Next year, education students will be faced with a new governing body after students in the faculty of education voted to leave the AMS and join the SGPS last Thursday night.
“Most of the ESS members that I talked to seemed to indicate that it was just a better alignment of interests,” SGPS President Jeff Welsh said. “The B.Ed students, they’ve already done a first degree. They’re not interested in a lot of the issues that the AMS focuses on such as residence issues, Homecoming and orientation.
“Those aren’t things that really affect B.Ed students and so they don’t want to spend their time working on them. They don’t want their fees going towards those issues.”
Welsh said the SGPS is looking into cutting their mandatory student fee in half for the incoming education students. Currently, the student fee is $60 per year.
“It makes sense to us because it’s a one-year program. They’re only on campus for four months a year. It just doesn’t make sense for them to be paying full price for services that they’re not going to be able to take advantage of.”
Welsh said the ESS will have a strong voice on the SGPS council, which is made up of 55 members.
“Because the SGPS has a smaller overall membership, the ESS will make up a larger component of the SGPS. As such, according to our bylaws, they’ll have four voting members on council. This would make them the largest single contingent on campus, so it’s hard to ignore the largest unit.”
Welsh said the proposed reduced fee for education students will be brought to the SGPS’ annual general meeting in March.
“We’re proposing $30 to the AGM on Mar. 24 and it is my understanding that it’ll pass.”
Welsh said the SGPS has plans for their increased budget resulting from the influx of new members.
The SGPS also has plans to create a liaison position to increase the communications between education students and the SGPS, Welsh said.
“We are also looking to establish a commissioner specifically for education students. This is especially given their unique scheduling issues due to the fact that they work entirely on west campus.”
AMS President Talia Radcliffe said the society will have to re-evaluate its budget to deal with the loss of $40,000 due to ESS’s departure.
“Ultimately, I’m going to have to discuss it with the incoming exec because they’re the ones who are going to be creating that budget. Both of them are well aware that this is something that is going to have to be discussed now that this has happened.”
Radcliffe said $40,000 is equal to the cost of one AMS commission.
“It’s about consolidation with our committees and commissions and really evaluating what’s going to get less money. It’s as simple as that.”
Radcliffe said the ESS’ decision to leave the SGPS was an ill-informed one.
“I think to be honest, students were not very well informed of the issues. In ESS’ attempt to remain neutral, I believed they failed to properly inform their constituents,” she said. “Many of the students I spoke to didn’t even know what either of our societies were. One person didn’t even know she was eligible to vote as an education student. She thought that it was something that had been decided a month ago.”
Radcliffe said she thinks education students might not benefit from the switch to SGPS.
“At the end of the day, I think that the title ‘graduate and professional’ is really appealing to education students,” she said. “So, even if there were benefits to be reaped by either of these societies, this isn’t going to be felt by the average student.
“At the end of the day, it’s really just more money for less service. It’s kind of unfortunate for the future generations of education students but that’s a hard message to convey for people who are only here for four months.”
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