Candidate profile: Taushifa Shaikh, Senate

Taushifa Shaikh is running to be a student senator-at-large with a campaign focused on equity and diversity in the curriculum, research and innovation and community building.

The third-year political science student wants to encourage further participation in UBC’s surveys among her peers. She aims to accomplish this by implementing mid-session feedback surveys to help adapt courses to its current batch of students.

“Students have the end-of-term survey but that feedback is going to be applicable to the next batch not the current one,” she said.

In assessing problems regarding transparency of course registration, she aims to create an “interior seamless course registration experience for enhanced and stress free degree planning.”

She said the Student Service Centre currently doesn’t have enough information to help students make informed choices about course registration.

“[It] increases course shopping by a large margin and that’s not beneficial … because it just wastes everyone’s time and resources.”

Instead of the current “two line description” of courses, she aims to push for syllabi, instructor information and previous course averages to be readily available for all courses during registration.

Referencing the latest academic experience survey in which Black and Indigenous students said they experienced racism from their peers and professors, Shaikh hopes to develop an “intersectionality and decolonial framework within the academic framework.”

She hopes to pilot this by giving students specific training to prevent microaggressions through a self-paced diversity, equity, and inclusion course on Canvas.

“The most frustrating part about coming into these positions is this is their first encounter with really slow processes and the bureaucracy that slows them down [is] a major source of frustration,” said Shaikh.

She acknowledges that “people would say that [she doesn’t] have AMS experience” but emphasizes that she worked for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which brought her important skills in bureaucracy.

She expressed concerns regarding the lack of merit-based academic scholarships for international students. The Trek Excellence Scholarship, which was previously made available to all students, is now restricted to only domestic students.

"[That cut] felt really unfair because, how is it that some people's efforts are worth less than other people," said Shaikh. "We need to find alternate sources of funding and really do justice to everyone who's trying to do good."

When asked about the Disability Accommodation Policy (LR7), which goes under review next year, she did not comment.

In response to concerns about Senate communications to students, Shaikh criticized prior senators for disappearing as soon as they get elected.

If elected, she hopes to create a community “that really cares about each other” and uphold a social responsibility to stay informed.

Shaikh 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 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.