Candidate profile: Dana Turdy, VP academic & university affairs

Dana Turdy is looking to build on her experience in the AMS as the next VP academic and university affairs (VPAUA). She’s running on a platform of student engagement, affordability and equity.

Turdy is currently the strategy and governance lead within the AMS where she has worked on the review of the student society’s Sexual Violence Policy (I-17) and Respectful Community Policy (I-18). She said this experience will be “very valuable” for her role as VPAUA in understanding what policies the AMS and UBC has.

The third-year political science student lamented “discontent” and “disconnection” between the AMS and the student body.

“This is the kind of moment that the AMS needs to step up and really support students, because that’s what we’re all about at the end of the day, that’s what we should be about,” she said.

To fulfill this commitment, Turdy said she would establish formal consultation guidelines since the AMS makes “huge decisions … regarding students all the time.” She did not specify what these decisions were.

She also prioritized the need for the process to not be “tokenizing or extractive for marginalized communities.”

Turdy is also promising to launch a student engagement campaign, calling the structure of the AMS, the Senate and the Board of Governors “a very bureaucratic and complicated system.”

“I think eliminating those barriers to accessing that knowledge is so important because these bodies are making decisions that are affecting students all the time, especially during COVID[-19], especially in a climate emergency, especially a crucial moment like this,” she said.

Turdy also highlighted the role she sees in organizing student engagement.

“I think we've been going, kind of in the wrong direction that way, and we need to be more of a grassroots organization, and mobilizing students.”

She said she supports “increased communication with students on all fronts, social media, town halls” aided by “really advertising the fact that the executives are open to students.”

On affordability, Turdy said she supports “better tuition consultation.”

“It's quite ridiculous if [UBC] ask[s] students whether or not they support a tuition increase when they're just going to raise it anyway.”

Turdy specifically highlighted the role of open educational resources in the fight for affordability, saying, “I will continue to advocate for them and continue the work that's already been done by the portfolio currently.”

One way Turdy wants to make life more affordable for UBC students is by pushing for “affordable and sustainable housing as part of Campus Vision 2050.”

Campus Vision 2050 is a public planning process currently underway to update land-use policy on the UBC Vancouver campus.

With regards to the Student Affordability Task Force (SATF) — which incumbent VPAUA Eshana Bhangu sits on — Turdy said, “'I’ll be honest that I was a little disappointed by the lack of substance to a lot of the recommendations.” Turdy said she wanted to see a more robust plan and will advocate for one if elected.

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.