Monday, January 15, 2007

Candidate Questionnaire - Tristan Markle

1) Why BoG?
Why BOG? To stick it to the man.

2) What experiences do you bring?
I am currently a SUS representative on the AMS student council, and am familiar with its archaic modes of conduct and pomposity, which is good preparation for the even more colonial Board of Governors. I will make noise on BOG, and report back to AMS duly.

3) What would your priorities be?

  1. Democratize "the BOG", so that students (and others with an interest in improving the quality of education at UBC) can actually get motions on the agenda and pass them.
  2. Reduce tuition to Quebec levels.
  3. Increase the number of cheap student housing units guaranteed in the U-town plan, so there is no waiting list.
  4. Increase the number of day care spaces for students with children, so there is no waiting list.
  5. Pass an ethical investment policy.
4) Describe your vision for tuition and financial aid.
Tuition for University should be the same as tuition for high school; that is: zero. Almost all (good) research is subsidized by the state through research grants, so why shouldn't education? In Ireland, everyone gets a tuition-free chance at University; most Scandinavian countries ditto. Tuition is very low throughout continental Europe. And you may say: "Aw, but educating the young without forcing enormous debts upon them is impossible in Canada because the Chinook makes us misers". But tuition in Quebec is half of what it is here, plus they have more grants (because their student unions took to the streets last year to keep it that way.) No one in our society should feel that they cannot afford a University education; unfortunately, most of my high school friends felt that way. It is a disgrace. I will make that clear to the Board of Governors by advocating that the tuition burden on students fall well BELOW 20%), and by emphasizing a change in de facto recruitment strategies (as of now, wealthier schools are targeted).

5) What is your approach to campus development?
Vancouver is wedged in between the mountains and the sea, so property values will only continue to rise. The undeveloped regions of the University Endowment Lands are a goldmine, and fat cat developers have their thumbs up the butts of the Board of Directors (and have for decades). They are building multi-million dollar condos when they should be building - and this is most important issue on campus - CHEAP AFFORDABLE STUDENT HOUSING. This must be planned for now, because if you think it is expensive to live in Kitsilano today, just wait for 20 years. It will be worse than New York or Amsterdam.

6) The BoG is composed of CEOs, Presidents, and people with a great deal of experience. How will you tell them they're wrong?
The Board is composed in part of representatives of faculty, permanent staff, and students, all of whom share the goal of improving the quality of education at UBC. It is a good idea to form a voting block along these lines.

The Board is also composed in part of the elite, people of privilege, political appointees of the "Liberal" (read CONSERVATIVE) government, and other proponents of the neo-liberal agenda which involves making tuition fees rise to levels of the United States, increasing the debt burden of students, shifting emphasis from education to grant-based research (look at the Chemistry Dept. homepage and compare the number teaching staff to that of research staff), corporatizing the University so that pure research becomes more difficult, and so on to infinity. It is possible that some of these elites believe that low tuition is "ideal" (though not "practical"), but they do not understand the urgent NECESSITY of acting now to make education more accessible. Our "pro-education" voting block ought to emphasize that urgency and present alternative models to those adopted in the recent past.

7) What's the ideal relationship between you and the UBC-O student rep?
I am not pleased with the elitist attitude of UBC-V towards its sisters and brothers at UBC-O. The UBC-O representative on BOG should be our closest ally. I am also not pleased with the CASA/CFS infighting (like chickens in a cage poking each others' eyes out). To be blunt (which no one ever is about this), CASA is a lame, status quo loving, power-schmoozing, Liberal party ass-licking embarrassment, while the CFS is a loud but incoherent, power-seeking, NDP sucking, undemocratic, centralized party run by a handful of thugs. Fuck'em both. Should we really let the Liberal party or some thugs downtown get in the way of a broad-based student movement pushing for accessible post-secondary education?