Platforms, fact checked: Breaking down your 2024 AMS Elections candidates' claims

Candidates say a lot of things during debates — numbers, figures, claims and more.

It can be hard to hear or understand everything that was said, but that's why The Ubyssey has a team dedicated to fact-checking all the big claims candidates make during debates.

Here we're covering major platform points from candidates in every race — president, VP academic and university affairs (VP AUA), VP administration, VP external, VP finance, Senate and the Board of Governors.

We didn't cover everything, but hopefully this gives you a clearer idea on what candidates’ platforms are saying — and how much of it is true.

Quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

VP academic and university affairs

Drédyn Fontana and Taushifa Shaikh are running for VP academic and university affairs (VP AUA).

Drédyn Fontana

Fontana: Each CFA advisor is assigned to 380 to 400 clients, and with a 10% year-over-year growth rate in registered students, this number will continue to climb.

True. According to the AMS’s Student Priorities for 2024/25 UBC Operating Budget report.

Fontana: Last year, annual funding for multidisciplinary projects was approved.

Mostly true. The VP AUA office secured $300,000 in funding toward the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Fund according to current VP AUA Kamil Kanji. However, in a statement to The Ubyssey, Kanji said it’s “unclear” if this funding will be annual and that this program is currently a pilot.

Fontana: Advocate for the University to increase student bed construction commitment from 3,300 to 5,000.

Noted. Campus Vision 2050 committed to building at least 3,300 student beds. There has been no commitment from UBC to increase this number despite student advocacy.

Fontana: Work with CUPE 2278 and any other relevant organizations to increase undergraduate student worker engagement with unions.

Noted. CUPE 2278 represents UBC teaching assistants, graduate academic assistants, exam invigilators and English language instructors at UBC.

Fontana: Introduce an appeal option for survivors.

True. UBC’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (SC17) currently only includes an appeal process for respondents, students who have been accused of sexual misconduct. An appeal process for complainants — the person who files the report with UBC — does not exist.

Taushifa Shaikh

Shaikh: Create and implementate self-paced canvas courses on EDI training to empower incoming students with necessary skills and knowledge to foster in a diverse, inclusive, equitable and environment.

True. There is no equity, diversity and inclusion-oriented Canvas course for students.

Shaikh: Invest in improvement and promotion of the Academic Experience Survey to better reflect our diverse student body.

Noted. The AMS’s 2023 Academic Experience Survey (AES) got 3,413 responses, the highest response rate in its history, and 60,607 students attend UBC Vancouver.

Shaikh: Increase flexibility with in-person and online learning by providing tech training to faculty to ensure that your lectures are accessible to you from right where you are!

Potentially true. There is no explicit mention of lecture recording in the UBC Faculty Association’s collective agreement for 2022–2025. There is emphasis on the freedom of faculty to teach how they want without “external or non-academic constraints."

Shaikh: Strive for an increase in need and merit based scholarships and awards at undergraduate and graduate levels for domestic and international students to ensure that financial barriers do not limit access to education for our students.

True. According to UBC’s financial aid policy, no eligible student will be prevented from commencing or continuing their studies for financial reasons alone. International students are exempt from this policy. Fifty per cent of respondents “have experienced financial hardship related to tuition and other expenses,” according to the AMS AES.

Shaikh: Strive for an increase in student voices represented at the Board of Governors and Senate, making certain that student perspectives play a central role in decision-making.

Ture, but misleading. Three students — two from UBC Vancouver and one from UBC Okanagan — sit on the Board of Governors. Eighteen students sit on Senate. These numbers are determined by the University Act which “prescribes the powers, operations and procedures of universities in British Columbia, and sets out their structures, faculties, administrations and governing bodies.” To increase student representatives, Shaikh would have to advocate for the University Act to change.

VP administration

Jai Sodhi, Kevin Heieis and Amy Liao are running for VP administration.

Jai Sodhi

Sodhi: I am committed to extending the regular opening hours of the Nest … I will implement 24/7 access to the Nest starting one week before finals.

Noted. The AMS Nest is often open 24/7 during exam season, but not before exams.

Sodhi: Collaborating closely with our VP of Finance, I will oversee the performance of all AMS Food outlets, particularly those operating at a loss. It's unacceptable that resources are being wasted in ventures like the Flavor Lab, which was intended to provide affordable food but has failed to deliver on this promise. I will strongly advocate for the replacement (or closure) of any outlets that are not financially viable.

Noted. The AMS’s Flavour Lab is operating at a loss of roughly $40,000, according to the AMS’s budget reforecast. But in 2023, then-VP Finance Lawrence Liu said making a loss at Flavour Lab is “the goal with that business” since the AMS wants the outlet to be “as affordable as possible for students.”

Amy Liao

Liao: Continue sustaining The Commons Lounge as an interactive commuter hub with day-use lockers, a social area with games and activities, and designated quiet-hours for deep studying.

Noted. Currently the The Commons Lounge + Clubs Resource Centre is open to all students.

Liao: Availability of menstrual products in men’s/women’s/all gender washrooms.

True. Currently, menstural products are only available in womens washrooms.

Liao: Carry out a smooth transition off of CampusBase through the use of Canvas courses for onboarding and renewals, and the newly created Clubs Directory for navigation on club webpages and upcoming events.

Noted. According to a statement from current VP Administration Ian Caguiat, the administration office is “in the process” of creating a replacement for CampusBase, slated to be released this fiscal year. The Clubs Directory is not yet released.

Kevin Heieis

Heieis: Review concerns about limited wheelchair access.

True. According to Ubyssey coverage, 49 out of 189 buildings on campus are inaccessible.

Heieis: Push to build new sustainable, student-run food outlet to replace Blue Chip when it moves.

Noted. The AMS initially had plans to open a Mediterranean food outlet in the current Blue Chip location once it moved to where Pi R Squared is. But, in October 2023, managing director Justin Lieu said the AMS is “looking to fill the space with a food outlet” because of the financial decision of opening a new AMS outlet.

Heieis: Transition Porch, 1 of 2 AMS buisinesses operating at loss into a Mexican burrito bar.

True. Porch is operating at a loss alongside Flavour Lab, according to the budget reforcast.

VP external

Jake Sawatzky and Ayesha Irfan are running for VP external.

Ayesha Irfan

Irfan: Push the Federal Government to continue the $4,200/year maximum on the Canada Student Grants program from the previous pre-COVID-19 maximum of $3,000/year.

True. Students can receive up to $4,200/year from the Canada Student Grants program until the end of the 2023/24 academic year.

Irfan: Amend the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) program so international students can count part-time employment experience while they are full-time students towards their permanent residency.

True. International students need to at least work full-time for 12 months (or an equivalent amount of part-time work) after graduation to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) program. Any work done during university, part-time or full-time on Co-op, does not count toward this work requirement.

Irfan: Push the Federal Government to continue funding the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) beyond 2024 to support Indigenous students with post-secondary education.

True, but potentially misleading. While the federal government could theoretically cut funding for the PSSSP whenever it wants, it has already opened the program application for the 2024/25 academic year.

Irfan: Launched the AUS’s very first AUS Engagement Feedback Survey to understand what resources/ events Arts Students would like to see from their constituency.


Jake Sawatzky

Sawatzky: Continue efforts to urge the provincial government to adopt a specific sexualized violence protection strategy for post-secondary institutions, building on British Columbia’s Gender-Based Violence Action Plan.

Noted. The BC government has published a report on preventing and responding to sexual violence and misconduct at post-secondary institutions.

Sawatzky: Push for a review and reform of the funding formula to increase the government's operating grant, ensuring UBC's financial sustainability.

True. The BC government announced a review of the province’s post-secondary funding formula in 2022, but the review has since gone dormant.

Sawatazky: Advocate for the continuation and enhancement of the UPass program beyond 2025, focusing on maintaining its affordability and sustainability for all students.

True. The U-Pass program is set to expire in 2025 after overwhelming support in student referenda held at participating universities, including UBC, extended the program for five years in January 2020.

VP finance

Mohkam Singh Malik (ਮੋਹਕਮ) and Gavin Fung-Quon are running for VP finance.

Mohkam Singh Malik (ਮੋਹਕਮ)

M Malik: Amend AMS Policy FN3 to save money and reduce executive expenditure.

True. AMS Policy FN3 is the executive expenditures policy. The policy was passed in 2020 and is up for review every 5 years. The next review will happen in 2025.

M Malik: Multiple businesses currently have no plan to make money. (In the last fiscal quarter, all businesses in the nest, with the exception of the Blue Chip Cafe, lost money).

False. The last fiscal quarter was quarter four, whose financial report has not yet been released by the AMS. According to the quarter two report, Honour Roll and Grand Noodle Emporium’s profits were higher than anticipated and profitable.

M Mailk: The AMS Currently has an Investment portfolio of over 16 million dollars. These investments are not public, and we currently have no knowledge of who we are investing in.


Gavin Fung-Quon

Fung-Quon: I want to bring a new support service to the AMS that helps students get advice, tools, knowledge and access to existing resources to build a future for themselves after their university careers.

Noted. There is no current AMS career service. AMS Services, however, fall under the Senior Manager, Student Services.

Fung-Quon: I ​plan to create a new system for AMS finances that is easy, fast and simple to deposit funds into accounts as the current system has administrative bottle necks and room for user error that can lead to unallocated funds.

True. In 2021, the AMS planned to adopt a new financial system to address long-standing reimbursement issues. In 2023, then-VP Finance Lawrence Liu said the AMS has started to stabilize its financial system. Clubs have historically criticized the AMS’s financial system and reimbursement times.

Fung-Quon: I plan to host Financial Literacy workshops tailored to support students with disabilities by collaborating with the UBC Disability United Collective (DUC) on topics like government grants and financial supports for students with disabilities.

True. The VP finance office has not hosted financial literacy workshops with DUC this past year.


Alex Chui, Kareem Hassib, Kamil Kanji, Jasper Lorien, Sahib Malik, Kyle Rogers, Ferdinand Rother, Taushifa Shaikh and Solomon Yi-Kieran are running for Senate.

Alex Chui

Chui: I want to make the specialization process smoother and more comfortable, considering my stress when trying to select one.

Noted. Students have posted on the r/UBC subreddit about the stress of picking a specialization, but there isn’t any data to show how students find choosing a specialization.

Ferdinand Rother

Rother: Advocate for mandatory international student representation on the Senate.

True, but misleading. UBC’s Senate currently does not have a reserved seat for international students; however, any changes to the makeup of the Senate would require amending the University Act — which would require action by the provincial government.

Jasper Lorien

Lorien: Ensure that all required classes, labs, and tutorials in all faculties are offered with online, hybrid, and in-person options.

True. There is no policy requiring every professor to offer online, hybrid, and in-person options for courses.

Lorien: Increase the physical accessibility of our classrooms and all buildings on campus, including improving all the broken automatic door buttons and increasing the number of wheelchair ramps and elevators.

Likely true. According to a 2020 article from The Ubyssey, nearly a third of buildings on campus are inaccessible to physically disabled students and many others do not have information on their accessibility available online. It is unclear how much has changed since.

Lorien: Lower the maximum instructors are allowed to charge for required online assessment materials.

Noted. There is precedent for the Senate creating a cap on the amount professors are allowed to charge for online course materials. In March 2023, senators passed — thanks to student senator advocacy — a policy to cap the cost of these materials at $70.

Lorien: Discourage faculty from using funding from fossil fuel companies for research, instead encourage and increase funding for research in sustainability and climate justice.

True. Faculties have partnered with fossil fuel companies for research funding in the past. For example, the Faculty for Applied Science announced a partnership with Teck Resources — a mining company — to provide $4 million to new mining research and education in March 2023.

Kamil Kanji

Kanji: Secured [as VP AUA] from the Board of Governors and others at the University $500,000 from the University to go towards restoring the AMS/GSS mental health coverage to 100%/visit…

True. In November 2023, Kanji told The Ubyssey the AMS had secured this funding from UBC. after the AMS reduced the coverage of the AMS/GSS mental health to only cover 80 per cent of a single mental health visit earlier in September. The additional $500,000 from UBC allowed the AMS to increase its coverage to cover 100 per cent of a single visit.

Kanji: ...$18,000 to $24,000 increase in minimum funding packages for every PhD student, $300,000 to go towards funding a new multidisciplinary undergrad research program…

Mostly true. While PhD students must now receive a minimum funding package of $24,000 a year starting September 2024, the previous minimum funding amount was $22,000 — which had been in place since September 2021 when the funding was last increased from $18,000. Meanwhile, Kanji said his office secured a joint partnership with UBC on the creation of a new research program across three faculties AMS annual general meeting, but it is unclear if this partnership included a funding commitment as there are no documents associated with this meeting available online.

Kanji: ...$450,000 for the AMS Food Bank to help feed our student community…

True. Kanji told The Ubyssey in November that he had secured $350,000 from UBC for the AMS Food Bank and, a month later, Kanji announced at AMS Council that UBC provided an additional $100,000 — bringing the total to $450,000.

Kanji: ...$400,000 for the Centre For Accessibility to better support students with disabilities, and $250,000 in continued support for the Open Education Resources Fund to support affordable education.

True. Kanji said he secured both of these funding amounts in his update to AMS Council on February 7.

Kanji: Continue working with the necessary bodies to engage in a broader curriculum review in line with the Inclusion Action Plan that helps to make sure courses where possible are cognizant of historical anti-Black racism, discrimination, and Indigenous issues.

True. Goals 3 and 5 of UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan call for the inclusion of equity and inclusion education and the integration of historically marginalized forms of knowledge into program curriculum.

Kanji: Continue collaborating with Ubyssey, AMS Communications, and UBC Communications to promote and raise awareness of the work of Senate.

False. In the past year, there have been no emails from the AMS or UBC on the work of the Student Senate Caucus, nor any posts on social media accounts affiliated with either organization. Kanji has also not contributed to any of the articles written by student senators published by The Ubyssey since the start of his term in May 2023.

Kareem Hassib

Hassib: Revise policy LR7 so that a diagnosis isn’t necessary for students to receive proper accommodations.

True. Section 4 of UBC’s Disability Accommodation Policy (LR 7) requires students to provide documentation of a diagnosis from a certified or licensed medical professional. Additionally, a diagnosis alone is not enough to support a request for accommodation, according to the policy.

Hassib: Revise policy V-103 to add enforcement mechanisms so that instructors can’t schedule exams in the last two weeks before finals.

True. UBC Vancouver Senate Policy V-103 forbids the holding of exams within two weeks of the start of the final exam period, but there are no enforcement measures listed to ensure this does not happen.

Hassib: Implementing Fairness and Anti-Bias Training for Senators on the two Appeals Committees.

True. In their joint annual report from May 2023, the Academic Appeals and Student Discipline Appeals committees said they planned to host training sessions related to administrative justice and implicit bias in late September or early October of the same year. However, it does not seem like these sessions happened, as the UBC Ombudsperson made a similar recommendation in her report to Senate in November 2023.

Hassib: Revise policy V-102 so that if you have 2 exams back to back, you can get one rescheduled.

True. According to UBC Vancouver Senate Policy V-102, students only experience an “exam hardship” if they have three exams scheduled within 24 hours of each other.

Kyle Rogers

Rogers: I also aim to implement a full fall reading break, similar to UBC-Okanagan.

False. UBC Okanagan’s fall reading break is four days long, less than a full week — although it is longer than UBC Vancouver’s three day-long break. It took over 30 years to get UBC’s fall reading break passed by Senate.

Sahib Malik

Malik: I will advocate for exclusive commuter study spaces…

False. Exclusive commuter study spaces on campus include collegia for first-year students. There is also the Commons Lounge in the Nest, although this space is not reserved for commuter students.

Malik: ...expanded hybrid options…

True. Hybrid learning is not currently required for all courses (and disabled students and faculty are currently co-leading a national campaign to make this the case).

Malik: ...and removing harmful average boundaries in classes like economics and psychology that keep grades low.

Hard to verify, but potentially true. Departments do not widely publish their grade scaling policies, although syllabi posted on the psychology department website include a paragraph on how the department will curve final grades to lower course averages.

Solomon Yi-Kieran

Yi-Kieran: Allow students to self-certify to receive exam accommodations.

True. Under Policy LR7, students need to submit documentation to the Centre for Accessibility to get their accommodation requests approved.

Yi-Kieran: Make a database of past exams to help students study.

True. Some professors already post past versions of exams on Canvas or elsewhere online, but this is not required and not accessible to everyone.

Yi-Kieran: Make a permanent committee on diversity and inclusion to ensure all student needs are met.

True. Although the creation of one has been discussed for years, the Senate does not currently have a standing committee on diversity and inclusion.

Taushifa Shaikh

Shaikh: For the past year, I have been actively working within federal housing to address the housing crisis and advocate for increased student housing.

Essentially true, but misleading. According to her LinkedIn, Shaikh has been working for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) since August 2023. But, the CMHC is a Crown corporation, not a part of the federal government.

Shaikh: I aim to negotiate for a long term, consistent mental health funding plan and food security measures.

False. Funding for mental health and food security measures are not the responsibility of the Senate

Shaikh: My top priority is to advocate for syllabi during course registration and improve the degree navigator to make your degree planning stress-free.

True. Syllabi are not currently required to be published during course registration, although some departments post them on their websites.

Board of Governors

Eshana Bhangu, Kamil Kanji, Jasper Lorien, Ferdinand Rother, Siddharth Rout, Leonard Wang and Enav Zusman are running for the Board of Governors (BoG).

Siddarth Routh did not have a platform published before press time.

Eshana Bhangu

Bhangu: Expand Eligibility for students eligible for needs based aid through a review of Policy LR10 (UBC's Financial Aid Policy).

True. According to UBC’s financial aid policy, no eligible student will be prevented from commencing or continuing their studies for financial reasons alone. International students are exempt from this policy.

Bhangu: “Ensure students are able to access the $4-5 million of financial aid that goes unused every year.”

False. $5–6 million went unused in 2022. Rella Ng, UBC’s registrar and associate-vice president enrolment, said these unclaimed funds are often faculty-recommended scholarships or awards that have criteria making it challenging to find eligible students.

Bhangu: Reducing waitlist for Childcare Spaces.

True. Waitlist times can be up to 2.5 years.

Bhangu: Pushing for the introduction of Minimum Funding for Masters Students.

True. Currently, UBC only offers minimum funding for PhD students.

Bhangu: Continue advocacy on lifting the provincial moratorium that prohibits universities from borrowing externally so that UBC can finance its student housing development at lower interest rates, freeing up millions and millions of dollars to reduce student housing prices.

True. BC post-secondary institutions cannot borrow from third-party lenders.

Kamil Kanji

Kanji: ENDEAVOR to amend LR4 (UBC’s Tuition Consultation Policy) to be more realistic and transparent in how students are surveyed.

True. The policy currently does not explicitly mention surveys but “mechanisms for the consultation.”

Kanji: WORK to allocate the currently unspent annual $4 million-$5 million dollars in endowed awards in financial aid towards new needs-based awards for continuing international student.

False. $5–6 million went unused in 2022. Rella Ng, UBC’s registrar and associate-vice president enrolment, said these unclaimed funds are often faculty-recommended scholarships or awards that have criteria making it challenging to find eligible students.

Kanji: INCREASE budgetary investments into the Black Faculty Cohort Hiring Initiative (BFCHI) to be able to hire more than 23 Black scholars and invest in similar initiatives for Indigenous Faculty.

True. The BFCH will recruit up to 23 Black scholars across seven faculties and schools over the next 4 years.

Jasper Lorien

Lorien: Divest from companies complicit in human rights violations, including in Palestine.

True. In April 2022, AMS Council approved a motion to petition UBC’s Board of Governors to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations. That same month, then-President Santa Ono said UBC does not support the boycott, divest, sanction movement. President Benoit Antoine-Bacon reaffirmed this in December 2023.

Lorien: Ensure UBC complies with its commitment to fully divest from fossil fuels by: expanding the scope of divestment to all asset classes, including private equity divesting other funds, including the pension fund.

True. UBC committed to divest from fossil fuels by 2030.

Ferdinand Rother

Rother: I’m committed to equal tuition rates for all.

True. Currently, international students pay higher tuition fees than domestic students. There is a provincial cap on tuition fees but this does not apply to international students.

Rother: I advocate for mandatory international student representation, term limits for governance roles

True, but misleading. BoG currently does not have a reserved seat for international students. However, any changes to the makeup of BoG would require amending the University Act — which would require action by the provincial government.

Leonard Wang

Wang: Leonard, a sixth-year student majoring in Business and Computer Science, has an impressive history of leadership, including roles as student Senator, Chairman of the Commerce Undergraduate Society, and President of the Computer Science Student Society.

True. Wang has served as a student senator and on the CUS and Computer Science Student Society.

Enav Zusman

Zusman: PhD stipends to be provided for a period of five years and not the current four.

True. According to UBC’s Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students, all full-time students must receive a funding package of at least $24,000 per year for the first four years of their program.

Zusman: Vendors on campus to offer affordable cost-neutral meal options in their menus (similar to UBC-SUO Smart Meals at UBC-Okanagan).

True. There is not an equivalent of UBC-SUO Smart Meals, which uses student union funds to subsidize vendors on campus for students.

Zusman: Currently, 49 out of 189 buildings on campus are inaccessible to members of our community living with a mobility disability.

True. As of 2020.

Zusman: Building accessible nursing rooms around campus. These rooms should include a nursing chair, fridge, sink and a changing table.

True. As of 2021, there are only three private nursing rooms on campus. Private nursing rooms already include a nursing chair, fridge, sink and changing table.


Alexandra Smith, Brandyn Marx, Shaun "The Bulldozer" You and Christian 'CK' Kyle are running for president.

Alexandra Smith

Smith: Implement policies to reduce food waste of on-campus vendors; Connect bulk grocers to campus.

True, but potentially misleading. The AMS can set policies related to food waste for food outlets in the Nest, and has worked with external organizations to purchase bulk food for the Food Bank. But, any food outlets outside of the Nest falls under the jurisdiction of UBC or third-party companies.

Brandyn Marx

Marx: I want to make sure that the SASC and the Bike Kitchen have the freedom to determine their own future with the AMS.

True, but potentially misleading. Both the Sexaul Assault Support Centre (SASC) and the Bike Kitchen are currently under the jurisdiction of the AMS, but any decision around becoming independent would require a referendum item in the next AMS Election.

Christian ‘CK’ Kyle

CK: As the elected President and two time Vice President of the Engineering Undergraduate Society I managed a budget in excess of $500,000 and a 400 person volunteer team.

True, and likely true. According to the Engineering Undergraduate Society’s (EUS) budget for the 2022/23 fiscal year when CK was president, the EUS budgeted to earn and spend around $580,000. Meanwhile, it is hard to verify the exact number of student volunteers that CK oversaw, but an org[ganization] chart on the EUS website shows several volunteer opportunities.

CK: Introduce Free Online AMS Tutoring Exam Prep Crash Courses & Reduced Prices for AMS Tutoring.

Noted. AMS Tutoring currently offers both free group tutoring sessions and a free a free Canvas course with modules for exam prep for many first- and second-year science and engineering classes. Students can pay for private tutoring sessions for $36/hour (or $48/hour for LSAT/MCAT tutoring).

CK: Review UBC Senate Policy V-102 to expand the definition of Exam Hardship to include 3 exams in 36 hours.

True, but potentially misleading. UBC Senate Policy V-102 does currently limit the definition of exam hardship to cover 3 exams within a 24-hour period, but reviewing such a policy is under the jurisdiction of the Senate, not the AMS. The AMS president could advocate for a change, but it would ultimately come down to the Senate.

CK: Raise awareness of $4-5 million of financial aid that goes UNUSED.

False. Rella Ng, UBC’s registrar and associate-vice president enrolment, told the Board of Governors that $5–6 million of financial aid funding goes unspent. But noted that these unclaimed funds are often faculty-recommended scholarships or awards that have criteria making it challenging to find eligible students.

Shaun “The Bulldozer” You

The Bulldozer: Celebrating multiculturalism through working with our diverse community to organize fun and educational events such as cultural weeks.

Noted. The AMS has hosted multicultural events in the past, including those to recognize Lunar New Year or Indigenous history and culture.

— With files from Spencer Izen

This article is part of our 2024 AMS Elections coverage. Voting is open until March 8.