UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Mar 29, 1996

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Array Uirtual Education
Douglas Quan examines the
effects of UBC's admissions
policy on students from
alternative schools.
f David Muncaster had
stuck it out for two
more years and received his high school diploma,
there is little doubt UBC would
have accepted him into Arts
One when he applied last year.
But fed-up with the public
education system, Muncaster
dropped out of his Burnaby high
school in 1993 at the end of grade
"I like the idea of being in
control of my own life, choosing
what I want to study," he said.
Muncaster found the freedom
he sought at Virtual High, an
independent school that isn't
really a school. Because it doesn't
follow the provincial curriculum,
the BC government will not recognize it as an accredited learning
"Virtual High is not a school, and
does not offer a certificate or
diploma," Virtual High's web page
reads. "We encourage academically-
inclined students to find alternative
means of gaining university or high
school credits."
Even though Muncaster felt he had
accumulated "credits" at Virtual High
"equal to or better than" those required
under the provincial curriculum, UBC
would not recognize his application,
nor the personal portfolio that he
submitted in an appeal.
"They weren't willing to give me an
interview, which is what I really wanted,"
says Muncaster. "That's when I could
make my case; that's when they could see
who I really am."
Qobert Will, chair of UBC's
Admissions Senate Committee,
says the university's admissions
policy is "driven by grades." In other
words, applicants compete for UBC's
limited spaces on an equal playing field.
If one student is given special
consideration, it tilts the balance. "It must
be done fairly," Will says.
Charles Ungerleider, associate dean
in the Faculty of Education, says
students planning to attend university
need to make informed decisions. "You
need to be aware that if you're going to
pursue an alternative pathway, you
better make sure that that alternative
pathway either reaches the common
goal that you want to achieve with
someone who follows a more conventional pathway."
Otherwise, he warns, students should
be aware that they might not be able to
achieve the same goal.
"One of the things that predicts best
whether students are going to complete
their schooling is grades," Ungerleider
adds. And logically, high grades translate
into a higher likelihood of completing a
"In that sense, it helps [UBC] to be
accountable to the public for the use of
their money," he said.
Despite the black and white policy,
Muncaster still thought he had a chance
with his portfolio. Ungerleider says he is
doubtful, however, that Muncaster's
portfolio was even taken into consideration; the appeals process, he says,
only checks to see if the rules have been
"Looking back, it does seem futile,"
Muncaster admits.
But to the eighteen-year-old who now
has his eyes set on Oregon University's
architecture school-which accepted him
right away-it makes no difference. "[The
US] has more liberal admissions
V^^rV uncaster first discovered his
Iki I passion for architecture while
UKJ working on Village Quest—a
Virtual High mega-project that designed
an environment-friendly community to
be built in the False Creek area by the
year 2000.
"That was my passion while I was at
Virtual High," Muncaster says.
Village Quest is on display this week
at the Trade and Convention Centre as
part of Globe '96, an international conference on sustainable technologies.
And according to Muncaster, this
enormous project is just one example of
the alternative approaches to learning
stressed at Virtual High.
Just three years ago, the dilapidated
four-storey mansion on the corner of West
16th and Burrard opened its doors as
Virtual High-a school grounded in the
notion that every individual is responsible
for their learning.
"When [students] get in touch with their
heart and with themselves, that's what a
genius is," says Virtual High's founder
Brent Cameron. "In our society we don't
want anyone going inside."
Qt Virtual High, the students
design their own curriculum
on   laptops.   Instead   of
teachers,    there    are    learning
consultants. The students also hire
"mentors" who are professionals in
the student's area of interest.
Students make decisions on the
budget, and they are encouraged
to start their own businesses to
offset their $6000 yearly tuition.
Students are also responsible for
the  upkeep   of the  building.
Without question, it is a radically
different approach to learning.
"There were just so many
projects, things to do that were
so much more fascinating, and so
much more real world, that
academics became so obviously
not relevant and mundane,"
explains Muncaster.
Although Virtual High does
offer     academic     courses
through correspondence and
the Open Learning Agency
which allow students to get
their high school diploma,
Muncaster admits that it is
very difficult to do. Few
students take that route.
Whatever choice these
"virtual" students make,
Cameron applauds all of
them for dropping out ofthe
public system.
"[I look] at the whole idea
of schooling as an artificial imposition,"
says Cameron. "Really, it's a political
control game."
Ungerleider disagrees. "I don't accept
[that] characterization," he says. "Public
schools are the only place now in society
where a person learns to work and relate
to people whose backgrounds differ from
their own."
Alternative schools, Ungerleider says,
reduce the heterogeneity found in the
public system, noting the hefty tuition that
students must pay.
Furthermore, Ungerleider feels that
school should not primarily be about the
development of the individual.
"Schooling is about society developing
society, and ensuring society's
continuation and development." In this
sense, Ungerleider agrees with the aims
of Virtual High's Village Quest project.
However, he feels that such projects
should be available to all students, and
not just those who can afford alternative
Whatever critics have to say about
Virtual High, Muncaster is confident that
his decision to drop out of the public
system was the right one. "It takes a lot of
trust in yourself to step out of the
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Interview with
Oakland Ross,
author of A Fire
On the Mountains.
Alfred A. Knopf
Canada, $29.95
by Amanda Growe
"Reading a book is like
traveling to another country."
While this sounds suspiciously
like a "Reading Rainbow"-type
cliche, nothing could be truer of
Oakland Ross' A Fire On the
Mountains. A first-person
account of the author's ex-
AUTHOR OAKLAND ROSS—opened up the Globe and Mail's new foreign
bureau in Latin America in 1981.
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'tween classes
March 29 - April 3
March 29 to Mav 25
Festival of One-Act PlaysBBelkin Art Galler
From the theatre 400 class. All
shows in the Dorothy Somerset
studio at 12:30pm.
Friday, March 29
Shabbat Dinner
Presented by the Jewish
Students Association. Hillel
House at 7:00pm.
"The Innocence of Trees:
Agnes Martin and Emily Carr"
exhibition. Tues.-Fri. 10am-5pm,
Sat. 12pm-5pm.
Monday, April 1
Lakshmi Gill
Meet the author at the Central
Library, 7:30pm.
periences as a Canadian
journalist in Latin America and
Africa in the I980's, Ross'
second book offers insight into
the worlds of people and
countries too often brushed off
by most Westerners.
Ross was first hired by the
Globe and Mail newspaper as
part of the summer staff after
studying English at York and
Carleton universities. He rose
quickly through the ranks and,
in 1981, opened the paper's new
foreign bureau in Latin America.
After spending five years there,
he moved to a vastly different
continent to cover news there:
Africa. In total, Ross spent ten
years abroad in twenty-three
different countries.
A Fire On the Mountains tells
of his life as a foreign
correspondent. Beginning in El
Salvador and ending in Angola,
Ross relates stories of politicians
and revolutionaries, rich and
poor and different races and
cultures, all set against the
incredible natural backdrops
both continents provide.
The book also incorporates
some of the complex history of
each country to help the reader
understand the reasons behind
the turmoil. We see Latin
America and Africa through
Ross' eyes—the eyes of a
Canadian journalist and an
outsider—as he learns more
about the countries he is
Ross told The Ubyssey his life
as a foreign correspondent was
rarely divided into the usual
"work" and "play;" even simple,
everyday events were
oportunities for learning and
The transition from the
relative safety of Canada to the
dangers of his war-torn posts
was made easier by a gradual
process of adaptation, he says.
Of course, he often encountered
exciting situations. "Journalists
are like birds: they have high
heart rates," Ross joked.
As a print reporter, Ross says
he didn't have to get as
dangerously close to the action
as the other media people, like
photographers. He did
encounter some serious
language problems, however.
While his English, French and
Spanish were sufficient for
covering Latin America, they left
him ill-prepared for Africa. It's
not unheard of for Africans to
speak more than twenty
languages, and the continent is
culturally very complex. Ross
says most Westerners are
unaware of how extremely
diverse the continent is from
region to region in terms of
people, politics, and geography.
In Ross' view, news often
focuses on "the high and mighty"
segments of society at the
expense of everyone else. He
says people—especially the
poor—are often dehumanized
and misjudged by Western
There is a "larger truth we
tend not to see," he says, which
is that those caught in the
middle of their country's
upheaval are resilient, adaptable
and amazing survivors.
Wednesday, April 3
meeting Agenda:
Board of Directors
Summer Ubyssey
editors meeting
staff party reminder
AMS honorarium
other business
2nd Floor, 2174 W. Parkway
Vancouver, B.C.
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Tuesday, April 2
Ainslie Manson
Meet the author at the
Strathcona Branch Library, 592
East Pender St., 1:30pm.
Tuesday. April 2
Brian Maracle
Meet the author at the Central
Library—350 West Georgia
Street, 7:30pm.
Wednesday, April 3
Des Kennedy
Meet the author at the Central
Library—350 West Georgia
Street, 7:30pm.
Wednesday. April 3
UBC Symphonic Wind
Ensemble. Old Auditorium,
Lunch social. SUB 125N, 12:30pm.
Discussion group.  Graduate
Student  Centre penthouse
library, 5:30-8:00pm.
General Meeting in SUB 211,
The Ubyssey
Friday, March 29,1996 feature
AAAS president
Borin1 he is not
DAVID BORINS: your president.
by Janet Winters
If you consider yourself an activist, why don't you take a more active
stand against the Coke deal?
If breaching a deal means possibly costing your student union
in terms of destroying it financially, I think the work the Student Union does as a whole is
more important than breaching
that deal at this point in time.
Although I am doing something about it; I'm working to relax the confidentiality clause in
the deal and I'm working on a
policy about future corporatization at UBC and the AMS. I
don't think we should be creating dependency on the private
Why did you replace Mark
MacLean as speaker of the AMS
student council with yourself?
I feel it's useful to have a more
neutral president ofthe society on
council. I also quite enjoy chairing the meetings-I felt it's something in our bylaws and I'd like
to take that opportunity to do it.
Would you like UBC to join the
Canadian Federation of Students?
No. I think the AMS is in a
very strong lobbying position
right now.
Why did you choose to run as an
independent for AMS president?
I think people should run on
their own individual merits... The
whole notion of slate often tends
to hide some of the weaknesses
of certain members of the slate
and exaggerates some of the
strengths of other members.
Was that the situation in "Action
No, I think "Action Now" was
an exceptional slate.
Who are your biggest political enemies?
I don't really think I have any.
What do you think about Premier
Glen Clark's recent moves to freeze
tuition and provide youth job programmes?
It's a good initiative... It's the
result of student lobbying... However, I think the plan is very short
term in nature. I think if the NDP
really wants to get support, they'll
have to come up with a long term
plan-perhaps a three year regiment of tuition caps which would
guarantee people when they enter
university, they'll be able to finish.
Who will you support in the
upcoming provincial election ?
I'll very likely be supporting
the party that comes up with the
best post secondary education
policv. Right now, I think it's still
ambiguous, [but] I don't want to
see education saved at the expense of poor people.
At this point, which federal political party would you support?
If there were an election tomorrow, I would probably spoil my
ballot. The Liberal government is
a disgrace- they're not small T liberal bv any means... The Reform
Party-they seem like flakes to me,
and the NDP at the moment is so
decimated because they've lost
their traditional labour base of
support... Alexa McDonough is
not that impressive.
What do you think about [federal
Finance Minister] Paul Martin's
pledge to protect post-secondary education?
I'd say it's window dressing at
What should the federal government do to ease the burden of debt of
students upon graduation ?
People shouldn't be graduating with huge student loans, there
should be more grant programmes.
How much should students pay for
Ideally, tuition should be free-
I think that's the goal we should
strive toward...or very low tuition.
Why should people who don't even
get an opportunity to attend university pay for a bunch of [students with
access to wealth] to go to school? If
students are not finding most of their
education, who should?
When we do rise above a percentage of about 20 percent, it
becomes so expensive to attend
university that it becomes a domain ofthe elite. I think there are
genuine societal benefits from
having universities funded from
die tax base.
Why shouldn 't those students who
can afford to pay, pay?
It's an interesting dilemma; if
you start destroving universality in
the area of education, then you
might start to have that happening
in the area of health care.
But is education really universal
in Canada right now?
I think we're striving towards
a universal system. The problem
with saying, "the rich pay and the
poor don't pay"—it's a nice idea,
but how do you define who's
Too many people are forced to
be dependent on previous generations. In a better system, everyone would have equal access
regardless of wealth.
What do you think about Allison
Dunnet's idea to shut down the
Granville Street Bridge [toprotest cuts
to post-secondary education]?
I don't think demonstrations
should be planned a year in advance or something. I think demonstrations have to be in response
to a refusal of government to listen through other channels.
Are you a feminist?
I believe everyone should have
equal opportunity to strive for
their goals in society regardless
of gender or race.
What do you feel are some ofthe
issues that are of predominant concern to female students?
I think safety seems to be a
very big concern...I know there
is a concern about child care on
campus...I think access to universities is a concern specifically
more so for women.
For women from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds-for those who will have
to acquire a large amount of debt
[to put themselves through university)—one has to keep in mind
that women on average earn less
in society and therefore are at a
systemic disadvantage in paying
off loans.
Why do you think women who
graduate this year can expect to earn
less than their male counterparts and
what can we do to stop this?
I think women are discriminated against on the basis of gender. We have to continue to voice
our concerns as a society.
With different members of the
AMS having such polarized political
views, is the AMS being pulled in
opposite directions?
I don't think so. We're a society which respects individual
opinions. I'm a small T liberal,
like [John Stuart] Mill... There's
no way everyone is going to
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Friday, March 29, 1996
The Ubyssey This Star has Far
at the Granville 7
by Janet Winters
Guns, hitmen, action, blood,
ransom money—prime ingredients
for a cliched Hollywood flick.
What's really overexhausted is not
these criminal elements, but the
way they are used. Quentin
Tarantino had fun with violence
in Pulp Fiction as did Oliver Stone
in Natural Born Killers. The Coen
brothers {Miller's Crossing, Barton
Fink) take an even more bizarre
approach in Fargo. The film depicts reality in a brutally honest
form with an exceptional blend of
intrigue and twisted humour.
Based on actual events, the
movie tells the story of an upper
class mid-west American family
whose life is interrupted when the
wife/mother is kidnapped by a
couple of offbeat thugs.
What should be a simple ransom scheme takes a complicated
detour when the two are pulled
over by a traffic cop, spurring an
out-of-control chain of homocide.
Chief Marge Gunderson
(Frances McDormand), a very
pregnant state trooper, is assigned
to solve these senseless murders.
Her unintimidating down-home
style masks a clever and practical
deductive mind. The characters
she meets are distinctly unconventional by Hollywood standards.
McDormand's performance is
masterfully subtle. Whether chatting with a local simpleton, questioning murder suspects, or filling
her face with Arby's burgers to
satisfy her pregnant appetite,
Marge's remote mid western personality may be humourous to a
more sophisticated urban audience.
Her investigation leads to the
inevitable interrogation of the kidnapped woman's husband, Jerry
Lundegaard (William H. Macy).
Macy is impressive as the desperate and deceitful car salesperson,
and remarkably convincing as the
Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is one of the clearer-minded, but no less eccentric, figures
who dot the landscape in the Coen brothers' Fargo.
uwe him society
Mar.30-31 Sat. & Sun., "Norm" Theatre in SUB
7:00 Sabrina
9:30 Heat
No Friday Shows
UBC Film Society
Check for our flyers
in SUB 247.
a film
For 24-Hour Movie Listings call 822-3697
husband who does a poor job at
trying to cover up his obvious involvement. Jerry's panic grows as
his naive plan is thrown off by one
unforeseen obstacle after another,
due in part to the two sloppy
criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) he hired.
These "dumb and dumber" duo
have opposite personalities, yet
they are both bastards who kill
with such ease. Carl Showalter
(Buscemi) is the annoying
chatterbox, while Gaear Grimsrud
(Stormare) is the silent but deadly
type, and both halves of this gme-
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some  twosome   add   to  the
picture's amusement.
Although there are a few loose
ends, the film's ability to pull you
in and lock your eyes on the
screen more than compensates for
this minor flaw. The Coen brothers have written a script which
successfully picks up on the 1990s
blend of honest dialogue with
black comedy. The powerful direction delivers a message that is
becoming all-too-familiar in motion
pictures: reality may be the most
fascinating entertainment of all.
The Star Maker
at the Granville 7
by Peter T. Chattaway
Giuseppe Tornatore's Best Foreign Film nominee The Star Maker
was overshadowed by its Italian
counterpart, Michael Radford's
The Postman, in this year's Oscar
race. Still, one can make some interesting comparisons between
the two films.
To be sure, Tornatore is inspired
here by that love of film that he
explored in Cinema Paradiso, a
subject that might seem at odds
with The Postman's delicate ruminations on the power of poetry,
but both films explore the comic—
and, yes, tragic—consequences
that can follow when starstruck
simple folk encounter an outsider
whose artistic connections offer
them a hint of immortality.
Tornatore takes a different tack
from Radford, though, by telling
the story from the outsider's point
of view. Moreover, Joe Morelli
(Sergio Castellitto)
is, compared to
Pablo Neruda's
poet, a hollow sham:
he is not an artist, but a somewhat opportunistic talent scout
who charges people 1500 lire
apiece—or, when they are female,
sexy and penniless, screws them
in his truck-to film them quoting
a line or two from Gone with the
Wind that, once shown to the studio bosses in Rome, could make
stars of these lucky peasants.
The success of Tornatore's film
relies, paradoxically, on both the
consistency and the variety of the
people who sit before Morelli's
camera. Variety is amply accounted for: children tell naughty
tales, aging revolutionaries recall
the glory days of battle, shepherds wax poetic like Homer and
David before them. The consistency lies in the way these people
all open up before Morelli's camera; each encounter becomes an
intimate chance to bare one's
soul, perhaps even discover
something about oneself. Even
when a gaggle of Mafia hoods
invite Morelli to film the embalmed corpse of their deceased
Don, there is a sense that Morelli,
and we, have somehow gained
access to a private, hallowed
The trick, of course, is to enter
the holy space without profaning
it, and in this Tornatore is not entirely successful. The cameo parade prevents us from getting to
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Located in the Village at UBC
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The Ubyssey
Friday, March 29,1996 Versify, schmersify! This is Eliot!
Murder In the Cathedral
at the Salvation Army Church on 1648 East First
Avenue (off Commercial Drive) until Mar 30
by Andy Barham
T.S. Eliot wrote Murder In The Cathedral as modernism was sweeping through Europe and, in that context, his play about the murder of
Thomas a Beckett seems like a bit of a throwback to the
classical theatre of ancient Athens. For the most part, it
has all the classic elements of high Greek Tragedy: there's
a chorus (of church scrubbers) and enough vaulting ambition to keep a dozen kings and consorts plotting the intricacies of their nefarious plans for a long time to come.
Add to that the fact that most of the play is written in
verse, d la Shakespeare or Euripedes, and you've got...
The play's first half was a bit of a let-down; Eliott occasionally beats the audience over the head with his message, and the cast and crew seemed nervous on the opening night of Prospectus Theatre's first real foray into professional theatre. It was not until after the intermission
that the troupe finally hit their stride.
The acting throughout the second half of the show was
first-rate, and director Robert Light deserves kudos for
molding a crew of raw recruits into an accomplished and
coherent theatre troupe.
Eliot himself turns the play on its head in the second
half, adding a touch of modernism that enlivens and counteracts the stiltedness of the play's first half. Light skillfully couples a spartan, almost abstract, set with a few
showbiz surprises to heighten the contrast between the
play's traditional opening and its dramatic post-modern
Light's masking of the chorus through most of the play
was also an effective touch, with the masks being removed only after Beckett achieves the martyrdom he believes he is destined for.
"So long as they're wearing masks, they're not really
human - they're a class," Light explained afterward. "Once
they take off their masks, they become fully human, and
the act of removal becomes an act of liberation. In a sense,
then, they have been set free by Beckett's great sacrifice."
Even Greasier than
UBC Food Services
Christopher Archer crosses swords with some of
King Henry's knights in Murder in the Cathedral.
The versification of the dialogue can be a little obtrusive in the early going-especially if you haven't already
read the play. But by the second half it's no longer quite
so shocking—rather, by shutting out the actual words and
just letting the dialogue wash one over, the play achieves
an almost operatic grandeur, as though the actors were
singing their lines rather than reciting them.
My only complaint with the second half was the murder scene - it was a trifle too drawn out.
T.S. Eliot's Murder In the Cathedral is an ambitious
project even for a thoroughly experienced theatre troupe.
In their first foray into professional theatre. Prospectus
Theatre has risen to the challenge and triumphed beautifully.
Note: Robert Light and Prospectus Theatre have dedicated their production of Murder In The Cathedral to the
memory of Bishop Romera, who was murdered by a Sal-
vadoran death squad in 1981.
James Howick (Kenicke), Kenji Takahashi (Roger) and
Andrew Hall (Doody) strut their stuff in Grease, a musical
put on by Place Vanier residents last week in four sold-out
performances. It was the residence's first show; organizers
hope to make Vanier Productions an annual event.
UBC Graduate and Faculty Christian Forum
Are We Stuck with Our Relatives?
Prof. David Ley Department of Geography; UBC
This presentation will open a conversation that addresses postmodern
epistemologies in the mode of "Yes...but". While acknowledging the power
and achievement of postmodern scepticism toward the Grand Project of
western learning, the Christian cannot avoid having a strong view of truth,
quite at odds with Richard Rorty's view of truth as social convention, "entirely
a matter of solidarity.. .an expression of commendation".
How are these apparent contradictions to be reconciled?
Tuesday, April 2,1996 at 4:15pm [coffee at 4:00pm]
In Buchanan Low-Rise Penthouse lounge
know any of the characters—one is
sometimes tempted to say caricatures—but at first we don't care; the
film's earliest moments are a breezy
send-up of international cinephilia,
especially in one marvelous tracking
shot that follows a succession of villagers as they rehearse—and, amusingly, improve on-the archetypal
dialogue of Clark Gable and Vivien
But rather than stick to this easygoing S7acicer-like form, Tornatore
narrows his focus halfway through
on Beata (Tiziana Lodato), a naive vir
gin who dogs Morelli's steps and ends
up sacrificing everything so that
Morelli can learn a heavy-handed lesson. She becomes just another victim
in a long line of disposable women
who are little more than catalysts for
their menfolk's personal growth.
Thus The Star Maker, which begins with a whimsical love of cinema
it presumably shares with its audience, ends up becoming that worst
aesthetic combination: cliched and
depressing. We might share Beata's
sense of betrayal, but for the wrong
Grad Class Council
Results of
Grad Class
Grad Class Projects
135 - Security Bus Shelter on Campus (Music)
71 - RealAudio Server-Computer for
Internet Broadcasts (CiTR)
70 - Commemorative Mural in The Norm
(UBC Film Soc)
66 - Pentium Computer System and Colour
Monitor for Student Use (Faculty of Medicine)
Not Passed:
56 - Computer, Scanner and Laser Printer
(English Students Society)
53 - Computer, Scanner (AUS)
48 - PharmaNet Communications Equipment (PhUS)
43 - Communications Posting Board (FNS)
17 - Set of Computer Chairs (Law)
Each accepted proposal will receive $3,000.
If the romance ends where your acne begins, it's time to
take serious action. Your dermatologist has treatment
programs designed for even the worst acne conditions.
See your dermatologist today, or call 1 800 470 ACNE
for free information about available treatments.
Friday, March 29,1996
The Ubyssey opinion
Are summer jobs only the beginning of McCareers?
Summer jobs once began as a brief foray into "the
real world"; an unpleasant few months of slaving
away in the service industry that sent you scurrying back to school each fall a little more appreciative of
the fact that you were receiving an education. Unlike your
temporary friends gathered round the water cooler or
deep-fat fryer, you were a visitor, passing through on your
way to bigger and better things.
Things seem to have changed. An increasing number
of students are beginning to see their summer job as a
frightening glimpse of things to come. A growing sense
of dread develops as you realize more and more of your
co-workers have degrees; their temporary Mcjob, once
the source of tuition and disposable income, has turned
into their "career."
The return to classes in the fall is marked more by
fear than enthusiasm; there are a growing number of students "hiding" in graduate programs and "fifth-year unclassified" studies. With actual unemployment for those
between the ages of 25 and 30 hovering somewhere
March 29, 1996
volume 77 issue 48
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press.
The Ubyssey is published Tuesdays and Fridays by The Ubyssey
Publications Society at the University of British Columbia. Editorial
opinions expressed are those of the newspaper and not necessarily
those of the university administration or the Alma Mater Society.
Editorial Office: Room ?41K, Student Union Building,
6138 SUB Blvd., UBC V6T 121
tel: (604) 822-2301    fax: (604) 822-9279
Business Office: Room 245, Student Union Building
advertising: (604) 822-1654   business office: (604) 822-6681
Business Manager: Fernie Pereira
Advertising Manager: James Rowan
Account Executive: Deserie Harrison
Canada Post Publications Sales Agreement Number 0732141
Someone, some where, declares a war on stupid people At the tup ol the list, the Ubysiey staff. Sent!
Hayward buys cookies from a persisleot Girl Guide. After swallowing a box, he chokes on bis saliva. So it goes.
Siobhan Roantree pauses for a smoke on tbe balcony. A can of Cuke the size of a fridge topples over, in.isl.iitg
her. So it goes. Joe Clark puts the final copy of the front page through the waxer. His arm gels taught in the
roller. So it goes. Peter T. Challaway schmooiies the kind people at FtlmSoc. A remote zaps him into an etei nal
life of Simpsons reruns. So it goes. Richard Lam lakes a picture of the comet. A sizzling ray fires into Uie
camera lens. Trying his braid. So il goes. Federico Barahona writes an epic novel that will rival War and I'ioft.
Dozing off, he slips and his pen pierces his throat So il goes. Sarah O'lXinncI. pushes a cart down the aisle of
a supermarket- She whips out a grenade, places it in her mouth and pulls the pin. Soil goes. Mauran Kim mops
a puddle of gasohne. A cigarette fails on the soaked floor. So it goes. Douglas Quan interviews the president ol
Snappier. When he pushes the record button, a thousand volt electric boll shoots up his arm. So it goes. Mali
Thompson ieaps for the top of the wall. Clawing at the McDonald's logo, his grip slips and he tumbles back,
head first. So it goes. Charlie Cho argues, "It's not the voltage that kills you; it's the current." Hie giiost ofMatl
sets him on fire be Bowing, "It's not the heat that frills you; it's the humidity." So it goes.Janet Winters is tooting
for an AMS exec lo interview. Suddenly the floorboards give and she falls. So it goes. Andy Barham, Andrea
Gin and Jamie Woods are at a great punk concert. A punker with a particularly spiky haircut flies headfirst into
Andy. So il goes. Andrea is crushed in the mosh pit by a flannel frat boy. So tl goes. Jamie feels the track of a
flying beer bottle. So ii goes. Christine Price punches holes in lined paper in a factory. When the call tomes, -
she dies in the throngs of social revolution. Amanda Growe fumed the last page of Federico's epic. I'hen she
closed the hardcovered book on her nose, bone fragments entering her brain. So il goes. Ellen Samland sipped
• her tea. She burped. So it goes. Jenn Kuo drives JJu Ubyisrfs flats to College Printers. Siobhan's ghost takes
control of llie wheel, causing ber lo crash through the Main Street Skytrain Starbucks window. So it went.
Coordinating Editor: Siobhan Roantree
Copy Editor. Sarah O'Donnell
News Editor: Matt Thompson
Culture Editor: Peter T. Chattaway
Sports Editor Scott Hayward
National/Features Editor: Federico Barahona
Production Coordinator: Joe Clark
Photo Coordinator: Jenn Kuo
between 18 to 25 percent, it's easy to understand why.
Despite all this, there is still a sense of anticipation
as the summer months grow near. In the back of your
mind you know that if you want to return to your hiding
place in September, you need to be able to pay for it; this
is no longer a cheap hide-away. Once again, you dredge
up last year's resume to tack on this year's achievements.
TheJOB HUNT begins (insert ominous music here).
You send out resume after resume-each with a completely different cover letter since none of the jobs you're
hoping to get have anything remotely in common other
than the fact that they barely pay the bills. If you're lucky,
some of them actually relate to your degree or future
hopes and dreams.
Then comes the wait; you sit anxiously, waiting for
days, even weeks, for the phone to ring. Every time you
hear a stranger's voice at the other end of the line, your
heart skips a beat: this could be it...this could be an interview. Unfortunately, it's just your roommate's lab partner calling to ask about their latest fungus experiment.
letters ———
Make abortion
safe, legal
and RARE
It's hardly surprising that the
Catholic Church should be
dumping fill on farmland and
abuse on the Agriculture Land
Commission [The Vancouver Sun,
March 22). Their attacks on
the need to reduce family size to
achieve a sustainable human
population level is more dangerous. This is shown in such
teaching as their calling modern
contraceptives evil. This of
course leads to Catholics having
many abortions, but logical
consistency in unnecessary to
those with direct access to God.
To defend their teaching that
large families are God's will they
lead the attack against choice on
abortion. The latter is easier
to defend in the eyes of the
general public. The fact they arc
defending opposition to contraception is shown in the Pope's
statement that "contraceptive
mentality leads to abortion
It is interesting that killer
John Salvi should be spouting
Catholic dogma as he murdered
Ann Nichols, a Planned Parcnt-
Maybe next time, you think to yourself.
Finally, the call comes in-but not for interviews.
"Congratulations, you made the first cut," says a perky
voice at the other end of the phone. "We'd like you to
come write a test." A TEST! You think to yourself. Like
you have a spare minute to study for an extra test, but
you agree because you want the job.
And so it goes. If you're really lucky, you get the job
you wanted. But you feel fortunate if you get a job
period. The cycle begins anew.
Most summer employment provides only enough
to cover summer living expenses; the idea that a student
is able to save enough to pay for tuition in the fall has
become outdated for most. The cost of living and tuition
continues to rise while real wages have dropped. Most
turn to student loans to make up the gap, graduating with
oppressive debt loads.
But despite all the negatives, there's still something
that draws us here-an intangible reason, perhaps. The
pure love of knowledge? Social status? Cheap beer?
hood receptionist [The Vancouver
Sun, March 22). Is it not time that
those tolerant to contraception
be opposed to choice on abortion
disassociate themselves from
those opposed to contraception
and to abortion? This would help
to make abortion safe, legal
and RARE. It would start us
addressing the greater problem-
thc need to assure mankind can
achieve a sustainable population
Ken McLean
Where's my
Whew! I've been studying here
in Sedgewick for hours. And I
actually got some work done. I
think I'll get myself a drink.
Let's see. What should I have?
I don't want anything with sugar
in it. I've already eaten a sticky
cinnamon bun, two chocolate
bars and a Blue Chip cookie
today. I know! A Fresca! That's
exactly what I need right now.
OK, where is it... Fresca, Fresca,
Fresca... Ffmm. No Fresca.
That's odd. They had them
here last year... And nothing
even comparable. Where's my
Oh well. What can I do? As
much as I don't want to, Diet
Coke it is, I guess... I hope I have
a dollar in change: 50,60, 70,80,
8.5, 90, 95... I need one more
nickel. Fuck, I can't find one: no
Fresca and now... No god damn
Aw, forget it! I'm outta here.
Why should I pay the same price
for something I don't want
anyway! I wouldn't pay 50 cents
for that rot-gut shit!
Bryan L. Parachoniak
English honours 3
isn't it time
you wrote us a letter
...for our last issue of the vear?
Please tell us what you think about recent
issues of The Ubyssey. Comment on our news
coverage, our culture reviews, our sports
section, our photos, our graphics, our layout,
our letters, our fonts, our hair...
LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be given to letters and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion
pieces will not be run unless the identity of the writer has been verified. Please include your phone number, student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year
and faculty with all submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the office of The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done by phone.
The Ubyssey
Friday, March 29,1996 features
The Ecstasy Myth
The recentflurty of media attention devoted to the "rave scene*
and a few of its dead participants prompted  The McGill.
Daily's Mark Narron   to investigate the use of ecstasy firsthand. He discovered a drug and a scene that genuinely felt
good, didn't interfere with the Monday morning class and
that just might suddenly kill you.
without even caring.
By itself, "e" quickens the pulse, raises
body temperature, and slows down
kidney function. Combine a fast pulse, a
reluctance to sit still and techno at 125
beats per minute and it's not hard to
imagine boiling to death. There are
always tiny cuts inside the body and the
brain, but at 42 degrees Celsius blood no
longer clots. High blood pressure then
Ecstasy is a pleasant weekend drug that
can end your life without ever really
ruining it. Its use leads neither to addiction
nor necessarily to a lower GPA. And it
still sounds cool when bragging about it
to friends.
Since its European birth as "ecstasy"
in 1987, the drug's UK death-toll has
reached 60. The drug's most recent victim
was 19 year-old Andreas Bouzis, who
collapsed in a London club last January.
The Economist and other sources claim
as many as 500,000 Brits use ecstasy
weekly. No such statistics exist for
Canada, but the Addiction Research
Foundation's 1995 Ontario Student Drug
Use Survey might be one indicator of the
drug's popularity here. According to the
survey, only 1.8 per cent ofthe 4,000 high
school students surveyed had used ecstasy
in the past year.
Ecstasy was easily beat out by heroin
(2 percent), cocaine (2.4 percent) and of
course cannabis (22.7 percent). The
survey points out, however, that ecstasy
was only first introduced to Canada in
1989. And while the use of other drugs
has increased only moderately since 1993,
the number of ecstasy users has more than
Ecstasy or empathy?
The "sexual energy" so often implied
in rave-publicity and by the drug's very
name is misleading at best. Seasoned
ravers will testify to the atmosphere at
most raves as "sexually indifferent,"
thanks to "e."
According to Nicholas Saunders' book
Efor Ecstasy, ecstasy reduces sex drive-it
makes one concentrate on "love" as
opposed to "erotic love."
Men on ecstasy report difficulty getting
an erection. And all users are less likely
to reach orgasm during sex.
According to legend, the drug was
originally and more accurately called
"empathy." But considering the name unmarketable, a dealer re-baptized the drug
"ecstasy" for greater sex appeal.
Although ecstasy suppresses sexual
desire, Saunders notes that it also virtually
annihilates inhibitions. Ecstasy may
increase one's "receptivity to sex, but it is
not conducive to pursuing its invitation,"
he writes.
Serotonin levels affected
According to recent findings in the
British Journal of Clinical Pathology,
ecstasy can cause major liver, heart and
brain damage. The original ecstasy,
methylene-cHoxyamphetamine or MDMA,
was originally patented in 1913 by Merck,
a German pharmaceutical company, as
an appetite suppressant.
Now almost anything is sold as
The general consensus in the medical
community is that the drug is neurotoxic.
Ecstasy has been found to reduce the brain's
levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter
which controls mood, appetite and sleep
According to Dr. Blier, a neurobiologist
been  shown   to  destroy  certain
serotonin neurons. "The lesioning of
serotonin neurons is irreparable," he
states. "Once they are destroyed,
they are gone."
The findings published in the
Journal of Clinical Pathology by a
research team from Sheffield
University in the U.K. were based
on the investigation of seven dead
ecstasy users. Swelling, bleeding
and   damaged   nerves   were
reportedly found in their brains
as well as was dead tissue in the
liver and heart.
Saunders, who is not a
doctor, claims that MDMA
has   potential   for   use   in
psychotherapy. He argues
that its qualities of eliminating
fear and enhancing empathy
can   help   patients   face
traumatic memories.
But even Saunders alludes
to heavy users' tendency of developing a
"milder personality" and losing their
short-term memories.
MDMA's one perk is that it is not
believed to be clinically addictive.
Regular users who stop taking it will not
experience physical, withdrawal
symptoms, though life will doubtless be
less stimulating.
"E" has a built-in deterrent to abuse:
taken frequently, it loses its pleasant
effects and develops unpleasant ones.
According to Saunders, a
tablet taken once a day
will produce no pleasant
effects in less than a week
while speedy, exhausting
effects may worsen. It may
take up to six weeks after
the last dosage to feel the
full pleasant effects again.
Raves amplify the
The scary side of ecstasy,
which has received so
much atten-tion in the
media, has to do with the
drug's lethal short-term
effects exacerbated by the
conditions in a rave.
Though MDMA relieves
muscle tension, stress and
dissolves fear like Alka-
Seltzer in water, it also
causes a reduced sensitivity
to pain and temperature.
Awareness of touch and
sound are super-amplified,
making sober reality seem
like Nintendo—pain and
extreme temperatures are
felt, but the user just isn't
bothered by them.
Indifference to pain has
disastrous consequences
when you've been dancing
for four hours without a
break. Dehydrated and
overheated, you may die
only hurries you on your way to bleeding
to death. People with cardiac disease are
particularly disposed to sudden death.
Even veteran ravers who know to rest
periodically and drink lots of water to
avoid dehydration have also died. One
of the raver cadavers studied by the
Sheffield University team, for example,
had severely swollen brain tissue from
having imbibed fourteen litres of water.
Given the number of people
estimated to use ecstasy weekly, the
user-to-death ratio is still relatively small
compared to that of other heavy drugs.
But "e" is often touted as the drug for
non-druggies: a good night out with the
promise of no bad trips.
Who's using 'e'?
What is it then about the combination
of the rave and "e" that is so popular? The
average rave runs at $20-a-ticket, slap on
the price of a few tabs of "e" (generally
$27-$45 each) and a raver can
easily blow $100.
It would be unfair to hastily
label ecstasy as an exclusively
"bourgeois" drug, a Friday night
splurge of last week's allowance,
but most ravers are between the
ages of 16 and 20 with no fixed
income. Unlike addicts who may
commit crimes to fuel their habit,
ravers will often just beg mom or
dad. The tickets for most raves are
conveniently sold at boutiques, and
this facilitates begging when mom
or dad goes to the counter to pay
for oversize pants or baby t-shirts.
Asked if the experience is worth
all the money, one regular raver I
talked to said yes. Trying to articulate
a thought while he and his friends were
engaging in a "feely-feely," a Tiger
balm massage org)', he said, "I feel like
The coming down and subsequent
hangover, if any, is also reportedly
tolerable or even pleasurable. And its
predominance in a rave creates an
environment free of sexual aggression.
As Saunders points out, small talk
and flirting seem ridiculously hollow.
Caressing and hugging does not imply
a sexual advance. Affection is enjoyable
and without risk.
Because of the long-term damage it
causes, however, when the rave dies,
ecstasy is sure to follow. Though not
anytime soon, of course.
General Meeting
The Ubyssey Publications Society is the publisher
of The Ubyssey. A non-profit society incorporated in
the province of British Columbia, it is owned and
operated by the students of ubc.
This paper belongs to you—make your voices heard!
Friday 12:30 pm in the
Norm Theatre, SUB
Friday, March 29,1996
The Ubyssey Suffer my belly for a wedding present, please!
Mar 21 at the Town Pump
by Jamie Woods
Bands and politics often make
an odd mix. The Beatles tried to
become bigger than politics. The
Clash, one of the most politically
inspiring bands of their time, denied they were political. And
Echobelly, who brought their
punk-inspired brand of thrash-
pop to the Pump last week, are
on the charts because of their
successful manipulation of a chilly
political climate.
Echobelly are an unusual combination of white males on drums,
bass and rhythm guitar with an
Indo-British female vocalist
(Sonya Aurora Madan) and a
black, lesbian guitarist (Debbie
Smith). Coming from Britain, that
most revered of rock nations, they
could probably have stunk up the
Town Pump and still kept their
revering audience riveted. With
out a doubt, Echobelly uses their
image to bolster their popularity.
Fortunately, they're not a bad
band to boot.
But they aren't all that original. Smith's last band. Curve, a
dark brooding dreamy pop group
(their influence can be heard in
Vancouver's Rose Chronicles),
seemed to reach out into its audience and share its anguish.
Echobelly's scope does not reach
as far.
Perhaps this is because they
seem so preoccupied with their
image. Their album sleeves show
Madan in every possible light, as
if to make her a modern day
Blondie. The strategy appears to
have worked; the audience was
overwhelmingly male, howling at
Madan's sexual innuendo and the
"bad girl" curled lip she often displayed. Much of their attraction
may indeed lie in the fact that
Madan suggests her availability in
her lyrics; the songs revolve
around the contemplation of being alone. When Madan wanted
to offload the attention, she
merely turned to the eerily enigmatic Smith, who delighted the
audience by mischievously whispering, "It's true!"
Echobelly gets away with their
egoism because of Madan's
honey-like voice and tight, highly
complementary guitar work. One
feels, however, that if they could
transcend their egos and go beyond the simple beat of their
rhythm section, they could do a
lot more with their music than
simply rework good British punk/
The Wedding Present
with Butter Glory
Mar 26 at the Town Pump
by Andrea Gin
While British pop bands generally aren't known for their longevity, one outfit that deserves
that tag more than any other
swung through Vancouver
last Tuesday. The Wedding Present has been
around for over a decade, and while they have
never achieved "flavour of the
month" status here or at home,
they have garnered a solid and
faithful fan base on both sides of
the Atlantic, as witnessed by this
packed show at the Town Pump.
The Wedding Present has been
through several line-up changes
since their beginning ten years
ago; frontman David Gedge is the
only original member left, and he
pretty much carries the band in
their live shows. This was their
first North American tour in over
two years, in support of their new
CD Mini. The latest change in the
band's line-up has given it a
new dimension—the writhingly
charming male vocals are now
augmented by new bass player
Jayne Lackey's accompaniment.
They culled most of
their songs from Mini and
kept true to their recorded
work; the music is guitar
pop at its most honest, yet
cynical, best. What distinguishes this band from the
others in the Brit pop bin is the
notable clarity to their musicianship, the fact that they draw a lot
of their influences from American
music, and their unpretentious
stage presence. Gedge is charismatic in a modest and forthright
sort of way, and the rest of the
band is so reticient that it seemed
like they spent the show shying
away from onlookers and the
stage lights.
In the end, they were successful in satiating their faithful fans,
who obviously enjoyed the reprieve after a two-year dry spell,
and demonstated how it is indeed
possible to achieve popularity and
longevity, even in the world of
Brit pop.
Youth Flexipasses - 50% off
Repute price    Sale Price
4 days in 1 month $ 189 $ 95
8 days In ^ month $279 $140
^ 5 days in 2 months    $420     $210
Youth «. 25 years and und&r. travelling In standard class
Sate prices valid for travel from April 1 - June 15. 1996.
Visit us on campus for full details.
2 offices - SUB 822-6890 or Village 221 -6221
Owned and operated by trie Canadian Federation of Students
fs&Ople wouldn't give it a second glance.
"iftyers   r/"  T*rnl sh   .Torn  clean  tttPoUp by years   of  strumming.
But you kriO\Y    it.   It's   a  classic.
chord y0u piay   ruinbles  like a
by  hand.    And   every
le  ®n a midnight  street.
The Ubyssey
Friday, March 29, 1996


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