On Feb. 15 members of AMS Assembly convened in Dunning Hall for a meeting with sparse discussion, beginning with the ratification of incoming commissioners and directors, later leading into a twist announcement regarding Fall Term Break.
Incoming Commissioner of Social Issues, Ramna Safeer (ArtSci ’18), Commissioner of Academic Affairs, Victoria Lewarne (ArtSci ’17), Commissioner of Campus Activities, Devon Laflamme (Nursing ’17), and Commissioner of Municipal Affairs, Stefano Hollands (ArtSci ’17) were each ratified during Assembly.
The incoming Director of Clubs, Emily Vassos (ArtSci ’17) was also ratified. Each incoming commissioner and director was given one minute to speak to their new role.
Safeer said that she is excited to carry on current Commissioner of Social Issues, Lea Keren’s legacy. She explained that last semester’s racially-charged events left many students feeling isolated on campus.
As the Commissioner of Social Issues Safeer’s goal is to establish a balance between administration and students as well as create physical spaces for discussion.
“Some people are always left out. How can we include as many people as possible in that discussion?” Safeer said.
Next, Lewarne spoke to how she would like apply her skills in policy making. Like Safeer, Lewarne committed to continuing the work of her predecessor, current Commissioner of Academic Affairs Leah Brockie.
Lewarne’s main goal, she explained, is to advocate on behalf of students in terms of financial accessibility, especially for textbooks. She hopes to advocate on behalf of students for student run activities and being involved in the Queen’s community.
Hollands was questioned next, and explained how focus needs to be put on the Student Housing District as the collective home of the student community. His goals are to engage with city counsellors and stakeholders, build respectful relationships, and engage further with committees under the municipal affairs commission.
Finally, Vassos spoke to Assembly, telling members and observers that students value clubs and can rely on them to be their Queen’s experience.
She explained that the biggest issue is the relationship between the Student Life Centre and the clubs. Her goal is to ratify new clubs and give more opportunities to clubs overall.
All commissioners and directors were ratified successfully with one abstention from Vice President (Operations)-elect Brian MacKay.
In the President’s report, Tyler Lively briefly explained that option two for Fall Term Break will be recommended by the University Fall Break Task Force to Principal Daniel Woolf, contrary to the option selected by the majority of students in the AMS’s winter referendum plebiscite question.
Lively briefly explained that due to split opinions, the University decided that option two was better overall.
The newly-chosen option places move-in day on the Saturday before Labour Day. Residence Orientation would take place on the night of move-in day and Faculty Orientation would run from the Sunday before Labour Day until the following Wednesday.
Classes would then start on Thursday, and additional Residence Orientation days would occur on the following Saturday and Sunday. This would allow for a two-day Fall Break on the Thursday and Friday before Thanksgiving weekend.
Despite the winter referendum indicating that this was the less favourable option — with 4,152 students voting in favour of option one, versus 3,708 students for option two, working out to 52.8 per cent versus 47.2 per cent — there was no discussion or questions from Assembly on the change.
Motions three through 10 all passed unanimously, including a late addition by Lively to strike a working group on AMS governance with membership consisting of AMS Assembly, AMS Board of Directors, students-at-large, the AMS General Manager, and AMS Information Officer in consultation with Presidents Caucus.
Pending Board approval, the working group is to report to Assembly before year end with a review plan.
Ramna Safeer is the current Editorials Editor at The Journal.
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