Voting process questioned

AMS Assembly discussion point seeks to change referendum ballots

The AMS referendum process was called into question at the March 8 AMS Assembly.

Fourth-year student James Weber brought his concerns to the floor, stating that the club funding process doesn’t encourage club diversity.

“You’re taking every club, no matter how small they will be, and putting it to a popularity contest,” Weber, ArtSci ’12, said. “Some of these minority clubs end up not getting funding from the student body.”

Currently to approve a fee, clubs must receive a majority vote on the referendum ballot. Club fees are renewed every three years.

Weber, a member of the Queen’s Trivia Club, said he’s been working on bringing this to AMS Assembly since the club’s fee failed during the February referendum.

The Trivia Club’s $0.15 opt-outable fee was up for renewal but failed with 52 per cent of votes against. Weber said he didn’t bring the discussion point to Assembly on behalf of the club.

“It’s not because I want to get my money back,” he said. “It’s about the issue.”

Weber said one suggestion would be to remove the voting process entirely and give control of club fees to the Commission of Internal Affairs, which oversees the finances of all AMS-ratified clubs.

“Give it to someone who is either hired or elected and whose job it is to make sure clubs have sufficient oversight,” he said.

Weber said there was minimal discussion on the issue, which left him unsatisfied. “The general feeling I got was that the complexities of the issue was kind of lost,” he said. “Most people were just focused on the democracy of it.” Weber said he currently has no plans to see the matter out.

AMS Commissioner of Internal Affairs Mark Preston said there are no plans to change the current policy.

“It’s one of those things where the student body gets to decide,” Preston, ArtSci ’11, said. “In terms of it being biased, I’m not sure if that’s accurate.”

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