While we highly encourage every UBC student to voraciously consume our coverage of debates, candidate profiles and fact-checking, we know that it’s hard to find the time. Sometimes, you just want to read the most bare-bones analysis. So here you have it: a brutally honest run-down on what each person could offer you as a student and who you might choose to vote for, based on your personal priorities.
Still left guessing? Check out our handy voter compass.
Cristina Ilnitchi: Voters who value continuity and experience need look no further than Ilnitchi. She demonstrates them both in her concrete policies on data-driven open educational resources and tuition advocacy, which are also informed by her work as AMS campaigns and outreach commissioner. While her platform is extensive — and arguably unachievable in a single term — Ilnitchi is the only candidate to include holding UBC accountable for sexual misconduct policy implementation and advocating for further mental health funding from the government in her campaign.
Mishal Tahir: Tahir’s experience at the constituency level as AUS VP External is evident in her platform, which emphasizes lobbying for interest-free student loans and increased international student scholarship opportunities from off-campus partners. While outspoken on transit issues and extending the SkyTrain to UBC immediately rather than after the Arbutus extension — which is extremely unlikely — Tahir’s policy proposals tend to be a bit vague. Her promises to continue ongoing advocacy work also don’t demonstrate a huge awareness of what could be improved on.
S.G. Krishna: While he has no formal leadership experience on campus, Krishna brings enthusiasm to the race. He has promised to increase job opportunities for international students, create air-conditioned bus stops and equalize domestic and international tuition rates by lobbying the Board of Governors. Without introducing specific platform strategies to achieve these goals, however, he appears to be unaware of many of aspects of the VP External portfolio. He also wants to make the U-Pass optional, which could endanger the program’s existence. If you would rather have more support finding a job than cheap transit, Krishna is your guy.
Board of Governors
Note: Since Malone and Gattinger were the only two students who put their hats in the ring this year, they have already been “acclaimed as elected” — in other words, given the seats without a formal vote. We still think it’s worthwhile that students stay informed on their policies and promises in order to hold them accountable in the coming year.
Jeanie Malone: This will be Malone’s second term as a student member of the Board, meaning that she would bring a host of experience and institutional knowledge to the role. Hopefully she’ll bring a renewed vigour and a little more push-back on some important policies upcoming, most notably the international student tuition discussions and the ongoing implementation of the sexual misconduct policy. With a Board that’s hesitant to try anything new, she could use her experience and be someone to call on them to consider alternative models and different options.
Jakob Gattinger: After a term on Senate, Gattinger wants to bring a refreshing vocality and stubbornness to his new role. Hopefully he’ll maintain this feisty side instead of slipping into the all-too-frequent student member trap of justifying unpopular Board decisions, instead calling them out. He’s promised to vote no to tuition proposals if BoG doesn’t start responding to student feedback — we’d like to see him go further and push BoG to actually take student feedback into consideration. He has shown his ability to leverage his platforms to bring up new discussions — we hope to see him keep it up.
VP Academic and University Affairs
Max Holmes: Holmes is running unopposed for re-election, so it’s a good thing that he has a demonstrated track record of advocating for students and pushing UBC to listen. He has proven himself to be outspoken in standing up for his values — the IFC endorsement rejection is proof of that. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about the portfolio and wants another term to finish his long-term goals. We hope he follows through with his ambitious promises of improving AMS communication, pushing UBC on implementing the sexual misconduct policy and creating an effective Indigenous advocacy group.
Note: We think it’s worth mentioning that Linda Huang, who dropped out of the race on Wednesday, would have been a great candidate for VP Finance, dominating in the debate and showing strong expertise with her platform.
Kuol Akuechbeny: While Akuechbeny is positioning himself as “an outsider,” he has worked for the AMS for over two years in a range of demanding roles. His club-oriented platform includes a full transition from paper to digital reimbursement and reinstating an advisory board to support AMS businesses. Akuechbeny’s goals might not be accomplished easily or quickly — but they’re necessary, and he’s confident that his tenure as a club president, treasurer and AMS clubs and constituencies financial administrator proves he can pay the bills. We’ll see if he can follow through, if elected.
Adam Forsgren: Forsgren, the current financial systems coordinator, would expand the AMS’s investment portfolio and update the society’s fin-tech platform, if elected. While Forsgren is a competent and experienced candidate, his platform often reads a bit like the position’s job description, avoiding criticism of the status quo or promises of real change. We wish his expertise translated into a more ambitious, goal-oriented platform, but he’s a safe, fiscally-conservative bet at the moment.
Chris Hakim: While Hakim has shown a lot of initiative as an AMS councillor, his time on Council has brought up questions about his consistency and policies. Although he mentioned that he would want to change the expulsion policy, he was on the committee that drafted it. But he does have the experience and knowledge to complete his main platform point, which is to create consistency within the VP Admin office by creating guidelines and code. He also has a solid plan for moving into the renovated SUB, which will be a large part of the VP Admininistration role over the summer.
Aaron Verones: Verones has a wealth of experience as well as a solid platform — however, his turbulent campaign leaves us with questions about how his term would run. Verones first had a campaign suspension and later came under fire for not rejecting his IFC endorsement, leading to some expressing concerns about how he would handle the issue of sexual assault as VP Administration. Unlike Hakim, however, he does have experience outside of student government that could bring some different perspective to the role. He also mentioned the controversial expulsion policy before being asked.
Jeanie Malone: Malone has been involved in UBC governance forever, giving a level of expertise that few candidates can match. Her platform’s a bit vague — Policy 131 reform and governance review stand out as her only concrete goals. It is useful to have a representative from BoG on the Senate, and she seems committed to making sure the two bodies coordinate effectively. She emphasized communication as her manifesto, wanting Senate to listen more closely to student desires and hoping that that would inspire students to take a more active role in return.
Marium Hamid: Hamid’s advantage mostly comes from the large amount of experience and knowledge she has garnered from serving on different governance bodies at UBC. She has also shown commitment to inclusivity through her past work, in particular her role in creating the ad hoc committee on academic equity and inclusion. On the flip side, Hamid has yet to prove how she would be able to break from the status quo in an often-time bureaucratic Senate. She is also running to become AMS president, which may complement her work or hinder her ability to work effectively as a Senator.
Kuol Akuechbeny: Akuechbeny’s platform has promising goals in it that are certainly achievable, and it’s easy to imagine him working with like-minded senators to get them done. However, it’s also small and not very detailed — he seems to have more plans for the VP Finance position than he does for a senate seat. Akuechbeny’s new to senate, but his experience in both the AMS and WUSC suggests that he’ll be capable of adjusting to the job. If mental health, diversity and open educational resources are issues you’d like to see advanced, Akuechbeny is worth your vote.
Matthias Leuprecht: A first-year student running in his first election, Leuprecht offers a youthful enthusiasm and ambition to the role. For what it’s worth, Leuprecht responds to emails within minutes, he can name all his predecessors at the drop of a hat and his knowledge of Senate’s committees and general structure is impressive. His policies seem a little idealistic and certainly different from what other senatorial candidates are campaigning on. If he’s elected, it remains to be seen how he would incorporate his platform with that of others to achieve tangible goals.
Jakob Gattinger: As an incumbent who is very knowledgeable about Senate and its goals, Gattinger has established himself as a competent candidate who knows how to make progress on a goal. His platform — which includes improving academic concessions, conducting a governance review of Senate and adjusting exam schedules to open up free days for projects such as a fall reading break — is in line with the interests of other senators and realistic. If re-elected, his focus, experience and seat on Board of Boards will make him an impactful presence on Senate in the next year.
Max Holmes: Holmes brings valuable institutional knowledge to the table, where he was able to speak about Senate issues at a level of detail that was in a league of his own. His platform largely coincides with his goals for his return to the VP Academic portfolio. He is dedicated to reforming winter exam schedules so that a fall reading break is possible, and seems to actually have some realistic ideas on how to do so. His IFC endorsement rejection has garnered a lot of praise from the community, and his ability to speak up for what he believes in is promising.
Hannah Xiao: Xiao is new to Senate, but she is up to date on governance body’s discussions and holds a good understanding of how it can impact student life. Her platform consists of increasing student engagement and Senate transparency, improving the academic experience and implementing better mental health support systems. Xiao emphasizes that increasing student engagement is crucial to creating improvements to school curriculum, yet her plan for doing this is not coherent. Besides student engagement, she aims to achieve too many things at once, making her goals seem scattered and unfocused.
Marium Hamid: Hamid is a knowledgeable and experienced candidate. In particular, her work as AMS student services manager this year could provide her with the knowledge to make the presidential role more concrete than just being a glorified spokesperson for the AMS. Out of the three candidates, she also has the most tangible platform and strategies — although some platform points like expanding the Block Party are questionable, given the AMS’s disastrous financial planning in the past. It also remains to be seen how she would be able to break from the status quo and bring new perspectives to the AMS.
Andy Lin: Lin certainly brings a fresh perspective, but when his response to every question is “the love of Jesus Christ,” it was at times hard to take him seriously as a candidate. His answers are particularly intangible in light of topics like sexual assault, especially at a university that is having challenges implementing a policy to combat the issue. Beyond his platform, Lin lacks any substantial knowledge about the AMS. But he is willing to engage in inter-faith dialogue — if he’s elected, you can find him at the president’s office, “sitting back and waiting for people to talk to [him].”
Rodney Little Mustache: Little Mustache is the first presidential candidate to have truly pushed for an Indigenous perspective, which is significant given the AMS’s current lack of substantial representation from these communities. His objectives to create an Indigenous committee and to declare 2020 the year of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students also give his platform tangibility, but it’s clear that he would have to get past a steep learning curve on governance structures at UBC if elected. We hope that if elected, he would follow up on his ideas with tangible working steps to get there — and if he isn’t elected, we hope that the AMS follows up on his incredibly important ideas for Indigenous representation.