Candidate profile: Dana Turdy, senator-at-large

Dana Turdy is running for one of the five student senator-at-large positions to bridge the gap between the student body and UBC leadership.

Turdy, a third-year arts student who is also running for VP academic & university affairs, wants to see changes in the transparency of the UBC Senate, accessibility of UBC’s campus and teaching and more accountability for those in leadership roles.

She said her experience as the AMS’s Strategy and Governance Lead and her current role as the first-ever Diversity Equity Coordinator with UBC Improv will be assets in achieving these goals.

In the Senate, she plans to advocate for more focus on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), including pushing for the creation of an EDI committee. The Senate sent a motion to establish an EDI committee back to the Nominating Committee during its October 20 meeting last year.

Turdy also wants to see action taken on reconciliation.

“If we want to work towards decolonization, if you want to work towards reconciliation … we should have a Senate committee that is completely devoted to that,” Turdy added.

Regarding the pending Senate decision on auditing honorary degrees, Turdy believes it’s a discussion “worth having.”

“[We need to ask] who are we awarding? And what is this process? Who’s involved in these decisions? Are they representative of the UBC community?” she said.

Turdy is also focused on both course and campus accessibility. She argued that the approach to accessibility needs to be done “holistically” and not only with regard for the campus buildings themselves.

“It’s not just physical spaces, but also learning spaces. We’ve seen with COVID-19, students who are immunocompromised or … live with at-risk family members … can be scared to enter a huge lecture hall … we should be able to accommodate those students.”

“And we can do that by forming a joint task force with the Board of Governors, for example, on accessibility,” she said. “We can do hybrid, we just have to invest in it.”

Turdy wants more transparency around both Senate and UBC leadership decisions.

During her first two years at UBC, Turdy found the governing bodies “confusing” and wants to make it easier for students to be involved in Senate decisions.

“One of my priorities will be to push for a formal consultation process or guidelines for Senate decisions that … largely impact the UBC community and UBC students,” Turdy said.

The Student Senate Caucus launched a website with links to student senators’ contact information and important updates on Senate decisions earlier last month in an effort to make the governing body more transparent.

Turdy is running against incumbent senators Dante Agosti-Moro, Eshana Bhangu and Georgia Yee and first-time candidates Romina Hajizadeh, Kamil Kanji, Tate Kaufman and Anisha Sandhu.

Turdy wrote four articles for The Ubyssey between January and April 2021.

Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 28. This article is part of our 2022 AMS elections coverage.