Candidate profile: Kamil Kanji, senator-at-large

Kamil Kanji wants to bring his experiences with policy-making and youth advocacy to the role of student senator-at-large.

Kanji’s platform focuses primarily on academic policy and spaces.

He emphasized the importance of reforming curriculum in line with the suggestions of Black and Indigenous people and creating new Senate committees that will ensure these commitments are met.

Additionally, in the wake of COVID-19, he believes that the Senate must “commit financial resources to outfitting all classrooms … with lecture capture technology” and provide professors adequate guidance on using it.

He also noted the lack of quiet, accessible student spaces, and intends to work with the Academic Building Needs Committee to plan, develop or reallocate spaces where students can gather and collaborate.

Kanji also advocated for increased Senate transparency — particularly using social media. He said that, if elected, he would work with the rest of the student caucus to unify the Senate social media accounts and expand them to platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

“I know I personally would try my best to be as omnipresent, to be as fun and engaging and a little bit lighter and making sure that those walls are brought down between our academic institutions and our student body.”

The second-year political science student said that he had “a lot of experience” communicating with peers and translating their needs and interests into policy. In 2020, Kanji chaired the inaugural Youth Advisory Council for Children First Canada, and co-founded Flatten the Curve Canada, a youth advocacy organization responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kanji attributed his interest in running to having been a former AMS student-at-large and current councillor.

“Seeing how involved members of the AMS are in that process really encouraged me … to become involved with that and get a better understanding for what the needs of students are.”

When asked about the struggles facing his position in the upcoming year, Kanji criticized the pace of Senate projects. He stressed the need to lobby for term limits, especially in light of the high turnover rate of student senator positions.

“It’s just some of the old guard that persists in the Senate … And because they sit on the Senate for decades, or for years at a time, it’s very difficult to make progressive action.”

Ultimately, however, he regards further governance review and the presence of student voices to be the keys to change.

“It’s probably better if we move forward with innovating this and making it something that is more fluid and something that is more flexible and something that changes often.”

Kanji is running against incumbents Eshana Bhangu, Dante Agosti-Moro and Georgia Yee, faculty student senator Anisha Sandhu and newcomers Romina Hajizadeh, Tate Kaufman and Dana Turdy.

Kanji is also running for VP academic and university affairs.

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