Candidate profile: Max Holmes, Board of Governors

Max Holmes has spent nearly two years lobbying UBC’s Board of Governors (BoG). Now, he wants to join it.

The current AMS VP academic and university affairs and Senate student caucus co-chair is running on a campaign of increased support for survivors of sexual assault, increasing transparency and pushing UBC to divest from fossil fuels.

“I want to push the university to understand that they’re first accountable to students above anyone else,” he said.

Holmes has a long track record of both challenging and collaborating with the university, which he believes will ease his transition into the Board.

“A lot of the advocacy I’ve been part of has been fighting at first, and then bringing people together,” said Holmes.

“... I hope to be someone, the second I join the Board of Governors, I already have those relationships built.”

Last year, Holmes worked with sitting governors to oppose the BoG’s tuition increases, and has lobbied them for more mental health spaces and millions in scholarships.

If elected, Holmes says he’d push for BoG dockets to be released earlier and for the annual review of UBC President Santa Ono to be public.

“We have a Board of Governors now that is not transparent,” said Holmes. “And to be honest, our current governors have not done enough to push against that.”

Holmes would also challenge the school on divestment and hold UBC to its emissions targets, which it is on-track to meet.

He would also push for the school to implement a rent freeze using profits from the government business enterprise, if the project is approved. He’d also continued his advocacy for a survivor-centric review of UBC’s sexual assault policy.

“As a candidate, I’m someone who has personal experiences that relate to a lot of the advocacy that I’m doing,” said Holmes, himself a survivor of sexual assault.

Holmes has a slew of experience, including sitting on reviews for numerous Board policies. But while his track record has earned praise, his methods have drawn criticism.

His commitment to survivor-centric policy came under scrutiny after he and other executives moved to cut the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre’s support services last summer.

Most recently, his opponent Dylan Braam revealed he held private meetings with councillors who voted to reprimand the executives, which some interpreted as Holmes attempting to silence dissent.

Holmes has repeatedly apologized for the SASC decision and insisted the meetings with councillors were held in good faith.

Above all, he stressed he’s a candidate who can get results — and who can force the Board to put students first.

“At the end of the day, I’m a voice for students. I’m not a voice for myself,” said Holmes.

This article is part of our 2019 AMS and student elections coverage.