AMS convenes for final assembly of school year

Incoming and outgoing members make transition plans 

Image supplied by: Journal File Photo
Newly-elected 38th rector addressed assembly.

The AMS gathered virtually for their final assembly of the school year on Mar. 24, where members discussed transition training for incoming commissioners and executives, AMS grants and awards available to students, and the newly elected rector.

The assembly opened with a special guest presentation from Taryn McKenna, student inclusion and engagement coordinator, which detailed the results of the Student Experience Survey (SES) and steps being taken in response to its findings. 

The survey highlighted experiences of discrimination, sexual harassment or violence, food and housing insecurity, and students’ sense of safety and belonging.

President’s Report

President Zaid Kasim was not present due to illness but submitted a written report. 

Kasim has focused his efforts over the past month on the JDUC revitalization project and is determined to retain the maximum amount of bookable space in the renovated JDUC. He’s also begun transition training for incoming President Eric Sikich, ArtSci ‘22.

Kasim thanked this year’s assembly members and student government leaders for their contributions to the AMS.

Vice-President (Operations)’s Report

Vice-President (Operations) Tiana Wong notified assembly of ongoing transition training for the heads of the major AMS services, as well as Incoming VPOPs Tina Hu, ArtSci ‘22. 

Walkhome and the Printing & Copy Center (P&CC) have successfully transferred out of the JDUC and are now operating out of the Athletics and Recreation Center. The Peer Support Center will remain in the JDUC.

Vice-President (University Affairs)’s Report

Vice President (University Affairs) Ryan Seig has been working with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) on behalf of Queen’s to review policies affecting student financial aid, learning technology, and mature students. 

Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU), of which Seig is a board member, also plan to establish a fee next year to hire permanent members and supplement their budget. This fee is expected to be put to AMS referendum next year.

Seig has begun transition training for incoming VPUA Callum Robertson, ArtSci ‘22.

Undergraduate Trustee Report

Undergraduate Trustee Jaya Sharma announced the Board of Trustees approved a new carbon reduction plan at their March meeting. These new commitments establish more concrete and enterprising goals for reducing the carbon footprint of Queen’s investment portfolio.

Student groups like Queen’s Backing Action on the Climate Crisis (QBACC) were present at the trustee meeting to advocate for more sustainable investment.

AMS Awards

AMS Secretariat Laura Devenny reviewed some of the AMS awards available this year to the assembly, established in collaboration with the VPUA.

These awards include the Frank Knox Award, Christopher Knapper Award for Excellence in Teaching Assistance, and Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award, which honour outstanding professors, teaching assistants, and undergraduate research advisors at  Queen’s respectively.

The AMS Letter Awards are intended to recognize three to five AMS employees, staff members, or volunteers that have made an exceptional contribution this year.

In addition, the Social Issues Commission (SIC) has established the Robert Sutherland Award to commemorate graduating Black students who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to leadership, anti-oppression, and anti-racism efforts at Queen’s. The SIC has also established equity grants for individuals and clubs who have committed themselves to equity  and advocacy.

Rector Statement

Queen’s newly-elected 38th rector Owen Crawford-Lem, ArtSci ‘23 made a brief statement thanking the AMS for their efforts in facilitating the election.

Crawford-Lem also made mention of the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award, whose selection committee he will chair.

This award commends a student who has made a distinguished contribution to the university in non-athletic, extracurricular activities. Nominations for the award are due by Apr. 8, at 7 p.m.

Statements by Students

ASUS President Alyth Roos updated the AMS on the state of sexual violence prevention efforts. 

ASUS recently established a task force and appointed a new director to address sexual violence. The society is also partnering with the City to conduct research into  sexual violence prevention and response and provide intersectional, accessible, and survivor-centric training.

The society hopes to gain more student support for the policy to and present these recommendations to the Senate in the future.

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