A Conversation at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as Imagined by Blake Frederick

The Ubyssey reports:

The AMS has filed a complaint to the United Nations regarding the federal and provincial government’s failure to meet obligations to provide accessible post-secondary education for international students.

The complaint was submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay. The report reads that the AMS is submitting the complaint on behalf of its members, along with former AMS VP Administration Tristan Markle and through the law firm Pivot Legal LLP.

AMS councilors have responded to Frederick on Twitter, asking how much the report cost and expressing their displeasure and confusion that the complaint did not go to AMS Council beforehand.

Jeremy McElroy, Arts representative, asked Frederick on Twitter: “Where the hell did this UN complaint come from? Most certainly not Council, for whom you are quoted as representing?”

——

Assistant: Commissioner Pillay!
Pillay: What is it, Jean?
Assistant: I have a letter for you, madam.
Pillay: Well, I’m a little busy at the moment. After all, I am the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Assistant: But it’s urgent.
Pillay: Can’t it go through the mail pile like all the—
Assistant: No, it can’t wait.
Pillay: Why?
Assistant: It’s from Canada.
Pillay: Close the door now.
Assistant: What do I tell the delegation from Haiti?
Pillay: I don’t know. Tell them we’re breaking for lunch. Just lock the door.
Assistant: Yes madam.
Pillay: *begins reading*
Assistant: What is it about?
Pillay: It’s about rising tuition at Canadian universities.
Assistant: No.
Pillay: It seems that students who pay some of the lowest tuition fees in the developed world will now have to pay significantly more.
Assistant: That’s horrendous and totally deserving of our attention!
Pillay: It’s a good thing this guy Frederick came to us.
Assistant: Why didn’t he contact us earlier?
Pillay: People act desperately during humanitarian crises.
Assistant: What are we going to do?
Pillay: You know that guy I was going to assign to our research group on development in Somalia?
Assistant: Roberto?
Pillay: I’m putting him on this.
Assistant: Good idea.
Pillay: And you know those funds that we were going to direct into the Rwanda group? Send them into Canada research.
Assistant: Yes, madam.
Pillay: *starts tearing up*
Assistant: What is it Commissioner Pillay?
Pillay: Oh, it’s this story they attached near the end about a poor boy named Tristan. Apparently, despite working part-time and receiving grants, he still accrued $42,000 in debt while completing his second bachelor’s degree at UBC.
Assistant: Those bastards.
Pillay: I can’t finish reading this.
Assistant: Commissioner Pillay?
Pillay: Yes Jean?
Assistant: I have a suggestion.
Pillay: What is it?
Assistant: We should send this to the Security Council.
Pillay: This is why I hired you, Jean.
Assistant: What kinds of sanctions should we propose.
Pillay: I don’t care. Sanction everything.
Assistant: Good idea, madam. This is Nobel Peace Prize material.

The AMS has filed a complaint to the United Nations regarding the federal and provincial government’s failure to meet obligations to provide accessible post-secondary education for international students.

The complaint was submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay. The report reads that the AMS is submitting the complaint on behalf of its members, along with former AMS VP Administration Tristan Markle and through the law firm Pivot Legal LLP.

AMS councilors have responded to Frederick on Twitter, asking how much the report cost and expressing their displeasure and confusion that the complaint did not go to AMS Council beforehand.

Jeremy McElroy, Arts representative, asked Frederick on Twitter: “Where the hell did this UN complaint come from? Most certainly not Council, for whom you are quoted as representing?”

Assistant: Commissioner Pillay!
Pillay: What is it, Jean?
Assistant: I have a letter for you, madam.
Pillay: Well, I’m a little busy at the moment. After all, I am the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Assistant: But it’s urgent.
Pillay: Can’t it go through the mail pile like all the—
Assistant: No, it can’t wait.
Pillay: Why?
Assistant: It’s from Canada.
Pillay: Close the door now.
Assistant: What do I tell the delegation from Haiti?
Pillay: I don’t know. Tell them we’re breaking for lunch. Just lock the door.
Assistant: Yes madam.
Pillay: *begins reading*
Assistant: What is it about?
Pillay: It’s about rising tuition at Canadian universities.
Assistant: No.
Pillay: It seems that students who pay some of the lowest tuition fees in the developed world will now have to pay significantly more.
Assistant: That’s horrendous and totally deserving of our attention!
Pillay: It’s a good thing this guy Frederick came to us.
Assistant: Why didn’t he contact us earlier?
Pillay: People act desperately during humanitarian crises.
Assistant: What are we going to do?
Pillay: You know that guy I was going to assign to our research group on development in Somalia?
Assistant: Roberto?
Pillay: I’m putting him on this.
Assistant: Good idea.
Pillay: And you know those funds that we were going to direct into the Rwanda group? Send them into Canada research.
Assistant: Yes, madam.
Pillay: *starts tearing up*
Assistant: What is it Commissioner Pillay?
Pillay: Oh, it’s this story they attached near the end about a poor boy named Tristan. Apparently, despite working part-time and receiving grants, he still accrued $42,000 in debt while completing his second bachelor’s degree at UBC.
Assistant: Those bastards.
Pillay: I can’t finish reading this.
Assistant: Commissioner Pillay?
Pillay: Yes Jean?
Assistant: I have a suggestion.
Pillay: What is it?
Assistant: We should send this to the Security Council.
Pillay: This is why I hired you, Jean.
Assistant: What kinds of sanctions should we propose.
Pillay: I don’t care. Sanction everything.
Assistant: Good idea, madam. This is Nobel Peace Prize material.

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terryman

Nick is an undergraduate studying history and economics at UBC. Nick is interested in international relations, philosophy of mind, creative writing, design, marketing, and a bunch of other things. Nick produces music, does graphic design, and sometimes plays tennis.

33 Responses to “A Conversation at The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as Imagined by Blake Frederick”

  1. mr.x

    LMAO.

    …continued:

    Pillay: Okay, if Canada is playing hardball on tuition fees we will ask the Security Council to sanction a boycott against Canada’s largest industries.
    Assisant: Boycott?

    Next person, please continue this….

    N
    Ne

  2. Gossip Guy

    A great article Nick! Absolutely loved it.

    I really hope Blake’s reign of terror comes to an end this Saturday.

  3. Trisha Taneja

    Brilliant!

    I cannot actually believe Frederick would do something this ridiculous. It’s such a joke (and so shameful that it comes from the body apparently representing us).

  4. S

    I’m so ashamed. To the rest of the AMS council that had nothing to do with this, I’m so sorry for you all.

    I knew he would pull something like this. Impeachment, please.

  5. Jeet

    Not only is this article childishly amusing but immensely naive. Do you really believe it was ever in any one’s intention for the UN to actually act in this case? Its merely a call for publicity to bring attention to one of the growing needs of students in Canada, a wake-up call for the B.C. govt and the UBC Senate. Good god, wake up. Frankly, I find such naivete from a university student much more embarassing than a protest to the U.N.

  6. mr.x

    Re: Jeet

    I’m all for raising the issue, but how about raising it to the proper channels instead? (the provincial and federal gov’ts). More importantly, this is far from being the first time that Frederick and Chu have acted unilaterally. They did not get Council’s permission for this, which defeats the whole democratic process of the AMS.

    Assuming Frederick isn’t doing this for personal interest and really believes in what he is doing, this is akin to calling 911 because McDonalds restaurant ran out of chicken nuggests and refused to give a refund.
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1530697/mcdonalds_911_call_over_mcnuggets_leads.html

    USE THE PROPER CHANNELS!

  7. Jeet

    I completely agree that this is not a regular channel. But I think this issue has been on the table ever since the tuition freeze was lifted and regular channels of protest just did not work. The very fact that you and I and students all over Vancouver and even from the United States are discussing this issue proves the overwhelming success of this protest.

  8. mr.x

    Perhaps, but going about it in a way that destroys your organization’s credibility and pissing off the people that you need in order for change to occur is not an option either. And what about the public backlash? I can confidently say that a large majority of the students that Blake and Chu claim to be representing are absolutely furious with this.

    And I question whether this was done out of selfish personal interests or the sincere believes of the individuals at the helm.

  9. Trisha Taneja

    Jeet,

    Please see the post (link below) which details the issues with using the term ‘human rights’ in a publicity stunt. Completely unacceptable, I think. The UN Human Rights Commission is not a joke; it is for substantially greater violations of human rights that are taking place around the world (and even in Vancouver). Not only is this not a regular channel, it is not an ethical or acceptable channel.

    http://blogs.ubc.ca/ethicsofisl/2009/11/27/why-the-amsun-debacle-infuriates-me/

  10. Jeet

    I beg to differ. To actually help address larges violations of human rights, I actually need a degree to graduate with- which for some students, is made a lot harder with higher tuition costs. If your concern with addressing human rights at the present moment is higher than your degree, perhaps your tuition payments would serve better as donations to relief agencies.

  11. Nick Zarzycki

    Jeet is right guys. Forcing students who live in one of the richest countries on the planet to take larger student loans ranks right up there with genocide, health epidemics, religious conflict, child labor and prostitution, mass rape, inadequate access to food and shelter, and many of the other issues the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other organs of the United Nations deal with. I totally stepped out of line with this story.

  12. Jeet

    Yes, Nick, because that is what I meant by all my comments above. Perhaps you should read them.

  13. Jeet

    No one is putting the issues on the same pedestal. The UN will not act on this issue and I am the first to say it. But perhaps other institutions, like the BC govt. or the UBC Senate, due to the excessive publicity, will.

  14. Nick Zarzycki

    Why the vitriol, Jeet? I think we’re totally on the same page.

    Now that the president of the AMS has complained about rising tuition fees in a first world country to a body that otherwise deals with mass killing, mass rape, child exploitation and basic development, ‘the BC govt. or the UBC Senate’ will, I’m sure, finally step up to the plate and engage in constructive dialogue.

    I also agree with you that involving the UN High Commission for Human Rights in, and spending $3,000 of UBC students’ money on, this kind of publicity stunt without consulting the council is totally cool. The ‘discussion’ among students and others that has resulted from this move has been constructive and fantastic and the whole thing has just been an ‘overwhelming success’.

  15. Nick Zarzycki

    “Not only is this article childishly amusing but immensely naive. Do you really believe it was ever in any one’s intention for the UN to actually act in this case?”

    I would respond to this but I think Terry has an irony cap.

  16. Ashley

    Jeet: this is not going to get the university or the canadian or bc governments to act. they are probably sitting in their chairs laughing their asses off right now. i would be. heck, i am.

  17. M

    hahahaha this is amazing.

    Jeet, I’m glad you’re admitting that this was all a publicity stunt. Now, we have a way bigger audience watching as we dilute the term human rights, alienate people who are actually against rising tuition costs, and look like ignorant children who have nothing better to spend thousands of dollars on except wasting the UN’s time and resources. And all without even consulting the rest of the AMS. Even if you agree with filing a complaint, you must be able to see that it’s an abuse of power to do it without the council’s agreement.

  18. Katherine

    I’m really glad that Nick made this.

    Jeet: this will hurt our relations with the university, provincial government and federal government. The AMS was already on thin ice with the university- this just makes it worse.

  19. Maria

    I think it’s important to realize that Blake and Tim have undermined their ability to work through the proper channels to achieve tuition reductions. This move, while attracting the press, removes any credibility they had in representing students, given that they did not approach this democratically or transparently. Yes, high tuition costs are a problem- but people can get loans, and the barriers to education here are still quite low.

    Do I think tuition fees are an issue? Yes. But tuition is not “spiraling out of control”- it is only increasing with the cost of inflation. Furthermore, when we did have a tuition freeze, this resulted in large deficits that hurt the university. While free tuition would be great, I think it too would have to come with caveats- I, for one, don’t think that we should be paying for students who fail courses, or who do poorly and don’t try in their work. In any case, I don’t think that the way of addressing the problem is to talk to the UN- if anything, it’s to talk to the provincial government, who at this point won’t listen because Blake and Tim are not to be taken seriously.

  20. Who said UBC was boring? «

    […] Assistant: Commissioner Pillay! Pillay: What is it, Jean? Assistant: I have a letter for you, madam. Pillay: Well, I’m a little busy at the moment. After all, I am the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. Assistant: But it’s urgent. Pillay: Can’t it go through the mail pile like all the— Assistant: No, it can’t wait. Pillay: Why? Assistant: It’s from Canada. Pillay: Close the door now. Assistant: What do I tell the delegation from Haiti? Pillay: I don’t know. Tell them we’re breaking for lunch. Just lock the door. Assistant: Yes madam. Pillay: *begins reading* Assistant: What is it about? Pillay: It’s about rising tuition at Canadian universities. Assistant: No. Pillay: It seems that students who pay some of the lowest tuition fees in the developed world will now have to pay significantly more. Assistant: That’s horrendous and totally deserving of our attention! Pillay: It’s a good thing this guy Frederick came to us. Assistant: Why didn’t he contact us earlier? Pillay: People act desperately during humanitarian crises. Assistant: What are we going to do? Pillay: You know that guy I was going to assign to our research group on development in Somalia? Assistant: Roberto? Pillay: I’m putting him on this. Assistant: Good idea. Pillay: And you know those funds that we were going to direct into the Rwanda group? Send them into Canada research. Assistant: Yes, madam. Pillay: *starts tearing up* Assistant: What is it Commissioner Pillay? Pillay: Oh, it’s this story they attached near the end about a poor boy named Tristan. Apparently, despite working part-time and receiving grants, he still accrued $42,000 in debt while completing his second bachelor’s degree at UBC. Assistant: Those bastards. Pillay: I can’t finish reading this. Assistant: Commissioner Pillay? Pillay: Yes Jean? Assistant: I have a suggestion. Pillay: What is it? Assistant: We should send this to the Security Council. Pillay: This is why I hired you, Jean. Assistant: What kinds of sanctions should we propose. Pillay: I don’t care. Sanction everything. Assistant: Good idea, madam. This is Nobel Peace Prize material. – Taken off the Terry Website […]

  21. JD

    Have to say, Jeet is right. This is great publicity for UBC. As a student from the other side of Canada, nothing makes me respect UBC students more than seeing multiple mocking links on facebook, discussing UBC’s student union with captions like “FAIL”, “I feel this is a stunt someone in Quebec would pull.”, ” got a good laugh out of this:”, etc.
    The fact that UBC’s student union is now the laughing stock of the nation is a good thing. After all, laughter is the best medicine. UBC is just doing its part to help combat swine flu.
    Hilarity aside, I really feel for you guys. Good luck dealing with the crazy!

    Hi

    I

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