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The Ubyssey Jun 27, 2017

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New chair of
CRWR program
Bard on the
Beach's opener is
Letter: Cancelling
the 480 is the most
symplistic solution
Students win
competition with
rocket Cypress
UBC participates
in annual Dragon
Boat festival
ASTR 310
BIOL 111
UBC focuses on updating its course
registration system, and students
ontinue to utilize new ways to thwart it 10   I   SCIENCE   |   TUESDAY JUNE 27,2017
Under the microscope: Science for
the sake of science
A grad student weighs in about the justifications for scientific research.
Chantal Mustoe
I'm a scientist, and in every social
situation, my mind is constantly
whirring trying to find the delicate
balance between telling someone
what I actually do and avoiding the
tidal waves of boredom which may
soon be crashing down on their
I love explaining my work to
new audiences; it is important
to advocate for science and
participate in community outreach.
But when scientists are asked to
justify research based solely on the
outcome, I find myself thinking,
Since when did the value of
fundamental knowledge disappear?
Why must I promise a grand
discovery, like curing AIDS, before I
can pay my rent?
What ever happened to science
for the sake of science?
Fundamentally, science is an art
where curiosity inspires questions
which, when investigated, lead
to a greater understanding of the
universe. If this understanding-
improves the lives of those around
us, so much the better.
There are two inherent values
in the curiosity-based search for
knowledge. Firstly, and foremost,
there is a beauty in our ability
to understand the world around
us. Secondly, many unexpected
groundbreaking discoveries have
been made by someone who just
thought, wouldn't it be cool if we
could do this? with little idea of
how they will change the world.
A couple years ago I attended
a talk given by one of the
founders of Illumina, a company
that sequences genomes. In his
advocacy for science for the
sake of science, Dr. Shankar
Balasubramanian declared that
the idea which ultimately resulted
in their company came from an
evening at the pub when he and
his colleagues declared — and
I paraphrase — "Wouldn't it be
cool if we could watch DNA being-
made!" This is exactly what they
Illumina went on to pioneer
next-generation DNA sequencing.
Suddenly, the field of genetics
exploded, with companies like
23andMe offering to give the public
insights into the inner workings of
their bodies. Personalized medicine
has been revolutionized. We
now know that different people
respond differently to the same
drug, and we can start predicting
what drugs might work based on a
person's specific genome.
Yet, as Balasubramanian
declared, the scientists who
revolutionized this field weren't
interested in the applications of
watching DNA being made at the
time of their brainwave. They
simply realized that with the tools
they had at their disposal, they
could explore an area of science
that they thought was cool!
Potential applications of
research enables funding-
agencies to justifiably distribute
money. But perhaps it is worth
considering that in this era of
justification, we may be missing
not only beautiful scientific
discoveries but groundbreaking-
ones as well. "JU
Read more online.
Chantal is a PhD candidate in
chemistry at UBC.
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UBC Rocket team, including co-captains Simon Bambey (far left) and Joren Jackson (far right).
UBC Rocket's Cypress wins first place
after suborbital journey
Mona Adibmoradi
Staff Writer
A year ago, there was no UBC
Rocket team. Now at 60 members
strong, they competed for the
first time from June 20 to 24. And
they won: Cypress took home the
Spaceport American Cup in the
10,000-foot category.
The Spaceport America Cup
started as a partnership between
the Experimental Sounding Rocket
Association and Spaceport America,
a commercial rocket-launching
base, to provide an opportunity for
the next generation of aerospace
scientists and engineers to
collaborate and compete.
This year, the rocket engineering-
competition welcomed 110 student
teams from around the world to
launch rockets to altitudes of 10,000
and 30,000 feet. One of these rockets
was UBC Rocket's very own Cypress,
named after the West Vancouver
mountains and provincial park.
Simon Bambey and Joren
Jackson, the team's co-founders
and captains, are passionate
about space technology and
aerospace engineering. As pilots
with the Canadian Air Cadets
and engineering students at UBC,
Bambey and Jackson were ready to
take their passion to the next level:
all the way to suborbital space.
"The competition is an awesome
opportunity for a team like ours
with no real official rocketry
experience to have a framework
to get a lot of experience to build a
high-powered rocket and launch it
in a safe way," said Jackson.
The competition provided
students with a set of regulations
and criteria, which the captains used
to begin their planning process. The
competition also provided the team
with a deadline which motivated
members to create realistic
timelines for building Cypress.
With the goal of getting Cypress
to an altitude of 10,000 feet, Bambey
and Jackson had their hands full,
and they started as all team captains
do: they recruited and planned.
"When the captains were looking-
for peopwle, they looked for people
who were interested, not necessarily
who had a lot of experience —
students who were passionate
and interested in learning," said
Lauren Lee, a first-year engineering-
student who is part of UBC Rocket's
organization development team.
Their open and welcoming-
recruitment approach led to a
diverse team of students from
different years and different
faculties including engineering,
science and business. The students
were then split into different sub-
teams with each sub-team taking on
a crucial aspect of the rocket.
The aerostructures team
designed and built Cypress's body, all
the way from the fins at the rocket's
base to its signature red nose cone.
The team also chose and integrated
the rocket's propulsion system.
The avionics and recovery team
developed Cypress's control system
to accurately detect the rocket's
position and the software to analyze
data collected during the flight.
This team was also tasked with
developing the system to safely
return the rocket to the ground after
it reaches its highest point.
The integration of the payloads
into the rocket were led by a
specific team as well. Payloads are
the materials and systems that a
rocket takes up with it which vary
depending on the rocket's mission.
Cypress took up multiple payloads,
one of which was a system to assess
air quality and detect the ozone
boundary layer.
When the team came together,
no one had any real rocketry
experience. Less than a year later,
any member of the team can explain
the complexities of making rocket
go up 10,000 feet.
"It started with, 'I don't know
how to do this and I don't know
where to start,' but as we kept
making progress, it turned into, 'Oh
let's try this first and if it doesn't
work, let's try that,'" said Jenny Yu,
one of the payloads team leaders.
With all the progress that the
team has made, they have a lot of
ideas they want to implement for
the upcoming year. Hoping to send
a rocket to an altitude three times
higher than this year's goal, the
team will be working on a more
advanced version of the avionics
system and a new set of payloads.
As well, they hope to develop their
own hybrid or liquid propulsion
As Cypress got ready to compete
with support from their sponsors
and their crowdfunding campaign,
the captains agreed that the best
part of UBC Rocket is the team.
"The most rewarding thing has
been coming in on a Sunday and
seeing the sheer amount of effort
that's going into making this rocket
work, and how excited, passionate
and committed everyone is to
sending a rocket to 10,000 feet
in our first year as a team," said
UBC Rocket proves that
dedication and the willingness
to learn and experiment can take
you to the stars... or at least to
suborbital space. "JH
LOCKHEED    MARTIN'^      rag
urrhe* asi
Cypress flew to 10,000 feet, winning the Spaceport American Cup in the most popular category. SPORTS+REC
family values com
for UBC s dragon boat
Lucy Fox
Sports & Rec Editor
For one weekend each summer,
dragon boat teams flood to the
waters of False Creek for one the
largest dragon boat festivals in
North America — the Concord
Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat
This year, the event was held over
the weekend of June 24.
Over three days, seven or eight teams
head out in heats and line up side by
side in the inlet, a wave of coloured
jerseys spreading across the water.
The teams pause, extend their paddles
forward and sink them into the still
water below. There is a silence, and
suddenly what were once groups of
individuals in boats are now focused
"As soon as you're on the boat
everything just locks in, everyone is
awake, everyone is ready to start," said
Kris Jun, a UBC paddler and incoming
11 Z-rt 111IC
Photos Patrick Gillin
vice president of the AMS dragon boat
team UBC Thunder. "When the start is
called, we move as one boat."
The race starts, and for two minutes
each boat glides at its own rate. The
paddlers breathe and move as one.
Each stroke is precise, timed, and
poetic. Reach, catch, pull, exit, all the
while each team members body is
moving to the beat of the boat, helping
to propel it forward.
Five hundred metres of speed,
precision and teamwork, with
thousands of fans watching from
the shore: it's a phenomenon that
Vancouver's summer has come to
be known for, and one that UBC's
dragon boat teams have become
fixtures at. Since UBC Thunder
began five years ago, the Concord
event has been a staple in their
summer schedule.
At this year's event, both UBC
teams qualified for the Dragon Boat
BC Competitive A Championship,
finishing in fourth and seventh place.
The team itself, though relatively
new, has a rich dragon boat history
behind its founding roster. Originally
a recreational team, UBC Thunder
got its start when several paddlers
from Eric Hamber Secondary School
— one of the best junior teams in
Canada — were accepted to UBC.
Hoping to continue to paddle at
the university level, several of Eric
Hamber's paddlers created UBC's
dragon boating club, both coaching
and paddling for the team.
Once off the ground, the team
secured several coaches from
renowned dragon boat team One
West, and continued to grow to
its current capacity of two teams:
the UBC Thunderbirds Dragon
Boat Sport Club, who are working
towards the national championship
in Welland, Ontario, in August, and
UBC Thunder, the AMS faction who
will compete locally with the end
goal of placing in the top eight at
Concord and other Lower Mainland
Even with that high level of
training and support, UBC's paddlers
are constantly up against challenges
within their rosters due to the ever-
changing nature of club enrollment
at any university.
"Since we're all students and a
university team, our turnover every
season is pretty high compared
to [other teams competing at
dragon boat events]. Every season
is basically a brand new team; at
least a quarter of the team is new,
minimum, [each season]," incoming-
president of UBC Thunderbirds SC
Gregory Goana said. "The coaches
have to start from scratch [each year]
because we can't reuse a tactic from
the season before."
With that also comes an incredible
level of commitment from team
members to make sure the team is
race-ready compared to other dragon
boat teams that have a more settled
"[We are] pretty much training —
whether its practice or just a training-
session on our team — seven days a
week," Jun said. That can range from
team practices, to extracurricular
solo practices in single canoes to gym
workouts on any given day.
Though much of the work is done
independently, Goana, Jun and
incoming AMS club president Emily
Chan explained that the level of
commitment is necessary to build not
only individual abilities, but to better
understand one's role within a boat.
What's more, the daily practices
and workouts allow all members
to feel like a part of the team and a
part of the culture of family that is
essential to UBC Thunder.
"It is as much about helping your
teammates out by being the best
you can be as it is about helping
yourself out," Jun said. "Dragon boat
as a sport really fosters that sense of
community that I think some solo
sports especially are lacking in."
Chan added, "Everyone is a part of
That sense of community even
comes out in their own races, when the
UBC Thunder and UBC Thunderbirds
SC face each other at different events.
Though each boat strives for its own
success, Goana explained that should
either team ever be beaten, they both
hope it is by their UBC counterpart.
"It's a good competitive feeling if
there is [one]. It's good to race against
somebody else and have that rush to
beat them," Chan said. In the end, it
is that sense of family that prevails,
both within the overall dragon boat
community in Vancouver, at UBC and
within each team's boat.
That even comes out in past club
gear, as UBC Thunder's sweatshirts
last year proudly stated "Ohana: family
over everything."
"Dragon boat is an easy sport to
pick up but a difficult sport to master.
Anyone can pick up a paddle and
paddle in a boat and make a boat move.
But to actually make a boat move fast
as a team, you really have to be loyal
to your team," Goana said. "There is
no such thing as a Lebron James in
basketball, or a Cristiano Ronaldo in
soccer, in dragon boat." Ill
*.      * * 12   I   GAMES   I   TUESDAY JUNE 27, 2017
1-German Helmut;
5-TNT part;
8-Goes with the flow;
14- Ripe for drafting;
15-Chow down;
16- "The Raven" maiden;
17-Air craft;
20-Supple arms and legs;
22-Sun. delivery;
23- Aconcagua's range;
24- Eternal;
26- Chisholm Trail terminus;
29- French pronoun;
32- Persona non ;
33- Early Peruvians;
37- In spite of;
40- Purchaser;
41-In the midst of;
42-Morse "E";
45- Roof item;
48-Actor Lorenzo;
53- Rosenkavalier;
54- Make unstable;
58-Moon of Mars;
60- Frankincense;
61- Standards of perfection;
62- Parking place;
63- AmosorSpelling;
64-Yes , Bob!;
65-_ _ Moines, Iowa;
66-"       Tu" (70s hit);
■ 22
■ 24
■ 26
■ 43
z r
1- Australian marsupial;
2- Pungent bulb;
3-Judean king;
4- Pass into disuse;
5- Blue hue;
6- Rajah's wife;
7- Bitot gossip;
10-Ques. response;
11- Deputised group;
13-Crystal ball users;
18- Miserables;
21- Lake in W Hungary;
25- Grant temporary use of;
26-Gallery display;
27- West Atlantic islands;
28-"Who's there?" reply;
29-Bach's "Mass _ _ Minor";
30-Bud's bud;
31- Pigpen;
32- Rotating firework;
34-El ;
35-Year abroad;
36-Cpl.'s superior;
38- Used to be;
39-Tiny toiler;
44-Actually existing;
45- Ababa;
46- say more?;
47-Judge or juror;
48-Women's ;
49- Having wings;
50- Lesser;
51-Sky blue;
52- Big rigs;
56- Moisturizer ingredient;
57- Fragments;
Presents more than 110 historical Indigenous artworks
The 40th anniversary of this festival—special surprises are
apparently planned! TICKETS VARIOUS PRICES
With guests Anderson .Paak, Bas, J.I.D, & Ari Lennox
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Mining engineering student
Veronica Knott strikes gold
"The future is very bright for engineering."
Helen Zhou
Staff Writer
Shortly after moving to Ontario
earlier this spring, Veronica
Knott's new apartment was
broken into — among her stolen
possessions was the 2017 Gold
Medal Student Award from
Engineers Canada she had
accepted just a few weeks ago.
Knott received the award
for her work towards making
engineering more inclusive and
diverse. The award, considered the
highest national student engineer
award, is handed out by Engineers
Canada, the national organization
of the provincial and territorial
associations that regulate the
practice of engineering in Canada.
Fortunately for Knott,
Engineers Canada has agreed to
replace the stolen award.
"It's kind of crazy — it's surreal,
it's humbling," said Knott. "The
thing about student government
is that you get really tired, you
burn out. You can easily forget
why you do these things, like, 'this
doesn't matter, it's just student
government, this is stupid.'
"And then they do these
interviews and you look back and
... it reminds you that you can
make a difference."
Indeed, the mining engineering
student has had her hands
in many aspects of student
government, from her tenure as
UBC Engineering Undergraduate
Society (EUS) president, to being
a former student representative on
the UBC Board of Governors, to
chairing several AMS committees.
In 2013, she chaired the National
Conference on Women in
Engineering, now known as
the Conference on Diversity in
Engineering. The following year,
as EUS president, she started
the tradition of the Iron Pin
Ceremony for incoming first-year
engineering students to instill
the importance of ethics and
professionalism in the field early
Knott said that while her
work has always had the mandate
of achieving more diversity in
engineering, there was a personal
aspect to it.
"I've had an experience where
I grew up with fantastic parents,
a great high school and then I got
to UBC and I felt welcomed," said
Knott. "But I saw that other people
weren't being as welcomed."
That experience drove her
to pursue a mandate focused on
inclusivity in the EUS.
"For me, it was a matter of 'how
can we make everyone feel like
they can be an engineer?' People
should be able to decide what they
want to do, but they should face
no limitations. That's just been my
Her passion extended to
student experience as a whole and
she served on the UBC Board of
Governors where she was elected
to advocate on behalf of students.
The experience, she said, was very
different from being president of
the EUS.
"When you're a student
representative on the Board, your
job is to represent the students
— you don't have a whole society
behind you." Nevertheless, she
persisted and served on the Board
for two years until her second term
ended in May 2017.
"What I felt like I could do
for students was really to just
give them a strong voice about
the value of student experience
[in] conversations about mental
health and student supports, and
continuing the conversation about
the issues of increasing tuition and
impacts of the pure cost of living
in Vancouver," she said. "It's about
being a mouthpiece for issues that
are important to students."
All of her hard work hasn't
come easy. Her grades took a toll
and she struggled to find a work-
life balance. She wrote in a post on
Linkedln, "Big change, gold medal
change, isn't made by one person.
It's made by an army, an army of
allies supporting, collaborating and
dreaming. That's when you make
positive change."
Her "army" includes people
like UBC Associate Dean Elizabeth
Croft, who nominated Knott for
the Gold Medal Award, as well as
current Board of Governors student
representative Jeanie Malone, AMS
President Alan Ehrenholz and
Mark Bancroft, who were members
of the EUS executive team when
she was president.
Now, after six years at UBC,
Knott is in Ontario working for
Barrick Gold, the largest gold
mining company in the world. She
will be working for a year before
returning to UBC to complete her
mining engineering degree.
"I swear, the hardest thing I
ever will do is graduate," she said.
She hopes that after graduation
she will be able to work for a
company that supports and
fosters diversity, especially
because engineering is becoming
increasingly valuable in Canada.
"It's not about quotas and it's
not about numbers — it's about
saying that right now there are
aspects of our society that tell
women and minorities that they
can't be engineers," she said.
"There's going to be such a demand
for engineers, especially in Canada,
and the only way we're going to be
able to fill that demand is if we can
be diverse."
Knott also knows that her work
towards inclusion won't stop when
she crosses the stage at the Chan
"The future is very bright for
engineering. I'm excited to be part
of a profession that is doing so
much self reflection and dreams so
big." ^ NEWS
School of Biomedical Engineering passes in Senate
— with every student senator voting against
Samantha McCabe
News Editor
At the May 17 UBC Vancouver
Senate meeting, a new School
of Biomedical Engineering was
proposed. When it came time to
vote, it passed. But every one of
the student senators voted against
"Every one [of the student
senators] was against the
biomedical engineering school
proposal," said Jakob Gattinger, a
student senator and former EUS
VP Academic — even without the
whipping systems that caucuses
sometimes have.
According to the supporting-
materials from the May meeting,
the school will function as
a centre for "education and
training, research, and innovation
in biomedical engineering,
creating new knowledge, new
academic and training programs,
and fostering translation and
innovation." Standing within
the faculties of applied sciences
and medicine, the school would
absorb the existing biomedical
engineering graduate program as
well as the Biomedical Research
However, one of the main
concerns of student senators
is that the other proposed
component of the school — the
undergraduate program of the
discipline — did not receive the
requisite approval. That program
proposal was a major point of
contention for both student
senators and members of the
EUS at the time, with an extensive
report being prepared detailing
their concerns — most notably, a
program fee that some thought
circumvented the spirit of the
domestic tuition cap.
"So this was unconventional
in that sense, that you're going to
the school before even all of your
programs that you want to go into
it are created," explained Gattinger.
He attributed some of the rush
that he sees in these actions to the
expansion plans of applied sciences
both from UBC and provincially.
According to UBC Public
Affairs, a revised program proposal
has already been sent back to the
There has been general
dissatisfaction from student bodies
with the consultation process that
occurred from February to March
of this year for the school.
"When we were approached
for the consultation, we were
told it was a 'pre-consultation,'
that they were just getting their
ideas together at that stage," said
Gattinger. "Simply, the volume of
information that was at Senate [at
the May meeting] was not there
during the consultation process."
UBC's statement on the
matter stands in direct contrast
to this, saying that the university
"consulted extensively" with
students prior to the Senate
vote and subsequent approval
of the school. The statement
reads, "This consultation period
included meetings with the
Alma Mater Society, Graduate
There has been general dissatisfaction from student representatives with the consultation that took place.
Student Society, Engineering-
Undergraduate Students and
Medicine Undergraduate
Students. Consultation also
included a meeting with student
senators in March and an
online form that could be used
to register any feedback or
"We wanted to
say very clearly
[with this vote
against] that
we're not going
to put up with
— Ian Sapollnik,
student senator
Said Ian Sapollnik, a student
senator, of the "half-baked"
proposal that student groups
received for consultation, "The
proposal that they got during
their consultation wasn't
finished. So the reason there was
no real AMS or EUS feedback was
because they gave none, because
they were waiting for a better
proposal to come forward."
For Sapollnik and Gattinger,
their worries about a lack of
consultation and credence given
to the student opinion, already
present from the biomedical
engineering program process, have
now been compounded.
"It wasn't just about this
proposal — it was an ongoing trend
of inadequate consultation that we
wanted to stop. We wanted to say
very clearly [with this vote against]
that we're not going to put up with
that," said Sapollnik. He further
clarified that the problem isn't
with students getting the required
meetings — it's about them being-
listened to.
Only one faculty member has
agreed to full-time employment
(FTE) at the school as the
prospective head. Several other
faculty are at 20 per cent
appointment, which means that
they will devote 20 per cent of
their time to the school.
During the meeting, a motion
was put forward to waive the
minimum FTE requirement for the
School of Biomedical Engineering,
which mandates 15 full-time
faculty in place for the creation of
the school. That vote passed.
A high amount of current
turnover within the department
also presented itself as a concern to
student representatives.
"I think it's just troubling to us
[within the faculty]," said Gattinger
as an engineering student. "There's
all of this upheaval: our dean is
leaving... we'll have an interim
dean, we currently have an acting-
provost and we'll have a new
provost as of July 1, and those are
the two senior administrators who
will be ultimately responsible for
the school."
During the May Senate meeting,
student senators aired some of
their main concerns.
At one point, Sapollnik put
forward a motion to send the
proposal back to the committee
phase for reexamination and
possible amendment. The idea
behind the motion was that student
concerns could be heard and
potentially implemented through
strong engagement over the
summer — student senators were
willing to support the proposal
when it would come back to the
Senate in September, but before
then, they wanted "better process,
more details given."
For Sapollnik, the issue wasn't
that he would never support the
program; it was the timing of the
process that was the biggest issue.
The motion on the vote to
return to committee failed.
Sapollnik later asked for a roll call
vote to take down the names of
each person voting and which way
that they voted, a practice that
doesn't usually happen in Senate.
The motion to have that roll call
vote failed.
"I think the biggest insult for
me was that that [roll call vote]
motion failed," said Sapollnik. "I
can respect differences in opinion...
[but] for me, it crosses the line when
we ask for a level of accountability
that usually isn't in Senate, and that
failed as well."
"We won't know exactly how
many people voted in favour [for
the approval of the school], which
seems ridiculous, but unfortunately
that's just the way it is," said
The student senators specifically
requested that their votes against
were recorded in the minutes, a
move that they hope will preserve
their strong opinion moving-
"The school will be fine. I'm not
concerned that the School will be a
disaster. UBC as an institution is in
good hands and has the mechanisms
to do this well," said Sapollnik on
the experience. "For me, it was just
a big learning lesson of knowing-
how student Senate caucus can have
influence and how far we can take
things and how well people listen
to us." ^
Then write for the
paper! Sign up online at
ubyssey.ca/volunteer NEWS   I   TUESDAY JUNE 27, 2017
UBC dis-Connects and switches to Canvas platform
Connect has become notorious for its user-unfriendly layout and tendency to crash.
Joshua Azizi
Staff Writer
UBC is replacing Connect with
Canvas, a cloud-based learning-
management system designed by
The switch will occur over a
15-month transition period where
some courses will use the Canvas
system while others will remain on
Connect. By September 2018, all
courses will be located on Canvas.
This decision came 10 months
after UBC began their search for a
new program to replace Connect.
Since the university's contract
with Blackboard Learn — the
company that owns Connect —
ends in 2019, Connect's outdated
interface and long history of
usability issues gave UBC the
incentive to look for another
To decide on the system, UBC
tested five courses with Canvas
and five courses with Brightspace
— a learning management system
designed by DL — in the second
semester of the 2017 winter term.
Canvas was then adopted as
Connect's official replacement
after UBC reviewed feedback
from lecturers and students in
these test classes and researched
other universities' experiences
with these programs.
In many ways, Canvas is
similar to Connect as a learning-
management system. What
distinguishes Canvas from
its predecessor is that it's
significantly more user-friendly.
As a result, the reception to
Canvas's interface and design was
very positive, according to Simon
Bates - UBC's senior advisor,
teaching and learning and one
of the sponsors in the project to
replace Connect.
"We got feedback from
students who were in these pilot
courses and all of them indicated
that the Canvas interface was
much better than the interface in
Connect," he said. "It's simpler,
it's cleaner and it's easier to
Beyond this accessibility, users
can also access Canvas via mobile
devices — a format that Connect
did not accommodate for — and
download additional tools and
applications to the system.
"The mobile experience is
actually pretty good," said Bates.
"You can not just view things
— you can actually contribute
to discussions, you can take
assignments and look at when
your deadlines are due."
Over its time serving UBC,
Connect has become notorious
for its user-unfriendly layout
and tendency to crash. The
system experiences frequent
programming disruptions
and undergoes scheduled
maintenance on a very regular
basis, as demonstrated in
professor of geography Elvin
Wyly's anti-Connect document
"There were some severe
limitations around Connect
in terms of usability and the
interface," said Bates. "Certainly
students who were on campus a
few years ago would remember
that Connect went down for
almost a week at the start of the
2013/2014 academic year."
According to him, this
disruption occurred due to the
large amount of new users that
the website had at the time. In
contrast, Canvas won't experience
these frequent scheduled
upgrades and downtime periods
because it operates using cloud-
based technology - information
is stored over the internet and
resources are automatically
allocated to meet the demands of
high user traffic.
On a r/UBC subthread called
"UBC has replaced Connect
with the Canvas platform,"
users also discussed how UBC
faculty members have had a lot
of difficulties using Connect in
their teaching. One particular
user delved into the difficulties of
grading on the system.
"You need to create the a
new grade column for what
you're entering [sic], export the
grade book as a .CSV file, edit it
to include the new grades, then
import it back in," said Reddit user
In contrast, Canvas offers an
additional tool called SpeedGrader,
which allows instructors to grade
students' assignments offline and
provide them with feedback within
a single frame.
As a result, most UBC faculty
members are glad that Connect is
on its way out, according to Bates.
'"Well thank goodness you're
actually changing the system,
we've been telling you for years
that it's not user friendly, it's click
heavy, it's not responsive' — there
was a lot of that from faculty," he
However, he also noted that
some were displeased that UBC
was abandoning Connect after
already spending many years
figuring out how to make it work.
"There were some people who
were saying, 'we've now gotten to
grips with Connect, we've learned
to live with it, we've got it doing
what we need it to do, please don't
change it,'" said Bates. "So as you
might expect, there's a range of
opinions in a place as large and
diverse as UBC."
Since the transition from
Connect to Canvas will take
place over a 15 month period,
students will likely be using
both platforms over the next
year. Bates estimated that fewer
than half of the courses will use
Canvas in the upcoming winter
term's first semester, most of the
courses in the second semester
and all of the courses by next
year's summer term.
Different faculties are also
taking different approaches to
when they want to transition.
For example, the faculty of arts
is hoping to move all of their
first year courses onto Canvas by
September 2017, while others are
planning to get a better grasp on
the platform before they make
the switch.
Overall, Bates believes that
this longer migration period —
instead of an eight week period
— will give students and faculty
more time to adjust to Canvas.
"For a place the size and
complexity of UBC, that's just not
practical," he said. "Plus, that also
would mean that people wouldn't
have enough time to learn about
some of the features that the new
system has that they might want
to build into their courses."
Nonetheless, UBC will still
be committed to completing
this switch in no longer than 15
"The last time UBC changed
its learning management
system, it actually took three
years to move everything from
one system to the other," said
Bates. "That's just too long in
an environment that's changing
this quickly, so we're absolutely
adamant that we're gonna try and
get everything done within 15
months." tH
Mix Ohlin
named new
chair of creative
writing program
Samantha McCabe
News Editor
Alix Ohlin, Canadian author
and professor, has been named
incoming chair of UBC's creative
writing program. On January
1, 2018, she will take over from
interim co-chair and creative
writing professor Linda Svendsen,
who declined to be considered for
the position.
This new appointment
concludes a formal interview
process that took place in March
of this year, and that permanently
fills the spot left vacant since
Steven Galloway's firing in June
of 2016.
Born in Montreal, Ohlin
holds an English and American
literature and language degree
from Harvard and a master's
degree from the Michener Center
for Writers at University of Texas.
Ohlin is currently an English
professor at Lafayette College in
Pennsylvania, a position that she
has held since 2004. She has also
taught creative writing with other
schools and programs throughout
her career, and has written
several novels and collections of
short stories.
Her most recent book, titled
Inside and published in 2012, was
named best book of the year by
Amazon and was nominated for
both the Rogers Writers' Trust
Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank
Giller Prize.
According to a press release
from UBC, Ohlin will also join
UBC's faculty as an associate
professor in creative writing.
"It's a wonderful opportunity
to join a program with such
talented faculty and students. I
look forward to working with the
entire literary community there
and building on the program's
rich history," said Ohlin, as
quoted in the press release.
Galloway is currently
undergoing an arbitration process
to appeal his termination from
UBC with the Faculty Association.
Both UBC and the Faculty
Association have declined to
comment on this matter, tl CULTURE
Much Ado About Nothing's style makes the show
Eve O'Dea
Staff Writer
On June 15, the production of
Much Ado About Nothing had its
opening night at Vancouver's own
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare
Festival. The play was true to the
style of the writer in its plot about
miscommunication, improbable
love and deception.
Originally set in the sixteenth
century at the estate of the governor
of Messina, Italy, this adaption put
our characters on the estate of a
1959 Italian director, with a visual
aesthetic similar to Frederico
Fellini's La Dolce Vita and 8V2.
Accordingly, the set and
costumes were some of the
highlights of the production. For
the play's first act, the costumes,
set pieces and props were black,
white and grey, emphasizing the
cinematic feel of the production.
After love was introduced
into the plot, small bits of colour
began to appear in the costumes.
In the second half, colour became
completely present on the stage.
Two scenes stood out in
particular as major crowd pleasers.
In the first, two characters who are
in love have a conversation about
how to deal with the latest turn
of events. It was not so much the
dialogue that made it special but
a modern twist on the scene's set
up. Both characters began their
conversation and later exited the
scene on classic Italian vespas,
one black and one pink. This
modernization made an otherwise
uneventful scene memorable.
Another clever moment of
modernization took place when
the character Antonio, played by
David M. Adams, was meant to
sing a short song. In the original
script, the 16th century ballad is
in English. In this version, it was
sung in Italian and sounded like
something one might hear strolling-
down the streets of Florence,
complete with added percussion
and back up dancers. This light
moment was warmly embraced by
the audience.
The play's shortcomings can be
traced to its source material.
Yes, in this instance, I am
criticizing Shakespeare.
The use of both comedy and
tragedy in Much Ado About Nothing
has been historically cited as one
of the play's strengths, adding
to it great complexity. However,
I would argue that the sudden
changes in tone and mood made the
progression of the story awkward
and inconsistent. The audience
did not have time to emotionally
prepare for such a dramatic and
dense turn, and they soon forgot the
fun that they were having minutes
While there was some comedy
remaining in the second half, it was
not as obviously funny as before
The style of the play is impressive, but it's the source material that is ultimately the problem.
and the audience seemed unsure
whether or not to laugh at certain
The play's message about
female empowerment was mixed
throughout the acts. The first half
had the lead explaining why she
saw no reason to settle down with
a husband, while in the second act
a woman was wished dead by her
father due to a false claim of her
no longer being a virgin. Especially
when said shamed woman eagerly
takes back the man who only hours
before had scornfully rejected her,
the messages become inconsistent
and hard to process.
Again, I understand that the
production team did not have
the luxury of simply changing
a major plot point of the story.
However, the sincerity of the
story's conflict is not as relevant for
modern audiences as that of plays
like Hamlet, Romeo St Juliet and
Macbeth. ^
Much Ado About Nothing will be
running until September 23. Tickets
are available online.
Two UBC graduates are hitchhiking across Canada with only $150
Pictured left to right, Ori Nevaresand Philippe Roberge.
Genia Zhang
We've all asked ourselves the
question: "What ami going to
do after I graduate?" Some of us
answer with "full-time work" or
"grad school," though most of us
just say "who knows?"
For Ori Nevares and Philippe
Roberge, the question has mostly
been answered. Their plan is to
hitchhike from Whitehorse, Yukon
to St. John's, Newfoundland with
only $150 in their pockets, all as
a celebration of Canada's 150th
birthday. They will set out on July
8 and are going to document their
entire journey to share the stories
of all the Canadians who help them
along the way.
UBC graduates Nevares and
Roberge — both 23 — met about
a year and a half ago and bonded
through their love of photography.
"I can't think of anyone else who
I would rather do this with. I don't
think anyone else would do this
with me," said Nevares.
After graduating, Roberge had
initially planned on visiting all
the national parks. He received
75 rejections for funding requests
from companies and many no's
from potential travel partners.
He noticed that Nevares hadn't
responded to his request and wrote,
"Please don't reply no — just wait.
Let me tell you more in person."
After that, Nevares came on board.
Like many Canadians, Roberge
and Nevares have not had the
opportunity to see most of their
own country. Thus, the idea was
born to hitchhike across Canada
and share the journey with others
who have not had this experience.
Initially they planned for a
$3,000 budget but Nevares said,
"We have to make this crazy for
people to be interested. Let's do
According to some of Nevares's
initial calculations, $500 was
enough for three $3 meals a day for
two months. That was what it was
for a while until they decided to be
even more bold and make it $150 to
celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.
"This is the time to show
appreciation," said Nevares. "We're
well aware that if we're on our
own it's impossible." The goal of
this project was never to travel
"budget-friendly," but rather
to share the stories of the kind
Canadians who helped them to
reach their goals and bring the
country together.
"It's been really surprising-
how many people are willing to
host complete strangers and have
them come into their house. It's
heartwarming to see that people
aren't all closing their doors and
hate towards their world and this
xenophobic rage that's taking over
the world," said Roberge.
Aside from banking on the
kindness of strangers, the two
have given a lot of thought to their
survival and budgeting strategies.
They're packing one backpack
each with 50 per cent for survival
tools and the other 50 per cent for
camera gear.
"We've been talking about
the cheapest way to sustain
ourselves. Foods that are dry, we
can pack them before starting,
like oatmeal, peanut butter, cup
noodles, soup packets ... it's a
formula of highest calories for
lowest weight and cost without
going nutrient deficient," said
To fellow UBC students who
have any ideas they deem too wild
to act upon: "If you're going to do
something crazy, do it now. It's
better to try and fail than to never
try at all. Never trying is the only
way to guarantee failure," said
"You have to take the first
step. The hardest thing is to tell
people your idea," said Nevares.
"If you're going to take action and
fail, now is the perfect time to do
that... Any of the wild ideas you
have that scare you — it's only
going to be harder from now on to
go for. But it's worth it. It's scary.
Especially when you're talking
to your parents when you've
spent five years in university and
it's time to get a job and you tell
them you're going to hitchhike
the country and make a film.
Especially being in an academic
environment like UBC where
you're kind of conditioned to fear
failure, it's hard to work around
You can live vicariously
through Nevares and Roberge's
adventures on their website,
YouTube channel, Facebook page
and Instagram. 'JJ FEATURES
059 ▲ AFST 250A
060 ▲ ASTR 310..
061 ▲ BIOL 111 ...
062 ▼ CLST 260..
063 t FIST 100...
064 t HIST 366...
065 t MECH 462 .
i • • •. wDO • O\J
WORDS Julia Burnham
PHOTOS Patrick Gillin
would be walking down
the middle of the street or I was
cooking and if I got an email or a
text from Eyeout, I would literally
just drop everything and run to
my computer and check and pray
to god that someone wasn't as
desperate as I was," said Amie Kim,
a fourth-year arts student.
"But they usually were."
Kim's story probably sounds
familiar to many of the thousands
of UBC students who have
resorted to unconventional
methods in order to register for
the courses they need. From small
class sizes in major requirements
to non-restricted seats in
required classes going to students
taking them as electives, course
registration is rarely a picnic for
students on a tight graduation
The morning of June 13,2017 —
the first day of course registration
for fourth years — students were
greeted with a pop-up reminder
about acceptable use of the system
when they logged onto their
Student Service Centre (SSC).
The message made students
accept or reject "a) not to use any
service or software that prevents
other members of the University
community from having fair and
equitable access to the SSC ... and
b) not to use any bots, scripts,
apps, services or other processes
to automate the use of the SSC."
According to the message, activities
in breach of this agreement may
be considered academic or non-
academic misconduct.
For many, the message might
mean giving up the methods that
have helped them get a spot in a
required course — or that have at
least given them hope they could
get one at all.
Undoubtedly many scholarships
and post-grad plans ride on the
outcome of course registration
each year, but whether a student
has the time or the money to get
around a blocked registration is
another question. While UBC
focuses on updating its system and
students continue to utilize new
ways to thwart it, The Ubyssey
explored the causes, consequences
and costs that students bear trying
to get into their first choices. JUNE 27, 2017 TUESDAY I   FEATURE
UBC, with its 25 faculties,
hardly has it easy when it comes
to course planning — with larger
and larger first year class intakes
each year, the challenges of
tailoring course schedules and
available spaces to the multitude of
combined degrees, specializations
and limited teaching space can
certainly take its toll on students'
carefully planned degrees.
Double majoring in math and
economics, Kim had planned to
focus on her math courses in the first
two years, then zero in on economics
in the latter half. For the most part,
she managed to get into all of her
math courses — which she attributes
to the typically larger sizes of those
classes. However, when it came
time to complete her economics
requirements, she hit more than a
few registration roadblocks.
"We've all dealt with the SSC
for a long time but this was the one
time that it's actually affected my
timeline. I'm the type of person
that has a five to 10 year plan, like
I'm going to graduate by this time,
get married by this time — the full
plan you know?" said Kim, who is
now planning to extend her degree
to five years due to her difficulties
registering for major requirements.
"The fact that I couldn't [register
for required classes] because of
something that's supposed to
work in my favour, it was kind of
For Elizabeth Garvie, a third year
political science student, it meant
attending a class and studying for a
midterm when she didn't even know
whether or not she would receive
an open spot before the add/drop
"When I was in first year and
I was in the computer science
program, there's a class we had to
take - CPSC 110 - and I wasn't able
to get into it so I was on a waitlist.
And so I went to the first day of
classes they said "well, we're going to
have ten spots, we're not sure when
they're going to open up and what
not' and there's about 40 students
who won't get into the class and the
spots actually weren't opened up
until after our first midterm."
Ultimately, Garvie was able to
secure one of the spots that opened
up, but not before studying for a
midterm worth 20 per cent of her
grade without knowing whether or
not she'd be able to continue in the
class. If she hadn't chosen to take a
gamble and prepare for the midterm,
she wouldn't have been promoted
to second year standing in the
computer science program, out of
which she has since transferred.
Course registration at UBC
is allotted to students based
on registration priority. This
encompasses a combination of year
level, the number of credits you have
taken and your academic average.
Students in first and fourth-year
have the earliest registration dates,
while students in third and second
are the last to register.
"I guess that the grades based
registration system is kind of a
virtuous circle or vicious cycle,
depending on how you look at
it," said Kevin Doering, a student
senator and UBC Board of
Governors representative who
stressed educational equity in his
platform earlier this spring.
"Obviously students who do
well year round will have their pick
of courses, and students who don't
perform as well obviously possibly
could continually find themselves
in that situation where they're also
in courses that are more difficult
or unwanted or less popular with
Some students, like Kim, have
found reprieve in services like
Eyeout, a software that will send
students a text message when a
spot in their course has opened
up. The service operates under
slacknotes.com, which provides
data on grade averages for all UBC
courses. It also has paid competitors
like MyUBCCourselsFull, which
charges $5 per course to sign-up for
Bea Subion, the UBC student
who manages Eyeout, said it has sent
over 80,000 notifications that a spot
had become available — and that
doesn't include the number of people
who signed up for courses that never
opened up.
"It was never about making
money... what Eyeout really
stemmed from was just this problem
that people didn't want to constantly
check [the SSC], and that was the
purpose of it."
Although using Eyeout seems to
be a popular choice to navigate full
courses, there are also other methods
to beat the system.
"I met someone in my first
year that had an auto click on their
mouse, you just download it off the
internet and it clicked refresh every
couple of seconds on the registration
button. So, every three seconds the
page would refresh," said Doering.
"If it isn't Eyeout, someone will
find a new program or a new way
to get around everything — not that
that justifies it."
Perhaps the latest addition to
the list of strategies is the buying
and selling of courses. After
receiving many messages in the
suggestions box, Subion decided to
add a classified section to Eyeout
where students could submit
advertisements to buy and sell spots.
"It was me just testing out a
service to see if it would take off,"
said Subion. "I have no clue what
happens once people buy, whether
or not people actually do buy and sell
courses. I have zero indications of
whether or not they actually proceed
with that."
There are many questions to be
raised with the buying and selling of
spots — how does it work, is it ethical
and is it even allowed?
"I don't have any experience
with it, but you're correct that there
are students who pay significant
sums of money to get a seat in a
course and that sort of discrepancy
between those who have an extra
hundred dollars on hand to register
in a course and those who don't
does create a very serious concern
about equity at the university," said
According to Kate Ross, the
associate vice president of enrolment
services and registrar, the buying and
selling of courses is also in breach of
UBC's Policy 104.
"Courses are university property.
So that's kind of how we would be
looking at it and there is something
in that policy that is really about
disrupting university activities. So,
it's not explicit, but there would
be ways that we would be able to
interpret that."
While the warning message
and agreement that appeared on
the SSC doesn't only target course
registration, many don't think it
will do much to deter students
from using any of the previously
mentioned methods to get into their
"This might be the first time
that UBC has actively considered
[this kind of infraction], but I'm
also not sure how the university
would pursue a case like that and
actually have enough evidence to
show that a student has used one of
these services," said Ian Sapollnik,
a student senator. In Sapollnik's
recollection of the past three years of
reports from the appeals committee,
there have been no cases of student
discipline for this type of infraction.
Subion said this isn't the first time
this message has popped up on the
SSC for her, and that she has never
been approached by UBC with a
cease and desist.
"Whatever UBC decides to do
about is completely up to them, but
for our future, it's not a business, it's
a website that people seem to like
and if people still like it and still use
it, then it's probably going to stay up,"
said Subion.
As for UBC's response, it seems
like the administration's energy
will be focused on creating a better
system for the future, rather than
tracking down services like Eyeout.
"It's through our investigation [of
system performance issues] that we
learned about what is occurring and
speaking with a group of students
that really cooperated with us in
terms of understanding what is
occurring," said Ross.
"One of the steps that we're
taking to ensure an equal playing-
field for students and to ensure that
the system can continue [is] that we
don't have any outages and issues in
terms of allowing students to be able
to register when they need to register
and keeping the system stable."
The plan to re-haul the SSC
k       P">
stems from the Student Academic
Systems Initiative (SASI) and is an
ongoing project.
"We're actually in the process
of finalizing a decision to secure a
new student system. This is actually
the whole SSC, so everything from
admissions through to graduation,"
said Ross, noting that no decision
had been reached regarding
approaching Eyeout about its
"Our hope is to have a system in
the future [where] all of these issues
would disappear because there
would be a different method in terms
of how we handle this to ensure that
students have a level playing field."
Since the new student centre
won't be ready for a few years, Ross
encouraged students to continue to
work within the limitations of the
current SSC, while UBC puts its
energy into achieving a new system
that will address these kinds of
In the meantime, someone's got
an Eyeout for you. *JJ
Letter: Cancelling the 480 — a simplistic solution for underlying problems
Kevin Wong
On May 23, TransLink released
phase two of the Southwest
Area Transit Plan (SWATP),
which includes proposals and
consultation of transit service
changes in Richmond and South
Delta for the next decade. One of
these proposals involves cancelling
the 480 bus line, which runs
between Bridgeport Station at
Richmond and UBC.
In the Southwest Area Transit
Plan, TransLink claims that
they propose to cancel the route
because it "duplicates with other
services, [has] declining ridership,
the lowest on-time performance in
2015, and [faster alternatives]."
Is TransLink correct in their
claims? Yeah, their points are
very valid. The 480 is slow and
unreliable, which is why many
are taking other buses, like the 49
There must be reasons why
975,000 people continued to stick
to the #480 in 2015. The Canada
Line, 43 bus and 49 bus are all
overcrowded during peak hours.
Also, many commuters simply
enjoy a one-seat ride.
With plenty of new condos
or townhouses being built or
completed in Richmond, south
of the Fraser, Marpole and along-
Marine Drive, there will certainly
be UBC students, faculties or staff
commuting from these areas.
On top of that, the 480 connects
to a variety of Richmond, Delta
and South Surrey/White Rock
bus routes at Bridgeport Station.
Adding an additional transfer for
the bus riders who already have
very long commutes makes transit
a less attractive commute choice.
Making matters worse, TransLink
proposes to re-direct various
Richmond internal bus routes to
Bridgeport Station in the SWATP.
This will just further challenge the
capacity of Bridgeport Station.
The underlying problem is not
with the 480. It is the issue of bus
speed and reliability that affects
the 43,480 and many other bus
routes is the only appropriate
solution for long-term transit
In any case, whether or not
TransLink ends up deciding to
cancel the 480 or not, a lot of issues
remain to be addressed. I would
like to take a look at both worlds,
and make a few recommendations
in either case.
Suggested actions in
alternative world #1:480 saved
If TransLink decides to keep the
route, then action must be taken to
make it more efficient, or it may be
subjected to elimination again in
future transportation plans.
1. Eliminate the underused off-
peak service on the 480. The 49,
future 41st B-Line and the Canada
Line are frequent, fast and have
enough space to accommodate
2. Transfer the route to
Vancouver Transit Centre,
improve scheduling efficiency
by grouping the 480 with other
UBC buses (25,33,41, 49, 84) and
reduce the need and distance of
buses running as "not in service"
(also known as deadheading).
3. Modify the route to be faster
and more reliable. In the write-
up this routing is recommended
because it is faster, more reliable
than most options, and it covers
more people and maintains
connectivity to the 10,000 bus
Suggested actions in
alternative world #2: farewell
#480 (summary)
In the case that the 480 is
cancelled as proposed, I suggest
that the following items should
be considered:
1. Increase frequency on the
43 and 49, and upgrade capacity
on the Canada Line. Yeah, of
2. Improve transit efficiency,
speed and reliability through the
Kerrisdale area, regardless of the
fate of the 480, because right now,
41st Avenue through Kerrisdale is
a chokepoint for bus routes such
as the 22, 41, 43 and 480.
3. Introduce a new peak-hour
only express service parallel to 49
and coexists with the 41st Avenue
B-Line, just like how the 84 and
the 99 coexist.
4. Keep a peak-hour express
route between Marpole, Marine
Drive and UBC, via Granville
Street and 49th Avenue.
There is one theme
throughout this letter: road
constraints and congestions.
Building more Sky Train lines
can help commuters avoid traffic
jams, but we won't see SkyTrain
lines everywhere in our lifetime.
Buses and other forms of surface
transportation are here to stay
in the foreseeable future. Our
municipal governments should
not overlook things that they
can be doing for the bus riders
in this region, by taking actions
to improve transit efficiency and
reliability. %
Kevin Wong is a third-year
civil engineering student. For the
complete article that includes
support figures, visit his blog.
Ask Natalie: what do I do if I don't get into my major?
got my third choice, but it's not really what I want to do.
Natalie Morris
Design Editor
"Dear Natalie,
I didn't get into my major. I
feel like I've worked really hard,
maybe not 'ignore everything
else in my life and study 24/7'
hard, but a solid amount that I'm
happy with. Well, was happy with
it. What do I do? I got my third
choice (my top two choices were
pretty competitive) but it's not
really what I want to do."
Straight up, major selection
isn't my forte and like all course-
related questions, I'm not your
course advisor, so go to your faculty
advising. But I can help with some of
the broader elements of this.
Your timing tells me that you're
most likely a science student. If this
is the case, then you can re-apply
next year. Other than a few majors, it
looks like there are spaces set aside
for upper years.
If you feel in your heart of hearts
that your top major is the major you
truly want to do then go for it. Try
to register for your dream major's
required courses and work hard. I'm
not telling you to start working at a
"ignore everything" level, because
that's not healthy and that's what
causes burnout. Just remember
what you're working towards and
work harder than you had before.
Find a study group or hire a tutor
if you need to and can afford to for
the classes you need serious help
in. Go to office hours. Talk to your
professor and TAs. Work hard and
work smart.
This sucks, I know. It's hard
being told you didn't get something
you really want. But that's a part of
life. Not to say it doesn't suck every
time, but take this as a learning-
experience, not a discouraging one.
This might feel like this is on you, but
if you worked hard and tried your
best, then it's not on you. Things
happen. You can't win 100 per
cent of the time.
This isn't a failure, because you
haven't failed, but learn from this.
Coping mechanisms are important
and this is not a bad time to tune
them up a bit. This isn't the end,
so start moving forwards.
"I'm doing long distance with
my girlfriend this summer
and it's very shitty of me, but I
want to break up with her. I'm
tired of the Skype calls and the
texts and the snaps and being
concerned if she'll be upset if I
go out with my friends and all
that shit. I want to break it off.
I'm tired of this. I just want it to
end. But, breaking up over the
phone, that seems like a step too
far. Help?"
Oh yeah, don't break up with
her over the phone. How far
is long distance for you? If it's
more than a day's car trip, you
can justify breaking up over
video call. It's still shitty, but to
be completely honest, almost all
break-ups are shitty. All you can do is
try to make it the shitty as possible.
I know a lot of people would
argue against breaking up while
doing long distance, but we're not
even halfway through the summer.
It's only going to get worse. It's
goingto get way worse. If you're not
willing to work on the relationship
— which, I want to be clear, is okay,
relationships that end always reach
that point — than you playing along
for the next two months is going to
be a lot worse than ending things
So, if you can visit, do it in
person. Rent a car if you have to and
get your butt up there. Don't invite
her down, don't make it into a huge
trip, just go. Drive safe and make
sure you pull over if you become
too emotional to drive (also an okay
If it would be a flight you would
be taking, don't do it, unless you
already have a trip planned and paid
for. It's not worth it and honestly,
I'm sure she would not appreciate
either having to host for you while
you're planning on breaking up
with her or having you awkwardly
hanging out in her house or city
after you have broken up with her.
So yes, resign yourself to this
being shitty, because again nearly
all break-ups are. Video call her and
do it. Don't make it about her or the
distance, just make it as clean as
Breaking up always sucks. I'm
sorry. *cJ
Need advice? Contact Natalie
anonymously at asknatalie@ubyssey
ca or at ubyssey.ca/advice and have
your questions answered! SCIENCE
Frustration in response to ban of whales, dolphins
and porpoises at Vancouver parks
Emma Loy
Staff Writer
The Vancouver Park Board recently
hoped to end a decades-old debate
when they banned cetaceans —
whales, dolphins and porpoises
— from Vancouver parks. While
animal rights advocates rejoiced,
scientists winced as the scientific
evidence backing the decision is far
from conclusive.
The ban was enacted on May
15,2017. Two weeks ago, the
Vancouver Aquarium launched a
legal challenge to overturn the Park
Board's ban on cetaceans.
The day after the legal challenge
against the ban was announced,
another of the aquarium's three
cetaceans died, leaving only two
remaining at the facility. The ban
will allow these two cetaceans
to stay on display, though they
will not be allowed to perform in
The ban will also halt the
aquarium's plans to bring back
their five other beluga whales
currently on loan to other facilities.
The aquarium's Marine Mammal
Rescue Centre will not be affected
by the ban, but it will become the
only long-term care option for
rescue animals unfit for release.
"It was a really hard decision,"
said Park Board commissioner
Michael Wiebe.
The Vancouver Park Board
heard from scientists and animal
advocacy groups at public
hearings in March of 2017. Still, it
is questionable how much weight
was actually given to science in the
final decision.
Dr. Andrew Trites and Dr. David
Rosen, both active researchers
with UBC's Marine Mammal
Research Unit, are concerned the
Park Board's decision was based on
ideology rather than on scientific
"When you have a public
that's not educated to understand
science, you end up hearing things
presented with emotion," said
Trites. "On one hand, you have
flat-toned scientists presenting the
facts, and on the other, you have
someone else so emotional that
what we're doing is morally and
ethically wrong. The louder they
say it, people start to think there
must be some truth to that."
Rosen and Trites worry the
Park Board made a short-sighted
decision that will have long-term
implications for captive cetacean
welfare and cetacean science.
Commissioner Wiebe disagrees
with Trites' and Rosen's assertion
that the Park Board gave more
weight to emotional arguments
than to science.
The Park Board held public
meetings, consulted experts,
reviewed briefings and scientific
documents, and fielded thousands
of emails from the public and
various organizations.
"Policy makers around the
world are having trouble getting
through the layers of information
related to this debate," said Wiebe.
It is indeed challenging to wade
through the body of evidence
pertaining to cetaceans in captivity
— some evidence supports keeping-
cetaceans in captivity, while other
evidence does not.
Wiebe explained that the
Park Board quickly realized the
evidence for each side of the debate
was conflicting and that they
needed to dig deeper by looking at
who was producing and funding
the research they consulted.
"You start having to credit-
check each source and take
everything with a grain of salt.
But we started to see trends: more
and more reports with similar
numbers," said Wiebe.
The data and trends pointed
to one main conclusion. The
aquarium could not provide the
Park Board with enough data
to show that continuing to keep
cetaceans in captivity would help
in future research.
"[Scientists] already have the
baseline data, which is the only
data you can get from mammals
in captivity. There are enough
facilities in the world that are
providing that baseline data, and
the aquarium couldn't prove that
it would help in any research," said
Rosen disagrees with this
notion, arguing there is still more
to be learned from captive studies
beyond gathering baseline data.
He added that if the Park Board
recognizes the value of research
coming from cetaceans in human
care, they should support the
aquarium's role in gathering such
data. "They're basically saying, 'not
in my backyard.'"
"In the end, they're saying
either we don't need science or we
can get it from somewhere else,"
noted Trites.
One of the major arguments
raised in favor of the ban was
that cetaceans in captivity are
unhealthy and die prematurely, and
the natural environment needed
for them to thrive can never be
replicated in captivity. Since these
are highly intelligent animals, it is
assumed that cetaceans in captivity
are suffering.
On the contrary, Rosen, who
is compiling a review of captive
cetacean welfare studies, believes
these claims are unsubstantiated.
"Studies measuring indicators
of welfare in captive cetaceans
have found either no differences
or historical differences, or they've
found that captive animals are
better off on those indicators than
wild animals," said Rosen.
According to these studies,
cetaceans in captivity exhibit lower
levels of chronic stress and have
more robust immune responses
than wild cetaceans.
Animal advocacy scientists
have heavily criticized scientists
like Trites and Rosen who support
captive cetacean research, claiming
they are biased and cherry-picking
Trites and Rosen have
researched captive animals and
have worked in conjunction with
the Vancouver Aquarium, so can
appear biased. But their work
adheres to standards of peer-
Why do the Vancouver Park Board and Aquarium disagree about keeping cetaceans in captivity?
reviewed scientific research that
aims to recognize and minimize
such biases.
"When somebody asks me to
give a report, I want to make that
report as balanced as possible," said
Rosen. "If I don't see the evidence
that everyone says is out there,
show me that evidence."
Negative views of captive
cetacean welfare likely arise
because of incorrect assumptions
about cetacean health.
"For example, orcas and other
large cetaceans in care do tend to
have a drooping fin," said Rosen.
"People immediately think this
is a sign of bad health, but there's
no scientific evidence that this is
Additionally, people commonly
think captive cetaceans are
unhealthy because aquarium
environments are much smaller
than natural environments. Trites
said people often point out that
belugas swim and dive great
distances in the wild.
"But they haven't asked, 'Why
does a beluga dive that deep?'"
"Because it's hungry and
looking for food, it has to. It doesn't
do it for its health. And why does
it swim so far? It's trying to avoid
being eaten. In an aquarium
they're fed and predators aren't
there to kill them," said Trites. He
wants people to remember that
natural does not mean healthy; for
cetaceans, swimming and diving-
great distances are necessary
behaviors in the wild rather than
solely healthy ones.
The other common argument
made is that cetaceans in captivity
die earlier. According to Rosen,
this argument is based on outdated
"In the 60s and 70s when they
started acquiring animals from the
wild, yes, the mortality was higher
in those cases," said Rosen. "But
people started discovering how to
take care of these animals. Their
longevity is now identical to those
in the wild."
Vancouver Aquarium head
veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena,
said that science does not support
the view that animals in captivity
suffer a poor quality of life.'Tt's
absolutely a different life, but not a
bad one," said Haulena.
The other major argument
given by animal advocacy groups
supporting the ban is that research
done on captive cetaceans cannot
be extrapolated to wild cetaceans,
and therefore is of little benefit to
Some scientists claim that as
little as five per cent of captive
research is applicable to wild
cetaceans, but Rosen said these
numbers are flat-out wrong.
"Those who say there is no
value in research done at facilities
either do not understand the
nature of research or they are
misconstruing the truth," said
"A scientific review of the
literature showed that almost
a third of all published, peer-
reviewed research derives from
animals under human care. And
almost 50 per cent of all studies
published exclusively on wild
animals have results based on or
in reference to research done on
animals in facilities."
The authors of the review
mentioned by Rosen stated that, "It
is critical that research continues
to integrate information from both
wild and captive populations."
According to Rosen and Trites,
some data can only be collected
by doing studies on animals in
controlled settings. Likewise there
are certain studies that should only
be done in the wild.
"In the wild you're under more
realistic conditions, but you can't
do experiments looking at cause
and effect," said Rosen.
Additionally, many techniques
used to study wild cetaceans are
developed in research facilities
using captive animals, and
data from wild animals is often
validated through captive studies.
Conservation efforts like those to
save the vaquita porpoise — the
world's most endangered marine
mammal — could be aided by
research on harbor porpoises in
human care.
Trites opined that studies using
captive cetaceans will be essential
for understanding the effects of
climate change on cetaceans, such
as how they will handle warming-
oceans and changes to diet.
The Vancouver Park Board
was faced with the enormous task
of deciphering reliable evidence
from unfounded evidence in an
emotionally-charged field of
study. The lack of consensus from
the scientific community on the
matter did not make the decision
Despite the Park Board's
efforts to make sense of the
science, some say the evidence
presented to the Park Board
supporting cetaceans under
human care was drowned out by
moral arguments and beliefs.
"In my personal opinion, it
was ignored," said head aquarium
vet Haulena, "I have nothing to
support that, but just having been
there at the meetings, expert
opinion was ignored."
For now, local scientists as
well as the Vancouver Aquarium
remain frustrated with the Park
Board's decision. The aquarium
will proceed with legally
challenging the ban.
"People do have a poor
sense of the facts. I know it's
overwhelming — that's why
generally you have experts in
things," said Rosen. "You can't
know everything otherwise you
just go by a set of beliefs. The
Park Board shouldn't have to be
experts but they should listen to
experts." 13


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