Candidate profile: Eshana Bhangu, senator-at-large

Eshana Bhangu, a third-year international relations student, is running for a third year on the UBC Vancouver Senate as a student senator-at-large.

If reelected, she said she hopes to continue her work in reducing the cost of learning materials, drafting a more lenient course withdrawal policy and improving experience-based education for students entering the workforce after graduation.

Bhangu says that “unfinished business” pushed her to run for reelection. As one of the authors of Senate 2023, she wants to use her platform to support the implementation of the goals and strategies outlined in the document by pushing student priorities “in every way that [she] can.”

“I think the most relevant thing that makes me a good student senator is the fact that I never forget that students are the ones who put me here,” said Bhangu. “That's why I think I'm going for reelection. I just want to continue to fight for students.”

Bhangu said she wants to push for greater Senate transparency and a centralized student focus — specifically, she wants to reduce bureaucracy when it comes to passing motions and identify barriers in remote learning environments.

“We have to go beyond that and look at the concerns that instructors have, whether it's intellectual property, whether it is student comfort and privacy or other pedagogical reasons,” she said.

She also hopes to improve the structural format of the Senate, particularly the way student senators are viewed by other senate members, which she plans on seeing through with the use of the Senate triennial review.

“We've seen instances where faculty senators and student senators [are cooperating], but other times, it’s often seen that student senators are the ones fighting out there,” she said.

“We also need to develop a code of conduct and conflict of interest rules for senators,” she said.

Bhangu said that her experience in the Senate differentiates her from other candidates. She “drafted and put into [motion]” the extension of the drop deadline to February 6, supported the restriction of remote invigilation tools and is the only student on the experiential education roundtable.

In her role as AMS VP academic and university affairs, she wrote a correspondence to push the university to “conduct a review” for honorary degrees, not just for revoking Bishop O’Grady’s honorary degree, but also of the process and criteria of granting honorary degrees.

According to Bhangu, there has been “a lot of progress” in the Tributes Committee — the committee in charge of honorary degrees — as there is now a “subcommittee to review the process on how they give out honorary degrees.” However, little progress has been made in the rescission of O’Grady’s degree.

“I'll continue holding them accountable to what [UBC has] committed to doing, and keep questioning if we’re giving out degrees like that, are we really living up to our goals as an institution?” she said.

Bhangu is also running for AMS president.

Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 28. This article is part of our 2022 AMS elections coverage.