The race for next year’s president of the AMS is divided between an ambitious activist, an AMS insider and a joke candidate who looks strikingly like V from V for Vendetta.
Fourth-year political science and economics student Cheneil Antony-Hale founded UBC’s Feminist Club and worked as a marine mammal and seabird observer aboard ships for the past few summers. While she does not have the same background at the society as Aaron Bailey, Antony-Hale thinks that a new face for the AMS could work to its advantage.
"I will admit that having less experience than Aaron within the AMS will mean there's a learning curve, definitely," said Antony-Hale. "But I also think the fact that I haven't been consumed by the AMS for a really long time means that I'm much more connected to the general student population and I'm much more aware of what people care strongly about without having their views, their needs, their wants, their experiences tampered by the fact that I think 'well, you know, it might be a little difficult to get this through, so I'm not going to try.'"
Antony-Hale’s campaign focuses on many issues around campus. Specifically, she hopes to push for legal protection for students in UBC housing, instate mandatory sexual assault training for residence advisors, increase funding for Aboriginal students on campus, establish a resource centre run by and for students with disabilities and add more student seats to the Board of Governors.
She would also like to focus on environmental sustainability within the society and continue the governance review.
According to Antony-Hale, the presidential role would help her push for the relevance of these projects to both the university and her executive team.
“I know they are all really ambitious, daunting goals and a lot of people would be unwilling to take those things on because it would require a lot of work,” said Antony-Hale. “But I know that a lot of candidates right now, they’re very ambitious people and they are very aware of the current circumstances on campus and the current things that need to be changed.”
During his time at UBC, fourth-year Science student Aaron Bailey served as president of the SUS last year, sat on the UBC senate, worked on the microbrewery project and sat on the AMS Council for the last two years. His campaign platform centres around putting students first and putting himself out there to listen to their concerns.
“The AMS as a society kind of takes itself a little bit too seriously within the executive offices,” said Bailey. “As such, I find that approach really puts up a barrier between students engaging with us on a personal level and what we could be doing to promote the services and the fantastic stuff the AMS does for students.”
If elected, Bailey promises to go to at least one student-led event a week and engage with students about the projects that the AMS is current working on. He also hopes to hold public office hours in between both students and AMS and UBC executives in the new SUB in order to have conversations about campus concerns.
Bailey also said that, as the president’s role is one that focuses on overseeing and managing the other executives, he hopes to use his time as president to help the executive team achieve their projects and make the AMS interesting to students rather than push forth his own ideas.
“My focus on my own projects are only things that are extraneous to their portfolios because it doesn’t make sense to micromanage your team especially if you have really confident, competent people in those positions,” said Bailey.
That said, Bailey also hopes to expand Block Party, use the funds that were gained from the sale of the Whistler Lodge to create a transit service from UBC to Whistler and continuing the governance review that current president Tanner Bokor started this year.
V chose not to reveal much about his identity, as he feels a strong need to protect it.
"Who is but the form following the function of what I am as a man in a mask," said V. "I mean, you can see that I'm not questioning your power of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man to reveal his identity."
According to V, total anarchy is the best option for running the AMS and the best way to achieve this is to organize a series of Hunger Game-style fights to decide who will reign supreme and receive all the best parts of the new SUB. As such, the current AMS Council and governing structure is only an obstacle in the way of his master plan.
"All these candidates are missing the point," said V. "What we need is not more government, what we have is the fact that the AMS has been promising their student body to open up the new SUB for months and months without any real results. Ideas, just by itself, doesn't change things. We need true action and true action comes from anarchy, by everyone standing up for themselves and actually doing the things that they say they are going to do rather than electing a body of people to represent them and take the freedom away from them and then not open the new SUB."