Monday, January 15, 2007

Candidate Questionnaire - Joel Koczwarski

1) Why are you running for VP External?
I'd really like to affect the way the AMS deals with students, with CASA and CFS, with the province and city as well. I have a strong grasp of the issues at hand and there are areas that can be improved upon and areas that just need more pushing. With skills as a negotiator and diplomat I believe I would be most effective placed in the VP External position rather than say Academic or Admin. I think UBC can be a much much better institution of learning, the AMS a better student body, and that the VPX position will allow me to make some changes towards that end.
2) How would you handle relationships between CASA and CFS schools?
I think that both CASA and CFS have many weaknesses and they may in fact be equally flawed. However seeing as how CASA is a smaller institution I believe that the AMS can be more effective in transforming it into an effective tool to lobby the government. I believe that CASA and CFS should team up and work together. I would work on aligning the means of these two student bodies to create a united front. They are really not that different and I think coming to consensus will be beneficial to both groups and to all student represented by them.
3) What do you see as areas of co-operation with UBC-Okanagan?
I think the UBCO is a tremendous oppourtunity for UBC students to utilize the region for a better learning experience. With such a diverse environment and economy there is a lot that can be learned from the Okanagan and surrounding regions. I think that UBC and UBCO should engage in exchanging ideas, students and professors.

4) Would you support the raising of a U-Pass fee for UBC students in order to guarantee a universal U-Pass for all college and university students served by Translink? Similarly, how do you feel about the U-Pass Coalition?
I support the universal U-Pass for all university and collage students. It would further reduce emissions, serve as an equilizer between schools and would hopefully help bring students closer to inter-school cooperation.

5) How would you argue for a provincial grant program?
Concerning tuition in general, the fact of the matter is that tuition fees are rising faster than inflation and there is a substantial gap between the now deceased BC grants and the remissions policy in place now. Until students are paying a reasonable chunk of their tuition, like the recommended 20% by the AMS, the school has no justification in raising tuition fees.
As this stands the gap of remissions to grants affects students in adverse ways. The more debt students have the higher their drop out rate is. If BC wants to be world class, it needs world class students who are not considering dropping out or not event trying to enter because of the lack of financial support from the provincial government.

6) How would you evaluate the effectiveness of Policy 72?
As for Policy 72, from what I take of it, it seems like a great idea. I understand that it has effected how students obtain their funding. Now the lower income kinds tend to get more loans and grants from outside sources and the middle income kids who have been turned away by the government or other agencies get grants form the university. I could see this as a potential problem if the lower income kids take on a larger amount of debt. I also understand that some faculties can opt out of this program. This could be a potential problem in itself. Kids do not a have full access to the education they desire. But all in all I think it is a great policy goal.

7) What experience do you have, that will help you in the position?
I was on the development committee last year which has helped me to become familiar with issues surrounding the development of the campus. I have been participating in MUN conferences around the world which have helped me become a good diplomat. I was class president in my high school which helped me deal with the conflicting interests of a constituency. I have experience with talking to and dealing with politicians and policy makers concerning my high school in Kenya. I think all of these things will aid me as a VPX.

8) What are your lobbying priorities?
A reasonable tuition is my first priority. In order to secure that priority I would like to create a coalition of BC schools as well as help coordinate CASA with the CFS. Also I will lobby for more buses, more sustainable development and for responsible investment by UBC and other post secondary institutions. We should be a model of responsible global citizenship.
9) If you could change one thing about the AMS, what would it be?
I would make it more popular and more relevant to real issues. Nobody knows about the AMS right now. I bet 80% of students cannot even name its president. I would make students more in touch with the AMS by creating more avenues for communication and more public forums. I would also make strong ties to other local Universities