Candidate profile: Max Holmes, VP Academic

Max Holmes is the current VP Academic and University Affairs and is running for re-election in this year’s uncontested race. Holmes was elected to the position in a September by-election following Daniel Lam’s departure.

“My platform is really based off what I have learned over the past couple of months as the current VP Academic and University Affairs,” said Holmes. “There’s some new things in there, and some old things too.”

Holmes’s current campaign rests on four main points: survivor-centric sexual violence support, holistic student affordability, accountable limitation of UBC’s new strategic plan and a systematic approach to student mental health.

Being his own predecessor, Holmes reflected on the past year and noted two “big regrets”: one being the discussion surrounding the expulsion policy.

“It’s not right for us to say that we can ban you from the Nest, which can make it so that you can’t access any of the services that you pay for,” said Holmes. “I wish I had the same clarity of mind that I do now on that policy.”

Holmes also regrets the length of time it took for him to form the Indigenous Advisory group, the formation of which was prompted by a question that current presidential candidate Rodney Little Mustache posed in the September by-election.

Proper consultation and advocacy efforts are at the forefront of a lot of Holmes’s plans — and he was quick to express his disappointment with the university in taking them seriously.

“The VP Academic is very much an advocate for students that have been mistreated at UBC — the students that we’ve failed, honestly,” said Holmes. “We failed survivors. We fail students that face mental health issues.”

Despite the lack of choice in the race, Holmes is confident that he has demonstrated a proven track record. He mentioned how many previous VP Academic candidates have run on the platform point to review Policy 73, and during his term it “took less than 2 months to work with the VP Students office and get a committee from legal.” He has also taken issues with the UBC Housing Action Plan consultation to the Board of Governors in order to get the university to “take this seriously.”

“I’ve been someone who’s been able to show that if the university doesn’t do what students want, then you can call the university out,” said Holmes.

“I think it’s important that students come out and vote, whether its for or against me because I think students need to have a voice in who is advocating for them to the university. There’s nothing more important than that.”