A motion to change AMS Assembly’s composition to proportional representation, where faculty societies would receive more votes based on how many students they represent, will be reviewed in the upcoming weeks.
The motion was moved by Claire Cathro, AMS commissioner of internal affairs, at Assembly last week and seconded by Philip Lloyd, AMS vice-president of university affairs.
The amendments suggest that each faculty society automatically receive two voting seats in Assembly. Any more representatives would be allocated based on the percentage of AMS members in a particular society.
A faculty with zero to 2.99 per cent of AMS members would receive no additional representatives; a society with three to 6.99 per cent would receive one; and a faculty with more than 25 per cent of AMS members would receive six.
The proposed changes suggest a decrease in the composition of AMS Assembly from a total of 62 voting and non-voting members to 52. Residence Society (ResSoc) would see the largest decrease, going from three voting seats to one non-voting seat.
Cathro, ArtSci ’15, told the Journal via email that the motion looks to improve Assembly’s accessibility in light of feedback that highlights “the body’s ineffectiveness and its potential to be a hostile environment.”
“It is our hope that a smaller body will make Assembly more accessible for both representatives and members at large,” she said.
The motion addresses double representation, where students in residence are represented both by their faculty society and ResSoc.
“This essentially gives these students double the votes on Assembly in comparison to those first year students not in residence or upper year students not in residence,” Cathro said.
“Many faculty societies also have dedicated first year representatives which serve to shed light on many facets of the first year experience beyond residence.”
Cathro said ResSoc was consulted at multiple meetings of the President’s Caucus, where the presidents of the AMS and faculty societies meet, as well as in an individual meeting with AMS President Allison Williams.
She said the society “voiced no concern about the motion” when she presented it at an Aug. 6 meeting.
At Assembly, members voted to create a committee that’ll review the proposition. The committee will be chaired by Williams and will include representatives from all societies.
A first meeting of the committee has yet to be scheduled, but its recommendations will be provided by Oct. 14. According to AMS policy, the committee’s report must be submitted by Oct. 7.
At Assembly, Residence Society President Nathan Utioh said he expects an amendment to be submitted by ResSoc.
“I will continue to discuss with our General Assembly how we would like to move forward with any potential changes to composition and bring those ideas to the ad hoc committee,” Utioh, ArtSci ’15, told the Journal via email.
He said one of their main concerns is that they’ll be the only member society that won’t automatically receive two voting seats.
Utioh said students in residence undergo “an extremely formative experience with their transition to university” and that it’s important for ResSoc to both represent their concerns and “enable students to get involved with the largest student government on campus.”
“It is important to ResSoc that the society that represents the 4000 students who live in residence is supported and recognized by the AMS,” Utioh said.
“Having ResSoc represented as a voting member not only shows support for the society, but also strengthens the representation for the non-academic student experience on campus.”
This article has been changed to reflect the following correction:
The motion to change AMS Assembly to proportional representation was deferred to a separate committee. Incorrect information appeared in this article on Sept. 25. The Journal regrets the error.
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