Candidate profile: Saad Shoaib, president

Saad Shoaib, the current AMS VP external, is running to be the student society’s president on a platform of expanding the number of amenities and support services available to students.

Shoaib said his top priority as president would be to work on capital projects to create a “vibrant” campus for students. This includes increasing the number of study spaces in the Nest and renovating the Gallery and Norm Theatre. He plans to pay for these improvements using grants — which would be a continuation from the current AMS exec team — and collaborating with UBC.

Shoaib also wants to create a new service called AMS Student Aid — which will provide year-round financial and employment opportunities for students.

“The AMS needs to be ambitious and supportive when it comes to spending its money and recognize that students need direct financial support right now,” he said.

A third goal of his candidacy is equity. Shoaib said he would create a comprehensive process to implement the recommendations in the AMS Equity Plan, make the Equity Subcommittee a standing committee and hold regular roundtable meetings with BIPOC students and groups on campus.

Lastly, Shoaib brought up the need to improve the AMS’s transparency and student engagement.

If elected, Shoaib said he would reform the quarterly spending report system from AMS execs so students know where their money is going — he didn’t specify how — hold quarterly town hall meetings and eliminate the barriers to attending AMS Council meetings by livestreaming the proceedings. Council meetings are already public via Zoom.

Shoaib painted himself as a typical student — “I've been a commuter student trekking from Surrey every day for my 8 a.m. classes. I've been a student who struggled with mental health issues” — who will use his experience from working in the VP external office over the past two years as president.

As associate VP and VP external, Shoaib has lobbied all levels of government alongside other student unions for things like permanently removing interest rates from student loans.

His term has involved some controversy, however.

His office spent $7,000 to get students elected to the University Neighbourhoods Association Board last fall — none of the four student candidates were elected — and, last week, a social media post revealed that Shoaib met with an independent MP who was previously charged with sexual assault while lobbying last month. Shoaib has apologized for the meeting.

When asked how this most recent controversy would impact his ability to work on updating the AMS Sexual Violence Policy (I-17), Shoaib said his record shows that he has prioritized advocacy on this issue.

He said he has lobbied for minimum standards and post-secondary institution sexual violence policies, as well as voiced public support for the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre’s student fee increase referendum.

“I've done that work, and I will continue to do that work because that is a passion of mine.”

Shoaib is running against fellow AMS exec VP Academic and University Affairs Eshana Bhangu, and newcomers Wesley Choi, Sydney Harakal and Tate Kaufman, and joke candidates the Pan and Remy the Rat.

Shoaib is an active member of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

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