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VP Academic race offers one enticing idea

One of the most crucial races in the AMS election is for VP Academic, one of the busiest jobs in…

By Jesse Ferreras , in Blogs UBC Outsider , on January 21, 2008

One of the most crucial races in the AMS election is for VP Academic, one of the busiest jobs in the AMS. This position is in charge of building partnerships between students and the University, as well as lobbying the administration about issues related to academics and campus development, among other things.

Alex Lougheed seems to have the right idea for how to take it on. He promises an online academic grievances database that will allow students to log in and submit their complaints, whether it be an unfair test score, registration glitch or inadequate instruction by a professor or TA.

The complaint will then be peer-ranked and forwarded to an appropriate student representative, who will then pass it on to the University.

You may wonder why students wouldn’t bring their complaints directly to the University. It’s just not that easy.

I did my undergrad here in UBC’s Faculty of Arts, and if I had a problem I had to visit Arts Academic Advising. The only way I could get an appointment was if I showed up at 8 a.m., and then I’d be questioned as to why I was even there. I was once turned away after waiting for half an hour. I’d rather complain online any day.

I think this is an ingenious idea, and precisely the kind of pitch you want to make in a student election. It’s simple, easy to digest and outlines clearly the actions to which Lougheed will be bound if he’s elected. It’s much easier to swallow than cliched overtures about how candidates will combat student apathy (check out Rob McLean’s first answer.)

Then again, I’m equally compelled by the rigidity that the Fire Hydrant promises to bring to the position. No one can doubt its ability to stand firm against the administration.