Candidate profile: Cristina Ilnitchi, VP External

Third-year interdisciplinary studies student Cristina Ilnitchi is running to be the next AMS VP External with a platform focused on affordability, accessibility and wellbeing. One of three candidates vying for the position, Ilnitchi is hoping to use her experience as the campaigns and outreach commissioner (COC) in the VP Academic office to advocate for students.

“I took all of [my platform] points from the student issues that I worked with this year, that I got from student data though the Academic Experience Survey and through other research,” said Ilnitchi, noting her platform’s focus on bringing more open educational resources (OERs) to UBC students. “I’ve seen that there is a student need to continue this work and to find new approaches.”

For Ilnitchi, securing government financial support for student interests is essential. Areas she would like to advocate for include increased government funding for OERs, matching mental health care spending by students, and “realistic” student loan living allowances.

Increasing the base funding for domestic tuition is, Ilnitchi admits, a lofty goal, but one she believes is key to making education at UBC more accessible.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to advocate for greater based funding so that from year to year you don’t see those two per cent increases [from the university].”

Ilnitchi also hopes to improve the #TextbookBrokeBC campaign she organized as COC through face-to-face student outreach.

“I’ve seen what it means when students go beyond just signing a petition,” said Ilnitchi. “[I am] really [committed to] using that outreach to collect data to be able to go to the provincial government and support our asks with that data.”

Using data-driven advocacy to secure a long-term U-Pass agreement with Translink and securing a SkyTrain extension to UBC are both top priorities for Ilnitchi, as is lobbying the federal government to count on-campus work towards international student’s permanent resident applications. She also wants to lobby the province to hold UBC accountable to its “lacklustre” implementation of the sexual misconduct policy.

“There is a lot of opportunity there to collaborate with the provincial government to ensure that UBC rolls out the [Sexual Violence Prevention and Response] Office and the policy appropriately, all the while respecting the autonomy of the university,” said Ilnitchi, citing her role as VP Programming of UBC Sororities, which has seen her working on how to implement sexual violence policies before.

In the wake of VP Academic incumbent candidate Max Holmes’ allegations of insensitive questions about his platforms points on the sexual misconduct policy from members of the Inter-Fraternity Council during his endorsement meeting, Ilnitchi has joined three other candidates in rejecting their endorsement of her candidacy.

Ilnitchi stressed that while her platform is extensive, she believes that her experience working on them as COC will help her “hit the ground running.”

“I do have advocacy that is continuing on from the past, but also I want to explore new and exciting initiatives ... and seeing what are the possibilities there.”