When first-year science student Brandon Connor decided to run for the Board of Governors (BoG), he figured he was “quite ready” for a “challenge.”
“… I understand it is a bit difficult to take someone who's not that experienced seriously,” he said. “… I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get my ideas out no matter what my background is. Whether I am their age or not their age, I don’t think that matters here.”
Running on a platform centred around tuition increases and engaging with students and affordability, Connor first started thinking about getting into student government at UBC before his career here had even officially begun.
“Just one day before classes had even started … I was here for Jump Start and then I saw a thing, and it just went by quickly in the Nest on the television screen. It was about student elections for the AMS. And that's when I just put in my name and went there for the first meeting ever,” he said.
Shortly after he joined the AMS Advocacy Committee, where he learned about the Board of Governors.
Connor highlighted engaging with students as one of his top priorities. He believes that talking to students will help improve the Board’s publicity and transparency, as well as address the issue of rampant mental health problems on campus.
“Bringing in a fresh perspective, I think we are in dire need of a streamlined and efficient chain of communication between UBC and the students. The student diversity initiative annual report states that 65% of students feel valued in this University, meaning that 35% of students don’t feel so and focus more on lower years and we start seeing why mental health becomes a teeming issue,” wrote Connor on his online AMS profile.
When asked what his loftiest goal is, Connor named slowing tuition increases.
“I feel that I'll be working definitely towards either stagnating how our tuition prices are increasing, because they are increasing every year … or if not, I will definitely see how the revenue is being distributed,” said Connor. “… I want to make sure that that revenue goes directly to students and not through other channels.”
But despite his enthusiasm, Brandon Connor’s platform lacked detail and substance. He talked about the importance of a fresh perspective, but never named a way in which his platform differed from that of his more experienced counterparts Max Holmes and Jeanie Malone, both of whom are running for re-election.
Throughout his interview and debate, Connor was unable to account for some of the Board’s most high-profile initiatives, such as the Integrated Renewal Program, President’s Academic Excellence Initiative and the Governmental Business Enterprise for housing.
Connor also did not show for the first Board of Governors debate due to a class conflict.