Why #TheReturnofVern

 

As you’ve most likely already received fifty event invitations, you probably realized that the 2016 AMS Elections has begun. This time last year I had the honour of being elected as one of two Vancouver students onto the UBC Board of Governors (BoG).

I ran because I wanted to make this University better for students, I wanted to be the strong student voice and fight against the Board on topics of tuition, campus space usage and more. However this year had different plans for the Board. As you’ve probably read through numerous articles, tweets, broadcast emails and more, this year was a uniquely challenging one for the Board. As a student member I tried my best to fight for the agenda I was elected on. I read thousands of pages of documents, attended AMS and GSS Council meetings, consulted with student leaders and spoken out often and honestly. But the tumultuous nature of the Board and UBC Executive resulted in a climate in which, at least during the storm, people were hesitant to stray away from the conservative practices of a university.

Like all of you, I am frustrated at the struggles of this past year. Despite the countless volunteer hours to try and improve this university, the BoG saw a perfect storm of issues, many of which I believe are bigger systemic issues not unique to one BoG or even one university. I have doubted my actions and been frustrated when I could not do more or achieve the goals I set out for myself. I have considered many times if I should finish my term and pass the torch on to the next students elected to the Board. But instead I am asking you to allow me another year. I have lived the problems, I have felt the frustration and I don’t want to stop until this is fixed. I have learned so much over the past year; I understand the governance systems, the policies and procedures and now I want a chance to fix them. I want to take the respect I have gained this year from the Board and channel that towards improving transparency and accountability. I want to ensure that the promises made towards commitments of diversity and accessibility are achieved. I want to improve the teaching and student experience for every student at UBC. I want to rebuild the communication between Board and Students the only way I know how, with honesty. I want to work for you and make this university a better place. But in order to do that, I first need to ask for your support in the coming weeks. I sincerely hope you’ll trust me with it.

Veronica Knott

UBC Board of Governor