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The Ubyssey Oct 24, 2006

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Vol.LXXXVIH   N°14
Yet another begrudging remake
of a Japanese classic. Page 3
Wikipedia: the ruin or redefinition of
infotechnology. Pages 4 & 5
Tea-baggin' and Dutch ovenin' under the stars since 1918
Tuesday, 24 October, 2006
Former Vancouver Giant Captain, Mitch
Bartley on playing for UBC. Page 8
Green College principal tenders resignation
Residents view this as
an opporunity for
by Carolynne Burkholder
After months of clashes with residents, Green College Principal Keith
Benson has tendered his resignation.
Resident Jim DeLaHunt said
Benson made the announcement at
an after-dinner talk at Green College
Sunday evening.
"There's been disagreement
between the residents and the
principal for over a year as to how
best to run Green College...including academic programming, the
role of residents in decision-making, and even the way the meals
are run," said DeLaHunt.
Because of these disagreements,
DeLaHunt said he wasn't surprised
to hear Benson's announcement
"This situation has been developing for a long time. It's been
very difficult for him. It's been
very difficult for the residents. I
expected that something would
happen to resolve it," he said.
Benson confirmed that he has tendered his resignation to the Dean, but
refused to comment further on the
There have been several conflicts
between the administration and residents at Green College in recent
In September former Green
College journalist-in-residence Laura
BIG CHANGES: Jim DeLaHunt at Green College, oker chen photo
Robinson filed a lawsuit against the
Before her residency Robinson
had a brief relationship with
Benson. Afterwards, she claimed
that Benson interfered with her
residency projects, causing her to
file a sexual-harassment complaint.
In her lawsuit, filed in BC Small
Claims Court on September 19,
Robinson      alleged     that     the
University did  not provide  her
with a safe working environment.
Benson  denied  these   allegations  in  an  interview with  the
see "Green College" page 2.
Teacher evaluations to be made available to the public
by Colleen Tang
The lack of student resources to
choose courses has led the Alma
Mater Society (AMS) to consider
bringing back an online collection
of teaching evaluations.
Yardstick, a collection of teaching evaluations from each faculty
open to the public, began in 1994
but was ended in 2002.
"We stopped doing Yardstick
because [University administration] said they were going to put
this better thing in place but it's
been four years now," said Jeff
Friedrich, AMS VP Academic.
According to Friedrich, the AMS
is cooperating with the University
to develop a better system to aid
students with course selection.
Yardstick is going to run temporarily until the University's system is
"We're having some conversations with the different deans and
with the University to see if this is
the best way to move forward, but
I think [the University] should be
publishing something like this,"
he said, adding that reimplement-
ing Yardstick has not yet been
approved by AMS council.
Friedrich noted that a senate
motion in the 1990s "obligates the
University to make some kind of
summary, obligates each faculty to
make a summary of their evaluations available in some form...as
long as it meets privacy regulations."
The   privacy  regulations   are
interpreted differently among faculties, however. "There were some
faculties that never gave us all the
information or made it all available in an incomplete form. You
would have to ask the faculty for
them to see it," said Friedrich.
The Faculty of Education, for
example, views teacher evaluations as unfit to be published
because they are not conducted for
that purpose.
"We     don't    publish    them.
They're used for promotion and
tenure decisions so it's fully confidential for review," said Robert
Tierney, dean of the Faculty of
Education. "There are a whole lot
of problems with ethics."
According to Tierney, students
should not be looking at teacher
evaluations as the deciding factor
on which courses to take.
"When people are checking out
whether or not to take a course,
they really need to look at more
than one [source]," he said, adding
that the type of information that is
often left out is past and present
descriptions of courses, course
outlines, organisation of the
course, past assignments, teaching style and the expectations and
background information on both
the students and teacher.
Anna Kindler, associate VP academic programs said that the
University's campus-wide course
evaluations are close to being
implemented so the need for
Yardstick is not that vital.
see "Evaluations"page 2.
considers 2028
Olympics bid
Joint bid with Seattle'somewhat visionary/
tourism official says
by Eric Szeto
VANCOUVER(CUP)-The Vancouver-
Whistler 2010 Olympics are still
more than three years away, but
tourism officials have already begun
flirting with the idea of making a bid
for a joint Seattle-Vancouver 2028
Summer Olympics.
If successful, the 2028 Olympics
would set a precedent—it would be
the first bi-national Olympics and
the first time a city has hosted both
the summer and winter Olympic
Games. Discussions include the
possibility of Oregon joining and
making a Cascadian bid.
"It's still somewhat visionary,"
said Walt Judas, vice-president of
marketing and communications at
Tourism Vancouver.
The meeting that took place
between Tourism Vancouver and
the Seattle Convention and
Visitors Bureau on October 19
resulted in a decision that would
see creation of a feasibility group
to study the possibility of co-hosting future mega-events.
The 2018 World Cup and the
2020 World Fair were being discussed as other potential events
Vancouver could host over the
next 20 years.
If the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) were to approve
such an event, the Pacific
Northwest corridor would go
under major transformation and
become a major tourism centre.
"We don't have the Mona Lisa
here so we need other ways to
attract people to come to this city,"
said Tim Stevenson, a Vancouver
city councillor. "Just having lovely
mountains and oceans is only
good for a little bit."
With the growing pains
Vancouver has experienced since
the announcement of the
Olympics in 2003—cost overruns
for almost every Olympic facility
being developed, and transportation upgrades such as a $600 million to improve the Sea-to-Sky
highway and the $1.5 billion
Canada Line—Stevenson was a little skeptical of the idea.
"I think we need to get through
[the 2010 Olympics] first," he
said. "At the moment we're obviously having concerns about cost
overruns which are fairly significant and that's really troubling."
As well, hosting the Summer
Games—double the size of the
Winter    Games—would    require
see "2028"page 2.
Tuesday, 24 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
"Green College"continued from page 7.
Globe and Mail.
Green College also made news
in August when a group of residents refused to sign their contracts, causing the College to
issue eviction notices. The residents were particularly concerned about a clause that
allowed the contract to change
without warning.
Eventually some residents chose
to leave, while others signed their
Benson's tendered resignation has left residents unsure
about the future of the College.
"It's definitely a challenge for
the College," said Brigitte
Gemme, president of the
Executive Committee of the
Green College Residents
Association. "I think it's a good
opportunity for all of us to get
together and rethink why we're
there and what we want to
Resident Bryan Thiessen
echoed Gemme's statement.
"After months of trying to develop a working relationship with
the principal, I feel that a change
in administration is good for
Green College," he said.
DeLaHunt expressed regret at
Benson's tenured resignation.
"I'm sad that it's come to this. It's
not been a good situation for anybody. What's really important
here is that we find a way to
move Green College forward," he
Benson, who has been president
of Green College since 2004,
also teaches in the UBC history
department @
City councillor worries that property prices
will continue to rise
"2028"continued from page 1.
more world-class facilities. An
Olympic swimming pool, a proper
track, soccer stadiums and more
transportation upgrades would be
needed to house an event of this
"How much of a spotlight do we
want Vancouver to be in?" asked
Stevenson, who worries that the
sharp rise in Vancouver property
prices will continue.
The average price of a home in
Vancouver, according to the
Canadian Real Estate Association,
is $52 7,504-the highest in
Canada and a 16 per cent increase
from 2005. The national average
is $275,505.
The potential rise in property
value isn't disconcerting for
Arthur Griffiths, former chair of
the Vancouver-Whistler 2010
Olympic Bid Board and former
Vancouver Canucks owner.
Griffiths, who played a heavy
part in lobbying for the Olympics,
feels that people shouldn't be
embarrassed that the local marketplace is so desirable.
"You can't really have it both
ways. It is expensive to live in the
city, that's why you create urban
environments," said Griffiths, who
reluctantly admitted that a joint
Seattle-Vancouver bid was still a
long shot. "It's that catch-22."
Kim Kerr, director of the
Downtown Eastside Residents
Association, an advocacy group for
the poor and homeless that was
originally against the 2010
Olympics, is stoutly opposed to the
prospect of another Games coming here.
"The Olympics has simply put a
timetable on the gentrification of
the neighborhood," he said.
Vancouver City Councilor
Suzanne Anton, clamouring at the
idea of hosting another games,
feels that without the 2010
Olympics, many initiatives like
the $65 million social housing
project that was just passed
October 13—the largest one in
Vancouver's history—would never
have happened.
"You create a healthy society by
having good public facilities and
that's what we're building here."
The likelihood of an event
of that calibre coming is still difficult to tell, Judas said, but "people
didn't think that the winter
bid was possible for Vancouver
either." @
Students should not be looking at teacher
evaluations as deciding factor, education
dean says
"Evaluations"continued from page 1.
"I absolutely respect the
AMS's rights to make their own
decisions and I know the AMS
people are very thoughtful
about this so I would not
impose my judgment on it, but
I think that we are getting close
to a resolution," she said.
A general plan has been presented to the Senate, said
Kindler. A joint committee
comprised of Senate and
administration with participation from students is looking at
methods of implementation,
including an online option. The
projected completion time
is December after Senate
approves it.
A module type of evaluations
is what the University is aiming
for, said Kindler.
"What we really want to
see is a policy on student
assessment or student evaluation of teaching that would
have the blessing of the Senate
and would then be implemented across campus," she said.
"What we would like to
do is to come up with an
instrument that would on
one hand respect the diversity
of the units and the different
needs and the nature of
teaching and learning environments that they offer while
at the same time offer
some consistency of administration across campus," Kindler
Nancy Gallini, dean of
the Faculty of Arts, said
she is in favour of the upcoming campus-wide evaluations. "It's an excellent example
of how the University and
students work together for the
same cause."
Although she is "excited
about the collaboration," Gallini
cautioned that this system
needs to be done in a way that is
"credible [and] reliable for students and faculty."
Most importantly, students
and Faculty "can work together...to
come up with something better
than ratemyprofessors.com," she
said. @
Curious Creatures &
Where is the Love?
Precarious People
October 26, 12pm
October 23-28, 12-4pm
Music Building- Gessier Hall
SUB Art Gallery
Professor Adam Gussow of
A painting and installation
the Department of English
exhibit by UBC students
and Southern Studies at the
Erica Forssman and Clara
University of Mississippi will
Halpern. Free and open to
lecture on American Studies,
music, Faulkner and more,
under the heading "Where is
2nd Anniversary of the
the Love? Racial Violence,
Stolen Sisters Document
Healing,and Blues
October 24, 7pm
Pacific Cinematheque
Amnesty International and
Moses Mayes
UBC Women's Studies 100
October 26,8pm
students present two films
Gallery Lounge
and a guest speaker to dis
Get ready for afunk jazz
cuss the high number of
fusion.What else could you
missing and murdered
ask for on a Thursday night?
Aboriginal women in BC. A
free event.
Safe Together Kickoff
Gilbert and Sullivan
November 2,8pm
Society Musical Revue
Pit Pub
October 26,8pm
Featuring a strange but satis
Old Auditorium
fying combination including
A revue of music and theatre
Sweatshop Union and The
from all time periods hosted
Clips. Kindly brought to you
by the UBC Gilbert and
by the Safe Together
Sullivan Society. Featuring
Committee and the SASC.
numbers from musicals such
as Wicked, Chicago and
COOPERATION. UBC is organizing a
Northern Uganda Campaign on campus
this month with the aim or raising
awareness or the conflict in the region as
welt as Kinds to assist humanitarian relict
efforts. For more informarion on oar
events and how to get involved, visit www.
.caaemic services
English speaker! ESL, English (speaking,
writing, grammar). Sciences, Liberal
Arts. Editing (Masters and PhD theses,
papers, books). Elizabeth 7783222151
(SMS onlv), tcherinayv^'hotmail.com,
l.HARN PAINTING, draw nudes and
party wiili artists in the Visual Arts
Student Society ol UBC. Novice class
October 24th @ 6361 University Blvd.
open to all! www.vassubc.com (or derails!
a Big Brother. Spend a tew hours a week
biking, hiking, and being a buddy to a
cool kid. Call 604-876-2447 ext, 224 or
laughter to your life by spending one
hour a week with a kid. We have
volunteer opportunities for men and
women. Call 604-876-2447 ext. 246 or
red mahogany* $980 or best offer. Must
sell! 604-488-0512
Looking for a roommate?
Got something to sell?
Or just haue an announcement
to make?
If you are a student, you can
place classifieds for FREE!
only non-animal research.
Formore information,
visit Room 23 in
the SUB (basement)
or call 822-1654.
Tuesday, 24 OCTOber, 2006
Editorial Board
news editors   Colleen Tang &d
Carolynne Burkholder
culture editor Jesse Ferreras
culture@ ubyssey be.ca
sports editor Boris Korby
Momoko Price
features@ubyssey.be. ca
photo editor Oker Chen
Champagne Choquer
Jesse Marchand
volunteers Mary Leighton
volunteers@ubyssey.be. ca
Andrew MacRae
Matthew Jewkes
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University
of British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday
by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous,
democratically run student organisation, 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 appearing in
The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein
cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission
ofThe Ubyssey Publications Society.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. 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
editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done
by phone. "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 until the identity of
the writer has been verified. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit
submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by
12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after
this point will be published in thefollowing issue unless there is an
urgent time restriciton or other matter deemed relevant by the
Ubyssey staff
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an
advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the
UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS
shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors
that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.
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business manager Fernie Pereira
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ad design Shalene Takara
For the fifth-grade field trip Mrs Patty Corneau's class went to
the Alisha Delgado-Pelton aquarium. George Prior and Gayatri
Bajpai really wanted to seethe beluga whales jump and get
Isabel Montoya and Kellan Higgins soaking wet. After that Eric
Szeto, Colleen Tang and Carolynne Burkholder wanted to go see
the otters but Jesse Ferreras, Boris Korby and Momoko Price
wanted to seethe dolphins swimming. Oker Chen and
Champagne Choquer understood wrong and ended up swimming with the dolphins. Jesse Marchand, Mary Leighton and
Andrew MacRae went to see the sea lions while Mathew Jewkes,
Isabel Ferreras and Peter Holmes stayed in the starfish room.
Nick Black,Cody Burdett,Chris Noon and Elecia Chranik played
with the horseshoe fishes.
editorial graphic Michael Bround
University       Canada Post Sales Agreement
Press Number 0040878022 THE UBYSSEY   Tuesday, 24 October, 2006
Latest Grudge remake disappoints
now playing
by Cody Burdctt
and Chris Noon
The first Grudge was slow, sus-
penseful and barely punctuated
with the truly heart-pounding, gut-
wrenching scenes that you would
expect from a Hollywood horror
movie. The Grudge 2's opening
scene sends a clear message to the
audience that the series won't
make the same mistake twice. A
married couple is bickering in an
urban Chicago apartment when
the seemingly docile wife finds
domestic liberation with one solid
swing of a cast iron skillet. The
image of the bloodied husband's
body falling to the floor fades to
black to introduce the cast of the
plot rollercoaster that occupies the
next two hours.
Sarah Michelle Gellar's Karen
is reintroduced when her mother sends her younger sister
(Amber Tamblyn) to travel to
Japan to ensure her safe return
home. Karen is found sedated in
a Tokyo psychiatric ward, where
she is held under suspicion of
killing her former boyfriend. To
make matters worse, by setting
fire to the haunted house in the
original movie, she has
unleashed the curse—now it
threatens   anyone   who   chal
lenges its unstoppable path. The
film branches out to follow the
seemingly unrelated characters'
lives in Japan and the US as they
struggle to survive and understand "the grudge" that links
them. Three interwoven plot
lines keep the audience engaged,
but excessive plot twists become
more confusing than surprising
as the film goes on.
Overall The Grudge 2 is just
another step away from the traditional horror movie. Death
scenes are left to the imagination
and wide-eyed infants and intangible villains have replaced the
industry's staples of excessive
violence and gratuitous nudity.
The release of Saw III at the end
of this month should balance the
scales, however, because if
Alfred Hitchcock found out that
in 2006 audiences were gripping
their seats at scenes of hair in the
shower, rather than blood, he
would roll in his grave. In the
end, Takashi Shimizu's sequel is
a mediocre attempt to continue a
story that seems a little too similar to other poorly-made remakes
of successful foreign horror
films. It's unfortunate, but
aspects of competition in the
American and Japanese film
markets are beginning to parallel
their compact car industries.
And let's face it; though similar,
the Ford Festiva is no match for
the Nissan Micra. @
UK rockers Kasabian on the rise in North America
at the Commodore Ballroom
October 15
by Elccia Chrunik
British rockers Kasabian took to
the Commodore stage to showcase material from their latest
release Empire, from Sony/BMG.
Though the crew looked a little
tired before the show, lead singer
Tom Meighan was full of energy
and primed to discuss where his
band has been and where they're
going now.
Faced with the challenge of
being a British band breaking into
the North American scene,
Kasabian is carving out its niche.
The band's North American tour
kicked off in early September and
they have been playing consistently
sold out venues for new fans across
the US and Canada.
"What's nice about here is that
people generally leave us alone but
England's gone mad and Japan's
gone mad and Europe's gone
mad," Meighan claims proudly.
The fan base on this side of the
ocean is likely to keep growing as
the band continues to tour with no
concrete end in sight.
This is after a previous North
American tour,  another tour in
Japan, as well as a lot of gigs back
home, including the massive festival scene for the summer of 2007.
Meighan predicts "we'll be back
in the studio at the end of 2007."
What is notable about the
band's popularity is the maturity
and dedication observed in the
band's second release. Describing
their self-titled first album as "a
hazy, funk psychadelia record,"
Meighan says they've been "licking
a lot of flavours from the '70s" in
the hopes of creating a modern,
timeless sound.
They still have a lot of people to
impress but are working diligently
to get there. It takes dedication to
cover all this ground, and people
may be familiar with their name,
but the results are becoming ever
more apparent
Kasabian's high-energy and
tight sound had the crowd screaming with praise. And when a band
obviously loves what they're doing,
the enthusiasm spreads easily.
There's no question in
Meighan's mind that making a
lasting impression is a time-consuming process but he feels
"refreshed and reformed" and looking forward to the future.
"We've got a lot of amazing
music left in us," he said. "We'll definitely be around for the next ten
years." @
Writers confront
the dark side
Vancouver International Writers' Festival
October 20
by Nick Black
"I am your father": once spoken by Darth
Vader to Luke Skywalker in the now legendary Star Wars series, those words
served as Vader's illumination to Luke as
well as his strongest effort to try turn the
young Skywalker to the 'dark side.'
Recalling this immortal quote, when I
heard that the Vancouver International
Writer's Festival had an event titled 'From
the Dark Side,' I jumped at the opportunity
to check it out. Much to my surprise and
relief, Star Wars was not up for discussion.
Instead, the afternoon was spent speaking
with five authors about what it takes to go to
the 'dark side' of a human being in order to
recreate it in a novel.
It made sense that each of the novelists
had, at least once in their careers, written
about murderers or psychopaths and therefore had to envision what exactly it would be
like to feel such heavy emotions. I was most
excited to see Patrick McCabe, the Irish novelist who penned the brilliant Butcher Boy
and Breakfast on Pluto. I learned quickly,
however, that the other writers in attendance
had certainly earned their appearance. The
readings of their novels were fascinating and
did nothing less than increase my interest in
their writing.
The first to read was British Columbian
Marilyn Bowering, who chose a selection
from her latest work What it Takes to be
Human, a novel about a young man in an
insane asylum during WWII; second up
was internationally renowned South
African novelist Damon Galgut, who read
about murderous transactions in his novel
The Quarry, McCabe came next reading
from Winterwood, his highly anticipated
novel. Next was Eden Robinson, who read
from Blood Sports, a novel about
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside; and
finally came Gaetan Soucy, a Quebecois
that brought just as much humour to the
afternoon as McCabe, despite some difficulties with English. The afternoon passed
amicably, as all the writers remained in a
light, humourous mood, despite the program's title.
The most important aspect to be taken
from the afternoon was that the dark side of
life is inevitable: it is everywhere around us,
no matter where we look. The real difficulty
is remaining upbeat enough to be
humourous in a time of hopelessness. As
Soucy said it himself, "If you take life too seriously, you'll go mad."
This statement was reaffirmed by
Bowering when she said, "No matter how
bad things get, it can always get worse." If
there was one central idea that the writers
agreed upon unanimously, it was that the
dark side is a part of life, but it is never
the part that should be the point of constant focus.
What we should always remember is that
it can always get worse, and that humour is
what helps make life bearable.
As McCabe said, "It's like living in the
dark, and staring at the light." @ Tuesday,24 October, 2006    THE UBYSSEY
THE UBYSSEY   Tuesday, 24 October, 2006
You only have four days left to submit your story!
The 2006 Ubyssey Halloween story contest! Cash prizes!
Think you can write a scary story? Why don't you test your skills?
What you need to do:
1) Write a story that is 750-1000 words
2) Subject matter: anything you damn want.
3) Deadline OCTOBER 27
4) Send to feedback® ubyssey.bc.ca or coordinating©ubyssey.bc.ca
5) Points for originality and humour, points for spooookyness
6) Please include your name, what year you are in and your contact info
The top three winners will be released in our October 31 Halloween story feature! Good luck!
2, Sign in / create account
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University Boulevard Concept Drawing
Following up on the results of the University Boulevard International
Architectural Competition in April 2005, this highly anticipated project
is now in the design phase and construction is scheduled to begin in the
summer of 2007.
Come out and meet the architects to learn more and give us your views
on how the design is proceeding.
WHEN:     Monday, November 6th
2:00pm - 6:00pm
WHERE:   Student Union Building
Main Concourse - North End
We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information please contact Norman Sippert at 604.827.3500
or by email at norman.sippert@ubc.ca
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by Bryan Zandberg, Graphics by Oker Chen
The Wiki-ed web revolution
How Wikipedia is changing the meaning of knowledge
have been slagging Wikipedia ever
since it launched in 2001 and to
this day the free online encyclopedia's wild popularity remains
unscathed. Despite having been
portrayed as unreliable, mean-spirited, biased and prone to scary
problems like 'trolls' and 'flaming'—people still swarm to use it.
Stephen Colbert has satirised its
"everybody's-an-editor" approach,
calling on viewers to protect endangered elephants by simply re-editing how many surviving specimens
were left—problem solved! But
watchful Wikipedians quickly corrected his comic act of 'vandalism,'
and as ever, the site's celebrity status has kept on climbing.
For e-addicts, Wikipedia is like
the Paris Hilton of Internet media:
it's everywhere they look. Google
anything—'hot pants,' 'Santorum,'
or "la vida loca — search engines
place Wikipedia articles at the top of
the pile for almost any person, place
or thing you can think of. Which
means that unless you happen to be
some kind of academic masochist,
you too are probably relying more
and more on this fast, free, research
If it's obvious that Wikipedia's
here to stay, what isn't clear is what
role, if any, it ought to play when it
comes to top-notch academic pursuits. And it turns out the answer's
one of the few things out there
Wikipedia can't sum up at the touch
of a mouse-click.
Poor kids + free Wiki= love
Wikipedia is freely licensed,
which means it can be copied,
changed, posted to your blog, made
into digital art or treated any way
you like since there are no copyright
laws to break (as long as updated
versions grant the same freedoms
to others and acknowledges
sources.) In the dazzling digital revolution, Wikipedia is like a techno
logical Robin Hood, stealing knowledge from rich license holders and
putting it in the hands of the poor.
It's the democratisation of information, brothers and sisters.
And again, it's free. A 34-volume
print set of Encyclopedia
Britannica, on the other hand, sells
for a cool $1,600 US.
Critics like Andrew Orlowski,
however, say we're getting exactly
what we pay for. And when you read
some of the stuff that Tom, Dick and
Harry considered worthy of an
entry—the biography on Melissa
McGee, for example, who placed
12th in the fifth season of American
Idol—it makes you wonder if free is
already paying too much.
Orlowski, a San Francisco-based
journalist who has entertained the
blogosphere with theatrical critiques of Wikipedia, argues the
majority of the encyclopedia's content is "junk food," and that the project is run by people who "willfully
create...confusion between information and knowledge."
"Information isn't knowledge,"
he says. "There's a very important
distinction. We're awash with information today, and much of it is
unreliable and of low quality. It's
debatable whether our actual
knowledge has increased qualitatively or quantitively."
Jimmy Wales, founder and
owner of Wikipedia, disagrees:
"There is no such thing as too much
information," he wrote from Florida
by e-mail. "If we are drawing a distinction between knowledge and
information, then Wikpedia helps
the spread of knowledge because of
the very nature of the work:
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
attempting to be the sum of all
human knowledge, not a data
But Tom Panelas, director of
communications for Encyclopedia
Britannica, counters that there
comes a point when information
just isn't useful anymore.
"When we moved from print to
the web," he explains, "we used the
additional capacity we gained and
expanded the size of the encyclopedia. But we don't continue to
expand it without limit...We're not
trying to give people all the information in the world or cover every
subject anyone could think of."
He likens Wikipedia's size fetish
with a short story by the
Argentinian writer Jorge Luis
Borges, in which cocky cartographers of a greedy ancient empire
continually draw the map of their
territory larger and larger.
Eventually, the map becomes as big
as the empire itself, at which point
it becomes completely useless.
"The moral is an important
one," writes Panelas via e-mail from
Chicago. "Like maps, encyclopedias
are representations of something
else, produced on a smaller scale so
real people can assimilate the information they contain. The urge to
shovel every fact in the world at people—an impulse that governs much
of the web—risks ignoring the real
practical needs of people who want
to learn."
"Wikipedia is an
encyclopedia attempting
to be the sum of all
human knowledge, not a
data dump."
-Jimmy Wales
Founder of Wikipedia
Wikipedia dwarfs Britannica
completely—compared with the Letter's 65,000 articles, Wikipedia has
more than 1,430,032 in English
alone, and over five million in all
languages combined.
Presented with this challenge,
the folks at Britannica are fond of
citing American historian Lewis
Mumford, who predicted—just
before the arrival of the web—that
the explosion of information in the
world would "bring about a state of
intellectual enervation and depletion hardly to be distinguished from
massive ignorance.
"Not only would lots of information fail to make us smarter; it
would actually make us dumber
by overwhelming us," warned
Britannica's editor-in-chief Dale
Hoiberg in the Wall Street Journal
last summer.
But the real genius behind
Wikipedia isn't its speed and span
alone, it's the wiki software working
away behind the scenes. This software allows visitors to add, remove,
edit and change content on its website, making it both fast and flexible
because large numbers of people
from around the world can create
articles and update them as quickly
as new developments become
known. It should be mentioned that
wikis are transforming academia
for the same reason: they are an
amazing tool for scholars to hyperlink their research together, check
on each others' work and learn
what advances are being made in
their respective fields and disciplines.
This format, which has ultimately been the formula for Wikipedia's
success, has its pros and cons. It
could be considered a benefit
because, to a certain extent, building knowledge is an ongoing
process. "When is human knowledge ever [complete]?" posits Wales.
"Nothing is ever done, knowledge is
always growing."
On the other hand, when you
learn that the Wikipedia entry for
'Wikipedia' itself has been edited
17,919 times between 2001 and
last June, the 'process' argument
start borders on ridiculous. The
Atlantic, which ran the above figure,
reported that the entry for George W
Bush had been edited 30,393 times
within the same time period. These
racing revisions often stem from
endless 'edit-wars'—the Wikipedian
equivalent of pissing contests—
between rival editors.
Wikipedia isn't the only one to
benefit from new technology:
even its closest competition,
Encyclopedia Britannica, has also
made speedy strides forward
thanks to its web-based format. The
latter obviously doesn't use wikis on
its on-line database (where only
experts are allowed to write and
modify articles), but the web has
made them much more cutting-
edge than they could possibly be in
their print edition. "When Pluto was
downgraded from a planet to a
'dwarf planet/" writes Britannica's
Panelas, "we immediately revised
our articles on Pluto and the solar
system, and those revisions
appeared on-line the day the
announcement came from Prague."
Panelas draws a sharp distinction between the down-to-the-sec-
ond response time wikis create for
researchers and students, and the
need for split-second revisions in a
carefully compiled reference like an
"Just because you can publish
and revise every few minutes...does
n't mean you should," he argues.
"We publish sound, reliable articles
and revisit them when necessary,
but since we're not a news organ
and would serve our readers poorly
if we tried to be one, we don't keep
revising endlessly."
Quality versus 'openness'
"Wikipedia has always had the
choice of putting quality first, or putting openness first," writes
Orlowski. "It was never going to be
able to achieve both."
A blogger by the name of
Nicholas Carr frames the same criticism in a slightly different way:
"At this point, it seems fair to ask
exactly when the intelligence in 'collective intelligence' will begin to
manifest itself," he writes on his
blog Roughtype. "When will the
great Wikipedia get good? Or is
'good' an old-fashioned concept that
doesn't apply to emergent phenomena like communal on-line encyclopedias?"
Here Orlowski and Carr hit a
weak spot in Wikipedia's armour:
how will it ever be reliable if anyone
can edit it?
Institutions like the US Patent
and Trademark Office, for example,
recently ruled that citations of
Wikipedia would not be allowed in
patent cases because its contents
are so volatile. The Stephen Colbert
sketch on "wikiality" explains why:
in Wikipedia, truth is whatever the
last editor says it is. The US
Supreme Court, on the other hand,
does allow facts cited from
What does Wikipedia's 'quality
versus openess' mean for students?
There is no set answer—it really
depends on what you're after. If
you're in pharmacy, would you trust
an anonymous writer named
"FlamO-666" to give you reliable
information about the side-effects of
tetracycline? Probably not
If you were looking for pop culture criteria for identifying vampires in the grave, however, or
needed a filmography for Atom
Egoyan, Wikipedia's probably one
of your best bets for starting out.
Britannica pales in comparison to
Wikipedia on this front
When it comes to current events,
Wales has the following reason why
Wikipedia might be just as good as
CNN: "We have a strong neutrality
policy which is firmly enforced, and
[we] input from a huge number of
people [with] many different viewpoints," he says. "If you want partisan information or propaganda,
just turn on the television."
In many cases, however, background from ol' Encyclopedia
Britannica would seem a little
safer: they have more than 4,000
experts and scholars from around
the world writing, editing and fact-
checking their entries, and past contributors include Albert Einstein,
Sigmund Freud, Marie Curie, and
George Bernard Shaw—you know,
that kind of crowd.
When the question was posed as
to what incentive a modern aca
demic would have to write for
Wikipedia—without recognition or
the assurance that an amateur or
dilletante would vandalise his or
her work—Wales snapped back
"I don't understand the question
at all. Asking why academics and
specialists contribute to Wikipedia
is like asking why athletes play
sports. There are a lot of reasons
people are into intellectual activity,"
he answers flatly.
"I reject the notion that academics have such fragile egos that they
live in fear of interacting with the
general public. I reject the notion
that people who are not academics
are 'dilettantes.'"
"Wikipedia has always had
the choice of putting
quality first, or putting
openness first. itwas
never going to achieve
-Andrew Orlowski
But Wales doesn't explain how
disputes between editors of any
given article could be resolved by
the most qualified person. The
structure of Wikipedia prevents this
from ever becoming a possibility,
because if it ever closed access to
certain people it would no longer be
an 'open' encyclopedia. In the academic world, experts, tenured professors and peer review are the
authority, and reputation is everything. Wikipedians are anonymous.
The German version of Wikipedia,
however, is experimenting with limiting access in the interest of creating higher-quality information.
Critics say that undermines the
openness principle.
Diversify your info diet
So Wikipedia is faster, bigger
and it's free. But what if you're actually willing to get some bang for a
few bucks?
Encyclopedia Britannica has
been on-line since 1994 and you
can get access for $70 a year. But
that's not even how most people
tune into the self-proclaimed "most
definitive source of knowledge."
There are 100 million people in
the world who use Encyclopedia
Britannica, according to Panelas,
who says most of those people get it
through their institutions—schools,
libraries, universities—and don't
even pay for access.
Neither the Vancouver Public
Library (VPL) nor UBC, however,
have licensing agreements
with Encyclopedia Britannica.
Representatives at both libraries
said they cost far too much.
Orlowski thinks there's something very wrong with this. He's
written about why societies should
extend public access to expensive
information   collections—like
Encyclopedia Britannica, which has
been struggling to compete in the
last decade partly because of the
glut of information on the Internet—
and thinks it should be a priority
because it would "head off the
major trend of today, which is the
division into a two-class society—
with one class enjoying access to
reliable, quality information, the
other condemned to use free junk."
By junk, of course, he means
For students at most Canadian
universities, there are exceptional
resources that a lot of students don't
take advantage of—things such as e-
journals, magazine and periodical
databases and access to on-line versions of traditional encyclopedias
written by experts. Though neither
VPL nor UBC have Britannica, they
do provide access to World Book
and Funk & Wagnalls.
The growing trend, however, is
to rely on Wikipedia. It's one of the
20 most visited sites on the web.
Which is fine, bearing in mind that
there really are fuller-bodied and
more robust resources at our fingertips.
"To students, I'd say enjoy great
information while you can," counsels Orlowski.
But even after you've graduated,
websites of institutions like the CBC
are handy and accurate resources
that shouldn't be overlooked.
Wiki: the never-ending story
So is Wikipedia useful as a student learning tool, or is it just a
cultural curio?
"When you see an incredibly
detailed Wikipedia entry on
Klingon language it's hard not to
laugh and roll your eyes," says
Brian Lam, manager of emerging
technologies and digital content
at UBC's Office of Learning
Technology. "But such cultural
quirks should not obscure the
genuine pragmatic value of the
Despite its flaws, Lam thinks
Wikipedia is "a remarkably useful
reference tool" and a great place
to start.
In the context of a cynical, postmodern society, Wikipedia's army
of 65,000 volunteers is pretty
flooring. "Not only are Wikipedia
editors willing to contribute their
efforts for free," observes Lam,
"they do not expect tenure, glory,
good grades or even attribution in
return." A recent article from The
Atlantic        speculated that
"[Wikipedia] has the potential to
be the greatest effort in collaborative knowledge gathering the
world has ever known."
But as our whirlwind Wiki
romance continues, it's never a
good idea to go head over heels.
Nature magazine, summed it up
well, after conducting a much-disputed study of Wikipedia and
Britannica that found them roughly the same in terms of quality.
Researchers should read
Wikipedia cautiously, they say,
"and amend it enthusiastically." @ Editorial & Perspective
Tuesday, 24 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
North Korea is in possession, of
Muclear Cruise Missiles! You
know what that means....
Nuclear   North   Korea  Can   Only Mean
Another Giant Leap For Mankind
Happiness is just a state of mind
Last night, we at the Ubyssey were contemplating the inevitable editorial on the nuclear
crisis being negotiated and the breakdown of
civil society in Iraq. Naturally, we sank into a
stupor just thinking about it. We realised that
the most productive thing we could do would
be to stick a big yellow happy face over the
depressing news that surrounds us. As the
wise prophet Brian once said, sometimes all
you have to do is look on the bright side of
life. Now let us shareth the joy with you...
A tumourous blessing
He may have a tumour at the base of his
skull that caused his body to super-size like
a Chernobylian Happy Meal™, and he may
die on the court mid-play, but we refuse to
see the story of Sun Ming Ming, the 7'9"
basketball giant from China, as anything
less than a hero's tale.
All right, so agents have touted him as
slow, awkward and lacking stamina. And due
to his health condition, he's probably more
likely to turn out to be a De Vito to the Yao
Ming's Schwarzenegger (even though he's
taller.) But thanks to money and the staunch
belief that size always matters, Sun may rise
to the top—especially now that thousands
have been invested to cover his medical bills
and see what he's really capable of. The hero
of this story? The sports agent who altruistically shelled out $ 100,000 to medically determine if all basketball talent really boils down
to is a freakishly tall body. Who says people
aren't compassionate?
The fashion of food-poisoning fevers
Botulism is back, baby. For those unfamiliar
with pre-WWI bacterial infections, botulism
has taken back its original standing as the
meat industry's strongest counter-argument
to vegetarianism. And it's about time. This
crippling-if-not-fatal, full-body paralytic infection is now being siphoned into easily accessible bottles of carrot juice for your own over-
the-counter consumption, and is now available in Canada and the United States.
Nothing spices up grocery shopping like
balancing your diet with a little Russian
roulette. Just when you thought eating your
veggies was getting boring, the agricultural
industry throws us yet another curve ball to
keep us on our toes.
Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino mogul
wished he was dreaming when he got a little too excited and put an elbow through
Pablo Picasso's "Le Reve" which he was
planning to sell for $138 million at the
beginning of this month.
Wynn tried to portray himself as less of a
donkey's ass by citing retinitis pigmentosa,
an eye disease that makes peripheral vision
faulty, as the cause of the mishap.
We have to say our hearts aren't breaking
over his loss.
Instead we're celebrating that another
rich bastard was stopped from earning a cool
$90 million more than the price he paid for
the painting.
Nothing says I love you like Kraft
Edmontonians are forming a new trend to
remind over-seas soldiers of home by sending cheesy, zesty Kraft Dinners™.
The soldiers that are currently in
Afghanistan will each receive two boxes—at
the approximate price of $ 1 a box—to provide
them with nostalgia of being at home. Of
course, this would only last for one meal but
it will be one meal that will be appreciated.
First Timmy Ho's, then Kraft Dinner™,
what next? Molson™ beer? At least that
would numb the soldiers' pain from fighting
in Afghanistan.
Nagy would be turning in his grave
Apparently things haven't changed much in
Hungary after half a century.
For the past month, the Hungarian government has been surrounded by a mob with big
smiles on its faces as the Eastern European
nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of its
uprising against the occupation by the Red
Army in 1956.
The latest round of protests began in mid-
September when Socialist Prime Minister
Ferenc Gyurecsany admitted on a recording
that his government lied about the country's
economic state before being re-elected. The
protests, however, have not been the reaction
anyone expected. Just as they began, protesters made their own Jackass video on national media as they stole a tank and ran it
through Budapest as riot police shot them
with water cannons.
Calls to police as to the whereabouts of
their tank were not returned with much comment, saying, "My hovercraft is full of eels."
A visit to Imre Nagy's grave, meanwhile,
showed the ground disturbed by his casket,
likely from a post-mortem turning over.
Bear attacks horses, mourns defeat
A Swedish bear was so hungry he could eat
three horses. And that's exactly what he
tried to do. Unfortunately for the bear, horse-
meat is tough. He limped away from the
unlikely battle hungry with hoof prints on his
skin and a badly wounded ego. The motto of
this story: say nay to the neigh. @
What is the best piece of news you've heard this week?
-Mark Ballard
Medicine, 1
"European models
have to be above
a certain weight."
-Brad Peters
Geology, 3
"Canucks came
back and won. Go,
Canucks, go!"
—Erica Forssman
Fine Arts, 4
"There was a cobra
loose in an apartment building in
Toronto. They had
to evacuate the
whole building."
—Bryce Cooper
Commerce, 2
"They're reconsidering rebuilding
Henry Angus
—Timothy Weaver
Science, 3
"North Korea is
backing down."
-Coordinated by Mary Leighton and Oker Chen
World leader or international
by Jessica Pautsch
The Liberals tried, barely, and failed to live up to
their promises. Harper, on the other hand, refuses
to even make a legitimate effort
Global warming is a harsh, inconvenient reality that cannot be ignored. The Kyoto Protocol currently stands as the only international treaty recognised by 165 countries that aims to reduce greenhouse emissions proven to contribute to climate
The Harper government has publicly criticised
the Kyoto Protocol as unreasonable and unattainable. The Protocol obliges Canada to reduce gas
emission by six per cent below the 1990 base line
by 2012. Currently, we are 30 per cent above the
acceptable target, and risk being one of the only
industrial countries that will miss its goals.
Ironically, we will be one of the hardest hit.
Harper's alternative "Clean Air Act", released
on October 19, is in response to the growing concerns to take a stand on the environment. The proposed Act hopes to counter arguments that Harper
is "soft" on the environment It essentially seeks to
synchronise regulations with the United States by
2010, set intensity based targets, regulate indoor
contaminants and reduce emissions from particular vehicles among others things.
Despite the striking similarities to Bush's environmental plan, two questions arise from this proposal: Is it sufficient to reduce the adverse effects;
and, can it be implemented? The answer to each is
a big no.
Problem #1: Harper's intensity-based targets
are relative, not absolute. Industries are required
to reduce emissions per unit of production. The
loophole seems obvious: as industries expand, so
do emissions. This seems self-defeating. Intensity-
based incentives allow large industries to increase
emissions and still meet their reduction targets
when the economy is growing. Consequentially,
restrictions on Alberta's booming oil and gas
industry are limited as it continues massive
expansion in the oil sands. Needless to say, the
plan has the support of oil companies
Problem #2: It's too long. The plan does not
allow for short-term goals. If passed, the Act would
force emission cuts from 45 per cent to 65 per
cent by 2050. This is self-defeating since experts
hold that short-term targets are the most effective
way to bring about change.
This obvious inadequacy will bring unfavorable consequences to both Canada and the world.
Sea level rises, costal erosion, new diseases, harsher weather and water depletion as well as widespread draught, floods and forest fires are
inevitable consequences that will ultimately redefine how we enjoy our comfortable, predictable
lives at present
If is the operative word since a coalition of environmental groups fear it could take up to five
years of debates and consultations before the legislation is adopted.
Is it a viable policy?
As history shows, policy and practice do not
necessarily go hand in hand. The likelihood of the
Act being passed is unlikely since all three opposition parties flatly rejected the act as "weak, vague
and delayed." This defeat may work in Harper's
favour since it now provides him both time and an
excuse to do nothing.
Though we would be the first government to
establish national air-quality objectives, Harper's
proposal is considered both a let down and an
embarrassment to all Canadians. This is an unfortunate reality because we now have two bills—the
Kyoto Accord and the Clean Air Act—with no clear
plan to implement either. So, Canada remains at a
standstill while the rest of the world is tuning in.
Global warming is an uncomfortable reality
that will remain on the political backburner unless
we collectively make it a priority. Canadians
should take a stand and be a model for the world—
not an international embarrassment. We can
either take the initiative or wait until a natural disaster to wake us up.
Now what? As global citizens, we have obligations. Get informed—do some research! Educate
your government. Write your MP. See "An
Inconvenient Truth" viewing at Freddy woods
Theatre, November 23. Take personal measures
to reduce your impact on the environment
—Jessica Pautsch
Political science, grad student THE UBYSSEY   Tuesday, 24 October, 2006
Thunderbirds take a step back
list Downs
UBC |        23
122-199  1
CAL           23
C/ATT    YDS      TD
16/30    252
UBC FLOUNDERS IN FOURTH: TheT-Birds handed the Dinos their first win of the season Sunday afternoon in Calgary, wilson wong photo
by Boris Korby
The CIS nineth-ranked T-Birds let a
19 point fourth-quarter lead evaporate Sunday afternoon in Calgary
against the previously winless Dinos
(1-6), dropping them to 4-3 entering
the final week of conference play.
Trailing 27-8 entering the fourth
quarter, Calgary rallied for a 30-27
victory to end a ten game losing
streak dating back to the middle of
last season, and give first-year Dinos
head coach Blake Nill his first victory
behind the Calgary bench.
"We thought we had the game, basically, going into the fourth," said third-
year linebacker Graham Best "It looked
like it [was won], then we started getting
injuries and we stopped making plays
and everything turned around and they
just took advantage of it"
Calgary got back into the game
when slotbackjim Lillico caught a 24-
yard touchdown pass from rookie
quarterback Dalin Tollestrup with
7:53 remaining in the fourth, cutting
the UBC lead to 12. On UBC's next
possession, fifth-year quarterback
Blake Smelser fumbled the ball at his
own 3 7 yard line and two plays later
Calgary cut the margin to five with six
minutes left to play.
Turnovers were a problem all day
for the T-Birds, as Calgary intercepted
Smelser four times in addition to the
fumble recovery. Injuries were also a
problem for the T-Birds, who were
coming off only three days rest, having played SFU on Wednesday.
"It definitely hurt us because it
was so close to [the SFU game] and
because we had 11 guys injured in
[the lineup] during the Calgary game
and I think that may have been a factor. Guys were still beat up and tired,"
said Best
Despite the loss, UBC secured one
of the final two playoff positions in
Canada West over the weekend
thanks to undefeated Manitoba's (7-0)
49-44 victory over Regina. UBC is now
assured of finishing in either third or
fourth in the Canada West, and will be
on the road for the Canada West semifinals, which begin November 4.
The T-Birds will meet either
Manitoba—who visit Thunderbird
Stadium next Friday for both teams'
regular season finale—or
Saskatchewan—whom they've lost to
in the semifinals the last two years in
row by a combined score of 71-6—to
start the playoffs. @
— With files from Wilson Wong
ToKilrup 17/43   316        1 2
Chris        17       112
LG   1
Anthony      21         118
ilfllBC       7         13
\Jk CAL       i         2
1  REC 1 YDS 1   TD
Tyler          4            78           1
An Evening w/ Moses Mayes:
Thursday, October 26,
Gallery Lounge, 8pm.
Tickets @ Zulu, Scratch, the Outpost, 19+
Safetogether Event w/Sweatshop Union,
The Clips: Thursday, November 2, Pit Pub,8pm. Stay
tuned to AMS Events for ticket info.
November show teaser:
Islands w/ Besnard Lakes, Subtitle;
Chet w/ Away, Rio!;
Meligrove Band w/The Golden Dogs, Junction
Visit www.ams.ubc.ca/events
for more information on these and other events.
Are you the parent of a child turning 5 during 2007?
Parent Info Night - October 26,7:00 - 9:00pm
The Gym in UBC Child Care Administration Building (2881 Acadia Road)
Organized by UBC Daycare Council
Do you want to know about where your child will go next?
Come and gather information about local kindergartens/schools!
Learn about where you can send your child next year!
Hear about how to register and apply!
Hear from and ask questions of representatives from Vancouver School Board and local schools
Speakeasy now offers its Peer Support Line service 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday and 8pm to
8am on the weekends. We've also expanded our drop-in peer support and information Desk to
the hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
Peer Support Line: 604-822-3700{24hrs/day Monday-Friday, 8pm-8am Weekends)
AMS Speakeasy provides peer-support, information and referrals to UBC students and community members through drop-in peer support counselling, a crisis line, an e-mail referral service
and an info desk. Speakeasy is staffed by a team of highly-trained UBC student volunteers.
Education: Our National Priority
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), of which the AMS is a member, has
launched a lobbying campaign. Education: Our National Priority will run from September 2006
until March 2007 and there are ways for you to get involved.
Website Contest: "After graduation, what do you hope to contribute to Canadian society?"
By taking just a few minutes students can answer the online question and be automatically
entered into the contest. Winners will be selected each month with different prizes being
announced as the contest continues.
Put your foot on Parliament Hill
The AMS will be distributing foot print stickers from CASA which ask the question, "What is the
biggest challenge on your path to achieving your goals through post-secondary education?"The
footprints are being collected to create a map of Canada on Parliament Hill on November 7th.
For more information visit www.casa.ca.
'rought to you by your student socie WHAT'S
fTOM      UBC Vancouver Campus Plan
Issues and Ideas Workshops
Workshop #2
Thurs., Oct. 26, 2006
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Rm, 101, Michael Smith Labs,
2185 East Mall
Workshop #3
Thurs., Nov. 2, 2006
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Asian Centre,
1871 West Mall
Campus walking tour 1 hour prior to workshops
RSVP:     Phone 604-827-3465 or email
Voice your opinion on the future of your campus.
^P www.campusplan.ubc.ca


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