The Justice Centre has sent a legal warning letter to the University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society (AMS) demanding that it reverse its decision to deny club recognition to the student group Advocacy for Men and Boys (AMB) after rejecting the group’s application on three separate occasions.
AMB’s mandate seeks to “build a movement centered on raising awareness of issues affecting Men and Boys through public education through positive, non-violent activism for a healthier society.” AMB seeks to engage with students about issues such as men’s health, fathers and family issues, suicide, violence, safety, workplace issues, misandry and the justice system.
AMB first applied to become an AMS-constituted club in August 2016. On September 14, 2016, the AMB Club received an email from then-Associate VP Administration Rob Willoughby stating that the application had been denied because the AMB Club’s mandate “overlapped” with the mandate of the AMS Student Society Healthier Masculinities Program.
AMB applied for club status again on January 31, 2017. Executive members of the club met with then-VP Administration for the AMS, Chris Scott, on February 24, 2017, to discuss the AMB Club’s application. On March 16, 2017, Chris Scott emailed AMB to state he had denied their application. In his email Mr. Scott cited AMB’s association with the UBC Free Speech club and AMB’s association with the Canadian Association For Equality (“CAFE”) as reasons for his decision. He further told the club that it was the opinion of the AMS Women’s Centre and Feminist Collective that AMB was “insufficiently cooperative” with the Feminist Collective.
The AMB Club applied for club status a third time on September 28, 2017. On October 31, Pooja Bhatti, VP Administration, emailed AMB to state the AMB Club’s application had again been denied. This time, the reason provided was that the AMB Club’s “goals are fulfilled by… the Healthy Masculinities program,” which Ms. Bhatti claimed is “very similar” to the AMB Club’s mandate.
Without being granted club status by the AMS Student Society, the AMB Club cannot participate in Club Days and Imagine Day, book space in buildings owned by the AMS Student Society or UBC Vancouver without paying a fee, or access general funding available to all AMS-constituted student clubs.
AMB was successful in achieving registered club status in the 2018-2019 school year. The Justice Centre continues to monitor this case.