Candidate profile: Georgia Yee, VP Academic

Georgia Yee wants to bring her experience in residence life to the Nest as the next AMS VP academic and university affairs (VPAUA).

The third-year biology major said that her community-building experience as a residence advisor will help her advance her extensive platform of affordability, accessibility and equity. Yee served as president of the Place Vanier Residence Association last year and is currently the National Residence Hall Honorary Thunderbird Chapter president.

“Throughout my whole platform, I want to emphasize that it’s for the students. I’m advocating for the students,” she said. “And it’s not just on behalf of the university, but there’s that delicate balance within the relationship with the university to maintain as well.”

Yee wants to consult with both students who commute and live on campus to evaluate differences in their perceived value for tuition. She also wants UBC to publish a breakdown of where tuition money is spent.

Yee started the UBC Campus Support Network Facebook group for students to provide mutual aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the pandemic has shown the importance of open educational resources, something that she wants to advocate for by continuing the AMS Textbook Broke campaign.

Around campus, she wants to support ongoing Campus and Community Planning accessibility audits and lower barriers for students to register with the Centre for Accessibility.

“So often, there are so many students that I know that have fallen through the cracks,” she said. “And so I think it’s really, really important that I’ve been able to connect with people and offer that on-the-ground peer support.”

With learning resources, one of her goals is to work with the Faculty Association to encourage the development of online learning modules and have instructors use dyslexic-friendly fonts and add subtitles to course videos.

Many of her plans, like allowing students to complete an “unlimited” number of courses under credit/D/fail grading during the COVID-19 pandemic, require Senate approval. But even without a Senate seat, Yee said she’ll communicate with committee chairs and fellow AMS executives in the Senate to achieve her goals.

On the topic of equity, she approved of the AMS’s work supporting the university’s policy SC17 on sexual misconduct and policy 73 on academic accommodations for students with disabilities.

She commended the work of the Indigenous committee and the approval of an Indigenous seat on AMS Council. But she stressed that Indigenous engagement could be improved, for example by asking more questions about Indigeneity in the Academic Experience Survey.

“Something that I’ve learned over the years is that the burden of education should not fall onto Indigenous students,” she said. “It should be a collective responsibility for us all to take the time and acknowledge the land that we are on, as well as for us to acknowledge that the privilege that we have as settlers.”

Yee’s platform is extensive, with some points addressing issues not typically under VPAUA’s jurisdiction, such as increasing funding for the First Nations House of Learning.

When asked how she would pick priorities from her long list of goals, she acknowledged overlap between her platform points.

“In regards to some of the platform goals that say, for example, overlap with other executive portfolios, I don’t think that that necessarily makes it not my concern,” she said.

“Because these are still academic concerns, these are still university affairs concerns.”

Georgia Yee wrote an article for The Ubyssey in January 2020.

This article was updated to reflect that Georgia Yee served as Place Vanier Residence Association President last year, and her credit/D/fail grading policy is specifically in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.