Daniel Lam, a third-year atmospheric sciences major, is running unopposed for the position of VP Academic and University Affairs, and is bringing with him a platform centred on affordability, student experience and equity and inclusion.
Buzzwords aside, Lam’s platform focuses on continuing the AMS’s efforts to decrease the impact of financial hardship on students’ academics, providing more support to certain underrepresented groups on campus and trying to help students get the most out of their academic experience.
One of the most noteworthy promises Lam makes is to push for a review of Policy 73, concerning academic accommodation for students with disabilities, in his efforts to provide support for students who need such assistance.
“Those who know me well would actually know that I’m a high-functioning autistic and I’ve been part of certain groups on this campus representing neuro-diverse individuals,” said Lam. “A lot of them talk about problems with Access and Diversity and issues that they’re facing with how the university is supporting students with disabilities.”
In terms of affordability, Lam emphasizes the importance of open educational resources. He plans to lobby with the future VP External to advocate for funding at a provincial level, as well as finding professors who are “champions of open ed resources,” stating that they are strong allies in the shift away from paper textbooks.
Lam also applauds the consultation done by the AMS in the past year for the sexual assault policy, and recognizes that continuing the advocacy efforts could pose a challenge in the coming year.
“The policy as I know it [is] only going to provide a sort of starting point for the university,” said Lam.
Many of the points Lam brings up in his platform aren’t new to the work that the VP Academic has done in the past, but his knowledge of how the portfolio operates has influenced this conformity.
“This is a portfolio where a lot of projects are passed on every year. One of the things I didn’t want to do was actually start a lot of new projects because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep those promises,” said Lam.