OPIRG & Levana to remain in Grey House

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) and the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre were told by the AMS on Sept. 28 that they would remain in the Grey House for another year. The future of the other groups in the space has not yet been decided.
The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) and the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre were told by the AMS on Sept. 28 that they would remain in the Grey House for another year. The future of the other groups in the space has not yet been decided.
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After a month of uncertainty about their future club space, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) and the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre have been told by the AMS that they can remain in the Grey House for the next year.

The groups hadn’t re-ratified as AMS clubs over the summer, and were told on Aug. 29 that they had until Sept. 30 to leave the Grey House.

On Sept. 14, the two groups re-ratified as AMS clubs, meeting the extended deadline set by the Space Allocation Committee.

After the Space Allocation Committee met earlier this week to review the applications, OPIRG and Levana were told of the news on Sept. 28. AMS Vice-President of University Affairs Kieran Slobodin said the decision was made after the two groups submitted their completed space allocation package.

“[It] requires a number of things,” he said.

Groups are required to denote things like how many hours they intend to use their space, whether they require it to be accessible and whether it will be open to the public.

“Weighing all those factors, the Grey House was a good fit,” Slobodin, ArtSci ’12, said.

Before the groups’ occupancy is finalized, they will be required to sign a stewardship contract with the AMS. Slobodin said it’s something required for all clubs that occupy AMS club space.

“[It’s] to make sure that the space is being treated well, that it’s being used to its full extent and that other people in the immediate area are respected,” he said, adding the AMS is in the process of drafting a contract for the groups to sign.

The Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) also received a notice on Aug. 29 that the group would be required to leave Grey House space by Sept. 30 because AMS policy dictates that committees don’t receive individual club space.

“Any discussions with EQuIP have been postponed until a co-chair is hired,” Slobodin said, adding that hiring is typically done by mid-October.

“We’re hoping to resolve this as quickly as possible,” he said.

Other Grey House groups Queen’s Pride Project (QPP) and Queen’s Helping Hands haven’t received their space allocation yet.

Slobodin said the allocation process had been delayed for QPP because the AMS is waiting for their new executive to form. He said he hasn’t heard back from Queen’s Helping Hands about this issue for the past two weeks.

Kavita Bissoondial, OPIRG Kingston coordinator, said she wasn’t surprised that OPIRG kept Grey House space, but that she remained “skeptical” about what will happen with other Grey House groups.

“We’re really happy that we’re able to stay but we’re still pissed off about the other groups insecurity and them not knowing what’s going to happen,” Bissoondial, ArtSci ’10, said.

Securing a multi-year agreement with the AMS would be a priority, she said, adding that everyone in the Grey House needs space security.

“We’re hoping to see a new [Memorandum of Understanding] taken up by the AMS as well as the [Society of Graduate and Professional Students] and the University in recognition of the historic importance of the building and the space that we provide and the services we offer,” she said.

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