AMS Elections debate coverage: VP Academic

This year’s Vice President Academic and University Affairs race has one candidate — Daniel Lam took the stage in the first AMS elections debate today unopposed.

Lam, a third-year atmospheric science student, is a current student senator at large with two years of both AMS Council and undergraduate society council experience. 

His campaign rests on continuing the current advocacy efforts of the AMS and improving the student experience. Aside from VP Academic, Lam will is also be running for reelection as a student senator in this election period.

The first question of the debate asked how the candidate believed they would be able to master the complex material and documents that come with the VP Academic portfolio. Lam responded that his experience in the UBC Senate has provided him with a background in these sorts of documents. He also plans to take fewer courses next year in order to devote more time to the portfolio and its needs.

The second question asked what current academic policies pose the biggest problems for students. Lam emphasized the need for policies that address accommodations for students with disabilities, referencing Policy 73 (Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities).

“If elected, I will be working with groups representing students with disabilities to see if Policy 73 needs to be changed [and] if there’s something we can work with Access and Diversity on,” said Lam.

Mental health was a common theme during the debate, as it takes a prominent place in the VP Academic portfolio. Lam expressed his desire to put together a team with representatives from the different AMS constituencies to advocate for mental health initiatives and services. Shout-outs were given to different constituency projects — SUS mental wellness initiatives and HAUSpitality — as examples of the type of mental health advocacy Lam would like to achieve.

As the formal questions posed by the moderator came to a close, the audience struggled to pose questions and delve further into the issues. After an extended period of silence, Lam was asked what type of alcoholic beverage he would be.

“Beer, because I can be fun at parties but also I can be sometimes very serious when it comes to working with serious topics at the university.”