Thursday, June 28, 2007

Public Consultation

Most research-intensive universities have a technology transfer office which handles licensing agreements between a university's research product and the private sector. This includes small biomolecules with therapeutic promise, and encompasses many more technologies with potential for health improvement or disease treatment.

The University Industry Liaison Office at UBC has been meeting with a group of students who are part of an international network - called Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. This past year, we met with Stephen Toope, VP Research John Hepburn, UILO Director Angus Livingstone, Hubert Lai (former University Counsel) to present the two goals of UAEM which are very much in line with Trek2010:
1. To ensure that health technology end products coming out of university research benefits regions outside of the realm of a "profitable market" - ie low and middle income countries
2. To promote neglected disease research such as leishmaniasis

Several successes have ensued so far from our (ongoing) meetings:
1. The Trek2010 annual framework to measure success now includes a clause which looks at how UBC technologies have been accessible by third world countries
2. A draft policy proposal is now posted on the UILO website for public consultation.

I ask all of you to please take a look at it. In short, it is a policy which pushes towards measure of "success" of UBC's research not in terms of monetary profit alone, but in terms of benefit to human wellfare. The policy can be found here (link). Please leave your comments on the website up there after reading through it.

Roughly 2/3 of UBC's research activities are health related at the moment, ranging from health care ethics to water sanitation techniques. Therefore, an equitable access clause in relevant licensing agreements has large potential to benefit low to middle income countries.

To give an example: stravudine (d4t) is an anti-HIV drug which came out of a lab in Yale, and has licensed with BMS (Bristol Myers Squibbs). After much lobbying by Doctors without Borders, BMS and Yale agreed to allow for the patent to be lifted in South Africa, resulting in the cost of treatment to drop from 1500$US/year/treatment down to 30$US/year/treatment. Generic competition dropped the cost by an additional 2/3. No black market backflow to other countries has been observed.

We are currently starting to meet with federal politicians, and have made presentations to CASA in order to lobby for more CIHR/CIDA funding in order to allow for more research activities to occur in this neglected field of science. There are several researchers (faculty members, students, staff) who express keen interest in neglected disease research, but simply do not find the funding.

If you wish to learn more, visit our local and international website.


Context - The University Golf Course

Noticed UBC in the national news lately? It's probably because of the University Golf Course. So what exactly is happening? How about an explanation - in timeline form.

1990: Developer David Ho leases the University Golf Course, on University Boulevard, from the provincial government. The land has what's called a "restrictive covenant" attached to it, which means that it must stay as a golf course until the government says otherwise.

2003: The government decides to sell the course to UBC for $11 million. As part of the deal, UBC agrees to keep operating it as a golf course.

2004: The Musqueam First Nation sues the University as well as the provincial government. The claim the land and that the government was getting rid of it to frustrate their claim. (Note: First Nations can only claim land that's still property of the Crown. Had the government sold the land, the Musqueam would have lost any claim they otherwise would have had.)

2005: The BC Supreme Court, applying Haida/Taku, finds that the government had a duty to consult with the Musqueam before selling the land. (However, they find no legal duty on UBC's part to consult.) The Court puts the sale on hold for two years, while the government consults.

2007: The Globe and Mail reports that the government is planning to transfer the golf course land to the Musqueam.

As you may have noticed, it's kind of a big deal. First Nations across Canada have been increasingly asserting their rights, and deliberately ramping up the public affairs rhetoric. Tomorrow had been claimed as a "Day of Action;" the scope of the protests will be significant. On the other hand, a variety of locals are, well, restless. Some UBC old-timers (Bob Hindmarch, Marty Zlotnik) are up in arms, and there's threats that this could cost Gordon Campbell his Point Grey seat. There's a self-appointed "town hall" this evening.

There are some significant long-term issues here:

  • Will the restrictive covenant bind the Musqueam? Can the Crown restrict the land once it's been handed in a land claim settlement?
  • Will the Musqueam pull a UBC and develop the hectares of prime real estate and become a UBC-style land developer?
  • What's UBC's position? Do they still want the golf course?
  • How does having Musqueam land inside Endowment Lands impact UBC's governance?
It's a fascinating time to be watching this one.


A note on how student elites keep power.

A polemic by Arts councilor Nathan Crompton

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has an enemy in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit from the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.

At today’s AMS Council meeting there was a motion to create a committee that would “consider the feasibility” of a Citizen’s Assembly at UBC. A Citizen’s Assembly would be a diverse group of students funded and by the AMS to share with the student body its informed and researched positions on student elections issues and candidates. The Assembly would be made up of UBC students selected on the basis of what is called a “stratified random sample”, which is a sample drawn on the basis of various categories (i.e, gender, faculty, students with loans/students without, etc.) in order to create a “micro group” roughly reflective of the entire student body.

Even though the motion was only to create a committee – not to approve the Assembly – council reacted defensively against any proposal that would “take power away from the single voice of the AMS”, to quote one councilor. Another councilor complained against “giving power to the masses[…]especially if they are not asking for an Assembly”. One journalist was capable of noting the defensive nature of council’s reaction, which led others to reassure councilors that a “committee would not take power away from the AMS.” An executive spoke of the “dangers” of the proposal, which to many seemed real: one councilor saw the Citizen’s Assembly as a “parallel state”.

As debate drew on, councilors became impatient with the motion. The hired speaker for the AMS informed us that he wanted to go drinking and that the meeting should be expedited! The debate was becoming fragmented, like in a “chaosmos”, though in a good way, (which is why I use Deleuze’s term), since nobody had yet explored the new proposal nearly enough to take a position. If a position could have been taken at all, it would have been to vote in favor, and not because the Citizen’s Assembly is ideal, or even good, (a Citizen’s Assembly will not solve the “root problems” of democracy, as was claimed by the presenter). The motion should have been approved because it was for the creation of a committee. And it should have been approved out of a creative inspiration, as an experiment regardless of its apparent merits. We should of course recall that that in the present moment democracy is not functioning.

Things in the meeting were becoming more “out of order”, as one councilor complained. It was in this environment that the firm position of an authority – council President – was welcomed by most councilors. The president proposed an amendment to undermine the possibility for a committee that would be oriented towards an Assembly. Councilors began knocking the table in support when people spoke in favor of changing the motion wording from “a committee to explore the Citizen’s Assembly” to, “a committee to find ways to involve non-involved students”.

The rewording was of course condescending to the author of the motion, but also to the student body in general – the AMS community’s attitude toward “apathy” is incredibly facile. Councilors have a sense that, “we are involved, other people aren’t because they are not us”. Or worse: “why don’t more students pay attention to what I do that is so important?” But in fact, student non-involvement is very complicated. 6/10ths of students take a full course load while working part-time and full-time, (while collecting massive debts of course). Most of the students involved in the AMS community are from the 4/10ths of students who don’t work and who are from bourgeois and professional family backgrounds. Not only are they confident (many of them are trained to be future leaders of Canada, etc.), they emerge from a system that works well for them – this is what I mean to introduce this polemic with the quote of Machiavelli. It is fitting that the “democratic” position of many councilors is the one: “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.

Read more behind the jump

What do they mean when they say, “don’t burn bridges with the university” and “be professional”? They mean that we must cross those bridges and settle down in that seat of power, because we deserve it – don’t ruin your chances. It is in this context that many marginal members of the community are not confident or, on principle, not interested to become involved in the AMS, or any power system. And it should be recognized – the university and student governments keep much of the institutional racism they were founded on. There are brothers and sisters in the community who do not feel like participating alongside mostly white men who mostly plan beer gardens.

These are political questions but there is a way to make an “apolitical” argument in this instance, in the way that “nonpartisanship” is so fashionable today. Simply, there was nothing in the original Assembly motion that prevented the creation of other committees. If people had other ideas in mind about how to involve the student community in the AMS, they could have made a proposal. But those alternative ideas would not have been threatened by the existence of an Assembly committee, and hopefully their ideas would add to it.

We could theorize on the fact that the motion was gutted even though its was only a motion to strike a committee to explore the possibility for an Assembly, not for an Assembly as such. History tells us that elites have not been reactive, only reactionary. In his unpublished notebooks, Marx reflected on the prospect that European ruling classes might gain class consciousness before the workers themselves. Marx’s speculation was made true, of course. Not soon after he wrote, the repressive police-state of Bismark effaced the possibility for socialism in Germany by establishing of one of the first welfare states. Bismark anticipated democracy – he was ahead of democracy qua democracy. It is a maxim: an elite’s ability to anticipate unwanted democracy is essential to liberal democracy in the first instance, that is its primary characteristic: to allow a level of formal democracy necessary for the prevention of actual democracy. Democracy is sanctioned, or “repressively desublimated” (to slightly alter a notion from Herbert Marcuse.) Democracy here is allowed only to the extent that class structures are properly preserved.

But unlike in Marx’s time, elite rule is not coordinated today, or, it is not only coordinated. It is spontaneous, since the conspiracies are not in back rooms, or, not only in back rooms – if they can even be called a conspiracies. Certainly no conspiracy even exists at the level of the AMS! But it is precisely its non-conspiratorial nature that makes liberal democracy so pernicious. For example, the mood in council today was neither sinister nor heavy. It was anticipatory like Bismark and like Marx predicted, but not coordinated in the way of Bismark. People spoke on intuition, not out of some presupposition, and not even from a conscious set of ideological commitments. Elite ideology is so well entrenched that no coercion is necessary, and neither is debate. This is liberal consensus, where ideology operates at the pure level of the political unconscious. Dissenting in this totalizing environment is barely optional at times. But there are many people who don’t dig the consensus, if at least because its totally boring.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Does UBC need a VP Students?

Disclaimer: I have some privileged information on subjects related to this one. But any information contained herein comes from some other source; nothing in here is confidential in any way.

Brian Sullivan has served as UBC's Vice-President, Students (VPS) since 1999. His portfolio includes the registrar's office, alumni, recruitment, student development, housing, athletics, student services, and managing the relationship between the University and its students.
But consider the following:

  1. The VP Students office has been completely re-organized. Specifically, the newly created position of Associate VP, Student Development has taken responsibility for many of the services and student development programs. There's no new direct report to the VPS.
  2. UBC is the only Canadian university to have this position. Most Universities have a Vice-Provost, students, who reports to the VP Academic.
  3. The newly-hired Provost is the former Vice-Provost at the UofT, with responsibility to students there.
  4. Prof. Toope is creating a new VP position, to encompass development and alumni. This removes yet another portfolio item from the VPS portfolio.
Within a year, most of the existing VPS portfolio will be out of the office. It's reasonable to assume that Professor Toope doesn't see a VP Students as a necessary, important, or beneficial part of a University.

Is it? I'm of two minds. On one hand, it's good to have a central place for students to go. And when there's one person whose sole job is to ask "how will this affect students?" without having to worry about, say, the faculty association or any other stakeholder, then it can help create a student-centred environment. Finally, there's increased communication and teamwork when all these disparate services are united under the common umbrella of "students."

But at the same time, it's symptomatic of a University in which "students" (by which I primarily mean undergraduates) are marginalized, to say the least. There's something about the VPS portfolio that speaks to a ghettoization of the student interest. And it would be great if this University didn't need one.

My guess? It's safe to assume that, at this time next year, UBC won't have a Vice-President, Students. Is that a good thing? I have no idea.

(Photo Credit Martha Piper. Seriously. And stolen from Peets.)


University Golf Course to be handed over to Musqueam

Isn't it ironic that the University is now the the valiant protector of parkland in the face of development and the Musqueam are the rabid private interest group?

From today's Globe and Mail:

Gary Mason
June 14, 2007
VANCOUVER -- One of the most prime pieces of real estate in the country, home to one of the oldest public golf courses in the city, is expected to be handed over to the Musqueam Indian band as part of a controversial land-claims agreement.

If the deal for the 120-acre University Golf Club goes ahead, constituents in Premier Gordon Campbell's upscale west-side riding, which encompasses the land, will be forced to take some kind of action, one former University of British Columbia official predicted yesterday.

"I can tell you right now it will have a dramatic impact on any provincial election," said Bob Hindmarch, a retired director of athletics at the university.

"Gordon's constituents are going to be furious. I simply can't believe the provincial government would do this but that's what we're hearing is going to happen."

Mr. Hindmarch isn't the only person who has heard a deal is in the works. Word has begun buzzing throughout the development community too, and sources suggest the current worth of the land is $5-million an acre.

As well, some of the university's top patrons have been tipped off and have quietly begun to mobilize forces to fight the move when it is officially announced next month.

The Musqueam have laid claim to vast tracts of the city, including land on which the University of British Columbia and University Golf Club sit. The land is some of the most valuable property in the country.

It has long been accepted that any land-claims agreement with the Musqueam would be extremely costly simply because of the value of the land to which they have laid claim.

The university bought the golf club from the province in 2003 for $11-million over the objections of the Musqueam, who wanted the property included in any land-claims negotiations. The land has a covenant on it that stipulates the property be used for a golf club, which is why it sold for only $11-million when it would be worth hundreds of millions if it was ever redeveloped for residential or commercial use.

In March, 2005, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned an earlier Supreme Court of B.C. decision that upheld the sale. The appeal court ruled that the provincial government breached its duty to consult and accommodate the band before transferring title to the property.

Two of the three appeal court judges agreed that the order-in-council authorizing the sale should be suspended for two years while the parties tried to reach an agreement.

Details of the anticipated deal between the Musqueam and the provincial and federal governments for the golf club are virtually non-existent.

However, one university source said the government would repay the university the money it paid for the course in 2003 plus interest. The land would then be transferred to the Musqueam, who would be required to operate it as a golf course for a set period of time.

"But I guarantee you the Musqueam could and will get out of whatever covenant is placed on the course," said one source. "And if they redevelop that land it will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to them. It's one of the finest pieces of real estate anywhere in the country, let alone the city."

It's true. But to the federal and provincial governments, the golf club represents a fairly quick and easy solution to the land-claims dilemma it faces with the Musqueam. As mentioned, the band's claim covers vast tracts of the city, including some of the most expensive residential property in the country. The government has no intention of turning either the university or any private residences over to the band, so the golf course offers an attractive alternative.

But handing the golf course to the band will likely have to come with a fair whack of cash as well.

Calls to Musqueam band leaders were not returned yesterday. The provincial government refused to comment on the story.

The Musqueam claim has been the great elephant in the room on the land-claims front. Reaching agreements with bands in remote areas of the province is one thing, coming to terms with one laying claim to large chunks of one of the most expensive cities in the world is quite another.

"The university would have kept that golf course a golf course forever," Mr. Hindmarch said. "The idea that the province would take it away from the university and give it to the Musqueam without securing its future as a golf course in perpetuity is unthinkable.

"But that's what we're hearing. And like I said, if this thing goes ahead there are going to be tons of irate people. I guarantee you. I've talked to a bunch of people about this already and they're very upset. This has greater implications."


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Chitchat with Mark Latham - he's going to take over the world!

Last year, the ex-wall street strategist, UBC alum, and ex-professor Mark Latham walked into an AMS council meeting waving around 8 thousand dollars. He wanted to use the AMS as the first testing ground for his media revolution. The result was Voter Funded Media, the contest that this blog was created for.

For those of you that have been under a rock this year, Voter Funded Media was the contest that accompanied the February AMS elections here at UBC. It was a pilot project meant to increase the information available to students about the elections, leading to more informed voting. The basic idea is that voters reward the media sources that are best for them through a public financial incentive which they award by voting. When students cast their ballots for their favorite candidate, they also voted for their favorite elections-coverage media sources. So media groups (either established, or new) were vying for eight prizes collectively worth 8 thousand dollars (amiably proffered by Mark himself).

I was surprised, but happy to be summoned by Mark for a chat last Wednesday. "I'm bored," quoth he. "I'm waiting for the contest to start again. You're the only one that's still active and we hadn't met yet." In fact, boredom figured prominently in the short meeting's thematic material. All the major professional milestones he cited were the results of boredom. This, combined with Mark's idealism about his big idea resulted in a decidedly adolescent vibe. Not that that's a bad thing at all. Mark preemptively refused to delight in the AMS meeting's (which we were both planning to attend that evening) delicious and nutritious free food. Instead, he tucked into a substantial sandwich, courtesy of the Delly, as we talked. We chatted about some of the successes and challenges of the first year's VFM contest. He seemed interested in whether the results of last years' contest (whereby, the familiar campus publications did better than newer, more interesting ones) would be a deterrent to this corner participating again. I assured him that as far as I was concerned it wouldn't.

The theoretical rational behind the project has been Mark's work of over the last 15 years or so - basically since he quit his overpaid Wall-street job with a handsome nest egg. I got to find out a bit about the genesis of Voter Funded Media: because of his business and financial background, Mark originally conceived the idea in the context of shareholders making decisions about company executives. He recounted that during his years on Wall street he had seen a lot of waste and mismanagement in companies because of bad executives. The idea was, that if shareholders themselves decided to pay outside consultants (call them 'media') to advise them on who to vote into the company's executive, better people would be chosen and improved management practices would result. Over some years, between waking up late and writing the occasional article, Mark purchased shares in companies for the express purpose of trying the idea out. He wrote up and proposed this plan to his fellow shareholders at their annual meetings. Interestingly, these proposals never got more than 20% in favour. That's when he started thinking about the parallel opportunities in politics and public life: essentially, the premise of VFM is that as information about civics and government can be thought of as a "public good" with a collective dimension, that it should have a dedicated public reward system. This public reward system will encourage "good" reporting in civics and government, leading to better election choices and improved policy.

I'm not entirely sold on this line of reasoning. First, it's not clear that the definition of a "public good" - that is, something that either applies to nobody or everybody, like the environment or national security - applies to information. Most people seek out the information they care about individually, and share it with a select number of people that are also interested. Mass entertainment maybe reaches a certain degree of "universality," but the type of in depth investigative reporting Mark wants to encourage never has - only a subset of people are interested in that. Moreover, while we are forced to contribute to public goods through taxes, VFM only asks us to add another way to reward media - through voting on a public purse. It is unclear whether people would vote for media choices differently than the way they already support media - through their viewership. If everyone voted in VFM for the same networks they watch all the time, no change would take place. It is possible that the very act of conscious voting for media sources on the basis of their elections coverage would create a consciousness different from the one that informs our natural preference for entertainment - but that's speculation.

The other interesting aspect of VFM is the creation of new media groups - ones that in theory, would slowly gain reputations and be able to compete with existing sources. Here at UBC, where there's limited existing media in the first place, and they contain almost no political coverage on a regular basis, that seems reasonable. With time, blogs like this one or future VFM outlets could become players in the UBC information market. I'm skeptical that the same thing could be said for the real world though: large and small media organizations saturate the market already, and it would be tough to break through if all you're doing is in depth politics.

In my view the biggest success of VFM is in its capacity to excite, reach out, and re-engage sullen or cynical voters. It's a neat idea that people like to talk about. It makes people want to jump in. At least here at UBC, it created the most interesting campaign is years. Mark is planning to start VFM with some more student unions in BC this year, and then take it to municipalities. From there, his idea will take over the world, or that's the plan.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Campus Plan Report

You've all seen the signs carpeting our pavements and draping our buildings at UBC, asking you "what's the plan?". This fancy publicity campaign is promoting the process of coming up with a ten-year strategic plan for the academic campus of UBC. The Plan addresses the holistic, and specific vision for all of the university's institutional buildings and spaces ; these include residences, research facilities, classrooms, administration buildings, gardens, etc. Basically, the consultation and publicity campaign regard the academic core of the campus - as distinct from the various outlying areas owned by UBC where private development has taken place: these are not considered academic buildings. Important to note, is that the University Boulevard area is not included in the academic Campus Plan process, though it is located in the centre of the campus; it is designated as a "neighborhood," like the outlying private developments. This means that, first, it's farther along in the development process (time-wise) than the main Campus Plan, and that second, its development process has not been tied to that of the rest of campus, and has been fraught with conflict. Refer to earlier posts on this topic.

Anyhow, this month the report summarizing Phase Three (titled "talking about the future") of the ten-year Campus Plan process came out. This phase comprised of various consultations, as well as a speaker series. The report, which can be found here (click), details the feedback from focus groups, presentations (including to AMS council), and an extensive on-line survey form which was open to students faculty, staff, and community members. The structure of this planning process involves the University's Campus and Community Planning office, who conduct the consultations and public relations, and three committees that actually carry out the analysis and planning work. These are the Steering Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and Project Team. They all report to the Board of Governors and each committee comprises of people from the University Neighborhood Association, students, staff, faculty, alumni, etc.

It strikes me as strange that the UNA has a stake in the main Campus Plan development process while students faculty and staff have historically had very little to do with the vision and design behind the various neighborhood developments (starting with Hampton Place, the first, which, under former President Strangway had basically no consultation). The relationship should arguably be the opposite. While the university seems to have taken a slightly more consultative approach to its profit-driven neighborhood developments in recent years with the creation of the University Town committee, it is odd that the UNA should be interested in the University's academic buildings. Extreme deference for the Neighborhoods' interests in the campus's academic core seems to be thematic, in fact: at the recent BoG meeting at least three governors repeated commitments to the neighborhoods regarding the stalled underground transit station, though such a station would hardly serve their locations at all, having nearer transit stops on the way. Could all this concern and all these committee posts be because Premier Gordon Campbell himself (a former developer and buddy of David Strangway) has taken up residence in Hawthorne Place, across from Totem Field?

In any event, the feedback was fairly predictable. Services near work and living spaces, green spaces, focus on sustainability, cycling and pedestrian focus, social spaces, density in the academic core, flexible collaborative research/work environments like the UBC Farm, and a sense of 'place' (whatever that means).

The UBC Farm came up repeatedly in the reported feedback, and seemed to be the single most addressed topic. It figured in the contexts of sustainability, integrative research, community outreach, and green spaces. Well done to the farm supporters for getting such a strong message across through this official consultation. It's on paper now!!

Some of the questions in the online survey, I found very easy to either support or be concerned with. A few though were vague, hard to understand, and nearly meaningless. For example, key policy direction 3, reads thus:

New buildings should maximize the flexibility in the design of the learning
spaces to enable students and faculty to incorporate innovative teaching and
learning methods.

Now, I truly have no idea how buildings, however "flexible," can contribute in any way to having "innovative teaching methods". It is my impression that with appropriate AV equipment, which UBC already possesses, it is up to each instructor to teach. Key policy direction 2 is also strange. It postulates that

Building locations should enhance the opportunity for interdisciplinary research and study and collaboration between allied disciplines, and provide opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in faculty research projects.

Again, how a building's location will create collaborative relationships and internship opportunities is a mystery to me. The campus as it is, is not vast or labyrinthine. I have never walked into an office or a lab and decided to volunteer there because it was handy to my English class. Nor have I heard of someone declining a summer NSERC because it was located more than 100 meters from their favorite lunch spot. I fear that collaborations and undergrad research opportunities still depend on people creating them. Anyhow, other than said incoherencies, the survey was fairly satisfactory. Some of the "key policy direction" statements were a little hard to disagree with because of the positive-spin phrasing, but there was plenty of space to provide written comments, and these seem to be faithfully reported (excepting my specific complaints, which I included at the time and make no appearance) in the document.

Sadly, for all the publicity, and visibility, only 277 people total and 170 students mustered the personal resources necessary to go and answer the survey. An additional number of people (amount not noted) participated in the focus groups and presentation sessions. Considering the enormous publicity effort, and the fact that farm-affiliated students alone probably comprised at least a third of student respondents, I'm disappointed with the response to the online survey. 170 students is just enough to cover AMS involvees, farm people, interested parties from the school of architecture and urban planning, and a few other scattered keeners. If banners, fancy websites, and broadcast emails aren't enough to get the general student population interested enough in their physical academic surroundings to answer a half-hour survey, I do not know what is.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Executive interview series part IV: VP-X Matthew Naylor

Last week I sat down for the fourth chat of the our series, with AMS VP External Matthew Naylor on the sunny SUB rooftop patio.

As the ambient noises of the water fountain and chairs being dragged about soothe you, listen to Matt talk about lobbying, government relations, the tuition debate, expanded U-Pass service, politics and public service generally, and the joys of ceremonial duties.

have a listen HERE

Interestingly, Matt's treatment of the AMS's decision not to sign on as a petitioner in the constitutional challenge court case being undertaken by the BC Civil Liberties Association was different in this interview than in his remarks at Wednesday's AMS council meeting: at that time he said that the rational not to be a petitioner hinged on the legal advice the AMS had sought, which indicated that presenting affidavits would be just as valuable to the case. He neglected to mention the important detail that came out in our chat earlier in the week, that the AMS was essentially rejected as a petitioner by the principal petitioners since they did not perceive that the AMS fit their profile for a partner.