First-year arts student Kareem Hassib is running for student senator-at-large on a platform of reconciliation, accessibility and equitable processes for academic misconduct.
Hassib emphasized the importance of ensuring Indigenous curricula is “front of mind in all academic programs.”
“I would potentially push for… making at least one or two courses in some sort of Indigenous studies course mandatory for all degree programs,” Hassib said.
Another priority for Hassib is improving accessibility, noting that especially during flu season, not all students feel comfortable attending class in person.
“I would want to make it mandatory for professors to record their lectures,” Hassib said. “Many people want to attend and be able to interact with the lectures, but not be there in-person.”
He also plans to engage with the Academic Building Needs Committee to advocate for greater accessibility, listing a lack of wheelchair ramps and elevators as barriers for people with physical disabilities.
In terms of student engagement, Hassib would like to see the Senate improve its social media presence. Hassib noted the success of the Arts Undergraduate Society in using Instagram to publicize their priorities and recap students on what happens in their meetings.
“Social media posts are a really good way to get that out,” Hassib said, “Students are busy people… not everyone has time to read hundreds of pages of Senate manuscripts to understand what’s happening in student governance.”
Hassib would also like to work with the Admissions Committee to improve transparency on the process of selecting students.
“I think that it’s really important that when we have more applicants … than there are seats,” Hassib said, “The criteria around [assessing] personal profiles is often very vague.”
Hassib brings previous political experience through several volunteer positions for the NDP, including as the UBC Student Representative for the NDP Vancouver-Quadra Electoral District Association and as an executive member of the UBC NDP.
“I’ve been involved in progressive politics for a very long time,” Hassib said, “I’ve always consistently been the youngest and freshest face on all of these bodies.”
“I’ve always been that guy that’s trying to advocate for young people, for students, for people of lower economic status because I think it’s really important that those people have someone representing them in bodies of power.”
Recognizing his lack of experience in UBC student governance, Hassib pointed out that “there’s a lack of representation of first and second years in student governance as a whole.”
“We’re fresh into the system. I think that gives us a unique perspective to student politics,” he said, “I think that as young students, it’s really important that first and second year students see our own represented in bodies like the Senate."
Still, Hassib recognized that his lack of experience in student governance at UBC is a “completely valid concern.”
“However, I think that what's even more important that experience when it comes to a body like this is values. And I hope that students can see me for my values… of progress, of accessibility, of reconciliation and student generosity.”
During debates, Hassim spoke about issues with passion, but sometimes displayed a lack of knowledge on certain policies.
Hassim is running against incumbents Romina Hajizadeh and Kamil Kanji and newcomers Mathew Ho, Ayesha Irfan, Davey Li and Sultana Razia.
Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 27. This article is part of our 2023 AMS Elections coverage.