Candidate profile: Max Holmes, Senate

Max Holmes, current student senator and AMS VP Academic and University Affairs (VPAUA), is running for re-election in the Vancouver Senate. If elected as a senator, Holmes plans to continue his focus on survivor-centric sexual assault policy and reforming academic concession, complementing two major tenets of his work as VPAUA.

He is also re-running for the VPAUA position in this year’s election.

“From a senate perspective, most of it — if not all of it — ties back into my VP Academic role because as VP Academic, I am the Alma Mater Society’s liaison to the Senate,” Holmes said.

“Of course, one of the advantages of being VP Academic is that I can also ensure that the resources of the VP Academic office are always there to support all student senators.”

As a survivor himself, sexual assault reform has long been one of the most important issues on Holmes’s platform. As a senator, this will involve “looking at [UBC’s] academic accommodation policies” to find ways to support survivors from an academic perspective.

More information about how to contact counselling, how to access the Sexual Assault Support Centre and how to navigate Policy 131 could also be added to syllabi as part of the mandatory syllabi policy. But Holmes noted that this policy is still being worked on, despite having been talked about for at least five years.

“So a lot of times in the Senate, it’s not always necessarily bad policies that are getting pushed through, but rather good policies that are taking too long in the bureaucratic process.”

On the much discussed topic of a fall reading week, Holmes suggested that while the creation of a break isn’t far away, it is unlikely to be a full week due to concerns like de-accreditation of programs and extra financial burden if classes were to start earlier.

“I do not doubt that we are going to get some kind of break in the fall very soon,” he said.

“But the issue is looking at the trade-offs there and also looking at the ability to get that full break because that’s truly what people want. They want a full week, and currently, from all the modeling we’ve done, it looks basically impossible to get that in what we’ve done currently, without having programs de-accredited like engineering.”

Instead, “creative solutions” will have to be looked into, especially regarding exam guidelines and scheduling like shortening the number of hours for an exam, opening more restricted spaces and holding exams on Sunday.