Three candidates are vying for two positions as student representatives on the Board of Governors.
Tanner Bokor, current AMS president, has the most political experience of the candidates, followed by Engineering Undergraduate Society president Veronica Knott and Julie Van de Valk, who was involved with UBC's divestment campaign
“The one thing about my opponent platforms is they’re great high level points … but there’s not a lot of plans behind that,” said Bokor. “One thing that students will see in my platform is that there are very clear and tangible achievements.”
Knott said it’s hard to commit to specific goals for a year, but wants to take a long term approach.
“Board’s one of those things that it’s really hard to have those victories that you have in student government … (important votes on tuition and housing). But the really important thing will be for students five years down the road,” said Knott.
Van de Valk said that if elected, she would focus on getting more students to know and care about what goes on at the Board, as well as be a strong voice for students.
While both Knott and Van de Valk said plans for University Boulevard require more student consultation, Bokor promised he would prevent the current plans from passing.
“It’s tangible for me to say that I don’t think the University Boulevard proposal will go forward if I’m on Board,” said Bokor.
All of the candidates brought up the increased housing and tuition fees, and how they relate to the university’s budget. While they all said the university needs to pursue other sources of funding, the candidates’ approaches differ.
Bokor plans to focus on lobbying the provincial government for more funding. Van de Valk wants to review the entire university budget, but has no concrete plans to make things more affordable for students other than increased consultation.
“With a stronger alumni engagement, better investing and some really cool work with the provincial government, I think we could really make tuition less at the forefront of university funding,” said Knott.
All of the candidates support divestment from fossil fuels, although as Knott pointed out at a previous debate, the Board’s vote on that topic will likely conclude before they take office.
In recent years, some students have criticized their Board reps for being too close to other Board members, at the cost of not advocating enough for students. Both Bokor and Knott said they would make sure they have working relationships with other Board members, but wouldn’t be afraid to take a stand on issues that matter to students when necessary.
“It’s a balance between the two, but I do think our previous Board reps have leant towards close working relationships and I’d like to pull that back a bit more,” said Knott
Van de Valk also wants to create a working relationship with Board members, but said that would come about through respect earned from being a vocal advocate for students.
“I bring a broader student perspective and a really strong advocate voice. I think it’s something that I’ve demonstrated through divestment but I think is something that extends a lot farther than just divestment,” said Van de Valk.
All three candidates share the goal of making the Board more accessible and open to students. Van de Valk said that regardless of political experience, she is a suitable candidate to do this.
“I think there’s other qualifications such as actually really being engaged with students that have a variety of perspectives and being someone who is willing to look at the big picture of things and represent a strong student voice,” said Van de Valk.