UBC Insiders Endorses: AMS Elections 2011

We here at Insiders feel like we’re ready to give this year’s round of endorsements (save President;  Come to our Presidential Debate Monday night!) The candidates that we have chosen to endorse are the ones that we feel will perform the best in the races they have chosen to run in. These candidates are also the ones that we feel will serve the student population most faithfully and truly listen when students raise concerns. There was no official voting scheme that the three of us used to pick our candidates; it was through reading their platforms, listening to the debates and talking to the candidates. So, without further ado, the UBC Insiders’ endorsements for the 2011 AMS Elections.

VP Finance: Elin Tayyar

While simply being the incumbent in a race does not necessarily make someone the best candidate, this is absolutely the case in this instance. With the departure of an integral member of the senior management team at the AMS, continuity and institutional knowledge is a distinct benefit. For once, the VP Finance will have to help the Treasurer and Controller as much as the Treasurer and Controller will help them. There is the no doubt in our mind that Elin Tayyar is the man we need in the role of Vice President Finance. While we’ve criticized Elin in the past for what we felt was poor performance, he has clearly matured in the position, while still caring deeply about students and the AMS and holding a sincere interest in sustainability. With successes like saving the AMS a ton of money on our health plan and the implementation of the UBCard at major AMS food outlets under his belt, we hope that he will build on these successes in his second year.

Arash Ehteshami has done a great job in understanding and figuring out the role of the VP Finance and has run an excellent campaign. He definitely has what it takes to be an executive on the AMS and it is unfortunate that he did not choose a different race to compete in. We hope that he will continue to be involved with the AMS and run again next year.

VP Administration: Kathy Yan Li

Kathy is the only candidate who has demonstrated an actual understanding of the role of VP Administration. While her desire to put sparkle fountains in the new SUB are a little far-fetched, she is the only candidate to have captured the spirit of the position. She is the only candidate that we can see actually listening to students when they raise concerns and really take the time to find the perfect solution. The other two candidates feel like they are going to be inflexible in their mindsets if student opinion turns out to be different from their own. Kathy is the only candidate with the right attitude for the job and also the approachability that is needed when dealing with students.

We hear complaints about how the AMS is a closed clique of students, and we agree. Kathy is the only one who can break the mould, and who thinks that the AMS clique is as ridiculous as students at large do. She’ll bring life and excitement to the AMS executive, which is integral when working with clubs and is something that only she possess in this race or in any race, really. The other two candidates have some great ideas; it is our hope that she will look at their platforms and cherry pick some projects to make her own.

VP External: Katherine Tyson

This race was by far the closest for us in terms of who to endorse. When it came to experience, Mitch is an excellent AVP External and Katherine is the chair of the University and External Relations Committee. Both of them have the necessary experience and an adequate mastery of what the job will entail. We finally decided on Katherine because at the end of the day we feel that she will be a slightly better ambassador for the society. This is not a strong endorsement because Katherine has turned out to be a divisive candidate which may also translate into being a divisive executive. Mitch is also qualified and possesses the qualities to be an excellent AVP External, but not necessarily the professional skills that we feel are needed to excel in the VP External role. Based on Rory’s campaign and rhetoric, he has already been VP External once; his name was Tim Chu.

VP Academic and University Affairs: Justin Yang

Justin said something at the debates on Thursday which perfectly puts our thoughts into words. Justin is “everything you could ask for in a candidate”. Throughout the debates, it was clear time and again that Justin was the only candidate who had a clear and complete grasp on the role and its responsibilities. The fact that he is representing over 15,000 students currently in his various roles is impressive and tells me that he is comfortable with juggling different student needs. In the answering of questions, Justin was also the only candidate who listened to the question and answered it accurately without going off onto a tangent or missing the point completely. While this may seem like an odd thing to comment on, we feel that this is so important because when working with the university, the AMS will need someone who is a straight shooter and who will stick the issues most important to students. Having a VP Academic is constantly goes off into issues that aren’t related or someone who is quick to dismiss concerns as ridiculous will only hurt us in any of the projects the AMS takes on. One major concern is how trusting and compliant he comes off as when talking about the university’s campus development plans.

Despite how lopsided this race may seem on paper due to Yang’s extensive pedigree, Matt Parson is not a weak candidate. Last year, Ben Cappellacci did not come in with a strong background, but once in the job, did everything necessary to build the required skills and knowledge base to be an effective, competent VP Academic. We believe if Matt were elected, he would follow much the same path and also become an effective, competent executive. It’s simply a matter of unfortunate circumstance that he is up against a Justin Yang, rather than a Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes. While we’re happy that Jennifer Wang has a critical eye for the university administration, there is a place for that and unfortunately, that place is not as a VP of the AMS.

Board of Governors: Sumedha Sharma and Sean Heisler

The Board of Governors is a dragon of a beast, which is why it is a good thing that Sumedha and Sean are both excellent dragon slayers (or so I’ve heard). Sumedha and Sean are the Insiders’ picks for Board not only because we feel that they are both interested in the position for the right reasons, we know that they will be the right student representatives we want at that table. With Sean as the incumbent, Sumedha will have no trouble learning the ropes and getting the hang of how Board operates. We are so excited to see them tag team in the coming year as we have seen how effective they have been in their respective positions (Sumedha as the president of the Science Undergraduate Society and Sean as a Board of Governors member).

Senate: Justin Yang, Spencer Rasmussen, Ryan Bredin

Justin is a natural choice for Senate. As a current senator and also our pick for the role of the VP Academic, we feel that if he were to continue to be a senator it would only benefit students. It is a combination of roles which will compliment each other and will help him further his projects. Spencer is knowledgeable about the role of senate, well-spoken and is always available for students to talk to. We’re happy to endorse his re-election campaign. Ryan ran in last year’s Senate race and has since refined and expanded his platform. He appears to have a strong grasp of the issues and will complement some of the projects which Senate is currently working on.

None of the other candidates have impressed us enough to warrant an endorsement. AJ campaigns hard, but when the chair of the student senate caucus feels the need to publicly correct your campaign materials, that’s never a good sign. Thomas Brennan is a one-issue candidate but it appears he’s done little research to see why his idea, scheduling exams at the same time as classes, isn’t already in place (there are a few reasons).


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  1. “Based on Rory’s campaign and rhetoric, he has already been VP External once; his name was Tim Chu.”


    Great article, as always, UBC Insiders.

    Posted by Student | January 17, 2011, 8:51 am
  2. If any insider readers want another take on the ams elections, check out http://studentunionpress.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/endorsements-for-the-2011-ams-elections/

    The insider clearly has a bias against social justice involved candidates, just as the student union press has a bias towards those who challenge the status quo careerist mentality of some candidates, who would rather run the ams as a business, not a union representing a strong student voice.

    It’s your choice!

    Posted by Maxim | January 17, 2011, 3:38 pm
  3. If any Insider reader wants to read something as hilarious as Studentunionpress, but not nearly taking itself as seriously, check out http://www.amsconfidential.ca/!

    Posted by Michael C | January 17, 2011, 4:12 pm
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