Jeff Friedrich is the current AMS president. These are his words. (Cartoon by JJ McCullough):

Ok… not to add fuel to the endorsement fire- but endorsing joke candidates? Maayan and Timmy, I think you two can step up and make a real choice here. And nothing against Erin, but being a joke candidate affords you a lot of advantages in a campaign. I think Erin is great, but I’ve never been that convinced that she actually likes or understands the AMS very well. Saying that an AMS run version of ACF is unfortunate because it won’t be student run is false, on the first hand; and a real candidate would present a plan to make it’s management involve more students- a perfectly reasonable platform point.

Also- elections aren’t fun. The type of people who should probably win them aren’t often the same type of people who thrive on the shameless self promotion necessary in campaigns. The one reflection I had about them is that they can be incredibly educational. I learned a lot about the AMS from my campaign- about student’s perceptions of it’s relevance and about how your ideas and vision resonate with membership.

So aside from congratulating all of the candidates for the bravery it takes to put your name forward, one message I’d have to all candidates is to hang in there, miss a few more days of class, and to learn what you can. And to the rest of you- cut them a bit of slack. It’s absolutely brutal to go home at the end of the day and read anonymous comments that are rude and unproductive.

President (this one is longer- I felt I owed it to Matt and Mike, both people I respect for their commitment to the AMS)

The most important job a President has is building a team that respects each other and their relationship with council. Finding shared priorities, particularly within staff and the exec team, and ideally with council, leverages the contacts, abilities, and momentum of many students and makes projects happen.

The reality is that the President portfolio is awkwardly defined- you get everything (internal, external, political, and management) and nothing. You’re not a CEO, and you can’t necessarily demand action from independently elected VP’s. You have a relationship with a council that is likely too large, has clumsy structure, grandiose debate, and whose members have to balance the political interests of their respective constituencies with their fiduciary obligations to everyone’s student union- the AMS.

That means the strength and effectiveness of your leadership is fundamentally dependant on how well you build consensus and use the governance structure of the AMS to build energy and commitment to projects. Just because it’s called “President” doesn’t necessarily mean there is an overly rigid hierarchy. I’m not sure everyone appreciates that.

[Endorsements behind the jump – Ed]
Quite frankly, I do not have confidence that Matt’s leadership style, ability to receive feedback, and judgment are well developed enough to lead an exec team or a large and complex organization like the AMS. If Matt had more ability as a team player, that would be demonstrated as support and endorsements from members of his exec team or from previous exec who have worked with him. Matt might be a future AMS President, but I don’t think he’s ready yet.

Matt’s ideas are also underdeveloped. It’s mostly status quo and the things he added as priorities don’t sit well with me. Liquor law lobbying might sound nice, but I doubt we’d gain much from ABLE membership, and most of the other ideas seem like they haven’t received feedback from people who might understand the practical challenges. It’s surprising to me that liquor would get a similar quantity of platform ink as discussions around student access, debt, and academic quality.

I have a hard time believing the message about empowering council. That’s a very hard thing to do- something we need to do, but nonetheless very difficult. It means more than working with the allies you have on council, which I think is how Matt has conceptualized the issue to himself.
Please appreciate how difficult it is for me to say that, and please don’t interpret my comments as being overly critical of Matt as a person.

Matt campaigns well. So far he has done this better than Mike. Which is disconcerting, because one of the reasons I support Mike is that I believe he has an ability to motivate student attention towards a referendum campaign for SUB that could be transformative for the organization, the U-Blvd project, and for the needs of a largely commuter based and disengaged student population. The groundwork is there but the route to referendum is challenging, and someone will need to build a very effective case to convince students. Mike needs to show through his campaigning that he is that person.

So pick it up Mike. Find a passion that is about ideas rather than “the next natural step” in student leadership. It’s there. Your ideas on athletics and involvement are important. I’ve worked with you on projects and know you’ve got an ability to motivate passion in others, and you’re organized in how you delegate tasks and manage projects. Mike is approachable and amenable to changing tack when decisions go astray. He has strong relationships with, and respect from, the university administration and the staff in our organization.

For those concerned readers of The Knoll and other members of the fledgling yet always inspired activist community at UBC (much love)- Mike has more political depth than you’re likely to give him credit for: I met Mike 4 years ago when he was helping organize Farmade, a cause I know he’s committed to. My guess is that he’ll have an approach with a VP External/Academic that is largely hands-off- meaning the political ambitions of the AMS will largely be guided by these portfolios in the coming year.
Mike Duncan is absolutely the person for the job.

The rest:

Alex Lougheed– VP Academic
Chris Diplock– VP Finance
Sarah Naiman– VP Admin (Sarah is exceptional)
Stef Ratjen– VP External

Senate – outstanding caliber of candidates this year…

I’m excited by, and you should vote for….

  • Blake Frederick (is qualified to be VP Academic)
  • Alfie Lee
  • Azim Wazeer (great focus on LPI- an issue which hasn’t gotten as much discussion as it should)

Can do the job, but I honestly don’t know enough about their platforms…

  • Aidha Shaikh
  • Colin Simkus

You should vote for one of these if you’re voting for them for VP Academic (it will help build a better relationship between the Caucus and AMS council)…

  • Alex Lougheed or Rob Maclean

I don’t know them, but their material looks professional and/or I’ve heard positive things about them…

  • Eileen Harder
  • Phillip Edgecumb

Board of Governors

Andrew Carne (good answers at the debate)
Tim Blair
Bijan is a close third for me.


24 Comments so far

  1. Mike on January 19, 2008 10:43 am

    Rodrigo – your politics are probably closest to mine of any of the presidential candidates. However, I find your webpage totally incomprehensible and your platform opaque. You also seem incredibly paranoid about people’s motivations. If you really want to be president, you need to put much more consideration into the image your project during the campaign.

    Jeff – I know you’re really busy, but I for one would like to hear, however briefly, your reasoning behind your endorsements for the other VP positions.

    As you know, I’m biased, but I really think Nate has an impressively comprehensive platform for the VP Academic position, and we can be sure he’s not in it for personal aggrandizement or to further some political career.

  2. maayan kreitzman on January 19, 2008 7:20 pm

    Rodrigo – I asked Jeff, as an “expert” of sorts, if he would allow us to post his endorsements. He is not running in this election. So no, it’s not the same as letting cadidates spam the board with their campaigns.

    I agree with Mike – you’ve shown yourself to be very distrustful and quite malignant towards other candidates and the current executive. Not that you have to agree with them of course, but I have to agree with the EatCake here – these histories of how you and your ideas have been effectively screwed over and conspired against are getting really old. Do you think running a negative campaign will help you?

    Agenda-setting is an imperfect process that Jeff himself has had alot of problems with this year. The truth is that there’s no good mecahnism in the AMS for looking at new proposals, taking them through some sort of committee process, and placing them on the agenda when they’re ready – that burden is completely on the president, who doesn’t have the time or power to streamline the process. Hopefully this will be solved as committeee reform gets adopted with the Agenda Committee.

  3. EAT CAKE on January 19, 2008 7:47 pm

    Oh my goodness Rodrigo, every day you prove yourself to be a paranoid personality of epic proportions. Isn’t it possible that Jeff chose not to comment on your campaign because he doesn’t consider you a serious candidate? Or more likely than that, because he is in agreement with the general student body in thinking that your campaign platform is a complete and utter mess of paranoia, negative politics, and personal grudges?
    Besides, you should be happy- he’s allowed his endorsements to be “blogified”- doesn’t that make everything a million times better?
    – eat cake

  4. brendon goodmurphy on January 19, 2008 8:04 pm

    Its imperfect that the agenda is set by the President – but that’s set out in code. We are trying to use the committees better as a way to bring through motions, so that they can get a “test run” if you will from a smaller group of Councilors who can have a more full discussion about it before it comes to Council. If a committee can agree to bring something forward, then it is more likely to stand up in Council too.

    We are losing Councilors because people are getting fed up with how long the meetings are, and how surface and immature the level of debate can be. If proposals/motions go through more in-depth work before they come to Council, get submissions of background work, presentations to Council in order to get feedback, feedback from committees, Council would be less frustrating for a lot of people.

    If we’re trying to improve engagement and accessibility of the AMS, then holding off on proposals that haven’t gone through a sufficient number of people before they come to Council for general debate is a good thing, in my opinion.

  5. Willem on January 19, 2008 9:44 pm

    Re: “The one reflection I had about them is that they can be incredibly educational. I learned a lot about the AMS from my campaign- about student’s perceptions of it’s relevance and about how your ideas and vision resonate with membership.”

    I’m interested in how exactly you learn about student’s perceptions and how your ideas resonate – is this with various stakeholder groups and AMS insiders (my experience), or more generally?

  6. Alfie on January 19, 2008 11:12 pm

    Thanks for your endorsement, Jeff!

  7. Brad on January 19, 2008 11:17 pm

    I would like to applaud Jeff here. This is one of the first sincere and intelligent posts I’ve read in all of the VFM’s.

    Honestly I find, in my four years at UBC, the race for President to be quite interesting. I always wondered why there were never any contested races…I think the only reason this one is contested is because there isn’t anyone ready to step up. No offense meant to Naylor or Duncan but I don’t think either of you are ready or mature enough for this job.

    I agree with Jeff that endorsing Erin is an easy move. She has performed well during the debates…but when you are running as a joke you avoid being in the hot-seat and answering real questions about the AMS and your issues. However the candidates in this race make it hard to endorse anybody and I understand choosing Erin.

    I understand why Jeff is making Mike his choice, however I think your reasons are flawed. It is no secret that Mike was an ineffective leader of SUS and well he has a likable personality most of the people he was working with did not like him. I think Matthew and Mike will have similar problems managing an exec team.

    It is a difficult choice (it wouldn’t be if our VP Academic would have run) but I think that we should look at these candidates strengths…Naylor who knows the AMS and the issues and Mike who is likable and interested in engaging the students. What is more important in this coming year? For now I am still undecided.

  8. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 12:42 am

    i think the downfall of rodrigo can be compared to the downfall of Giuliani in the Republican Presidential race.
    By mentioning 9-11 in almost every sentence, Giulani became a comical foil to the other serious candidates.
    Similarily, rodrigo’s mention of jam spaces in every presidental debate was exhausting…
    Rodrigo I know your ‘blog’ states your beliefs, but let me quote you word for word what i heard during the debates:

    (mumble)(mumble)(mumble) ‘jam space’ (mumble)(mumble) ‘jam space’ (mumble) ‘jam space’

    but hey rodrigo chin-up, the other ‘male’ candidates aren’t doing much better…

  9. Mike on January 20, 2008 4:03 am

    rodrigo – as a candidate it is your responsibility to make your ideas clear to us, not our responsibility to attempt to decipher them. Your writeup on the AMS Elections page doesn’t tell us anything at all about your plans. The only hint of a platform I can see on your site is on the Vote! page. It is ~20 lines long, in point form, with no very little explanation. A state of the art childcare facility that generates revenue? Nearly every candidate is arguing for improved childcare facilities… you don’t clearly explain how you are any different. Meaningful and dynamic consultation? You could take that out of the administration’s rhetoric. Without an explanation of how you are going to achieve that, it is useless. If such an explanation exists on your site, link to it! If there is a language issue, find someone to help!

  10. Blake on January 20, 2008 4:29 am

    Thanks for your endorsement Jeff. I find your insight very useful and I wish that you had the time to write more on this blog (or others). On a slightly humorous note, I’ve had a couple people say that they voted for me because they think I’m related to Jeff.

  11. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 9:23 am

    oh rodrigo…
    no ones gonna read your blog dissertations.
    for peets sake! (that wasnt a reference to darren)
    think of your situation. Concerning blogs most people after three paragraphs are bored and move on.
    No one is going to read “rodrigo ferrari nunes” 7th essay on whatever you talk about…
    i”ll help you out, here is some advice
    try to condense your ideas from 16 paragraphs down to maybe 6… wait thats too much still
    how about 4 MAX!
    wait… its too late my friend.

  12. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 9:46 am

    rodrigo your starting to look a little vindictive/crazy or whatever adjective you’d like to describe your actions
    help your campaign and write with a little less malice.
    a slogan for starters?

  13. lukeschuss on January 20, 2008 8:48 pm

    I came into this election with an open mind on all candidates. Not knowing any of them personally, I decided it would be prudent to read the platforms of each candidate, and to make my decision based on the merit of their ideas, and the manner in which they presented them.

    Naylor presented himself as your typical politician: smooth-talking, ambiguous, and panderous. After reading his platform, I had the unfortunate feeling that I had just wasted 10 minutes of my life. His ideas are status-quo and unrealistic. Change the liquor laws? Stand up to the RCMP? ACF debt forgiveness? These are absolute nonsense ideas that will never progress further than their current form, and are designed PURELY to appeal to the party-happy drunkard in us all. The rest of his platform was nothing more than ‘politspeak’; the only item that stuck in my head as mildly innovative was his idea to bring in PediCabs for SafeWalk…Eek.

    Duncan’s ideas on Campus Involvement and Athletics struck me as very poignant. He comes off as a guy more interested in the results, whereas Naylor seemed more interested in the process itself. Duncan may not be a polished PoliSci orator, or a cultured, international graduate-student slash eco-activist. In fact, he seems like just your average guy who’s decided to dip his feet into the difficult world of politics. But in that lies the appeal, and for that reason I will be voting for him.

    As for RODRIGO, a previous poster summed it up perfeclty: Negative Politics. You give off this image of a pouty “Life’s Not Fair!” child. Every single item that I’ve read of yours is completely verbose. You’re like that kid in lectures we all know.. you know, the one who won’t “put his hand down and shut the fuck up” (to quote the infamous facebook group). As for Jam Spaces, Good! Sweet! Cool, whatever– it’s done, please stop talking about it. Your platform is unclear, your ideas confusing. As a previous poster said, it’s not his job to have to deceipher your platform, it’s your job to word in a clear, concise manner. ESL? Tough luck. This is British Columbia, the official language of business is English. You can call that ‘cultural insensitivity’, I call that ‘harsh reality’. If I was running for student president at the University of Sao Paulo, don’t you think the language barrier would be a bit of a problem?

  14. Fire Hydrant on January 20, 2008 10:20 pm

    Much as I suspect I’ll regret this, I’m going to humour Rodrigo, and go through part of his blog. Specifically, his platform for Board. At least 24 comments down on an older blog post, I won’t be boring anyone.

    We start with three sentences of largely platitudes (e.g. “I am determined to work together with the other elected candidates, the AMS exec, the UBC Administration and the Board of Governors.”).

    Next, we have a long history of how he decided to run for Board. It claims he was elected to the AMS by the GSS. In order for this to be true, there would need to have been an election. The GSS fills its AMS seats by trying to convince people to take them. I have never seen a vote of any sort on AMS reps.

    We find that he ultimately ended up trying to attend a Board meeting “that fateful morning” (no date given) with a University Boulevard-related approval. It claims this was approval of the bus terminal, which has not been approved. The tunnel into it was approved in May, so that might be what he’s referring to. After saying a number of AMS people showed up, there are passages slamming his opponents for not being there and speculating that they were too lazy to wake up for it. It was well outside their job descriptions, likely outside their areas of interest, and for all we know they could have had classes or meetings. There is no evidence to suggest these possibilities were considered. In Mike’s case at least, this is analogous to me saying “Rodrigo has not attended a single SUB Renew committee meeting — how can he possibly run for President?” and speculating that he was out eating doughnuts or was too lazy to walk to SUB for the meeting.

    The next section starts with a paragraph that belonged with the above, suggesting the AMS exec are busy (correct) and naming some of the people who showed up.

    The next three paragraphs appear to deal with a poorly-tuned piano somewhere in Vanier and students who were told a room in SUB was already booked. As you might guess, they do not relate to the rest of the post.

    Back to U Blvd, we have what looks to be a mangled bus terminal-related quote attributed to the wrong Board member (if it’s the one I remember), and some genuinely reasonable observations on how UBC works. Next, we point out who is and is not paid at UBC and in the AMS, and say there’s no excuse for AMS execs to not be there (contradicts earlier “busy” comment).

    After this, we have a section with three paragraphs talking about how the AMS should be more transparent, and how the GSS is changing how it does some things. This directs people to outside websites that are not linked to. It also lists off some of his nominators, getting one name completely wrong. I nominated a competitor in my race and a would-be competitor, one of them nominated me, and some of my nominators didn’t know who I was. A list of who nominated you is entirely meaningless. I could tell you how many undergrad society and AMS executives nominated a Fire Hydrant this year, but it would add nothing.

    Finally, at the bitter end, we get to a couple paragraphs that could be considered the “platform” referred to in the post’s title. They deal with (someone) lobbying the Province to fundamentally restructure Board, with 7 new student seats assigned by faculty. The list includes the number of degrees granted by that faculty, with an implication that the number of degrees entered into the number of seats per faculty, except that there’s no clear scaling there (Engineering gets 1 for 525 graduates, Arts 2 for 2058, and he forgot graduate students altogether). Then another suggestion is tossed out, adding 3 student seats and electing 3 “advisors” for each student on Board. Little if any justification is given for either change, beyond how much money students pay UBC, no justification is given for the details, and the proposals only consider student membership on Board. As an example, if we added his 7 students and another 23 appointees, nothing would be gained.

    Changing the structure of our Board would require strong support from the AMS and GSS, and likely the Boards and admins of all four universities. Even so, the province would be unlikely to consider it. We’ve been pushing to add a grad student seat for some time, to no particular avail. By contrast, allowing international students to sit on Board took a little over a year, because the Province had no opinion one way or the other.

    In the entire alleged Board platform, there is a total of one issue that’s relevant to Board, but it’s a provincial lobbying issue that really fits in the VP External portfolio. Another issue relates to the AMS. There is nothing that deals with actual Board issues, changes that could be attempted at the Board level, or how he would approach the job, and little on his qualifications.

    The massive length, seemingly random organization of thoughts, inclusion of irrelevant anecdotes and ad hominem attacks, and the tortured English make it a tedious read. The near-absence of the promised platform, replaced by an unfocused rant, do not make it any more useful or enjoyable.

    And an unrelated pet peeve: Motions originating with a GSS rep are not “GSS motions”. If it were actually proposed by the GSS, it would have been on the agenda automatically. I cannot recall the GSS ever sending a motion to AMS Council.

  15. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 10:44 pm

    I’m curious as to where Brad’s “most of the people he was working with did not like him” comment comes from? Who exactly are you referring to?

    If you actually talked to any of the MUG leaders, AquaSoc exec or SUS Councillors Mike’s worked with you might find that your foot is in your mouth.

  16. Stephen McCarthy on January 20, 2008 10:52 pm

    Rodrigo, if you’re still listening:

    The “Mike” that’s posting here isn’t Mike Duncan.

    My best guess is Mike Thicke (who has written for the Knoll) but I could be wrong on that, as the Knoll endorsed you.

  17. lukeschuss on January 21, 2008 12:39 am


    I don’t know what you were trying to say there, but I’m pretty sure you missed the point. People aren’t going to work to understand you, you’re going to have to work to make them understand you. And if people aren’t getting your message, you’re going to have a hard time getting elected.

  18. Stephen McCarthy on January 21, 2008 8:06 am


    Didn’t know you were interested in student politics. Good on you!

  19. Mike on January 21, 2008 8:56 am

    Rodrigo – I am not Mike Duncan. I was a founding member of The Knoll. I was a long-term member of the Social Justice Centre. I have degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy. I am currently a graduate student in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Toronto.

    Just so you know who you’re insulting.

  20. Alex Lougheed on January 21, 2008 5:25 pm

    “The one reflection I had about them is that they can be incredibly educational. I learned a lot about the AMS from my campaign- about student’s perceptions of it’s relevance and about how your ideas and vision resonate with membership.”
    – Jeff

    I agree. Part of the problem with this one is that candidates aren’t given the time to research issues to a substantial enough degree after realizing they have to (myself included, who headed straight to the books [and there’s a lot of books in this portfolio] again after the first VP-A/U debate). It’s likely in the best interest of the AMS to have a longer campaign period.

  21. Brad on January 21, 2008 9:06 pm

    In response to the anonymous Duncan supporter or Duncan himself:

    My comment about Duncan’s leadership is coming from several members of SUS, past and present. I wasn’t saying you were a terrible leader…just that some of the concerns people have with Naylor I have heard about you as well from people who have worked close to you on SUS.

    Also…I am still very much undecided about who to vote for…maybe if you stopped posting anonymous comments pretending to be subjective about the race and then supporting yourself it would make my choice easier

  22. Anonymous on January 22, 2008 2:43 am

    Hydrant – better check again! I don’t see what you’re saying there, and I checked right after your post… ?

  23. Fire Hydrant on January 22, 2008 4:41 am


    You’re right that I didn’t read (or indeed notice) the disclaimer. It tells me the layout will improve over time, which it already has. I do not recall commenting on the actual layout or navigation of your blog, although I was tempted. You also refer to my post as an “ad-hominem rampage”. There is not a single attack on you anywhere in there — my rampage dealt with the content alone. I had a brief look, and the revised version looks a lot more useful.

    There is a lot of content on your blog, and I choose to take as my sample the page detailing your Board platform, as I would be in a particularly good position to evaluate that one. I saw your proposed motions, and I recall agreeing at least partially with some of them. I do not recall them being time-sensitive or pressing, and I believe you wanted to bring them to a November meeting that had an agenda packed with major, time-sensitive motions.

    I did not attend the last meeting of either the AMS or GSS Code & Policy committee, in part because I’m not on either. In the case of the latter, I shared my thoughts with the committee chair before the meeting. In the past, I’ve been willing to help people draft motions and code amendments, but I tend not to attend committees I’m not on.

    Finally, if I sign your nomination form, that means I think it’s a good idea to have you in the race. It does not imply that I’m going to support you, vote for you, or endorse you. Most student leaders that I know approach nominations this way. This is my fifth AMS campaign, and I cannot recall any other candidate ever saying who one of their nominators was. If you want one of your nominators to endorse you, ask for their endorsement; a nomination and an endorsement are very different things. I was nominated by multiple members of the current AMS executive. Some of the exec will probably vote for me, but I highly doubt any will endorse me.

  24. maayan kreitzman on January 23, 2008 4:52 am

    I’ve removed some posts at the author’s request – I’m not a fascist.

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