Candidate profile: Jasper Lorien, Senate

First-year student Jasper Lorien is running to claim one of five student senator-at-large seats on a platform promoting accessibility, institutional accountability and affordability.

When asked what made them decide to run, they reflected their inspiration for policy from their many community discussions.

During their time at UBC, Lorien has worked extensively with the Disabilities United Collective on addressing accessibility needs of disabled students. As a disabled student themself, Lorien further emphasized the need for someone with a level of personal experience to bring to the table at Senate meetings.

One of Lorien's ideas concerns reforming academic concessions. They hope to address discrepancies in issuing concessions for temporary illnesses and conditions.

"Inconsistent faculty policies cause a lot of problems," Lorien said. "Professors often just refuse to certify things for temporary health conditions and temporary conditions make a lot of what we would need accommodations for.”

Lorien also hopes to bring to light the struggle for students to receive letters of diagnosis for accommodations in a timely manner “especially in BC where we have really long wait times.” They cited policies at other Canadian institutions such as the University of Toronto which allow for self-certification for concessions.

While investigating problems with physical accessibility, Lorien also noticed that many classrooms and buildings at UBC remain inaccessible for students with disabilities.

“A lot of the automatic door buttons are broken. They don’t function. There are not nearly enough ramps and the elevators that we do have are hard to get into and also very cramped,” said Lorien.

They also noted their desire to cut academic ties with institutions complicit in human rights violations, citing Israel's actions in Palestine. They hope to push for a policy to “disallow the creation of those partnerships [with countries accused of human rights abuses] at all.”

Last year, senators flagged the issue of international agreements with institutions located in countries with human rights violations and have formed a committee to discuss it further.

In discussion regarding open educational resources, Lorien believes the university needs to do more. They think that all lab equipment should be paid by the university as a part of tuition costs. Similarly, they also plan to lower the cost of required online testing materials with the “end goal of getting full affordability of everything.”

On the topic of affordability, Lorien also expressed concerns regarding recent trends among international student affordability, citing the group's disproportionate representation at the AMS Food Bank.

Lorien expressed appreciation for incumbent Kareem Hassib’s efforts in publicizing Senate meeting items on Reddit. They intend on branching out to Instagram to “reach students in the same bite-sized accessible manner.”

Lorien is running against current student senators Kareem Hassib and Kamil Kanji, as well as first-time candidates Alex Chui, Kyle Rogers, Sahib Malik, Ferdinand Rother, Taushifa Shaikh and Solomon Yi-Kieran.

This article is part of our 2024 AMS Elections coverage. Follow us at @UbysseyNews on X (formerly Twitter) and follow our election coverage starting February 27.

This article was updated on March 4 at 12:03 p.m. to better contextualize Lorien's words on international affordability.