Max Holmes said he was “humbled and honoured by students” after being elected AMS VP Academic and University Affairs (VPAUA) Friday night.
Holmes worked as associate VPAUA under Daniel Lam, who occupied the position previously. Lam resigned in July, which triggered the by-election. Holmes ran on a platform of affordability, diversity, improving the student experience and adding additional experiental learning opportunities like co-op.
Holmes defeated the race’s only other candidate, Franz Kurtzke, who ran on a platform of promoting free speech and reform of the social justice movement. The winning candidate received 84.2 per cent of the votes, while Kurtzke received 15.8 per cent. Five per cent of the votes abstained.
Kurtzke had previously gained notoriety on campus for his anti-social justice lettering campaign, during which he got a talking to from the RCMP after entering a locked campus residence without permission.
Holmes received endorsements from the UBC Inter-Fraternity Council, the UBC Social Justice Centre, social justice-oriented media outlet The Talon and former VPAUA Samantha So.
Kurtzke was able to galvanize the UBC Free Speech Club in support of his run, despite previous fallout wth the club. However, he never garnered mainstream support.
By-elections traditionally have extremely low voter turnout (3.8 per cent of students voted in 2013’s VPAUA race) but Elections Administrator Filza Raza said 12.8 per cent of students voted this time — a number just higher than the turnout for the 2016 AMS general elections, in which 12.5 per cent of students voted.
Holmes said he hopes to unite students after a “contentious campaign.”
“I think the most important thing is that we come together for our advocacy,” he said, “so that instead of being divided as students we can have a united front for everything that we bring to the university, because they're going to be united, so we need to be united.”
His plans for tonight are to call his parents — “the biggest supporters in the world” — and tell them the news.
This article has been updated to include the distribution of the votes and clarify Kurtzke’s support base.