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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 03 | Feb. 8, 2001

Building student pride aim of AMS president

Apathy, provincial election, key concerns of new student leader

by Bruce Mason staff writer

Erfan Kazemi succeeded where Al Gore fell short, making the leap from vice-president to the top job. Like George W. Bush he now has to build consensus.

While it isn't the Oval Office, the president-elect of UBC's Alma Mater Society is ultimately responsible for a budget of $12 million and hundreds of full- and part-time employees.

Kazemi, who comes to the job from serving as AMS vice-president, Academic and University Affairs , knows it's a big job.

"Obviously student apathy is a major issue," he says. "Only 3,122 of 33,000 students voted in the election. The AMS must be more inclusive and we need to instill pride in UBC students and a sense that they are part of something greater than themselves."

The Students for Students slate won all five AMS executive positions for the second straight election, but Kazemi beat opponent Rob Nagai by only 47 votes.

A poor turnout and tight race is partly the result of recognition of a job well done and high expectations that Students for Students would win, he says.

As well, no contentious issues emerged, unlike, in the past, when a proposal to include campus residents in the provincial Residential Tenancy Act, national student lobby groups, potential fee increases and role of corporations on campus, attracted more voters.

"UBC students need to feel a sense of ownership in the AMS and its programs, services and events throughout their career at the university, " says Kazemi, a third-year Biology and Computer Science student.

"It's also very important that students are heard during the upcoming provincial election, especially regarding tuition fees," he says. "The freeze is a good idea, but funding must be put in place so that universities don't suffer. And we need meaningful alternatives if it is lifted."

A letter of congratulations from provincial Opposition Leader Gordon Campbell, which states, "as MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, I serve many of the same students as you," is encouraging. So is the perspective of UBC's administration.

"The university's vision document Trek 2000, correctly identifies students as a priority and we look forward to working closely with President Piper and the vice-president, Students, Brian Sullivan on behalf of UBC students," he says.

Kazemi will be joined by vice-president elect, Academic and University Affairs, Evan Horie, vice-president elect, External Affairs, Kristen Harvey, vice-president elect, Administration, Mark Fraser and vice-president elect, Finance, Yvette Lu.

Representatives of the Students' Voice slate, Hannah Roman and Brian MacLean, will serve as senators-at-large.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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