Current AMS VP Academic and University Affairs (VPAUA) Georgia Yee is bidding for a seat on the UBC Vancouver Senate on a platform of affordability, creating an equitable future, improving access to online and hybrid learning and climate action.
Yee emphasized that equity, diversity and inclusion underpin her platform priorities. She also acknowledged the role the pandemic had in upending the university’s “normal.”
“I think it’s really clear that this pandemic and all the systemic injustices that we’re facing currently — it has upended our lives in many, many ways,” Yee said. “So how do we not just go back to normal, but how do we create a plan forward?”
Yee highlighted her ability to engage with traditionally underserved communities and wants to re-think forms of engagement — such as consultation processes — to better serve those communities. She said her work as VPAUA and on the development of the AMS’s Equity Plan would benefit her in consultation around Senate issues.
If elected, Yee wants to sit on the Senate’s Teaching and Learning committee, where she said she would advocate for climate literacy and to decolonize and Indigenize the existing curriculum.
On affordability, Yee said she wants to create a digital learning materials policy which would curtail the impact of web platforms like Pearson Education — which students often must pay for as part of their coursework.
“My advocacy priority around championing holistic affordability is to be able to create a digital learning materials policy” Yee said. “So if we are looking at applications such as Pearson — they often get you to buy their quizzes for a one-year access code. So how do we curtail some of the costs for some of the students.”
Yee wants to see the Senate be more transparent through the establishment of a student-facing communication strategy.
“The lack of transparency as well as the governance process that does not lend itself to timely effective decisions — it is very much mired in bureaucracy,” Yee said. “So one of the biggest challenges is the governance of the Senate and how ineffective it can be.”
Yee said she would seek to make more Senate debates and discussions open to the public. Committee meetings aren’t open to the public, and their minutes often aren’t posted in a timely manner. She also wants to better incorporate the Senate into other university governing bodies and increase collaboration.
Acknowledging the work of the current and past senators-at-large, Yee praised the collaborative nature of campus politics and said she was looking to build off of their work and expand it further.
“I am primarily motivated by the ability to empower students and improve accessibility in the university experience and building [an] accountable community,” she said.