AMS to review ban in new year

ASUS president put forward motion to revise Greek ban

The AMS will create a draft proposal for a new policy on fraternities and sororities at Queen’s by next January.

The decision came after a motion was put forward at AMS Assembly last night by ASUS President John Whittaker after discussion on amendments to the current policy.

Despite this, both President Doug Johnson and Vice-President of Operations Tristan Lee abstained from voting on the motion to draft a policy. 

Vice-President of University Affairs Mira Dineen voted against the motion, citing lack of direction from Assembly.

“I am fully in favour of drafting a policy,” she said. “My concern was ending the discussion before we had a more clear direction.”

The AMS executive will consult with commissioner of Internal Affairs, Judicial Affairs director, AMS and University legal counsel, the Human Rights Office, President’s Caucus and the Queen’s University Alumni Association prior to presenting the policy in January.

“[However], I do think that we have a pretty good grasp of the issues and the options moving forward. If there is any doubt of that, we can always draft multiple options,” Dineen said.

Still, the AMS executive team firmly believes that fraternity and sororities shouldn’t be affiliated with the AMS or with Queen’s.

“As an executive, we have serious concerns about the potential for fraternities and sororities — that is, Greek Letter organizations — to introduce a negative and exclusionary quality to the Queen’s community,” she said. 

The current policy was written into AMS constitution in 1934 and states that AMS members affiliated with fraternities or sororities will be banned from AMS athletics and social privileges. 

The policy was implemented over concerns that fraternities and sororities would negatively affect the Queen’s community.

“We recognize that the existing policy is nearly 80 years old and needs to be reviewed,” Mira Dineen, AMS vice president of university affairs, said at Assembly.

On Nov. 21, the AMS released a feedback summary which include 12 arguments for allowing membership in Queen’s—affiliated fraternities and sororities, and 15 against.

Arguments for membership included creating more tight-knit communities within Queen’s, opportunities for bonding among students and networking. 

Hazing, exclusivity, elitism and increased alcohol consumption were cited as arguments against bringing fraternities and sororities to Queen’s.

Consultation for the summary began on Oct. 18 after the AMS posted a blog seeking feedback from society leaders.

John Whittaker said the motion he proposed was directed at the AMS executive team rather than the AMS body because of the executive’s knowledge of the issue.

“I feel that after a certain point of discussion, it became more or less circular and we had enough people mentioning the same overarching issues in their discussion,” he said. “This way we can move forward with policy and debate it at the next Assembly.”

Leo Erikhman, ArtSci ’14, spoke at Assembly as a representative of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), a Jewish fraternity in Kingston not affiliated with Queen’s. He said he’s happy that the AMS is revisiting the ban.

“I think what’s going on right now is amazing,” he said. “I like that we’re having this discussion and that’s the thing I like to emphasize.”

He said he hopes the new policy will recognize fraternities and sororities who wish to be affiliated with Queen’s.



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