AMS support for hockey Gaels inadequate
Re: “Meltdown in Montreal” (Journal, Jan. 22, 2008)
Missing from the Journal’s report on the hockey Gaels’ unfortunate 10-1 loss in Montreal last Friday is the fact that for the first time in years, no Queen’s students were there to cheer them on.
Choosing the easy way out, our benevolent student government decided to bar any fan bus from taking interested students to McGill’s McConnell Arena, despite the frequent success of such trips. It’s no poor reflection on the Journal that they weren’t aware, since the AMS deliberately informed nobody of this decision; even the Athletics department remarked in a press release previewing the game that “The game in Kingston saw three full bus loads of McGill students attend the game and Queen’s fans are expected to do the same on Friday in Montreal”.
The fact that McGill bussed a good 200 fans to the Kingston Memorial Centre for the two teams’ meeting in November and yet the AMS outright denied Queen’s fans the same opportunity is a shameful reflection of this student government’s failure to support our school’s athletic teams.
The AMS will certainly justify their boneheaded decision by referencing the incident at McConnell Arena last year, in which the Queen’s contingent was not given any reserved seating cordoned off from the McGill fans, leading to confrontations in the crowd (“Kill McGill trip goes sour”, Journal, Nov. 10, 2006). However, this year McGill reserved two full sections of their arena for Queen’s students, as even they were not informed of this idiotic reversal of policy by our do-nothing representatives.
I know this because I was there to broadcast the game for our campus radio station, and by extension was the only Queen’s student in the crowd. It also gave me the opportunity to see McGill student government leaders actively leading their student body in cheers for their hockey team at this vitally important game. Is it likely we’d ever see such similar enthusiasm or effort from our student government leaders at Queen’s? Absolutely not – and that stark reality is frankly pathetic. To think they get paid for this level of incompetence!
AMS candidate teams fall short
You can take the boy out of Queen’s but you can’t take Queen’s out of the boy. With AMS election season in full swing, I took a look at the three executive teams. Although I can’t vote any more, I do long for the opportunity to scrawl across the top of a ballot “They all suck!” In the interests of preserving whatever dignity this process has, the team that put the wrong dates on their posters should be disqualified right off the bat. Things could be worse: they could have spelled their own names wrong or put someone else’s photo on their material. But in matters political, I’ve always felt that the voting day is one of those small details that, if you’re serious, you should probably get right.
Teams should take to heart and voters should consider: first, hiring more AMS staffers isn’t a solution. It’s merely an old, cynical scheme to funnel money to the executives’ friends by allowing them to hire more of them. WCW’s Homecoming officer pledge might be the worst idea since David Arquette became heavyweight champion. Team ACH acknowledges that many AMS managers are unqualified, yet conspicuously absent from their plan is a pledge to hire qualified people. I wonder if the “AMS managers are incompetent / Vote for us, the AMS managers” strategy works as well for ACH as it did for Sideshow Bob’s mayoral canvass.
Second, any student swayed by promises to lobby the administration for some sweeping change should send their AMS dues directly to me and I promise your magic beans will be in the mail by morning. Based on recent AMS lobbying history, this would give you a far greater return on your money. These are go-nowhere pledges; for as many years as AMS teams promised to keep Stauffer open 24 hours without success, they might as well “advocate” or “lobby the administration” to build a new residence on the moon.
Reading about these three teams, I cannot help but think, if this is the standard, it’s no wonder the Queen’s community has no regard for its student government.
AMS teams abuse green buzzwords
Captive in my seat in both ECON 240 and POLS 250 this week, I listened to Jeff Howard of team ACH proclaim his instrumental role in the AMS Sustainability Office’s Greenovations energy retrofit program. Having worked on the original concept last year with co-ordinator Blake Anderson, as a volunteer, and then having seen its execution through as a deputy co-ordinator under Maryam Adrangi this year, I was eager to hear how exactly Jeff came to be the champion of this initiative. Adrangi, the two Living Energy Lab Project Co-ordinators and I planned the logistics over the summer. Although Destinations provided funding for the retrofits, the project was neither conceived nor implemented by Howard, and the volunteers who actually made the project work were from the Living Energy Lab and the AMS Sustainability Office.
RWS offers more farmers’ markets but unfortunately there’s neither financial capacity nor human power for increased markets, and those involved with the initiative are supported—not controlled—by the AMS. It’s not an AMS executive decision to increase farmers markets. RWS suggests moving the Earth Centre, the Fair Trade Co-operative and the Sustainability Office to the site of Tricolour Outfitters. If they had consulted any of these bodies, they would have known that none of them turn a profit and could never afford the space allocation fees of about $75,000. Moreover, Tricolour provides a more essential service than, say, Oil Thigh Designs, which also takes up space. They also mention composting as if it’s a new idea, rather than one currently being worked on, recycled from CMM’s campaign last year.
Finally, although WCW says they support the office and will make sustainability a priority, they offer nothing concrete.
None of the campaigns address sustainability through services where it’s most needed. Not one of these teams makes me feel overly confident of the place sustainability has in the oldest and most independent student government in Canada. They think saying the word “sustainable” enough will land them a job.
Deputy co-ordinator of the AMS sustainability office
Tricolour closure not a good idea
During AMS Executive campaign, the possibility of closing the Tricolour Outfitters has been raised and discussed. I wish to provide more information on this topic.
As all students should be aware, it’s not the sole decision of an executive team to shut down a service, but that of the AMS Board of Directors (of which the executive are a part). If the elected team proposes that it’s in the best interests of students to close Tricolour Outfitters, they will be required to make their case to the board. Should the board determine this idea to be unsuitable, Tricolour Outfitters will remain in operation.
One of my concerns relates to the logistics of converting the store to a radically different, non-revenue-generating space. Students should be aware that the fixed costs for space and administration for the Tricolour Outfitters are approximately $37,000 per year, money that is returned to the AMS central operating budget. Should the service be closed down, this money would have to be returned to the AMS in some form. As well, approximately $45,000 less would be returned to the student community in the form of salaries and wages: money that helps students pay for tuition, books and rent. Finally, if the service were to be shut down, the AMS would need to develop a strategy to deal with the merchandise in inventory at the time of closure, which will be between $50,000 and $60,000. Whatever strategy is devised to deal with this inventory, I hope it’s very well thought-out.
Our current management team has made a commitment to the store and its customers. The AMS has invested a substantial amount of time, money and effort to develop this service for students over the past two and a half years. Although my concern is inextricably tied to my dedication to the service and its staff members, I write in keeping with my role as a representative for the AMS, whose mandate is to serve students. By providing this information, I hope to assist students in making an informed vote.
Tricolour Outfitters/The Used Bookstore
ACH ignores minority issues
Recently there has been a lot of discussion throughout the University regarding racism and ethnic diversity on campus, particularly since the inexcusable attack on a Queen’s University professor. This, to me, is a very serious issue, especially since I am a visible minority and I was hoping that it would be an important issue for AMS candidates. I was very pleased to see that both WCW and RWS have made anti-racism and anti-discrimination key focuses of their platforms. However, I was shocked to see that team ACH appeared to be silent on this issue. This made me ask whether it was because they are ignorant of the current problems with racism or—worse—apathetic.
Moreover, WCW and RWS went above and beyond to accommodate minority groups, by taking the time to meet and discuss issues they face every day. On the other hand, ACH basically snubbed many of these groups by showing no interest in minority issues on their platform and not even taking the time to engage some of the minority student groups I spoke with.
Overall, to me, as a concerned voter who has read all of the platforms, it seems that a win for ACH could lead to a nightmare scenario for minorities who would look to the AMS for a voice.
Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association executive member
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