AMS head set to tackle threats to education

by Sean Kelly
Staff writer

Student debts, government funding and campus events are on the agenda of the newly elected president of the Alma Mater Society (AMS).

Second-year Arts student Vivian Hoffmann will take over the top spot Feb. 27 after her recent election win.

Approximately 13 per cent of 33,000 eligible UBC students cast votes in the election.

Hoffman intends to lobby the provincial government to make sure universities are adequately funded.

"We've seen funding levels erode, especially over the past five to eight years, and the quality of education is threatened by that," she says.

She also plans to join forces with other student groups to pressure the federal government to initiate national grants to mitigate rising student debts.

Hoffmann previously served as AMS director of finance.

No stranger to student activism, she helped organize opposition to the federal government's proposal to cut funding for post-secondary education in 1995.

One of her challenges, she says, will be keeping the lines of communication open between a politically diverse AMS executive.

"The members all have different viewpoints," Hoffmann says. "But we all want the best for UBC students, so I'm confident we'll work well together."

Joining Hoffmann on the executive are: Neena Sonik, third-year Commerce, vice-president; Ryan Marshall, fourth-year Theatre, co-ordinator of external affairs; Scott Morishita, second-year Science, director of administration; and Sandra Matsuyama, fourth-year Commerce, director of finance.

Fourth-year International Relations and Asian Studies student Jennie Chen will serve a one-year term as student representative to the Board of Governors. Joining her is James Pond, a PhD candidate in Physics.

Five student senators have also been elected for 1998, as well as eight student senators from individual faculties. There were no Senate nominations for the faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Dentistry, Forestry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, but senators may be appointed at a later date.

Lack of a quorum voided election week referenda asking for student fee increases for Pacific Spirit Family and Community Services and the AMS Clubs Benefit Fund. A referendum on whether to index the AMS membership fee to the B.C. Consumer Price Index was also declared void.