Candidate profile: Chris Hakim, Senate

AMS President Chris Hakim is taking a four-pillar approach to the senate.

Also a current student-at-large Senator, he’s hoping to continue fighting for unified work experience, tuition prices, Indigenous support and reconciliation and transparency.

Hakim points to inconsistent co-op programs across faculties as a touchstone of his campaign. He said that faculties like nursing, pharmacy and engineering get hands-on learning experiences that makes them employable following their time at UBC.

“The issue is that for a lot of other programs and faculties at UBC, this isn't the case. And instead, students need to rely on the co-op program, which hasn't had a review in many years.”

Hakim has his sights on an external review as a solution.

“I want to make sure … we're looking to provide students with a meaningful experience as well as trying to ensure that in our classrooms, our professors and our faculties are showing what you're going to learn in a course will have direct course learning outcomes,” said Hakim.

Hakim’s next big-ticket item is making sure tuition hikes benefit students.

“I want to make it really clear that we need to be ensuring that the student money that is bought in from our tuition needs to be largely reinvested back into students,” said Hakim.

He sees the Vancouver Senate Budget Sub-Committee, which he currently chairs, as a tangible step in the right direction. According to Hakim, the committee needs to be better at organizing the relationship between faculty and Senators in order to discuss how allocated money will impact students.

Keeping momentum on the upcoming Indigenous Strategic Plan is also at the forefront of his mind.

Hakim says the draft plan currently lays out multiple ambitious goals including increasing Indigenous leadership at all levels, respecting Indigenous people and increasing Indigenous student rates.

“The one thing that UBC tends to fail at is usually implementation of plans, and the Indigenous Strategic Plan is up there with one of the most important plans when it comes to the university and for students,” said Hakim. “… I want to ensure that this plan, its development and its implementation is provided the resources that it's needed.”

He is looking to continue working through these goals as a part of the triennial review process and through the Academic Renewal Working Group that he claimed has allocated two billion dollars to hiring more faculty. He said he is committed to bringing in more Indigenous faculty.

He said the key to most of these issues is this triennial review, that he is apart of co-authoring, which outlines recommendations for changes to the senate. He is also pushing for an external review process to hold the Senate accountable and make it increasingly more accessible.

“The Senate needs to be changed both operationally and structurally … from increasing training for the adjudicators on our Appeals Committee to receive sexual violence training, decolonization training, trauma informed approaches, the list goes on,” he said.

“I love this work but there are still things left undone.”