AMS to seek $12.50 festival fee

Fee would be mandatory and cover most of the ReUnion Street Festival’s costs

The inaugural ReUnion Street Festival was deemed a general success by various stakeholders, including the AMS and the University.
The inaugural ReUnion Street Festival was deemed a general success by various stakeholders, including the AMS and the University.
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The AMS is asking for a $12.50 mandatory student fee to help cover the costs of next year’s ReUnion Street Festival, intended to become an annual event.

The fee proposal will be voted on by members of Assembly on Thursday and, if passed, will go to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 10, to be voted on by all AMS members in attendance.

AMS President and CEO Allison Williams said the fee would be used to cover a portion of the festival costs next year.

The ticket cost for alumni, graduate students and community members to go to the licensed area of the festival would also be $12.50, where alcohol would be served.

The total cost of the festival is estimated at $311,250. The student fee, if passed, will cover $208,750 of that and the remainder of the amount needed will come from ticket sales and corporate sponsorship, said Williams, ArtSci ’14.

The AMS originally requested the University to front $75,000 in operational costs, but the administration declined due to what Principal Daniel Woolf previously said were “remaining concerns” from community partners and that there were still “far too many” people on city streets.

“We won’t see an event going forward that doesn’t have a substantial contribution outside of student fees, so the fee that we’re proposing is no larger than what we feel is a fair contribution from students,” Williams said

She said so far, the University has provided the AMS with a lot of support for the ReUnion Street Festival, including the help of departments in providing expertise, time and input into every aspect of the festival.

According to experts the AMS has been consulting with, the fee may not be necessary within five years if the event continues annually, Williams said.

“There usually is a progression from no sponsorship in an initial event, to local sponsorship, to large corporations several years out,” she said.

She added that the AMS has been consulting with students to gain feedback about whether or not this fee should pass.

“Assembly members have an obligation as well to be consulting with their constituencies, which I know a number of that have done — so that’s what will bring them informed into the assembly this week,” she said.

“Prior to AGM, that would be where we see the crux of the consultation occurring, just because until then, we don’t even know if it’ll be on the agenda,” she added. “If it is on that agenda, then we certainly will have a large strategy to make sure students are aware and that they’re there to vote — in either way.”

She added that the festival is the only way to have a safe and successful Homecoming, as it responds to the needs of students, alumni and the City.

“For all these reasons, we certainly believe the University has reason to support the event financially as well as all the in-kind support that we’re certainly appreciative of and very much recognize,” she said.

Recently, some students, including Brendan Goodman, who ran for ASUS vice-president earlier this year, took to social media to express disappointment that the fee is going through to the AGM rather than a referendum.

“Incredibly disappointed in the @QueensAMS for sending such a massive, mandatory fee to AGM rather than referendum,” Goodman wrote on Twitter.

Goodman declined interview requests from the Journal.

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