Fourth-year integrated sciences and history major Riley Ty is running for senator-at-large on a campaign of Senate review and student advocacy on affordable educational resources and implementing a fall reading break.
A current AMS Councillor, Ty plans to bring his experience from the society and the Science Undergraduate Society to Senate.
“It's mostly goes back to my first and second years. I really struggled academically,” he said.
“And then talking to my friends ... we met through mutual suffering. But they also were struggling. And then I had to ask myself, what kind of system would make their students intentionally struggle?”
Ty’s platform is extensive. He wants to extend the course add/drop deadline to later in the semester and standardize the academic concessions policy across faculties.
He also wants to increase integration of open educational resources (OERs) in classes after noticing that discussion of the topic was lacking in Senate — the governance body hasn’t discussed OERs since May 2018.
- In crowded Senate debate, experience makes the difference
- Senate candidates stumble through policy issues in Great Debate
Ty was “scared” that Canada’s ongoing copyright law review would reduce OER accessibility. OERs are public domain materials that are already free, but Ty said he wanted to advocate to keep their prices low.
“Let's face it, textbook costs are what kill a lot of students,” he said. “As a science student, I spend $200 on a single textbook, then I only get $60 back if I sell it.”
Ty hopes to establish a working group to push for fall reading break, acknowledging Senate’s slow-moving tendencies. However, his competitor Max Holmes has already begun the process in Senate.
“If we have an actual group working on it long term with [fall reading break] as its sole focus, then I feel like they can produce a lot more results than us debating on it for god knows how long,” he said.
Aside from student advocacy, reforming Senate is one of Ty’s primary platform points. He wants to send out faculty-wide notifications of pertinent policy changes and implement term limits on faculty senators.
“They're not motivated to get things done,” he said. “By installing term limits, it will … force them to get things done earlier.”
He would have to lobby the province to change the University Act to accomplish that.
Most notably, he wants to launch an external governance review of Senate.
“There’s a lot of issues, it gets backlogged for years. And it needs to be overhauled,” he said.
Despite his bold claims, Ty acknowledged that a review would be lengthy and he could only initiate change during a term as senator.
“I hope to inspire other students to take up my cause, or just do something similar or take up their own causes,” he said.
Want to read more ? Check out our ongoing AMS Elections coverage.
This article has been updated to clarify the feasibility of adding term limits for faculty senators.