AUS Candidate Profiles: AMS Representatives

Arts AMS Representatives represent Arts students’ interests on Council. Likewise, Arts AMS Representatives should work towards providing consistent and accurate information to Arts students on AMS issues (not just during referendum times). Issues which may arise (or continue to be discussed) in the upcoming year include student housing, transit, governance, tuition and student loans.

Sara Amadi, Diana Hart, Rory Breasail, Stewart McGillivray, Caroline Wong, SMBI, and Douglas Wong did not submit a response.

Name: Kyle Warwick (Twitter, Facebook)

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
Proven lobbying
Student focused campus core
Prudent budgeting

What is your actual platform?
Five Key Points
1.Push for the creation of a rapid transit UBC Line.
2.Minimize the negative effects of the recent provincial crackdown on campus social events.
3.Fiscal responsibility. I will use my extensive AMS experience to locate any inefficient expenditures of student fees. These wastes will be opposed vigorously.
4. A student focused campus core. UBC originally proposed market priced condos on the current site of the UBC bus loop – this location is far better suited for student housing and/or student recreation space.
5. Reform the BC Student Financial Aid system. Progress is gradually being made, but much more remains to be done.

What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
I think that the referendum results make it clear the AMS needs to work harder to regain student trust. The new fees create great potential for the AMS to benefit student clubs, internationalization programs, sustainability projects and other worthwhile initiatives. They also allow the AMS to balance its budget without making steep spending cuts to student services. At the same time, the close margin of the vote means that students expect the AMS to go over all spending with a fine toothed comb. If the next AMS budget contains any spending that does not directly benefit students, I will push the Budget Committee to head back to the drawing board. In addition, the Budget Committee created a contingency plan in case the referendum failed – it proposed a number of cuts – I plan to review this plan and see if parts of it are still applicable.

Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
A majority of the increased funds are earmarked for specific purposes. For instance, approximately $100,000 must be spent on sustainability projects as a condition of the referendum. This leaves the AMS with about $375,000 in new funds that are not tied up to specific functions. The majority of this new funding has to be dedicated towards eliminating the AMS deficit. This means that only a relatively small amount of new spending is possible. The AMS Referendum got the AMS out of its hole, but it is not an opening for a great deal of discretionary expenditures.

Nonetheless, if done in a financially sustainable way, I would support increased funding for events put on by AMS Consitutencies, such as the Arts Undergraduate Society. In many cases the central AMS is less effective at reaching students than its subsidiary organizations – these groups deserve AMS support whenever possible. In addition, I would investigate restroring funding to some of the AMS services that have been hit by cutbacks recently, such as Safewalk and Tutoring. Lastly, the transition to the new SUB, and increased competiton from UBC Food Services has led to challenges for AMS businesses. While they are still successful, they can now only be counted on for a $600,000 contribution the AMS bottom line. Much of the money from the fee referendum should be budgeted as a buffer, to reduce volatitilty from overreliance on business revenue. Without this buffer, the AMS is at risk of falling back into a financial defecit.

Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
I would like to sit on the University and External Relations Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Legislative Procedures Committee. I have experience on all 3 committees- I successfully eliminated several cases of inefficient spending on Budget Committte, and I have streamlined confusing portions of code as a member of the Legislative Procedures Committee. My greatest focus is on the University and External Relations Committee. I currently serve as Chair of this committee, and I want to continue my progress on modernizing the Financial Aid system, and on keeping the core of campus a student centred place.

What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
The results of the recent referendum show that the most relevant part of the AMS for students is the UPASS program, which was approved by an overwhelming margin of 95 to 5. Unfortunately, the lack of transit service to UBC stops us from getting the most out of this program. I will continue my efforts to lobby for a UBC Line and for greatly improved bus service in order to make the UPASS the best possible tool for students.

Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.
I share a birthday (December 2) with Britney Spears.

Name: Michael Haack (Twitter, Facebook)

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
My visionary dream:
A financially prudent AMS
Students be WINNING

What is your actual platform?
Campus Issues
• Continue to help the executive lobby for increased student financial aid and increased funding for education
• Support upcoming initiatives that gives the AMS and UBC to have a voice to improve the transit system to UBC and support the UBC Line
• Continue to advocate that the Gage-South developments add to student life on campus and to encourage more student housing

• Council’s job is to give direction to the executive, help the executive do their jobs and most importantly, stand firm to ensure that the executive are representing all students at UBC.

Financial Responsibility
• The AMS Fee referendum not only solved the structural deficit within the AMS but gives students more control and has a positive effect on student life for many generations of students.
• We need to put safeguards and structures in place so that students can begin to access these new grants and funds as soon as possible

Let’ s work together, not against each other. The AMS has the potential for so much more, but only if we do this through a collaborative-style approach. We can tackle the problems and the issues that the Society faces through collaboration = sharing knowledge + learning + consensus building

What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
I’m glad the referendum passed: the hard work we all put in means that the structural deficit is eliminated and that the AMS can operate as a more effective society for students.

We should never take for granted though, the gumption of students with personal vendettas and the lengths they will go to create their own fear campaign full of falsified facts and vitriol.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t take this win for granted either. The AMS was given feedback from many of students on how to run the organization more effectively, how should fees be spent and what priorities the society should have. We should maintain this engagement year-round so that students have meaningful engagement and that subsequent referenda aren’t as challenging.

Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
Well for one, the new AMS fee structure eliminates the structural deficit within the AMS and we shouldn’t treat this as free money: the AMS still doesn’t have increased income.

One of the very first things the AMS will have to do is to set guidelines, infrastructure and policy in place so that students, clubs and AMS services can access these news funds as soon as possible and so that new projects and initiatives can get underway, which in turn enhances student life and the academic atmosphere on campus.

Currently, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is having a conference, hosted here at UBC by the AMS, an associate school and co-founder. Our membership is up for review and the AMS is going to have to look at whether we should continue our associate member status or pay twice as much as we
currently do to become full members. The AMS needs to tread carefully with CASA and to make sure our membership to CASA reflects students at UBC and represents students’ interests. Our CASA membership was not mentioned during the referendum and it would be in poor taste for the AMS to take tens of thousands of dollars of students’ money from the referendum to change our membership in CASA. We need to ensure that the students are represented in the choice for the AMS to join the lobby group.

Ultimately, I would also like the AMS to shift towards providing its own health and dental plan for students. I know Elin and Jeremy have made inroads towards this goal, and it requires a lot of work, but in the end it would ultimately save both students and the AMS money.

Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
Budget Committee: last year I led the crusade against a budget that left AMS Student Services crippled and was replete with holes: The AMS didn’t plan to spend money on events that it planned to spend money on, such as the referendum, the AMS elections and the Block Party. Confusing, right? After defeating the first budget, the second budget was presented as balanced and then was broken less than a week due to poor planning.

I would also like to be able to encourage the AMS adopt either zero-based budgeting methods or conventional budgeting methods when building its annual budget. Why? Because the AMS relies on its business income so much that

it spends money for the entire year without having any money to support its expenses. This is like having 3 credit cards with no job to pay off the balance. It isn’t smart.

Further, I passed a motion last year to evaluate the Society’s budgets quarterly because the AMS frequently doesn’t spend within the budget that AMS Council allots. Not only is this contrary to AMS Bylaws, but it defeats the entire purpose of passing a budget if the AMS doesn’t adhere to it. Revamping our budgeting methods would rectify this problem.

University and External Relations Committee: As a current member I’m already heavily vested in this committee. We’ve already made inroads with the UBC Line and Gage-South land use developments and are reviewing Bylaws for a provincial lobby group, and with three upcoming elections, the AMS is poised to
have students’ concerns, such as tuition, student housing and financial aid, heard by all levels of government and to have meaningful impact.

Legislative Procedures Committee: As a Code Haack, I enjoy (gasp) reading Code and finding loopholes, problems and puzzles the current Code has and then proposing solutions.

What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
The relevancy of the AMS is sort of like “one-size fits all” solution. And what I mean by that is it really depends on each individual student.

  • Commuter students are grateful for the UPass.
  • Students without health plans are grateful for the Health and Dental Plan.
  • Students looking for ways to become involved on campus and meet new people join one (or more) of the clubs or resource groups on campus.
  • Students can access peer tutoring through AMS Tutoring
  • Students looking for a groan (or a laugh) on a Wednesday night are probably grateful for Twitter, the #amscouncil hashtag and how AMS Council members incessantly tweet during council meetings.

The point that I’m trying to get across is that the AMS is greater than the sum of its parts.

Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.

Name: Federico Ziza (Facebook)

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
I will represent,
Arts students well you fear not:
Your dreams will come true.

What is your actual platform?
My (questionable) poetic ability aside, I really do intend to work on the voice that arts has in the AMS, but more specifically on getting the arts students themselves to be informed on what the AMS is doing, and what we as their representatives are doing for them. Another one of my main points is to make sure that there is transparency when it comes to the AMS’ finances: fees have increased, and it is key that the students are aware of how their money is spent.

What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
As an international student myself, I’m glad the question regarding the lobbying for lowered tuition has passed, and it’s needless to say that I’m glad that we managed to keep our u-passes – even though the system will now work differently. In regards to the other two questions, I’m fairly indifferent.

Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
It should focus on making sure we do not end up in deficiencies as the one that had recently occurred (i.e. managing our money responsibly), other than that I would say the money should go towards events, services and student employments.

Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
My top choices would be the Business & Facilities Committee, the Student Life Committee and the University and External Relations Committee.
The first choice comes from the fact that I’d like to raise my personal awareness on the AMS businesses and how they are run by the AMS. The Student Life Committee choice comes from the general demand for a serious event that should be remembered on the last day of classes, and finally the last choice of University and External Relations Committee comes from the frustration in regards to transit and the housing situation (and all the things that go along with it, including the UNA/RCMP relations).

What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
I think that there is not – and that there should not be – a single most relevant aspect of the AMS to students, and that all the issues that are dealt with should be treated with equal relevance, students should not be simply dismissing certain aspects of the AMS.

Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.
Can’t really think of any entertaining anecdotes at the moment, my apologies.

Name: Anne Kessler (Facebook)

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
Treat all equally
Cheaper university
Make our campus safe

What is your actual platform?
1. Campus safety:
- to restore safewalk after it was cut by 60% last year
- to create a sexual assault prevention policy whereby staff at the Gallery and the Pit would receive training in dealing with sexual assault and harassment

2. Fighting for lower tuition: the average student debt is $27,000, and we need to do a better job of lobbying the government to lower tuition

3. Equity in the AMS: a lot of groups are often underrepresented such as international students and students with disabilities, so to create non-voting positions on the AMS so their voices are heard

What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
What is your actual platform?
What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
UPass: Overall good. It was unfortunate that there was an increase, but necessary so that all students in the lower mainland can have the same benefits.

Fees: Again, not great that the fees had to be increased, but necessary given the financial situation of AMS.

Housekeeping changes to bylaws: Seems good to me.

Substantive changes: Though there were some good things in here, a few worried me, such as being able to keep documents secret and hidden from students. Though I understand that sometimes this can be a good thing, the AMS ultimately need to be a transparent organization that is accountable to students and I didn’t feel that these changes were in the best interests of students.

Tuition: Glad this passed, I hope that it will be a wake-up call about what students want the AMS to be doing for them and that it will lead to the AMS putting more resources into lobbying the government.

Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
It should restore Safewalk to its previous yearly operating budget and well as restore the Equity program.

It should look into ways of preventing sexual assault and harassment and into training for staff at the Pit and the Gallery.

It should spend money on lobbying the government for lower tuition.

It should look into increasing services and programs that have been particularly effective, and increasing advertising so that students know more about the large variety of services that the AMS offers.

Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
Student Life Committee: because equity, safe walk and sexual assault prevention all fall under this committee.
University and External Relations Committee to fight for lower tuition.
And perhaps also Legislative Procedures Committee because to create an official policy on sexual assault prevention this would be the place to be.

What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
Student services that the AMS provides, such as the food bank, tutoring, safewalk, SASC, and the AMS’s ability to lobby for lower tuition, housing and financial aid to the university and the government as a much stronger voice than each of us alone.

Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.
I can’t think of an anecdote, so I’ll tell you the one (blonde) joke I know. (Please don’t take offense any blondes out there, this might be much more appropriately applied to other people, perhaps Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie)

A blonde woman is speeding and gets pulled over by a blonde policewoman. The policewoman asks her for ID, and so she looks through her car for something with her picture on it. She finds a small mirror, and seeing her own face in it, passes it to the policewoman. The policewoman looks at it for a second, and hands it back to the woman in the car saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that you’re a cop, you can go”.

Name: Roshak Momtahen (Facebook)

Please express your campaign platform in the form of a haiku. (Bonus points if you submit your haiku in the form of a video.)
A great rep I will be
To your thoughts I will listen:
More housing at UBC!

What is your actual platform?
My campaign is essentially based on two areas of concern I’ve identified while talking to fellow Arts students.

Firstly, the AMS needs to make the affordability of education a priority. Thing means lobbying the provincial government for student aid reform and for lower tuition. It also means lobbying the university for more student housing on campus.

Secondly, I believe student services are the most important way students interact with the AMS on a day-to-day basis. With the recent fee referendum passing, I support the idea of reversing the cuts we have made to services like Safewalk.

What are your views on the results of the recent referenda?
I for one am VERY happy with the way the referenda turned out. I was fully supportive of the fee referendum as the AMS would not be a financially healthy organization had their not been revisions to our fee structure. I was definitely supportive of the housekeeping bylaw revisions and the U-Pass renewal. I’m also very happy with the results regarding lobbying for lower tuition. I support the idea and I think the overwhelming “Yes” vote (87%) illustrates just how much of a non-issue tuition reform should be: The students demand it and their representatives should listen to them! As for the substantive housekeeping changes, I certainly felt some uneasiness towards the fact that the they would allow Council to seal any record it wishes. I feel there needs to be more dialogue over that specific issue before enough students are willing to support it.

Given that the AMS now has $800,000 dollars, what should it focus on?
GIANT PAINTBALL TOURNAMENT! But seriously: I believe the money should be used towards lobbying for tuition and student aid reform at the Provincial level. In addition, we need to reverse the cuts that have been made to student services such as Safewalk.

Which committees would you like to sit on? Why?
Un-e-coRn. Partially because of its name and partially because it deals with external lobbying, an aspect of the AMS which I’m very focused on. I’d also be very interested in the Business and Facilities Committee as decisions made there have a very tangible impact on the day-to-day operations of our student society.

What do you think is the most relevant aspect of the AMS to students?
The lobbying of the AMS is certainly the most important aspect of the AMS but it’s student services like Safewalk, A+ tutoring, and Mini-school which are the most immediately relevant to students. They represent the functional and practical side of our student society and are a great way for regular students to become more involved in the AMS.

Please provide us with an entertaining anecdote.
Hmmmm… Definitely not my most interesting anecdote but I was once on a flight where one of the engines overheated and caught fire while we were mid-air. We had to turn around and land but at the time it was funny watching all the grown-ups panic :)


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