AMS looks to increase specific fee

Assembly will vote on Thursday to increase the AMS mandatory fee by $9.26, set to stabilize operations

The fee increase will be used to maintain the operations of AMS services.
The fee increase will be used to maintain the operations of AMS services.

The AMS is seeking to raise their mandatory specific fee by $9.26.

The specific fee funds the commissions and offices of the AMS, encompassing all lobbying and advocacy work in addition to student-run programming and government services.

The specific fee is currently $70.74. The increase would bring it up to $80 plus additions from the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation. CPI would determine yearly adjustments.

Nicola Plummer, AMS vice-president (operations), said that the fee is reassessed every four to five years.

“The AMS Specific Fee is levied on students to support their Alma Mater Society in fulfilling its mission of serving and representing the diversity of students at Queen’s University,” Plummer, Comm ’13, told the Journal via email.

The fee increase will be voted on at AMS Assembly on Feb. 13. The motion will be moved by Rico Garcia, chair of the AMS Board of Directors.

Garcia, ArtSci ’13, originally proposed the fee increase in order to raise full-time salaries and make AMS jobs more attractive to students. The AMS president, making $24,423 per year, is one of the lowest-paid student government presidents in the country.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced last month that the Ontario minimum wage will be raised to $11 an hour, effective June 1. This will cost the AMS approximately $81,000.

Plummer said that the wage increase is a “supporting factor”

in the decision to raise the fee.

When the minimum wage increase was announced, Plummer told the Journal that the Board of Directors had determined the new salary grid earlier in the year after a “comprehensive review.” She said they met after the increase was announced and had determined that there was no need for a change in the new salaries.

“The specific fee … needs to be raised in order to ensure the level of programming, advocacy and service students currently provide through the operations of the AMS can be maintained,” Plummer said.

“Examples of this type of work include academic lobbying … club administration and outreach, conferences such as Queen’s Model Parliament along with support for students to work with the University administration in order to better the student experience.”

She sees the primary benefits to the fee increase as two-fold.

“The AMS and its member societies can continue to provide an exceptional and unrivaled experience in the faculty of broader learning that is currently not offered anywhere else on campus,” Plummer said.

“The fee provides a stable operating environment for the corporate student services to take risks and improve their level of customer service both in terms of quality and quantity.”

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