On Campus

Crane jokes get the green light

UBC graduate students' union decides to distribute censored handbook

After an emergency Graduate Students’ Society meeting at the University of British Columbia, student censors politicians reversed an earlier decision and decided to distribute a controversial student handbook, according to the Ubyssey.

The publishing of the handbooks cost $20,000. UBC administration said they did not ask the GSS to pull the book.

The GSS recalled the 7,000 handbooks, which typically include a day planner and student information, last week because the content was found to be offensive. This year’s book was unique in that it included an alternative history of activism on campus, criticism of university administration and the provincial government, and excessive crane jokes — an apparent reference to construction on campus which includes development of upscale condos.

Maclean’s OnCampus, not wanting the alternative history and mediocre crane humour to become a collector’s item, published the pdf of the book on Monday HERE.

On Thursday evening the GSS voted to allow the book to be distributed. GSS council members raised concerns that they were not shown the content of the book in advance of the publishing. But those involved in compiling the book said that there was nothing stopping anyone from seeing the material in advance. GSS president Mona Maghsoodi complained that the book included inaccuracies and did not reflect the mandate of the society.

UBC student Nate Crompton, who was hired to design the handbook, told the Globe and Mail the book was “satire.” One joke reads, “UBC development is devoted to bringing you the most number of cranes per tuition dollar you spend. UBC promises that for every extra crane, one less letter will be written to the Province requesting adequate funding for the University.”

The book also questions why UBC is celebrating its centenary when classes weren’t taught at UBC until 1915.  “In the heady prelude to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the University cannot wait for its students because the ‘Centenary of 2015’ is too far away.”

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