Yesterday, Pooja Bhatti, Faraz Nikzad and Julien Hart participated in the second AMS election debate as part of this year’s VP Administration race. After reiterating their platforms in the opening remarks, the candidates spoke about various issues ranging from the management of clubs to the management of AMS-owned buildings.
In the formal question period, the conversation centred mainly around controversial clubs and the maintenance of the Nest.
The first question posed to candidates concerned controversial clubs on campus. The candidates shared a similar talking point about finding a balance between supporting free speech and protecting student’s safety. Bhatti and Nikzad further suggested reaching out for input from the student body on how to oversee these clubs, given UBC’s diverse nature.
Hart: Always a room available on campus, I want students to be able to make use of them #amselections— Ubyssey News (@UbysseyNews) March 1, 2017
The second question brought up the concern about “the upkeeping of [the Nest’s] washrooms,” which received different approaches from the candidates.
Hart expressed confidence that the AMS could resolve this issue with its current resource level and student outreach. Nikzad noted that the cleaning staff are UBC’s employees, which could make it “hard [for the AMS] to coordinate.”
Bhatti, however, considered the problem to be one of communication.
“Let us know,” she said. “[We should] allow students the opportunity to tell us what's wrong and we can work on fixing it.”
Moving into open debate, the topics shifted to management of the food outlets, the flow of information and club management software. In particular, criticisms were directed toward Clubhouse, the new club management software.
“Clubs are annoyed with some of the ways that the AMS is operating,” said Hart, whose platform features streamlining the policy around software changes as one of its pillars. “[The] transition to [Clubhouse] has been difficult.”
“I believe that any software we use should be tested,” said Nikzad. He also agreed with Hart’s opinion on the software transition.
Lastly, Louis Retief, the current VP Finance, asked the candidates about their thoughts on the plan for the Old SUB’s basement.
In response, all three of them expressed the need for more club spaces. Both Nikzad and Bhatti also supported the idea of a fitness centre, with Nikzad also emphasizing the need for artistic centres.
For their closing remarks, the candidates mainly reiterated their platforms and qualifications. Hart expressed his start as an annoyed student and a desire to reach out and help clubs.
Hart: I want to make things simpler for clubs, so they can focus on helping students #amselections— Ubyssey News (@UbysseyNews) March 1, 2017
Nikzad highlighted his club experience as a significant asset.
Bhatti: Everyone running in this elections has a different vision. In the end it's up to students. VOTE! #amselections— Ubyssey News (@UbysseyNews) March 1, 2017
The final debate is being held tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.