Mixed message

AMS capital contribution to Queen's Centre decreases from $25.5 million to $10.6 million

The University hasn’t officially cancelled the construction of Phases 2 and 3 of the Queen’s Centre.
The University hasn’t officially cancelled the construction of Phases 2 and 3 of the Queen’s Centre.
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The future of Phases of 2 and 3 of the Queen’s Centre remains ambiguous.

On Jan. 19, AMS President Morgan Campbell told the Journal that the Queen’s Centre phases had been cancelled and the AMS wouldn’t be contributing the $25.5 million in student fees that were collected as an AMS contribution to the project.

“What it means is we can cancel the student fee now,” Campbell said of the $70.50 student fee that had been in place since 2005. “Students are done. As of right now students will never pay another cent to that project.”

There has been no public statement from the University stating that Phases 2 and 3 won’t occur.

Last week, an AMS assembly motion decided to withhold over half of the originally-expected capital contribution. The motion resolved to only contribute $10.6 million — the amount collected since the fee was established seven years ago.

“One of the things we were asking for was for the University to give an official statement,” Campbell, ArtSci ’11, said. “The passing of this resolution at last Thursday’s assembly, that is the announcement — that Phase 2 and Phase 3 are finished.”

Campbell said the decision to contribute $10.6 million in previously-collected student dollars is directly tied to the cancellation of Phases 2 and 3, with the money going solely to Phase 1.

“This whole thing was wrapped up together,” she said.

The Board of Trustees had a preliminary discussion of the AMS capital contribution at their December meeting. Campbell said the contribution had been previously discussed at AMS Assembly and President’s Caucuses.

The $10.6 million contribution will go towards the completed phase of the Queen’s Centre.

“The fee is cancelled, if the University was to explore the opportunity of going to Phase 2 and Phase 3 in the future, we would go back to students and ask if they would want to contribute at that time,” she said.

Provost Alan Harrison said completing Phases 2 and 3 of the Queen’s Centre wasn’t currently financially viable.

“It’s not to say they’ve been cancelled, I think we still are committed to a vibrant student life centre at this University and one that supports the learning environment appropriately,” Harrison said. “We cannot say at this point how long it will take us to do that in addition to everything else that we need to do.”

Harrison said conversations with the AMS about their capital contribution to the Queen’s Centre had begun before he was appointed provost in August.

“The discussions with the AMS precede their taking office and my arriving in this position,” he said.

Harrison couldn’t point to a statement released by the University announcing the ending of Phases 2 and 3.

“In my defence, the discussions with the AMS were ongoing when I arrived here,” he said. “To be perfectly honest I didn’t go back and look to see exactly what was said publicly.”

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