Fourth-year honours economics student Kevin Doering is running for the Board of Governors on a platform of transparency and communication, tuition and affordability, and student housing.
As this year’s AMS associate VP Academic, he “worked to address student advocacy issues at all levels of UBC Administration, including drafting multiple submissions to the Board of Governors,” according to his website. He also worked previously as a peer advisor with Arts Academic Advising, a job that he says gives him a unique look into student issues in the academic sphere.
“[Board] is not a place where you can show up on day one and say, ‘hey, I want to totally revamp the student experience.’ It’s a place where items and projects and policy are brought to you, and you have to work within that framework to achieve the goals you want,” said Doering. “So I focused my platform on issues that I anticipate ... will be major highlighted issues [next year].”
Doering’s first pillar is to address the cost and scarcity of student housing, which he plans to do by advocating against any changes that he would see as having further negative effects. From his student member predecessors on the Board, he would have liked to see stronger opposition to the faculty housing plan.
“[It’s] diverting money that would have gone to the creation of student housing — it is now going towards the creation of faculty housing. And I think that $10 million a year is a significant sum,” he said.
His second pillar aims to address the topic of transparency within the Board, which has been a big topic among candidates since the last year’s highly publicized transparency issues. As someone who worked on the AMS’s consultation process for Policy 93 on open and closed Board meetings, Doering emphasized both his understanding of and ability to bring meaningful consultation to the policy. To further increase transparency and student connection, he hopes to write a blog, write regular op-eds for The Ubyssey, and hold open sessions for students before committee meetings.
Doering’s third platform pillar concerns affordability, which he sees as not just tuition but also fees, textbooks and housing. For example, he wants to uphold the existing two per cent domestic tuition cap, and advocate against the introduction of additional fees.
Doering hopes to address much of his platform promises through the dual lenses of a Board of Governors membership and a seat on the Senate, the other position that he is running for this year.
“In both positions I will strive to protect and improve affordability and access to education, not just by opposing tuition increases, but by addressing the many compounding issues that all contribute to affordability,” he said on his website.
On the challenge of being both a student advocate and owing a fiduciary duty to the Board as a member, Doering said, “I don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. I think that part of the reason that there are students elected to the Board of Governors is that a student’s perspective ... is often what’s in the best interests of the university.”