This year, The Ubyssey is doing things a little differently. Instead of publishing candidate profiles where students could read transcriptions of short interviews with each candidate, we’ve restructured it, turning our candidate coverage into what we hope is a more in-depth analysis of their platforms, experience and performance.
That’s also why this article is not technically an endorsement of any candidates. We recognize that overall, students need to vote with the values and platforms that they want to see in their university’s governance, and that concept isn’t the same for everyone. Rather, this overview aims to be an honest, simplified and analytical version of what we think each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses are so that you can hopefully make an informed decision this year.
Board of Governors
Retief brings a host of financial experience to the table, an asset on the Board and emphasizes sustainability. With his prior experience and personality, he could bring a loud voice to the table. He does seem to plan to work within the existing structure of Council, which will benefit him, but we also hope to see some innovative ideas come forward.
Much like Retief, Gattinger is another realistic candidate with tangible goals. With his prior experience, he brings some knowledge of policy, constituency, lobbying and consultation to the table. If you like him, vote him into both Senate and the Board of Governors — his platform would be best executed if elected to both roles.
Doering’s title as current associate VP Academic should not be ignored — it has resulted in in-depth policy experience interacting with the Board. He places a heavy value on transparency, offering to run a blog if elected. If you like him, vote him into Senate and the Board — just like Gattinger, his platform would be best executed if elected to both roles.
Balani brings a different host of experience forward as someone that is a PhD candidate, worked on the GSS strategic plan and was a former residence advisor. While she lacks some tangibility in her broad-based ideas, which might inhibit her from bringing them to fruition, she underscores the importance of diversity in every aspect of UBC more so than the other candidates.
As current EUS President, Malone is an articulate candidate who has tangible, small-step goals to achieve her larger aims of transparency and the student voice. She has experience lobbying as well, resulting in managerial and representative experience. We hope that if elected, she is a loud voice on the Board.
Lam is running unopposed in this race, so it’s a good thing he has a solid understanding of the portfolio and ample relevant experience. Given the long-term nature of current projects, he promises to continue the department’s efforts — but we hope to see some more tangible goals in the future, as we believe that he can be successful in executing them.
While Lakhiyalov is an experienced and knowledgeable candidate, he is running unopposed, making evaluation difficult. A few indicators of his performance in the coming year will be how transparent the AMS budget is, how many students actually see it, whether the AMS runs a deficit or surplus and how Block Party finances are managed.
Doering’s technical knowledge of academic policy and his ability to articulate achievable goals surrounding affordable education set him apart from other candidates. He exaggerated a few facts during the first debate, but if you value affordability and someone who knows how to work effectively within the current Senate system and with the AMS, he’s your guy.
With project-specific constituency experience working with Senate, Gattinger demonstrated his knowledge of Senate’s reach and impact through concrete plans to advance mental health and diversity initiatives. If you like him, vote him into both Senate and the Board of Governors — his ability to execute his platform would be limited should he be elected to only one role.
Sapollnik’s focus on creating a strong student Senate caucus by stepping up to be its chair is valuable for student leadership continuity during a year of high Senate membership turnover. His platform’s emphasis on conducting a full scheduling review — while realistic — lacks innovation and makes him a dependable choice as incumbent, but a little uninspiring.
Chen has specific, achievable goals that he defends passionately, and would definitely shake things up on the Student Senate caucus. While he does bring a dense factual knowledge to the table, he has seemed rather uncompromising and contemptuous of university governance — which could alienate Senators — and lacks experience working within a team.
An incumbent senator, Lam has a thorough knowledge of how Senate functions and will carry forward work on fall reading break and diversity initiatives. It would also likely be very beneficial to have the same person working both as VP Academic and on Senate. Lam is definitely a safe and reliable choice, although we would like to see him push boundaries in his ideas.
Brar values a proactive approach to student engagement, and has worked directly with students through the Residence Hall Association. She is well-researched and was able to speak knowledgeably on all debate topics. While Brar is passionate, her campaign promises are vague and buzzword-y. Her success will hinge on her willingness to be outspoken and push boundaries.
As the current SUS VP Administrator and the only person who discussed the AMS Constituencies report and the SLSC, Bhatti would bring directly transferable skills and knowledge to this role. While she’s capable, she only offers a conventional platform and uninspiring arguments during debates. Overall, if you’re looking for a safe candidate, Bhatti is the one.
As the former manager-on-duty for the AMS’s food outlets, Nikzad would bring new and valuable skills to this role, but it’s unclear if the VP Administration has enough power to accomplish his platform. His promotion of culture is also refreshing, but may distract from the role’s core responsibilities such as improving the booking system and the club management software.
With his focus is on clubs, Hart offers an innovative platform with achievable goals that could greatly improve the experience of running a club if materialized. However, as the VP Administration’s portfolio extends beyond just club management, this emphasis could take away from other interest groups such as the constituencies.
With substantial AMS and AUS experience, Lin is a candidate who prioritizes smaller and more tangible goals while putting engagement with student caucuses and constituencies at the forefront of her platform. In relation to her opposition, Lin has less experience being in communication with political representatives — however, she displays a great advantage in her professional communication and conduct.
Garousian is a candidate who has displayed his political experience with his work for the NDP. He has an innovative platform, and takes on many lofty and unique goals such as advocating for funding for psychological assessment exams for students. However, these big-picture plans can make his platform seems unrealistic. Garousian’s opposition has displayed greater professionalism in conduct when communicating with The Ubyssey.
Cohen’s experience with event management lends itself well to a large part of his platform. However, he lacks a clear process for achieving his more serious goals. Advocacy is an important part of student government, but in order to be effective, there needs to be more to the plan.
Brewer criticizes the grandiose plans usually presented by presidential candidates, and presents his own plans to simply engage students as a stark contrast. However, this leaves his platform feeling hard to define. His only clear plan is to emphasize the use of the AMS App which has failed to capture student interest since it was released.
When we first heard “the Cairn” was running for President, we expected a mediocre joke candidate. However, Alan Ehrenholz, the engineering student behind the concrete block, surprised us by answering questions in the Great Debate seriously albeit in the third person. Despite Ehrenholz’s experience in student government, he doesn’t have a platform aside from hyper-specific plans to improve Council meetings, making it impossible to form a judgement.