Candidate profile: Romina Hajizadeh, senator-at-large

Second-year arts student Romina Hajizadeh is running to be a senator-at-large on a platform of improving student engagement, advocating for recorded lectures and increasing transparency within the Senate.

Hajizadeh is currently the chief AMS representative for the Arts Undergraduate Society and the chair of the AMS HR Committee.

As for what has gone well in the Senate over the last year, Hajizadeh said she appreciated Student Senate Caucus co-chairs Eshana Bhangu and Dante Agosti-Moro’s drafting of the Senate 2023 document and the drop deadline extension this term.

However, Hajizadeh said she’s been disappointed by some student senators not putting enough into the role, not attending committee meetings often enough or going against the Student Senate Caucus.

“We’re always more powerful when we stand together,” said Hajizadeh. “Sometimes people have not entirely supported motions as strongly as [they] should have, or maybe not gone out there and actually been very passionate about something.”

Hajizadeh said she would focus on COVID-19 recovery if elected. In her advocacy, she said she wants to put international students and immunocompromised students at the forefront.

“There are many international students I know in my classes that cannot come back to Canada and yet some professors are not recording their lectures ... I think that's a big issue that the Senate is going to have to continue thinking about,” said Hajizadeh.

In terms of student engagement, Hajizadeh said she’ll post regular updates about the Senate on Reddit or the UBC Student Senate Caucus website. She said that she would potentially host events, Zoom Q&As or in-person coffee chats to get feedback from students.

But Hajizadeh admitted she’s new to the Senate. “I had to do a lot of research to figure out what to put on my platform. I’m still learning as I go,” she said.

On particular actions from the Senate, Hajizadeh said she is supportive of last year's decision to deregister students who have not complied with UBC’s vaccine declaration and rapid testing program. However, she also commented that the implementation of the program should have been done alongside clearer communication.

“[Communication] is not entirely on the Student Senate Caucus but on the Senate as a whole. Making sure people are getting their emails, making sure people have updated their email on the SSC so that they're getting the communications,” said Hajizadeh.

Additionally, Hajizadeh said she supports the need for a standing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, and the integration of the Indigenous Strategic Plan into Senate committees, but did not specify how.

“We need to have [EDI] in our curriculum and make sure that we are integrating this not just in a committee itself but this should actually be something that is at the core of every single committee on the Senate.”

Hajizadeh is running against incumbents Eshana Bhangu, Georgia Yee and Dante Agosti-Moro, and newcomers Anisha Sandhu, Tate Kaufman, Dana Turdy and Kamil Kanji.

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