURE
EDITOR DRAKE FENTON »sports@ubyssey.ca
EDITOR GINNY MONACO »culture@ubyssey.ca
Cyclists converge at UBC for first Grand Prix
DRAKE FENTON
sports@ubyssey.ca
BC cycling enthusiasts might
want to Tivo the tour July 12, as
UBC campus hosts a number of
high octane pro/am races.
The inaugural UBC Grand Prix,
hosted by Mahoney & Sons, is
one of four races in the B.C. Su-
perweek cycling series. The race
will be broken down into four different categories: men, women,
kids and corporate teams. Participants will race on a 1.35 kilometre, four-cornered circuit
that begins and ends at University Boulevard, near the parking
lot ofthe bookstore.
The Grand Prix is a criterium
race. In cycling jargon, this means
that competitors will race continuously for a set amount of time on
a short closed-circuit course. The
first person to finish is the winner. Though there is a single winner, the race is far from an individual event.
Dr Jack Taunton, the co-founder ofthe Vancouver Sun Run and
the leader behind bringing the
Grand Prix to UBC, explained that
in a criterium race, teamwork is
a necessity for victory,
"Ifyou are in there as an individual rider, rather than with a
team around you, it's very difficult to win," he said. "Ifyou were
to go off on your own then I would
send one of my teammates up
to slow you down, while I would
Cyclists rounding the corner in the Tour de Delta. PHOTO COURTESY OFTURBULENTFLOW/FLICKR
not be working and saving energy for a sprint."
When the race has finished,
teammates split whatever prizes the members have won.
Race director Mark Ernsting
said that the course is technical
and challenging.
"The left hand turn at corner
number four, going into the finish line, will be about a 60-kilometre an hour corner," he said,
referring to the left turn on to
University Boulevard from East
Mall. "That is definitely going to
be a corner that causes some accidents," he added.
The Superweek cycling series
include three other events around
the Lower Mainland. From July
8-10 there will be the Tour de Delta, a three part race. On July 14,
there will be the Giro di Burnaby
and from July 15-17 White Rock
will host the Tour de White Rock,
another three-part race.
With its deadly corner number
four, UBC's Grand 3?rix may end up
being the most technically challenging ofthe four competitions, but the
risk shouldbe well-worth the reward.
Between the male and female events
there is more than $10,000 in prize
money.
In order to maintain a level of
competition between the large number of contestants in the criterium
race—the men's will have between
90 to 100 riders—there are prizes
called primes. Primes are small
purses and at the Grand Prix they
may range from $250 to $1,000.
They are awarded to riders who
win certain laps within the race.
Taunton explained that if three
riders had broken away from the
main group, over the next few laps
a small prime would be awarded
to the rider that closed the gap between the group and the riders in
the lead.
Primes keep the pace of competition at a high speed and let multiple riders or teams win money.
They prevent one rider from conserving energy for the entire race
before making a breakaway sprint
near the end.
One team to keep an eye on atthe
Grand Prix will be Canada's newly
created men's national team, Spi-
derTech. The team has notyet finalized its roster, but they have been
a force in multiple competitions in
the European pro race circuit, including a second-place finish this
year by team member Will Rout-
ley at Tro Bro Leon, a one-day road
race in Brittany, France.
The UBC Grand 3?rix will begin
at 4:30 pm with the corporate challenge race.
The lad's race will be at 5:30 pm,
the women's pro race will be at 6:30
pm and the men's pro race will begin at 7:45 pm. U
For more information on the
UBC Grand Prix visit ubcgrand-
prix.com.
Case, Mangan and Spirit of
the West perform this week
park and secured valet bicycle
parking will be provided.
"There is such a vibrant arts
and culture community and sometimes there's barriers for people
to really enjoy it," said Specht.
"Sometimes it's money or sometimes it's accessibility... We wanted to eliminate those barriers."
"Security will be much
more rigorous than we
might have planned
for two weeks ago."
MARGARETSPECHT
SUMMER LIVE PROJECT DIRECTOR
For Specht, the spirit of Vancouver was not seen during the riot
on June 15, but in the aftermath.
Specht said not much has
changed because ofthe riots and
that most of the effects will be
seen at the beer and wine garden. "The security will be much
more rigorous than we might
have planned for two weeks ago."
"I don't see any ofthe music or
any of our programming attracting an element that would want
to do anything but enjoy themselves," said Specht. tJ
For more information on
Summer Live visit celebrat-
evancouverl25.ca/2011/01/
summer-live-july-8-9-10-2011
GINNY MONACO
culture@ubyssey.ca
The last time Vancouverites got together it ended with destruction.
Next week, when several thousand
Vancouverites converge in Stanley
Park for a series of free concerts,
the city hopes for celebration.
Summer Live, part ofthe Vancouver 125th anniversary celebrations, will take over Stanley
Park with free performances by
Dan Mangan, Neko Case and Spirit ofthe West, among others. The
shows run July 8-10 at Brockton
Point.
"[The lineup highlights] the sensibilities that reflect Vancouver,"
said Margaret Specht, the Vancouver 125 Project Director. "People
like Neko Case who weren't born
and bred here have established
deep connections here. This is a
celebration of Vancouver arts and
culture and what citizens and visitors identify with."
The organizers wanted to make
sure that the event was accessible,
said Specht. There will be shuttle
busses running every 15 minutes
from Waterfront Station into the
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It's your career.
Get it right. 2011.06.21/UBYSSEY.CA/OPINIONS/7
OPINIONS
DO YOU CARE? WRITE US A LETTER»feedback@ubyssey.ca
EDITORIAL
RIOT DEMONSTRATES NEED FOR METRO POLICING
Vancouver and Victoria are in many ways outliers among Canadian cities. Residents of both cities are more likely to own rain boots than snow
gear and in both you're more likely to hear a few
lines of Cantonese than any 'bonjours' or 'mercis.'
But Vancouver and Victoria are different in another way as well; they're the only major Canadian
cities that don't have metropolitan police forces.
Unlike the Toronto Police Service (TPS) or the
awkwardly-named Service de la Police de la Ville
de Montreal (SPVM), the VPD and VICPD only have
authority in their city proper. The problems associated with the limited reach were never as clear
as during last month's hockey riot.
The relief units from the suburbs arrived in
an hour-and-a-half, just enough time for some
post-game hooliganism to turn into a full-blown
riot. It demonstrated a lack of coherent planning
amongst the various departments and the inability to respond to large-scale problems of policing.
NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton called
the riot "a very good argument in favour of a regional police force." We agree.
The principle of a metro force is already working in Vancouver. The Integrated Gang Task Force
was set up to respond to a rash of gang shootings
in 2007. It's been an immense improvement over
the fragmented approaches of earlier years to a
problem that crosses municipal boundaries.
Applying the same principle across all facets
of policing in Metro Vancouver could reduce redundancies and maybe even renew confidence
in policing that has taken some blows recently.
See: Surrey Six.
Police work doesn't follow the same neat borders that the cities and municipalities in Metro
Vancouver do. It's time Vancouver followed the
rest of Canada's lead, tl
PUTTING THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS
Last month's release of public-sector salaries over
$75,000 in British Columbia confirmed what any
Arts student enjoying the Buchanan renovations,
while seeing $100 million buildings spring up
everywhere else, already knows: at UBC, all students are equal, but some get nicer buildings and
better-paid professors.
Of the 1000 highest-paid employees at UBC in
2009/2010, over 80% were from two faculties-
Commerce and Medicine—which host less than
10% ofthe student population. That's to be expected for many reasons, including that these professors need to be compensated at a higher rate because they might find more lucrative options at
other institutions.
However, areas in which UBC is less competitive globally (namely, undergraduate teaching and
the student experience) aren't seen as priorities, at
least ifyou look at the compensation breakdown,
or the number of highly-compensated teaching-focused professors. The university will say they do
care about these issues, but this is only partly true.
UBC has the money to go above and beyond pay
rubrics if they felt these areas were a real priority.
Heck, they've done it in the past. In 2007, when
President Toope expressed concern with survey
results showing low satisfaction with teacher engagement in the sciences, they hired Nobel laureate Carl Wieman to overhaul teaching methods in
certain departments, giving him millions worth of
research money and a hefty salary to boot. While
the results aren't revolutionary, teaching methods
and student engagement have improved over the
last four years and not just because of iClickers.
But in the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science,
in housing and food services, in student development, you can count on three hands the number
of people UBC pays $200,000 ayear to (seriously,
it's a grand total of 13). These are the segments of
the university that more students directly participate in than any other, but while UBC can't go out
and hire a renowned expert in these fields, millions can be spent on professors in Commerce and
Medicine and in research facilities for much more.
In a university striving to become internationally lauded, this is perhaps inevitable—that's where
the money, donors, and international rankings
respond to. For those of not part of that minority, it's a stark reminder where UBC's highest priorities ultimately lie. tl
« j  Summer, homes
FOR   OBC    PROFESSORS
/"•»■
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QJ*<     &*
—St
V1**
W*
ENGINEERING
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■ M«Mr
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VIRGINIE MENARD GRAPHIC/THE UBYSSEY
OPINIONS
UBC making the ranks, but at what cost?
ARSHY MANN
webeditor@ubyssey.ca
Everyone likes a good ranking list.
Baseball fanatics spend hours debating whether Roger Clemens' fastball
had more fire than Nolan Ryan's. Music aficionados similarly pick and preen
over the 19th best Lou Reed track. In
more serious arenas, economists and
policymakers compare the GDP, GNP
or HDI of developing countries, watching with great interest as they rise and
fall relative to one another. In this way,
the world of academia is no different.
But university rankings are a relatively new phenomenon. Although the
Macleans University Rankings have
been around since 1990, it was only
in the early 2000s that rankings went
worldwide and mainstream.
Since then, they've become an omnipresent (and some might say omnipotent) reality of post-secondary
education.
Students vex over them when deciding which university to attend and politicians point to them as either a source
of pride or a reason to prod a university to improve. Most dangerously, universities have begun to adjust their behaviour to receive better scores.
Conventional wisdom is that these
rankings emphasize excellence in research above other aspects such as teaching or benefiting the local community
and a new report by the European University Association confirms that the conventional wisdom is as much for a reason,
"Global university rankings reflect
university research performance far
more accurately than teaching," the report declared.
Not only is research mostheavily measured, but certain types of research, especially medicine and natural sciences, are
heldhead-and-shoulders above the rest.
Fields where most findings are published in peer-review journals, as opposed to books, get much more weight
in these rankings. That means that disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and some applied sciences get
short shrift—which should come as
no surprise to an Arts student at UBC.
The fact that the rankings are flawed
is no big news, but a problem arises
when both the public and universities
start viewing them as definitive reflections on institution-wide performance.
These rankings create incentives
for universities to improve very specific metrics instead of actually improving quality and, in some cases, it
also pushes them to actually manipulate statistics and lie. Don't think this
happens? Well, in 2004 the National
Post obtained internal memos from
UBC administrators that showed they
"pressured faculty members to manipulate enrollment and in some cases capped class sizes" in order to improve UBC's rankings in Maclean's annual supplement.
Fans of The Wire will know this better as 'juking the stats.'
Rankings are insidious in other ways
as well. Employers start to look at them
to see how well-educated a student is
(which it doesn't measure). A humanities student from SFU who may have
a better education than a UBC student
maybe less likely to get a job because,
essentially, UBC has a higher ranking
due to its medical research program.
That seems truly perverse.
Universities are multi-faceted institutions with a variety of missions, research being just one of them. We need
to find better ways of explaining that.
In an ideal world, there would be prestigious ranking systems that accurately measured teaching or ways that universities promote social mobility. Instead, we're stuck with one where research appears to trump all. tl
Oxford Commas: Smart, sensible, and sadly dying
BRIAN PLATT
features@ubyssey.ca
In general, humanity can be trusted to
make simple things much more complicated than necessary. A straightforward rule or principle will inevitably
become bogged down in countless caveats and exceptions. But that doesn't
mean we shouldn't try to fight against
it. The stronger among us must stand
for clarity and steadfastness.
The issue of whether a comma
should be placed before the final item
in a list exemplifies this battle.
Hilariously, those who advocate
elimination ofthe serial comma claim
they are standing up for simplicity.
"Get rid of excessive punctuation!"
they cry out, unaware that they are
complicating our list-making grammar. Unfortunately, the anti-comma
faction was given an unwarranted
boost in confidence last week.
The serial comma is often referred
to as the Oxford comma (though the
reason is unclear to me because almost all universities call for it to be
used). On Wednesday, it emerged that
a new Oxford style guide advised readers to, "as a general rule," avoid the
serial comma. Much rejoicing ensued
among my enemies. Later it emerged
that this was only a branding guide for
the university; the Oxford University
Press has officially stated that it still
calls for the serial comma to be used.
That this has been largely missed by
the comma eliminationists is not surprising, as they are a reliably lazy lot.
The only reason why this fight continues is that the print media has
declared a vendetta against the serial comma. Self-aggrandizing copy
editors feel that the comma slows
down the reader, which apparently overrules constructing sentences
that are grammatically logical. The
Ubyssey follows the Canadian Press
style guide, which means that my
otherwise pristine, smooth, and poetic prose in these pages is mutilated by a nonsensical rule imposed by
smarmy anti-commites.
When we say a list of three or more
items outloud, we put a pause between
the items to avoid sounding like a mental case. Think ofthe phrase "a government of, by, and for the people." Try
saying that without the pause after
"by." It's pretty obvious which one is
the correct form, no? But that doesn't
matter to the copy editors. Can you
think of any other case in which we
remove the punctuation, and instruct
readers to pretend it's still there when
they read it out loud?
It will never make sense to me why
any editor thinks that the "and" between the last two items serves as
a replacement to the comma, rather than the independent function of
simply indicating the end of the list.
Don't bother arguing about it, though;
they'll just spew out a stream of irrelevant comments and schoolyard insults until you give up waiting for an
actual argument.
So, for now, those of us writing for
newspapers have to submit to this
weird exception to the otherwise
straightforward grammar of lists.
But the stronger among us must fight
on. Common sense must prevail. 8/UBYSSEY.CA/OURCAMPUS/2011.06.21
r.
EMORIAL     J
YM
UBC
WFF.
^Wf VIOLATIONS^
KALYEENA MAKORTOFF
news@ubyssey.ca
Ah, the joys of parking at UBC.
If you're not one of the lucky
people commuting or walking
to campus, you must be all too
aware of the dread that a parking ticket brings. Especially at
UBC, which has the fourth most
expensive parking of any Canadian university. Apparently,
even if you're not doing something wrong, someone's assuming you're at fault.
The owner of this fine motor
vehicle was as legal as can be,
but aside from displaying a parking pass, still needed to make it
clear. We feel your pain. "SI
cimS Insider weekly
student society
a weekly look at what's new at your student society
05.07.11
Do you have a project idea targeting sexual violence?
Would financial assistance help to make that project a reality?
Apply today for the
Sexual Assault
Support Services Fund
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can
be found on the Sexual Assault Support Centre's
webpage: www.ams.ubc.ca/services/sexual-assault-
support-centre/
WMwmm
SASC
Sexual Assault Support Centre
STUDENT
UNION
BUILDING
MAIN
CONCOURSE
JULY
4,5,647
11,12,13,14&15
19,20&21
26,27 & 28

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