Race: President

The President is the visionary and leader of the AMS. In the most fundamental sense, the job of the AMS President is to ensure the organization is fulfilling its mandate. This mandate is a set of eleven objectives which can be found in the society’s constitution, or holistically in the simpler AMS mission statement:

To improve the quality of the educational, social, and personal lives of the students of UBC.

The president’s first job is making sure that the structure of the AMS is upheld. One of the duties involved is setting the agenda (figurative and literal) both for council and for the executive. In the past two years, we’ve seen one president that sidestepped council and another that tried to domineer it. Neither is the ideal and the title of president often fools those who hold the office and students-at-large that the office carries a great deal more authority than it does.

The president sits as chair of the executive committee and is in charge of co-ordinating the executive team. A strong president will have the individual respect and trust of their VP’s, who should always be able to go to the president’s office for advisement. Again, the past two years have produced presidents whose teams were not cohesive, but once again, in different ways.

He or she also acts as a liaison between the business side of the organization and the governmental side. The general manager, who oversees the business operations, reports to the president weekly.

The president is the spokesperson for the society, and by extension, is the voice of the student body of UBC. They are the one whose quote is most sought after by external media, and are the one who delivers the speeches. They should be articulate.

Unlike the VP positions though, the president does not have a specific portfolio, but rather can take on initiatives that they wish to focus on. For Jeff Friedrich, it was CASA. For Mike Duncan, it was athletics fees. For Blake Frederick, it was tuition policy. For Bijan Ahmadian, it was UBC’s Got Talent. Neither candidate has made it clear what their pet project might be this year but please dear god don’t make it another talent show.

An ideal president would be someone visible, approachable, and able to bring together diverse groups of students, to best connect with the AMS membership. This person needs to have the support of council, and is best coming in with few enemies rather than many friends. Having a grasp of the history of campus and AMS issues is also crucial, as an understanding of the conventions and traditions of UBC lays out what is possible in a year, and what is not.

Name: Jeremy McElroy
Age: 22
Year: 5
Faculty and program: Arts, Political Science and International Relations
Years on campus: 5
Past campus involvement: AMS VP External, AMS Arts Representative, 3 time RBF Executive, AUS Social Coordinator, AUS First Year Representative
Past non-campus involvement: BC Youth Parliament, Highschool President

1) In your mind, what is the AMS President’s job?

The job of the President is to coordinate the executive team. The President is one of the outward faces of the organization, and responsible for building strong relationships with the University, provincial and federal governments, external organizations, and every corner of campus. Without stepping on the toes of the Vice Presidents, the President is a liaison and spokesperson for the Society. Whereas the VPs have specific portfolios, responsibilities, and projects, it is the President’s job to spearhead new projects, think outside the box, and support the other executives.

2) What should be the role of constituencies within the AMS?

The classic constituencies, the undergrad societies, play an integral role in student outreach. They host the parties, career fairs, speaker series, and involvement opportunities that the AMS just doesn’t have the resources to do – they provide essential services to students. At the AMS table they provide feedback and deliberate on major campus issues, and around campus they are the frontline of student involvement.

However, there are other constituencies that I don’t believe the AMS has fully utilized, but play an equally important role on campus, and those are the Resource Groups and the International Students’ Association. While their role is to officially be arm’s length from student government, I think it’s really important that they are more engaged in the functions of the AMS. From researching and developing policies, to making presentations and helping with campaigns, there are many areas in which these different groups can better be integrated into the broader AMS framework.

In short, they should all be performing their own specialized roles across campus, and bringing that knowledge and experience to the AMS table.

3) How would you deal with a situation in which official AMS policy differs sharply with your own personal views?

First and foremost I defer to Council. While I would investigate the origins and intent of such policy to ensure that it is in fact in the best interest for the Society, as my own personal views are usually in line with the AMS, I would 100% defer to the will of Council, and promote and advocate for that policy accordingly.

4) Name two major issues on which students and the UBC administration disagree. What is the best way to go about resolving these disagreements?

Gage South and international student tuition are both areas of significant disagreement between students and the administration. I am not entirely sure how to resolve these disagreements, I am not clairvoyant and we are diametrically opposed on these issues, but I do know that the best way to address the disagreements is to present substantive, well-informed arguments in a highly respectful manner.

I know this sounds cheesy, but it is essential when dealing with the University to first understand that they have been doing this longer than us. We are not experts on most issues, but we are exceptionally intelligent students at one of the world’s leading institutions, so our opinions and suggestions should also not be breezed over. In all of our disagreements with the University there is a guiding principle, realities and practical restraints, and then ultimately the best solution we can manage. We have to respectfully engage in this sort of dialogue with the University if we are to get anywhere near a positive resolution on these issues.

5) In your opinion, what is the most important thing the AMS does for students?

The most important thing the AMS does for students is care. Most students don’t, and the fact that 40 some odd students from across campus come together in an organization to discus academic policy with the university, advocate student issues to the government, provide services, run food outlets, host parties, and create discounted transit and health benefit programs is truly remarkable. The best thing the AMS does for students is give a damn.

Name: Michael Graham Moll
Age: 21
Year: 3rd year
Faculty and program: Commerce Marketing and Sustainability
Years on campus: 3 years
Past campus involvement: VP Alpha Delta Phi, CUS board of directors and AMS Business and facilities Member at Large

1) In your mind, what is the AMS President’s job?

The AMS presidents Job is to Co-ordinate the communication of the Society, Support the initiatives of his executive along with whom they would set the strategic vision of the AMS.

2) What should be the role of constituencies within the AMS?

To represent their individual undergraduate societies and make their voices and opinions heard.

3) How would you deal with a situation in which official AMS policy differs sharply with your own personal views?

I would refer to council and make my stance known but at the end of the day the decision will lie with them.

4) Name two major issues on which students and the UBC administration disagree. What is the best way to go about resolving these disagreements?

Student Housing and Tuition. I feel that there is need for better communication from both sides and flexibility as these issues have both short and long term solutions.

5) In your opinion, what is the most important thing the AMS does for students?

Well they’re a couple but enriching Students university experience through the Clubs program stands out the most as it has a very visible positive effect on students satisfaction and engagement.


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  1. Glaring omission award goes to ubc insiders, for not including, or even mentioning, the 3rd and most willing candidate to advocate on behalf of students rights and interests in this election: Omar Chaaban. His website can be found here: http://chaaban.ca/

    His Position on Major Issues:
    2. Better Learning Environment for Students.
    3. Better representation of minorities on campus.
    4. Good relations with the university administration.
    5. Better fiscal policies
    6. Better relations with the resource groups
    7. Better food services

    P.S. I am going to sell the TV in the president’s office. The AMS President does not need a TV. He needs to be out there with the students, constantly hearing their problems and trying to fix them. I can watch the Big Bang Theory at home.

    Posted by Maxim | January 17, 2011, 4:37 pm
  2. Omar never submitted a profile. He was reminded. Why don’t you get on his case for not being responsive to the media?

    Posted by Neal Yonson | January 17, 2011, 5:26 pm
  3. Did you guys send me an email? I received emails from AMS Confidential and the Ubyssey but nothing from ubcinsiders. I just went through my inbox and there is absolutely nothing.

    Posted by Omar Chaaban | January 18, 2011, 9:25 pm
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