This is part 6 of my ELECTION SELECTIONS. This race is not Condorcet – you just pick your top 2 choices (regardless of overall preference). Nonetheless, I’ve ranked the candidates.
Reminder: Board of Governors (BoG) oversee nearly every major long-term decision at UBC and the AMS elects two of the 21-person council.
#1: Sean Heisler
An incumbent who deserves re-election. He is also focused on continuing the work of Gage South though recognizes that the current momentum provides an opportunity to develop other goals. In regard to governance, he wants UBC’s focus to be on academics rather than on governance, and this may be the best way to give students control over themselves, by keeping the university out of it. His incumbency and effective mediating style provides leverage in regard to issues that are going to take more work. Lastly, he understands issues outside BoG’s reach (implementation of a summer semester) and how he can contribute to it (improving the utilization of student housing).
#2: Sumedha Sharma
Frankly, I’m not confident she would have been in my top two if Ben Cappellacci (and possibly Sean Cregten) hadn’t dropped out. Nonetheless, she’s stalwart about Gage South which is absolutely necessary. I don’t agree with her that UBC shouldn’t be its own municipality but I do agree that serious conflicts could arise if this was the case. Although I may disagree with her plan, I agree with her goals of giving students as much control over where they live and work, and that type of flexibility is important on BoG. Lastly, she addresses that the best way to demonstrate the value of BoG is to discuss the issues its discussing with the appropriate student bodies rather than trying to present the work that is happening that is often vague and obtuse.
#3: AJ Hajir Hajian
I think Hajian has gotten comfortable and while I’m confident in his ability to influence members of BoG, I think some fresh perspectives are necessary and between him and Heisler, Hajian brings less to the table. He’s been less effective at illustrating the importance of BoG to students (which is key to ensuring they
give a shit care about it). Hajian has a lot of rhetoric and happy to mediate discussion but doesn’t demonstrate that he’s willing to come to the table with some hard and fast goals. With only two representatives from UBC-Vancouver on BoG, we need to have strong voices. He may have a good understanding of the portfolio but his website illustrates his interest in being involved in everything, regardless of what little-to-no influence his position would have on it (as in the case of academics). Kudos to his ability to speak to a wide variety of students but I want a governor who is more effective at identifying the prominent perspective of students.
#4: Sassan “SuperSexySass” Sangsari
I’m glad Sangsari (why has “Sangsati” been perpetuated everywhere?) is in this race. Not that he should be on BoG but he’s reminded us that the AMS elections itself are a joke. Candidates for this race try to namedrop lots of key issues but few are able to understand and represent the actual student population. Given his track record as president of the Integrated Sciences Student Association, I don’t think Sangsari really understands the average student or is able to present their issues to UBC’s highest governing body. He may be loud but his shouting is fairly unintelligible.
And don’t forget to vote for UBC Vanguard in this elections’ Voter Funded Media competition at the end of your ballot!