Candidate profile: Chris Hakim, President

Presidential candidate Chris Hakim wants to push for more consultation in all aspects of his platform.

Pulling from his experience as AMS VP Administration, the third-year arts student wants to improve policies and initiatives around sexual assault support, affordability, Indigenous inclusion and sustainability.

He is also running to be a senator-at-large on similar platform points.

He particularly stressed next year’s importance due to the upcoming review of UBC’s sexual assault policy.

“I think this is a really crucial time because the next time it is probably going to be up for review is another few ... years,” Hakim said. “And students have shown that they have problems with this policy and that they have problems with the implementation of it.”

At the same time, the AMS’s standalone sexual assault policy will likely go into effect in the new year, as it is currently receiving community feedback.

Hakim also wants to push forward with tuition affordability advocacy, adding that he would lobby for not just a freeze but also lower tuition.

He highlighted the momentum created by December’s votes on tuition increases, in which two provincial appointees to the Board of Governors joined forces with student and faculty representatives in opposing the proposal.

“We’re starting to notice that UBC is starting to crack into the pressure,” Hakim said.

“… We’re really in a historic time that we need to keep putting that pressure on to UBC, because they need to understand students are the ones that are primarily affected by this.”

Regarding Indigenous inclusion, Hakim acknowledged that the AMS can’t just stop at its apology but has to continue working with the Indigenous committee to advance reconciliation. On sustainability, he wants to lobby UBC to divest from fossil fuel.

Encompassing all these goals, Hakim aims to use the AMS communications department to better engage and consult students.

Throughout his candidacy interview and the debates, Hakim rarely stumbled thanks to his incumbent experience. But campaigning as a sitting executive hasn't been easy.

During the debates, newcomer candidates repeatedly criticized his involvement with the now-reversed cut to the Sexual Assault Support Centre’s support services and the AMS’s failure to adequately advertise its annual general meeting.

He also received a campaign penalty for using administrator access to reach private Clubhouse email addresses for campaigning. Hakim apologized for this violation, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Notably, Hakim is running against AMS VP Finance Kuol Akuechbeny.

Hakim believes he has an edge over his fellow incumbent due to his extensive experience consulting clubs and student groups. He criticized Akuechbeny for offering AMS Council voting seats to certain groups like Indigenous students and resource groups without first consulting them, adding that this could be exclusionary.

“He is picking and choosing, which I don't think you should be doing with marginalized communities,” Hakim said.

“I think it's important that we are very much listening to students … because at the end, we're called a student union for a reason. If we're not listening to students, then what the hell are we doing?”

Want to read more ? Check out our ongoing AMS Elections coverage.