Candidate profile: Kamil Kanji, VP academic & university affairs

After serving a year as AMS councillor for the faculty of arts, second-year student Kamil Kanji is looking to become the next VP academic and university affairs (VPAUA).

In the past year, Kanji has served on the AMS’s Advocacy Committee which he said has “been a really unique experience to see the nuances of the policies and the nuances of the discourse and debate that goes on with being the VPAUA.”

Kanji has divided his campaign into three priorities: student affordability, academic needs and equity.

To make life affordable for students, Kanji said he’ll push strongly for open education resources (OERs). Kanji commended the AMS’s OER champions program, but said he’d take AMS advocacy on the topic much further by “advocating that the university create a permanent grant and work program for university professors” who develop OERs.

Kanji also stated that he’s in favour of UBC enacting a textbook grant or subsidy program with a “no-questions-asked policy that asks very non-invasive questions about how much money you spent on textbooks.”

To help tackle food insecurity, Kanji said he’d advocate for the continuation and expansion of the UBC Meal Share program. The pilot program, which ends in April 2022, provides students experiencing food insecurity with funds to use on groceries or food at UBC.

Kanji said as VPAUA, he’d prioritize “advocating that the university commit the funds necessary to expand the program to an even greater extent.”

Kanji is also looking to advocate for hybrid course delivery when possible.

“The best way to do that is to make sure that the university has a strong and consistent financial commitment to making sure all teaching rooms across the campus are outfitted with lecture [capture] technology to make sure that professors aren't on a waitlist to receive that technology in their classrooms.”

On the topic of equity, Kanji said that he would “hold the recommendations of groups like the [Black Caucus] to a higher esteem.” Among the recommendations he wants to see implemented are better financial support for Black students and “having a Black student space on campus that is designed for and by Black students.”

Kanji also spoke of the need for greater engagement with Indigenous students.

“Currently, we see that there exists an Indigenous Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, but it has no student voice on the committee, no Indigenous student voice on that committee. And that is something that needs to be corrected and rectified.”

He did not elaborate on how he would get an Indigenous student on the committee.

As VPAUA, Kanji would host “informal and formal opportunities for students to come and chat with [him] and express [their] concerns” to better engage with the student body. Kanji also wants “to use [AMS] social media platforms a lot more effectively than they have been in the past” to reach students, including through the use of livestreams and regular updates.

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