Unpeeling AMS platforms

Team WCW said the AMS needs to create five to 10 year strategic plans.
Team WCW said the AMS needs to create five to 10 year strategic plans.
Photo: 
Team RWS wants to convert the Tricolour Outfitters into a ‘green space.’
Team RWS wants to convert the Tricolour Outfitters into a ‘green space.’
Photo: 
Team ACH is focusing their campaign on accontability, community, and health.
Team ACH is focusing their campaign on accontability, community, and health.
Photo: 

WCW

Team WCW wants the AMS to have a longer outlook than just a 12-month term.

Vice-president (university affairs) candidate Yanique Williams said she wants AMS governments to begin to think in five or 10-year plans.

The team’s slogan—“Are You Ready for Change?”—suggests they are looking to challenge the AMS’s transient nature, she said.

“It’s a starting point and it’s something people can use to build on.”

Vice-president (operations) candidate Andrew Cameron said the team also wants to re-create the Queen’s Centre working group that existed a few years ago. The group would be made of AMS members and students-at-large.

“As we move into the new centre, we need to make sure we’re getting the space we need,” Cameron said, adding that the working group would need to push for more information on the construction project.

“Right now it’s not very transparent, how everything is going with construction.”

He said his team would also come up with an outline for each service’s transition into the new building.

“For example, if construction gets delayed, where will the services go?”

They would also try to ensure the centre meets the environmental sustainability standards Queen’s set and ask for gender-neutral washrooms and ablution rooms to meet students’ needs.

Presidential candidate Allison Williams said the team would create a six-month, paid position under the AMS Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC) to deal with issues surrounding Homecoming and the Aberdeen Street party.

“It serves a dual purpose,” Allison Williams said. “We add more resources and manpower on the issue and it frees up the MAC as a resource.”

WCW would work with the University and the city to create a street festival with live music and licensed alcohol to celebrate alumni. The University and the city would recommend which street to host the party on.

Allison Williams said a few

alumni spent this year’s Homecoming at her friend’s house and she spent a lot of time talking with them.

“It was the most fun I’ve had at Homecoming,” she said. “They got to tell us stories and they enjoyed it.”

They would continue to support the volunteers and safety initiatives on Aberdeen Street but their long-term goal is to phase out the party by redirecting the focus of Homecoming to alumni.

“I don’t think we’ve ever tried an event that’s the whole University and the city working on it, on such a grand scale,” Allison Williams said. “[The festival] would feel somewhat more spontaneous and less of an overt way of keeping people off [Aberdeen Street].”

The team would expand the AMS Human Resources Office from one to three officers to let more students learn about available positions. The deputy of recruitment would organize class talks and media campaigns to advertise open positions.

They would create an online hub where clubs and accredited community groups list volunteer opportunities, accompanied by an activities survey to help students find opportunities related to their interests.

Williams said there would be job listings with “very transparent and clear criteria, so people know exactly what that job is going to entail.” This would help candidates better tailor their resumes and prepare for interviews.

Williams said they want to make better use of resources the office already has. She said there’s a fundraising manual that lists places to look for help and how to apply for it, but most clubs aren’t aware of its existence.

As executive, WCW would provide financial training for club leaders, many of whom have little financial experience and don’t know how to properly submit budgets and fill out applications for grants.

They would hire a deputy of development to implement and manage training, led by AMS permanent staff, professors and a corporation such as Proctor & Gamble.

She said they would also establish an athletics council with representatives from each varsity team.

“This is a great starting point to ensure that they have a voice,” she said. “The athletes can let us know how we can be representing them better. … We will act as a bridge with administration.”

Yanique Williams said the team would advocate for better student recruitment approaches by the University.

“It’s important for the University to reach out to high schools that are not generally approached in recruitment.”

She said the team would advocate for more cultural studies courses to address the diverse interests of students and attract different demographics.

“It means starting to recognize the global atmosphere of the people that do come to our school.”

The team would lobby for a diversity certificate, like the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered certificate offered under the women’s studies program.

--Gloria Er-Chua

RWS

For team RWS, it’s all about “U.”

Their platform is structured around three pillars: “an engaged U,” “a greener U” and “a smarter U.”

Presidential candidate Talia Radcliffe said she and her teammates want to ensure combating racism is a priority both within the AMS and University-wide in light of events such as an incident in November when a female professor was forced off a sidewalk and taunted with racial slurs by four males in engineering jackets.

“We really want to make sure that it’s regarded as part of a larger problem,” she said.

The team plans to use hiring and equity training to establish anti-oppression as a priority so it isn’t seen as something that’s only part of the Social Issues Commission.

Radcliffe said the AMS should provide more Frosh Week alternatives, such as a film festival for those who don’t want to go to a semi-formal. She said they hope to use paid feedback forums two or three times a month to address specific concerns and initiatives.

Students who participate would receive an hourly wage similar to what people make working at an AMS service.

“The forum would engage first-years more because typically they don’t involve themselves to a large extent within the AMS,” said vice-president (university affairs) candidate Stephanie St. Clair.

Vice-president (operations) candidate Ken Wang said the forums will also give students a chance to meet the executive.

Wang said he and his teammates hope to bring QTV to the fore by setting up two televisions in the JDUC to broadcast QTV.

Radcliffe said QTV journalists would get honoraria and managers would be salaried. Now, QTV managers receive an honorarium.

The team also wants to make voting for AMS elections and referendums online.

St. Clair said the team spoke to IT Services—which has been working with ASUS to develop their online voting system—and will continue to work with them to look at costs.

Radcliffe said almost every student they spoke to when designing their platform had complaints about financial responsibility within the AMS.

Team RWS plans to cut committees that aren’t relevant to most students and re-examine conferences attended by AMS employees.

Radcliffe said some of the committees that fell under the Campus Affairs Commission when she worked there—such as the Tricolour Spirit Committee, a social action club—could have been cut, but every committee needs to be examined in depth because things change from year to year. Team RWS plans to do an audit of each committee’s activities for the past four or five years.

“We kind of want to cut them out completely unless it seems like a very useful thing,” Radcliffe said.

They also want to replace Tricolour Outfitters with the Earth Centre, the Oxfam Fair Trade Co-op and the Sustainability Office.

Radcliffe said Tricolour Outfitters doesn’t “match up” with the other services provided by the AMS.

“This is a place that sells clothes? It doesn’t serve the AMS mandate overall and so we don’t think that that is something that we should be investing money in.”

By replacing Tricolour Outfitters with a “green space,” Wang said, the AMS could bring sustainability to the fore.

The team’s “greener U” plank also focuses on more consistent campus recycling, biweekly Farmer’s Markets on campus and organic waste pickup.

St. Clair said her team has spoken to Food Services, which is negotiating a contract with Corrections Canada to have an organic waste pickup from cafeterias.

“We’re hoping to work within that agreement to also establish a pickup service for residences and also the JDUC,” she said.

Radcliffe said Food Services hasn’t finalized their system yet, but because of the amount of waste generated in the residences, the pickup would hopefully be daily.

She said they would encourage the city to implement an organic waste pickup program in the Ghetto by 2010.

The team’s final pillar is “a smarter U.” St. Clair said team RWS plans to increase the number of first-year half-credit options so students can take a broader range of courses in their first year.

Radcliffe said some departments have strict requirements that necessitate full-year courses, but in many cases the initiative is realistic.

“We spoke with Professor Nossal, who’s the head of the politics department, who felt that that would be potentially feasible. Obviously a lot more discussion would have to come out of it,” she said.

Team RWS also spoke with Patrick Deane about the initiative, St. Clair said.

“He did say a lot of it is just legwork and that’s really an issue we’re trying to address as well, is to encourage communication between departments and between the AMS and departments.”

A database of syllabi—similar to exam banks—would provide students with more information than the “academic blurb” in the course calendar, Radcliffe said. She said her team would hope to establish the bank by the winter semester next year.

Team RWS hopes to put anti-oppression on the administration’s agenda through academics by calling for new departments—such as aboriginal studies, Middle Eastern studies and African studies, Radcliffe said.

She said the initiative is already in the works and could be feasible for September 2009.

“It could definitely be possible to get all of the departments for the following year,” she said.

St. Clair said the team spoke to Deane about the initiative and he told them funding wouldn’t be taken away from existing departments. In some cases, courses already exist and it would just be a matter of categorizing them under the new faculties.

--Kerri MacDonald

ACH

Team ACH’s name is more than an acronym for its members’ last names. It also stands for the “three pillars” of their platform: accountability, community and health.

Holly Archer, Jason Collins and Jeffrey Howard are running on the platform of “getting it done” for Queen’s.

Presidential candidate Holly Archer said ACH wants to improve accountability for the University and the SGPS, as well as the AMS.

Archer said ACH will pay particular attention to how facilities are maintained during the construction of the Queen’s Centre. Every year undergraduate students pay $71 each towards the Queen’s Centre. It amounts to approximately $1 million a year, part of the $25.5 million the AMS has committed.

“If we don’t feel that the University is taking care of the student body, we’ll withhold the $1 million,” she said.

Archer said the executive would have to take the matter to Assembly, which would vote on whether to transfer the money.

“We hope we never have to use this, but the University should be paying attention to education, and we should be able to stand up for it.”

Archer said ACH wants to streamline the way the AMS handles finances.

“Right now, there is a lot of money that’s wasted through poor budgeting, so we would like to initiate an accounting program throughout the summer,” she said.

Archer said the course would focus on how to write a budget and how to spend money wisely with the best interests of students in mind.

“This would be for anyone who deals with the finances for a service or commission,” she said. “This would be a way to make sure people know what they’re doing ahead of time.”

Archer said the financial details of setting up an accounting course would have to be discussed and voted on at Assembly.

“It would save us a lot of money, so I would like to think that people would see it as beneficial, but it would have to have more discussion.”

Collins said they want to direct more funds to clubs as one of the most important aspects of life at Queen’s.

“There are over 250 clubs on campus, and they represent 11,500 student members the last time we checked,” he said.

“Right now there are only $5,000 in grants spread across those 250 clubs every year,” he said. “The promise we’ve made is that we want to increase clubs funding to $30,000 a year.”

Collins said the increase would be possible if money held in AMS reserve funds were used for initiatives the executive and Assembly decide are worthwhile.

“The AMS has lot of money in different reserve and accessibility funds. That’s something we can look into in terms of an accessibility fund … making clubs more funded and accessible to campus.”

That would have to go through AMS Board of Directors, Collins said.

ACH wants to hire a paid, full-time clubs manager to facilitate resources, support, and communication between clubs, he said.

“We’ve met with people from clubs and the biggest problems they find are funding, and on top of that booking rooms and getting time to speak with executives, or getting time to organize different activities on camps,” he said. “By having a full-time paid clubs manager and by increasing clubs funding, we can ensure that they have the resources that they need.”

Collins said creating the clubs manager position wouldn’t cost the AMS more money, because it would replace the student centre officer, who will make $13,936 in the 2007-08 year.

“That’s a position that already exists that doesn’t do as much as it could be doing,” he said. “By having that position become more fully focused on clubs specifically, we can really maximize what that position does.”

Collins said ACH wants to run an “I Heart K-Town” campaign aimed at improving town-gown relations. “A lot of people from the city feel that students come from places other than Kingston for four years to get their education, party, and then they leave,” he said.

“I love Kingston, and I think every student I’ve ever talked to loves Kingston and they love to be here.”

ACH wants the campaign to be a year-long initiative starting at the beginning of the school year, but centred specifically on Homecoming, he said.

“We want to have open forums between city residents and students, and we want to have social gatherings and make it a festival where anybody from Kingston, families, can hang out with students and facilitate dialogue and show people in Kingston how much we appreciate the city,” he said.

Vice-president (university affairs) candidate Howard, ArtSci ’09, said he wants to have nutritional information available to students at AMS food services.

“We want it available, whether it’s a card beside where you place your order, or whether it’s on a website, or whether it’s where you get your napkins,” he said.

Howard said they want the PEC open 24 hours to accommodate students’ busy schedules.

“With student fees going up and buildings coming down, we’re losing facilities as well. This year we’ve lost an ice rink, an indoor track and tennis courts,” he said. “We just want to allow students to decide when they can work out.”

Howard said libraries should be 24 hours a day all year as well. “Oftentimes it may not be the best atmosphere to study at your house,” he said. “If there was a place on campus that was open 24 hours a day and provided you with internet access, journal article access, computer access and study space, we want to see that happen so students can decide when they study.”

--Jane Switzer

Quiz Answers

President

1) David Mitchell

2) The Senate is the University’s senior academic decision-making body; the Board of Trustees is responsible for the University’s good financial management

3) Five per cent

5) “Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas”; “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.”

6) Vice-principal 1951-1961, thirteenth principal 1961-1968. Mackintosh-Corry Hall is named after him and William Mackintosh.

Vice-President (Operations)

1) Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities)

2) TAPS made a profit of $971.28

3) It was called the Used Bookstore and was opened in 1995 in the Polson Room, now the Chaplain’s office.

4) $25.5 million total; $71 now; $141 starting in 2010-11

5) $19,508

Vice-President (University Affairs)

1) John Gerretsen (Liberal)

2) Peter Milliken (Liberal)

3) $2.07 for 2007-08

4) Sustainability Co-ordinator

5) Pamela Dickey Young

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.