Third-year Tate Kaufman is running for one of two student seats on the Board of Governors (BoG) to make UBC more affordable for students.
Kaufman, who is the vice-president of UBC Students for Freedom of Expression (SFE), said his background working with insurance policies and his persistence as an advocate attitude will help him to advocate against tuition increases and for better housing support at the BoG.
International student affordability, specifically in regard to tuition hikes, was Kaufman’s main talking point in an interview with The Ubyssey.
“It boggles my mind how over the past three or so years now, international students have been pushed around,” Kaufman said. He said he also wanted to work to lower costs within student residences.
He was not able to speak in detail at the time of the interview about the work presented at the February Finance Committee meeting by the Student Affordability Task Force.
Student engagement also emerged as an important topic for Kaufman, as the BoG is “obtuse” to those who aren’t engaged with it. “I’m someone who’s not afraid to go up and talk to people I don’t know already," he said.
Kaufman pointed to his work as a research and reporting assistant at Policy Reporter, where he analyzed insurance policies for pharmaceutical and medical products. He said this taught him how to analyze and understand policies.
“So when I go through these [BoG policies], I know the right questions to be asking, I know and understand where there’s room for improvement and I’m willing to speak out and to say, ‘Hey, this could be improved,’” he said.
However, Kaufman was not able to point to a specific BoG policy he’s seen issues with.
While Kaufman said he plans to advocate more for academic freedom if elected to the Senate, he said he would advocate to change the bookings policy at the Board.
SFE came under fire last fall for hosting an event with far-right pundit Lauren Southern who has questioned genocide of Indigenous peoples at residential schools. UBC cancelled SFE’s room booking for the event.
Kaufman said that while he disagreed with nearly all of Southern’s policy positions, he was frustrated the event was cancelled. He said that UBC told SFE that it needed to have insurance if it wanted to book any events going forward.
He said this points to issues with UBC’s event booking policy.
Kaufman said he’s a “liberal who believes in freedom of expression.”
“If you’re someone who believes in free expression, but is a generally liberal person who believes in other sorts of freedoms as well, I would say I’m your best guy to be advocating for you,” he said.
“If you want censorship, don’t vote for me.”
Kaufman is also running for AMS president and for a seat on the UBC Vancouver Senate.