AMS Elections Great Debate coverage: Board of Governors

The second Board of Governors debate helped clarify how this year’s set of experienced candidates differentiate from one another while asking them about topics like transparency, sexual assault policy and sustainable investment.

The first question from the Ubyssey moderator asked the candidates just that — with all of their collective experience, what made them in particular more ready for this role than the others?

Louis Retief noted that as AMS VP Finance this year he had seen his projects come to fruition within the Board. Jakob Gattinger cited his biomedical program advocacy to the Board as his key experience with the body — as did Jeanie Malone, who additionally cited her administrative experience as EUS president. Sneha Balani drew attention to her work on the GSS strategic plan and as a residence advisor, while Kevin Doering emphasized that he is the only candidate who has been paid to do “1,000 hours” of advocacy working on proposals.

The next question asked for the thoughts of candidates on Policy 93, which is the policy governing the open and closed meetings of the GSS. Doering said that as associate VP academic this year, he worked directly on the AMS proposals to the Board regarding the policy, noting that he still wants to see some changes like making the minutes of ad hoc committees available. 

Malone underscored the need to see the policy actually come to fruition, something she hopes to advocate for should she get elected. Retief agreed, emphasizing timeliness. Balani said that with the policy’s implementation, it would be crucial to bring issues to the students as soon as they come up at Board. Gattinger noted that the attendance of Board members should be a topic discussed in open, not closed, session.

The third question asked candidates from their thoughts of Policy 131, the draft of the sexual assault policy. Retief said that he would like to see a program in place to educate students and faculty on the policy once it is implemented, and even more consultation on projects like this in the future. Gattinger noted the importance of the independence of the system, so that survivors could have faith that their cases were being handled impartially. Balani wanted to see more explanation of how disclosure worked in the policy. Malone noted that follow-through will be the biggest factor in her mind, while Doering noted his satisfaction with the policy.

The next question addressed what the biggest critique of each candidate was towards UBC President Santa Ono so far. Retief likes Ono’s knack for consultation, but mentioned that the president seems like he sometimes struggles to make decisions to high-level admin. Gattinger underlined the Furlong incident, saying that it shows problems with both leadership style and UBC’s commitment to reconciliation.

Malone noted that in her eyes, Ono is leaning towards a commitment to learning and research when he could be putting more emphasis on the students. Doering answered that he found the faculty housing plan disappointing, as it took money away from student housing.

The debate concluded, but not before questions that touched on tuition increases — all candidates would likely oppose, but did note the dual responsibilities of degree value preservation and fiduciary duty to the Board — and the Sustainable Future Fund, which all candidates are in favour of continuing, especially Retief.