After a rowdy Homecoming weekend, AMS Assembly discussed smaller changes.
AMS Assembly met on Oct. 24 to report on Homecoming, discuss the JDUC renovation, and ratify 30 new clubs in Mackintosh-Corry Hall. In motions passed unanimously, Assembly approved eight campus groups to appear on the 2023 fall referendum ballot to establish or increase student fees.
The Clubs Policy was amended to impose a blanket sexual harassment and discrimination policy for all AMS ratified clubs. Clubs will now be connected to bodies at the University to assist if incidents of sexual harassment or discrimination occur.
Midterm season and respiratory illnesses hit Assembly hard, with Rector Owen Crawford-Lem, AMS Vice-President (Operations) Michelle Hudson, and AMS Clubs Commissioner Dreyden George unavailable to attend in person.
Executive Reports After Homecoming Weekend
AMS President Kate McCuaig opened Assembly by congratulating everyone on Homecoming weekend, which included harm reduction and community building initiatives led by the AMS.
“We saw a lot of collaboration which we always love to see within the AMS,” McCuaig said.
As an example, McCuaig spoke about the Save Your Paws campaign which encourages students to reconsider the use of glass bottles to protect pets in the University District. Tricolour Outlet sold Homecoming merchandise on campus last week, and items were flying off the shelves, according to McCuaig.
Vice-President (University Affairs) Victoria Mills also had Homecoming on her mind this month. Just days before the big weekend, Mills attended the Police Services Board alongside Commissioner of External Affairs Julian Mollot-Hill to relay student feedback on the issuance of Part I Court Summons outside of when the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) is in effect.
“[It] was definitely a difficult way to get certain points across, however, we do feel like we made positive and meaningful strides there,” Mills said.
Mills will be meeting with Kingston city councillors and possibly the mayor to continue the discussion.
JDUC Renovation Feedback
During the open question period, ASUS President Amaiya Walters requested the AMS provide a concrete timeline for when the renovated JDUC floorplans will be released, and an avenue for students to request spaces.
The JDUC renovations are managed by the University administration, in conjunction with the AMS and the SGPS. Mills explained floorplans can’t be released without all stakeholders’ consent, so executive were unable to provide an exact date.
“I think something that’s important with student dollars is that transparency element and making sure we’re able to provide what students desperately want,” McCuaig added.
Students can participate through the JDUC retail survey and describe which retail services they would like to see, however, there is currently no pathway for student feedback on other spaces.
Orientation Week Under Review
Leo Yang, vice-chair of senate student caucus, informed Assembly that Queen’s Senate is reviewing orientation week this year. The comment launched a debate on whether holding orientation over two weekends or one entire week is best.
For Vice-President Mills, the two-weekend timeline used over the past few years has serious drawbacks, including upper-year student burnout, and barriers to using Queen’s facilities over the weekend.
“This really does have a large impact on pretty much the entire campus,” Mills said.
Other members were concerned that switching back to a one-week format would result in changes to the fall semester dates, and perhaps lead to the loss of students’ fall reading week, which began in 2018.
Luca DiFrancesco, chair of AMS board of directors, assured Assembly fall reading week was enshrined in Queen’s policy, and it would be difficult for the administration to backtrack on their decision.
Assembly concluded by postponing the debate to the next meeting on Nov. 21.
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