Candidate profile: Damir Korniiashik, Senate

Third-year economics student Damir Korniiashik is running to be a student representative on UBC Vancouver’s Senate on a platform of boosting UBC’s academic standing and a wide array of student interests: tuition cuts, Indigenous inclusion and broad social goals.

His loftiest goal is for UBC to be the top university in Canada for the 2021/22 school year.

“It’s not just boost UBC to number one and then leave it. It’s to build something that will put UBC in number-one place and have it stay there,” he said.

Vying concurrently for the Board of Governors, Korniiashik said initially that he would only keep one role if elected to both. He later went back on that statement in debate.

Asked about what he saw as the largest challenge for the Senate this year, he spoke about the impact of COVID-19. He said most of the response so far has been “making sure that things don’t fall apart,” while he would look to plan for the upcoming year.

Korniiashik differentiated his platform from other candidates’, saying he has not been an AMS executive. He said his outsider position as an international student will allow him to bring unconventional perspectives.

“I have some other perspectives that they might not have — I’m going to be shaped based on the students’ opinions and their needs.”

But in debates, the candidate said a few times that he was unfamiliar with what the moderator was asking.

Korniiashik said he will bring his experiences in high school Model United Nations and the AMS eHub to the Senate.

The candidate highlighted UBC’s 2018 strategic plan as a policy he appreciated, mentioning that the plan had a lot of overlap with his goals as senator.

He drew attention to the environmental proposals in the strategic plan, but disliked what he said was the plan’s goals to “expand, strengthen and coordinate climate research at UBC.” He said that he would explore the commercialization of sustainable and environmental research for the university’s financial benefit.

He was likely referring to strategies six through nine, which focus on improving research through greater collaboration between disciplines, strengthening research infrastructure and resources, broadening student access to research experiences and enhancing existing research-to-action pathways.

However, strategy nine of the plan does state that “UBC will enhance existing pathways, including those that facilitate entrepreneurship and commercialization.”

Acknowledging his personal goals, Korniiashik said this position would benefit him in his pursuit of a career in politics. He was also motivated by his desire to see stronger representation for students in general, but more specifically, increased representation for the most underrepresented students.

“My biggest goal is to make sure that students feel that they actually had something to do with the changes happening on the university campus for academics.”

Voting is open online from March 1 until March 5. This article is part of our 2021 AMS elections coverage.