After roughly five and a half hours of debate, AMS Assembly ratified the incoming 2015-16 council, established a new opt-out fee for Studio Q and passed the ReUnion Street Festival fee on Feb. 12.
Ratification of the incoming council is often done as a procedural measure — the candidates have already gone through a lengthy application process, including two stages of interviews.
But EngSoc representative Dylan Braam opposed the ratification of the entire council at Assembly, claiming that the hiring process wasn’t carried out properly and fairly according to AMS Hiring and Appointment Policy and Procedures section 14.02.
The policy states that “in the event a candidate does apply to two council positions, he/she shall submit a single proposal for one position but during their interview receive questions specific to both positions”.
Braam said when he applied to two positions, he wasn’t asked questions pertaining to both, in violation of the policy. Braam wasn’t hired for either position.
The incoming AMS executive, which was in charge of the hiring process, said the hiring process had been fair.
President-elect Kanivanan Chinniah said all applicants were asked various questions, not all specific to one position.
“We’re looking for one thing: potential,” he said.
The debate over the ratification lasted an hour before ASUS proxy Jon Wiseman referred to Assembly policy, which states that after an hour of debate there must be a motion for assembly to vote on.
There were only three votes in opposition to the first motion of ratification, which was of Peter Liberty as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainability, and the motion under which Braam registered his objection. The other council members were ratified in an omnibus vote.
Another topic of debate was the amalgamation of Queen’s TV and Yearbook & Design Services (YDS) into Studio Q, and its newly proposed fee.
Chinniah, the current campus services director, gave a presentation about the recent amalgamation and the proposed $24.43 opt-out fee. QTV currently operates with a $3.00 mandatory fee.
Chinniah said QTV has been losing money consistently as accessibility to video technology increases and the difference between amateur and professional videos shrinks.
“In terms of fiscal health that’s not something we want to do,” he said, adding that “you need to spend a bit of money” for professional equipment.
He added that the amalgamation allows Studio Q to provide learning opportunities for students and improve financial sustainability for both services.
As for concerns over Studio Q’s editorial content, Chinniah said, “we’re in a situation when QTV hasn’t produced any editorial content since 2012”.
“We’re going to see how we can give the Journal more equipment to improve the video coverage,” he said. “There simply isn’t enough room for more than one journalistic outlet, especially when we haven’t invested enough in the Journal.”
Current Vice-President of Operations Justin Reekie added that volunteers will be able to do news coverage if they ask to.
Assembly passed the new $24.43 opt-out fee for Studio Q, replacing the previous $3.00 Queen’s TV mandatory fee and the $21.43 YDS opt-out fee.
“The rate is usually around 10,000 to 11,000 students that don’t opt-out, so we’ve budgeted based on that,” Reekie said.
After the Studio Q debate, Assembly went into closed session to prepare for debate on the proposed $12.50 mandatory fee for the ReUnion Street Festival.
President Allison Williams said they’ve budgeted for the festival based on sponsorship revenue from the event, the proposed student fee and possible alternative sources such as contributions from the University or donations. Their hope is that the festival will eventually become self-sustainable.
“We are convinced that this is the lowest fee we can offer to make sure this event occurs,” Williams said.
“If there isn’t a student fee, the festival will not occur.”
The total cost of the festival, which was funded by the AMS Advantage Fund in its inaugural year, is estimated at $311,250. One goal the event achieves is improving the relationship with the City, Williams said, adding that “the biggest factor that fractured that relationship was Homecoming”.
Not all students are so enthusiastic about the fee, according to ASUS Representative Steven Patterson.
Patterson was skeptical of the festival’s likelihood of ever becoming self-sustaining, saying the fee may be “here to stay”.
ASUS President Adam Grotsky also brought up his concerns, saying he would have preferred if it went through a referendum.
Reekie criticized the Assembly for not “trusting” the executive, adding that the fee still needs to pass at the AMS Annual General Meeting (AGM), which he said provides more context than a referendum.
The motion passed to establish a three-year $12.50 fee, subject to ratification at the AGM on March 10.
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