The Education Students’ Society (ESS), a faculty comprised of 653 students in the Faculty of Education, voted to leave from the AMS in favour of joining the SGPS in a referendum on Thursday.
Of the 653 eligible to vote, 236 students—36.1 percent—cast a ballot. There were 139 “yes” votes cast and 97 “no.”
The results will not be declared official until further vetting is done by CRO, Rector Leora Jackson.
“Results are preliminary because the [campaign] teams haven’t submitted complete expenses forms, so because I haven’t received that yet I can’t declare the results conclusive,” said Jackson. “If either team exceeded its budget, that could challenge the results.”
The AMS filed a complaint against the SGPS concerning the campaign budget. Both campaigns were limited to $200.
“There was a complaint filed with respect to some agendas that were distributed,” said Jackson. “The SGPS has said that it won’t bring them over their expenses limit but I haven’t seen [the forms] yet.”
Katelyn Young, chair of the AMS board of directors, managed the AMS campaign. She said the complaint stemmed from observations concerning SGPS paraphernalia.
“The SGPS handed out a number of things during the campaign to ESS students and we’ve simply asked the CRO to investigate their spending amounts to make sure it was within the limits,” said Young. “I’m sure she’ll get back to us with her results shortly.” But the AMS is more focused on the effect the impending loss will have on the organization, said Young.
“The loss of about $40,000 from the ESS is going to have a significant impact on the AMS,” she said.
Although they have yet to discuss specifics, Young said that the board of directors met today to contemplate the next steps the organization will take to adjust to the financial loss.
“We just need to look broadly across AMS services, and the governing side,for where we can cut AMS spending,” said Young.
“It’s much larger than just ESS. I think we, the AMS, really need to take this message from the ESS and make sure that the faculty societies part of the AMS know how much we value them.”
“We thought not only did they help make the AMS stronger but that the AMS advocated on more issues that were important to ESS students,” said Young.
“The AMS student fees were slightly higher than the SGPS at the end of the day but there were significant savings with the health and dental plan. A single student would save $200 [with the AMS].” The AMS also negotiated a 23% reduction in student fees—approximately $100 per student—for education students if they chose to stay with the undergraduate governing body. This was viewed as an important reduction considering the amount of time education students spend off campus, said Young.
“Ultimately, we feel that it was the wrong decision for them, and we want to make sure this doesn’t happen with any of the other faculties,” she said.
Voting booths were open to ESS students on Tuesday and Wednesday.