With many uncontested (or essentially uncontested) races, SUS elections have not had much excitement factor this year. (Except maybe this.) Still, there’s one race worth talking about, and Kevin Moore shares his thoughts on that.


The race for SUS AMS rep is looking to be the most exciting of the SUS elections. Every other race is either uncontested, or has a councilor in it against a bunch of new people.

Here is my overview of the candidates:

Nancy Wang
Part of her platform is based on the fact that she is going to bring a ‘new voice’ to council since she is in first year. However, she has not been a part of council at all this year or made an attempt to learn how it operates. Maria Cirstea ran last year in her first year and won, but she attended council for the entire year. She has no idea how the AMS runs, which is evident by her platform. One of her campaign points is that the UBC skytrain line is coming soon and that we need to start discussing it. Translink has said that if they do build it it won’t be until after the Evergreen line, which might not get built either.

David Kim
David Kim’s platform is essentially the same as Nancy Wang’s. I can’t endorse anyone who has the UBC-line in their platform.

Iggy Rodriguez
One of the two incumbents in the race, and a sure bet to win one of the four seats. He did an amazing job on council last year, and will do an amazing job next year.

Maria Cirstea
The other incumbent in the race. Just like Iggy she should have no problems winning.

Karen Lee
Karen Lee has been actively involved on council this year. She holds a voting seat on the Student Life Committee, and is an active guest for the Legislative Policy Committee. Her platform shows that she knows how council operates.

AJ Hajir Hajian
AJ was relatively unknown on campus until the AMS elections started. He ran an amazing campaign for senate and won. His platform shows that he is familiar with how the AMS council operates.

Aman Arora
This is the one candidate that I really can’t say too much about because I don’t really know anything about him. He’s new to science and does not have a very descriptive campaign.

Kevin’s Recommendations
Iggy Rodriguez
Karen Lee
Aj Hajir Hajian
Maria Cirstea

Soroush Liaghat barred from campaigning

On Sunday, Soroush Liaghat was penalized for ‘using an official SUS medium for partisan purposes’. You can read the formal ruling made by the elections administrator here. What happened to Soroush could have happened to anyone. I personally was invited to a facebook group last week titled “2010 SUS Elections!”. I didn’t pay too much attention to the group and assumed immediately that it was a group promoting the elections. Instead it is actually a group promoting Nancy Wang for her race as AMS rep. Is this fair? While it is true that Soroush should have done due diligence and read what the group was about, Nancy also originally had the group photo as the UBC Votes logo. Luckily for Soroush his race is uncontested and will win but Nancy should not be making it through this ordeal without penalty.


21 Comments so far

  1. Mike Kenyon on March 17, 2010 2:52 pm

    Great article, Kevin. Thanks for the summary. Just one thing: “She has no idea how the AMS runs, which is evident by her platform.” should probably read “Nancy has …” Kinda confusing otherwise.

  2. Nancy Wang on March 17, 2010 4:39 pm

    Kevin, I concede to your criticism that I have not attended as many council meetings as I could. However, my dedication now in campaigning to raise student awareness shows the dedication I will give if elected.
    In response to your views on the UBC Line, I sincerely disagree with your point that we should not be discussing the UBC line as it may not be coming. According to the Translink site http://www.translink.ca/en/Get-Involved/Public-Consultations/UBC-Line-Rapid-Transit-Study.aspx, public consultation period for the UBC line has already begun, and if it is anything like the Evergreen line consultation period, http://www.evergreenline.gov.bc.ca/ of a little more than a month, the time for students to be heard is very limited. If we do not act now on how we want the line to be constructed, UBC line may become the disaster that the Canada Line was during construction, shutting down businesses and inconveniencing commuters. In fact, I have already had UBC students air their complaints about the possibility of a UBC line. Therefore, I wholeheartedly feel that it’s never too early to be discussing a coming transit line that may become a disaster to commuter students if we do not consult with translink now.
    As for the Facebook incident, I am sorry that it was ambiguous. I thought that making the event from my candidacy group would make it clear enough. I did not intend to make it ambiguous for students at all. I have since changed the picture to make the intention of the group clearer. Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow events to be changed when the event has begun. If you have any other comments or questions about my candidacy, please do talk to me. My email is Wangn@interchange.ubc.ca.

  3. Karen Lee on March 17, 2010 4:47 pm

    Thank you Kevin!

  4. tim chu on March 17, 2010 8:25 pm

    for the record kevin, the ubc line is coming. the ministry of transportation and translink has publicly stated that it is a matter of time before the ubc line is built. however, the funding has yet to be secured from the provincial government. nonetheless, this is the case for most projects done by translink. money is granted to translink for research and the findings are then reported to the provincial government in regards to what alignment and technology the line will be using. once the provincial government is satisfied with the findings and proposal, the various levels of government approves funding for the actual project and construction. this is a critical time right now to have student input into the project because this is the only opportunity to help determine where the stations will be, whether or not it will be skytrain or lightrail and other really detailed and nuanced issues. by the time the funding is granted by the provincial government, it is too late for input as construction would begin and blueprints are set.

    so, i think kevin, you are definitely wrong on this issue. the ubc line is going to affect students for generations and we need to have an input now before it’s too late.

  5. Kiran Mahal on March 17, 2010 9:10 pm

    My name is Kiran Mahal and I running for the position of Director of Administration in the SUS election. In regards to the issue pertaining to the Facebook group, I was the candidate that noticed this and reported it to the election administrator. Just as Kevin mentioned in his post, I too initially thought this group was for the purpose to promoting general elections and was equally surprised to find this was not the case. In filling my complaint I cited that I felt it was an unfair advantage for this candidate. The reason I felt this was unfair was not only the reason that I had received an invite from Labrat, but also because the features of the event were in fact misleading, as Kevin noted, or ambiguous as Nancy described it.

    When it came to my attention that it was in fact Soroush who had accidently sent the invites, it made sense, in fact I think it was an understandable and honest mistake, I too was about to send out mass invites to my friends to attend this event as well because we as candidates all recognize the importance of getting the student body involved and aware of elections, and what better medium than Facebook; and this event initially projected the image of a promo push for general elections. I sincerely feel that it was wrong for Nancy to name the event as such because it was undoubtedly misleading, and I thank her for acknowledging her mistake. Just to speak to what Nancy mentioned in her last post, from my experience it actually is possible to change the name of events on Facebook after creating them; I have done this multiple times and would be more than willing to lend a hand in doing so if needed. If it is in fact the case that this is not possible, I strongly feel that cancelling this event in general would be the best alternative in order to level the field for the other candidates or inset the profiles of all candidates into the description of this event, but that is not my decision to make.

    Moving forward, I think this is an issue that could have been addressed differently, but I feel that it is a good learning experience for future candidates in dealing with social media and will set precedence for improvement of election guidelines in regards to uses of social media because it is so difficult to regulate. This year, we did not have to have our Facebook groups or events approved by the EA before making them public, perhaps this situation could have been avoided if this regulation was still in place. I would like to sincerely commend both Soroush and Nancy for recognizing their mistakes and working to ensure that equity is maintained in these elections, for that is exactly what we want from our representatives, the ability to acknowledge and learn from mistakes. Good luck to all candidates and if you have not already voted in your respective undergrad society elections, please do! http://www.ubcvotes.ca

    Kiran Mahal

  6. Nancy Wang on March 17, 2010 11:28 pm

    Hi Kiran,
    Thank you very much for your understanding. I have definitely learned from this mistake and I honestly did not intend to mislead people. I think it is possible to change the name of the event only before it has happened. However, I may just be having technical difficulties. If you know a way to change it after the event has occured, please email me at wangn@interchange.ubc.ca.


  7. Goldman on March 18, 2010 2:13 pm

    Tim Chu, and by extension Nancy Wang and David Kim, have shown themselves to be somewhat deluded on the issue of Transit. Because of the funding cutbacks to transit, the AMS needs to be actively lobbying to bring the line to UBC, and that means lobbying to get it prioritized over other projects. Currently, not even the type of train or the route have been decided, and there have been numerous rumours that say that the line, after the first round of construction, could stop as early at Arbutus.

    The AMS needs to embrace the principle of the line, and work to bring it swiftly to our campus. Simply bitching about the potential drawbacks of a line precludes the AMS from being a part of a constructive development process. Whoever Nancy Wang is talking to who is scared about the line is in a tiny minority – after the Canada Line opened, it was embraced, and most students look at it with envy. To state otherwise is drastically out of touch with the average commuter.

    People keep crying out for more busses, but the Broadway corridor is at capacity for busses. Better scheduling would go a long way towards providing transit options to UBC students, and in addition to being good policy, has the added benefit of not costing huge amounts of money and not sounding totally unreasonable.

  8. Kevin Moore on March 18, 2010 3:12 pm

    I agree that transit is an issue on campus here but working with a company to bring the UBC line here is going to fall on deaf ears right now. Translink just cancelled the underground bus loop because they have no money to fund it. They also don’t have the money to make the Evergreen line, which is supposed to be completed before work on the UBC line is even considered. While the AMS should be pushing for better bus scheduling, talking about the UBC line is a waste of time right now.

  9. Nancy Wang on March 18, 2010 4:00 pm

    Hi Goldman, I totally believe that the UBC line would be a good thing for UBC students. I don’t mean that we are “bitching” about the potential drawbacks at all. I’m just asserting the fact that we need to discuss the issues with construction and where the stations are with translink to make sure that the line is where students want and how students would like to see it built. Kevin, I agree that there are other important issues too, but I don’t believe that talking about the line is a waste of time especially when translink has opened up their schedule to public consultation. I’m happy to be discussing/debating this issue with everyone, I think this is what an election should be all about :) .

  10. Mike Kenyon on March 18, 2010 5:21 pm

    Nancy and Tim,

    There is one crucial thing that you are missing: timing. If you *actually read* Translink’s 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan (1), which was published eight months ago, you would know what is in and what is out. If you’d like, just read the summary (2). Under the “Exclusions” column, you will read the the phrase, “Detailed design & construction for any rapid transit expansion, including Evergreen Line.”

    Now, I understand if that seems ambiguous. It’s a difficult sentence, full of three-syllable words. So let me break it down for you: The Evergreen Line is not in the 10-Year Plan. The UBC Line is not happening until *after* the Evergreen Line.

    So while leading student discussion about the UBC Line is a noble cause, it certainly should not be a candidate’s primary concern. Tim, Nancy, by your logic… we should be holding student discussion on fancy, new, floating parkades for our flying cars, because those are coming in the future. Or perhaps where the base for the space elevator will be for all our students commuting from Mars. ’cause, you know, that’s happening in the future too and we have to be prepared.

    Face it, Translink is in a huge structural deficit. They can’t even afford to buy new buses(2). If you’d spoken to any sane person on Council, it is possible that you’d focus on a single real issue. It certainly isn’t a hypothetical project, or even smaller class sizes(3). (Try the Senate instead of the AMS.)

    P.S. If you’re looking for a real issue to tackle, the AMS is also in a huge structural deficit. We’ll run out of funds in 5 years. Where’s that in your platform?

    (1) http://www.translink.ca/en/About-TransLink/Plans-and-Projects/10-Year-Transportation-Plan.aspx
    (2) http://www.translink.ca/en/About-TransLink/Plans-and-Projects/%7E/media/F3C80382BDD4457CAE8CABDB4B465F9C.ashx
    (3) Yes, I have read your web site. That’s exactly why I’m voting against you.

  11. Phoebe on March 18, 2010 6:30 pm

    “AJ Hajir Hajian
    ……His platform shows that he is familiar with how the AMS council operates.”

    Are you sure?see my post on Mar.15th

    He did run a good senate campaign but it looks like he copied almost word for word his platform from another current science AMS Rep.

    I don’t know about you but it’s anyone’s guess as to really how “familiar” one is with the AMS if you are able to copy and paste another’s platform..lol..

  12. David on March 18, 2010 7:16 pm

    The provincial govt and translink have committed themselves to the UBC line and improving the transit system to and from UBC. As students of UBC, I think we should play our part in making our thoughts heard to ensure the best implementation of the line. Currently in phase 2 of the transit study, we do not yet know the specifics of the project (rail, underground train, skytrain, location of stops, etc). Since we will be using the UBC line the most as students, we should consult and plan in conjunction with translink and the students to secure a rapid and efficient solution for the UBC line. The government allocated 14 billion dollars in early 2008 to improve transit ridership and have identified the UBC line as one of the main projects for this funding. We need to do our part in securing this allocation and provide consultation during this process in order to see a swift implementation with our ideas and critics involved.
    In the end, the line will benefit us the most and it is vital we have our input in the project.

  13. Damion on March 18, 2010 8:18 pm

    I’m a university student, run-of-the-mill, doesn’t really get too involved in anything, studies his ass off, works hard, all that jazz. I don’t give a bloody towel about all this consultation stuff, all this funding, all this utter beeswax. Is the current 99 bus system sustainable and doing well? No, bloody hell – even if it “works”, its still spewing greenhouse gases everywhere. Not saying trains won’t, but built well, they’re better than grand old stinking buses.

    So, hm, let’s go after the points. Consultation – great, cause I’m going to take a lot of time out of my day to talk to them and tell them precisely what I want. I want a line that comes out to UBC from Broadway; please consult others for how it should be built. Funding – well if you didn’t have everyone skimping on fares, you wouldn’t have an issue.

    The point here is that anyone who thinks “its coming, don’t worry about it” is deluded beyond belief. If we don’t kick TransLink into action, those old suits will run into the net of bureaucracy and be stopped in their tracks.

    Mike – “P.S. If you’re looking for a real issue to tackle, the AMS is also in a huge structural deficit. We’ll run out of funds in 5 years. Where’s that in your platform?”

    Hm really, where’s that from? Last I heard they were running a bloody large surplus. Even with the new SUB… we’re still handing money to them on a silver platter.

    “Tim, Nancy, by your logic… we should be holding student discussion on fancy, new, floating parkades for our flying cars, because those are coming in the future.”

    And by your logic, we should sit in our hammocks and twiddle our thumbs? I am certainly not that old yet.

    You seem to think TransLink is actually doing the right things. Perhaps you need to step out of that delusion and see that perhaps it is not. I question what TransLink is really doing with its money. I question what AMS does with it too….

    It all boils down to: do you think they’re doing the right thing? And I say HELL NO, no siree.

  14. tim chu on March 18, 2010 10:35 pm

    hey mike,

    1. i have spoken with several translink officials including ken hardie and tom pendergast about translink’s situation. i have also spoken with shirley bond, the minister of transportation about the situation. i’m pretty sure i know what is going on as i had first-hand experience with this body.

    2. the ten year plan is a political document that was used to raise awareness of the underfunding of translink. that’s why there was this huge campaign soliciting public input. they wanted to make the public feel like they are in a desparate situation so they province funds them. it’s true though that they are in a horrific situation in terms of their finances.

    3. the evergreen line is not included in the ten year plan because of several reasons. the first is because the ten year plan was drafted based on translink being self-sufficient. they had to account for where all the funding was coming from. the translink commissioner, martin crilly, rejected plans before where funding for projects was not secure. like i mentioned earlier, the funding doesnt really come through until all the research is done. because the research hasn’t been finished, the province hasn’t allocated funds yet. because the province hasn’t allocated funds, it’s not included in the ten year plan.

    3. the evergreen line must come before the ubc line. the mayors council on the translink board will not allow the ubc line to come before the evergreen line and the mayors council is required to approve all projects. if the ams were to lobby for the ubc line to jump the queue, expect us to never work with any municipal governments again. working with municipal governments is incredibly important as the electoral area a debate heats up.

    4. the ubc line is probably one of the most important issue to ubc students as the majority of students are commuters. this isn’t about going all “sci-fi” this is about having a vision. and right now consultation is going on, we need to be part of the consultation.

    5. the “structural deficit” will always be with translink unless the provincial government steps up and starts funding our transit system or at least gives translink the authority to raise revenue comparable to their expenses. right now none of that is happening. this “self-sufficiency” model isn’t working and the province needs to step in.

    6. mike, you should really do some more research on the ams’ budget. i’ve been involved with the ams for three years now. i’ve served on budget committee and hammered out an entire ams budget. you need to know that the ams has over $6 million in reserve funds and assets. this money was accumulated over years and years of huge surplus. this deficit is temporary because it’s caused by extranneous factors. as a student union, we should take the funds in our reserve to temporarily cover up the loss instead of looking ways to slash services. if students knew that we had $6 million in our reserve funds and it’s just kinda sitting there, yet services are being cut, i’m sure they’d be furious. i would be.



  15. Laura on March 19, 2010 3:16 am

    David and Nancy both seem hopelessly out of touch.

    Nancy’s campaign promises include overhauling the entire university’s class schedule to make it more convenient for students. Honey, the AMS doesn’t do that.

    Both have picked their campaign promises from the classic list of “things first-year students find most annoying about UBC,” and neither has the slightest bloody clue about how to accomplish those aims.

  16. Goldman on March 19, 2010 8:35 am

    Tim, I think we have a bit of a credibility gap here. I think that your relationship with the provincial government was so poisoned by your incompetence that the Minister would probably give you a vague comment just to get you out of her office. It’s true that the UBC Line is coming, but it’s the when that is the question.

    I also don’t think that you have the right to speak with any authority on the AMS Budget, after proving how staggeringly unaware you were of the processes required to get funding for your department and your projects. When you say that you hammered out the budget, you are forgetting the massive amendments that you had to ask Council to make, ones that generated front page news in the Ubyssey. If you had paid attention to anything relevant during your term, you would have seen that the structural deficit is a result of declining business revenues, and administrative changes by the University which cause serious cuts to Catering, the most income generating of AMS businesses.

    The AMS could very well burn through the reserves that it’s allowed to spend in as little as 5 years, and that’s if revenues don’t decline further. If we care AT ALL about providing services to any students, both now and in the future, responsible cuts are the only reasonable course of action.

  17. Damion on March 19, 2010 3:19 pm

    Then the AMS must ask themselves what the hell they’re spending their money on, cause I sure don’t see changes afoot. Except the new SUB. Which I will finally get to see in the last year of UBC life, if I don’t decide to go elsewhere for a better education…

    To those who are actually AMS “people” – councillors, senators, reps, whomever – we wnat results, not debate. We want action, not stagnation. We want something, rather than nothing.

    Then again, I’m just an ordinary student who’s just nosing around in your elite AMS club….

  18. Karen Lee on March 19, 2010 3:23 pm


    “Hm really, where’s that from? Last I heard they were running a bloody large surplus. Even with the new SUB… we’re still handing money to them on a silver platter.”


    Specifically, page 5, “This represents a structural deficit that is
    unsustainable in the long term, and is of great concern to this year’s budget committee.”

    If you would like to question another person’s information sources, you should probably first try to keep yourself informed. This issue has been mentioned on many, if not all, major UBC blogs. A simple google search “AMS structural deficit” is not particularly difficult.

  19. Damion on March 21, 2010 12:28 am

    Thanks for bringing it up Karen. It just leads to more questions about what the hell the AMS is actually doing.

    From that same document:
    “Administration and Info Systems: $696,000
    Student Services: $439,957”
    In expenses.

    From the AMS website:
    “Our mission statement:

    To improve the quality of the educational, social, and personal lives of the students of UBC.”

    I hardly need to state what’s wrong with that.

    As for keeping myself informed, I have stated before that I am but an ordinary UBC student. Poring over documents written rather prosaically, while projects, essays, labs, and studying are to be done are not exactly in my best interest. I am only here to see the breakdown of AMS SUS rep candidates. And yet I find that people attack me for not being informed, when there was hardly reason to be before this commenting.

    Now I bring up my point. We’ll see soon what the voter turnout actually was. I’ll be willing to bet its very low. Why? Cause no one has the time to attend 4-5 hour council meetings. No one has the time to read every single bloody document proposed by council. No one has the time to read all of the candidates pages and their platforms, unless you have a JOB to do that.

    We don’t see the need to vote; nothing ever changes. But perhaps when we see that council is dominated by crude and snide remarking folks, who have… how shall I say… rather uninspired ways of looking at things, there will be more.

    At least that’s what this humble fellow with no dreams for AMS positions and no room for true politics sees. Perhaps I am the one living in the deluded world, not the AMS.

    Somehow I doubt it.

  20. Ravi on March 23, 2010 11:14 pm


    What’s with all the hostility?


  21. Damion on March 24, 2010 10:58 pm

    Hostility exists because something is wrong. Now that I finally decided to have a look around and “get involved”, so to speak, I see crap like that in the budget. Amazing where my money that I’m somehow forced to pay is going….

    Oh and to the author of this blog post, I must say the results speak for themselves. I commend you for speaking your mind and your view of the issues.

    But votes speak for themselves.

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