Thursday, January 10, 2008

Candidate Questionnaire: Freeman Poritz

Freeman Poritz is a VP External candidate. Here are his answers.

Why do you want to be the VP external of the AMS?
Because I want to dedicate a year of my life to working for my University. I have gained so much from my time here that I really want to give something back. I am interested in experiencing university from the student government side of things. I think I will make a great VP external. Most importantly, I am willing to work for it.

What personal skills and experiences could you bring to the portfolio?
Excellent social skills, good communication, optimistic personality, strong work ethic.
Journalistic prowess: I know how to ask the right questions and get the right answers. I am persuasive and can meet deadlines.

I hold a fellowship position with CJPAC (Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee), a multi-partisan organization which promotes political engagement. Through them I have met many high level politicians including Conservative MP’s Stockwell Day and John Baird, Liberal MP Scott Brison, NDP MP Pat Martin.

I know how to work within a governing body. I served on the executive board of my fraternity as secretary.

If there was one thing you could change about the AMS what would it be?
I would try and limit the bureaucratic red tape in all cases as much as possible. It is always difficult to get things done in governing bodies, and from what I see the AMS is no different.

What would be your approach to the CASA/CFS relationship? What are your priorities on federal higher education lobbying?
UBC is a founding member of CASA. CASA gives UBC a professional federal lobbying group for about $44,000/year. I believe this is a small price to pay for membership when compared with CFS. CFS would cost approximately $125,000/year to join and also requires a referendum vote to gain membership. I say why leave a good thing that costs less. The UBC-CASA relationship is a strong one, and I believe it should remain strong. However, I would like CASA to work together with CFS on issues of strong mutual commitment.

Lobbying Priorities:
1) Due to the strong Canadian dollar, I would like to lobby the federal government to keep tuition low and affordable.
2) I also want to lobby with regards to loan policy – the ‘middle class crunch’ is affecting too many of us. Students do not have enough money to pay for school, yet do not qualify for financial aid. This must be remedied.

What's your stance about access to higher education?
Anyone who meets the academic requirements of a post-secondary institution should be allowed to attend, regardless of financial background.

What's your vision of a fair tuition and financial aid system for UBC., B.C., and Canada?
If a qualified student is unable to pay his own way, he must have an avenue of recourse.
Fair tuition = Low tuition.

How do you feel about the AMS passing principled policy motions on external political issues?
In my opinion this should not be part of the VP External portfolio or the AMS council mandate. We are elected to serve the interests of the student body with regards to student affairs. Individuals in the AMS may express their views on an individual basis, but not on behalf of the AMS.

How will you build relationships with politicians for lobbying? Be specific.
As I mentioned earlier, I have already been in close contact with some politicians. I plan to improve on those relationships and through CASA receive introductions to the relevant politicians and committees for student needs. I plan to make the necessary effort to contact all politicians relevant to students’ needs (federal, provincial, and municipal).