The Conspiracy

UBC Gets a Taste of Middle East Politics

Image used by UBC group Students for Students

The hot Jewish news coming out of Vancouver detail a donation dispute (which you would know if you have been following the campus recaps). The controversy surrounds the Social Justice Centre (SJC), a resource group at the University of British Columbia. The organization authorized to donate part of its budget to projects promoting social justice. But when the group voted to give 700 dollars to the Canadian Flotilla to Gaza, some felt a line had been crossed.

A group called Students for Students formed in response, voicing a number of concerns about the proposed donation. For starters, the SJC is funded by student fees. Because the money was not raised independently, students felt that funding such a divisive issue was inappropriate. But even more importantly, they questioned the legitimacy of the Canadian Flotilla to Gaza. The group is not recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as an authentic charity and its motives are suspect. If the flotilla will be little more than a publicity stunt to support Hamas, the SJC — and UBC by extension — should not be complicit in that. If a donation is to be made, it should be done through reputable NGOs.

Last Wednesday, the issue was put to a vote by the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS), which acts as an umbrella organization for UBC clubs and resource groups. While the donation was approved by a vote of 26-10, the AMS president temporarily froze the donation in order to allow time for an independent investigation. In the coming weeks, the AMS will attempt to determine whether the money has any potential of being used to sponsor terrorism. A much-anticipated report by the vice-president of finance is due back January 12.

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2 Older Responses to “UBC Gets a Taste of Middle East Politics”

  1. David A.M. Wilensky
    December 7, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    That’s pretty interesting. I suppose that I’m not troubled by the questionable Canadian governmental status of the group, but I do think that donations to any organization by a campus club must be raised by the club from willing donors.

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