Alan Ehrenholz, the former EUS president running as the engineering Cairn, announced this morning that he is entering the presidential race as an official candidate.
“While it is a decision that may have come too late in the eyes of many, I believe it is a necessary one nonetheless. It is a decision that I hope many of you reading this will take seriously, considering the voting period has already begun,” wrote Ehrenholz in a public Facebook post.
The Ubyssey reached out to AMS Elections Administrator Max Holmes, who confirmed that according to AMS code and the official opinion of the elections committee, Ehrenholz has always been official candidate, only using the Cairn’s likeness on the ballot. Therefore, this does not change Ehrenholz’s ballot (which will remain under “the Cairn”) nor his ability to step up as president should he be elected.
“[The only thing] that has changed, and what people are talking about, is maybe the political view of the Cairn. That doesn't change anything officially as the elections committee,” said Holmes. “There is no such thing as a joke candidate. That’s nowhere written in code.”
Ehrenholz said his decision comes from the need to present students with a viable option — and even though he started out by running a lacklustre joke campaign, he said he's serious about the commitment that winning this election would bring.
And no, this wasn’t the plan all along.
“It’s not something that I was prepared to take on at the beginning of the campaign,” he said in an interview with The Ubyssey. “However ... after a lot of reflection and a lot of thought, I can say that I’m fully bought into it and I’m comfortable.
“I was waiting for [one of the presidential candidates] to step up ... and that never materialized.”
With this announcement, Ehrenholz has also released a detailed platform with four main points — a point that was brought up to him in direct reference to his accountability during the Great Debate.
He hopes to keep working on the strategic plan of the AMS next year, the guiding document that will dictate the goals and initiatives of the executive moving forward. His second platform point focuses on “furthering the important work done on the Governance Review” — a project that he worked on during his time as an AMS councillor. He noted that if the bylaw changes pass by referendum, it will be a challenge for the AMS to maintain the same level of representation for all constituencies, but one that he is prepared to take on.
His third platform point focuses on maintaining a good degree of student life on campus through strong relationships with clubs and constituencies, noting that student involvement is linked to positive mental health. He hopes to see these goals reflected in the strategic plan — his first platform point — as well.
“Campus spirit isn’t just varsity athletics. Campus spirit is an overall feeling of engaging with your school,” he said in his Ubyssey interview.
Finally, he touches on the current sexual assault policy draft and his thoughts about continuing the consultation of the UBC community.
“I feel that consultation with professionals more well-versed in the topic than myself would be a necessary step in finalizing this policy so that it supports survivors in the best way possible,” he wrote in his Facebook post. More specifically, he hopes that students reporting sexual misconduct against a faculty member or staff member would not have to report the incident to a head of unit, but rather be referred to an expert to mitigate uncomfortableness and potential conflicts of interest. He mentioned this point during the Great Debate as well.
“I’ve made this decision to run under my own name because, even running as a joke candidate, I was the best option to be your next AMS president,” wrote Ehrenholz online.
Voting closes on Friday of this week at 5 p.m.
This article has been updated to reflect comments from AMS Elections Administrator Max Holmes.