Board of Directors bars guests

Board looks to avoid inaccurate information; will continue to release reports

The AMS Board of Directors decided at its Jan. 12 meeting to restrict students from attending its bi-weekly meetings.

Tuba Chishti, the chair, told the Journal via email that Board will determine who is relevant to a meeting based on the agenda topics and “whether or not they’re confidential”.

The Board of Directors deals with strategic management, financials and support of the AMS. Members are elected annually at the Corporate General Meeting by incoming and outgoing members of AMS Assembly, and Board is made up of six student directors, three non-student directors, the AMS executive, three AMS service directors and the AMS General Manager.

Board meetings have generally been open to all AMS members, excluding closed session, which Board members vote to enter, according to past chairs.

In an email Chishti, ArtSci ’15, sent to the Journal Editors in Chief explaining the decision, she wrote that shareholders are “in general” not permitted at Board meetings.

Board policy — which outlines its mandate and operational procedures — makes no mention of guest attendance or the Journal covering meetings, which has been prohibited according to Chishti.

“While we are a student government first, we are also a corporation that works with a lot of high level confidential matters that encompasses anything from the risk level of the ReUnion Street Festival,” she wrote, “to service goal plans and budgets to the long term future of each individual service and everything in between, like personnel matters and remuneration.”

She added in the email that having discussions tweeted and reported on “sometimes inaccurately by guests” — including the Journal, which has attended and live-tweeted meetings several times this year — doesn’t allow for “critical and meaningful discussion and engagement” or “better external coverage”.

“As a Board, we absolutely have a responsibility to our shareholders and the wider student body, and as we have done so for years, we will continue to provide full reports to the assembly of the discussions and decisions made at Board,” she wrote.

Chishti told the Journal in the email interview that although guest passes were issued last year, they rarely had people coming to meetings.

“Typically in the summer when we have a lot of service cap expenses coming through so we may get service managers, as election season approaches ­— we sometimes get candidates but it’s typically no guest at all.”

Chishti said they’re unlikely to edit the policy to include references to the Journal, other media coverage or students-at-large.

“We always have been very open in terms of providing information to Assembly or to the Journal (and anyone else who asks), so we’re not exactly closed about any of our results or processes,” she said.

She added that their decision was based around balancing potentially inaccurate guest coverage with “transparency to the student body”.

“[W]e did decide that we do provide reports that are public every 2 weeks and don’t keep anything that’s not confidential or personnel related to ourselves,” Chishti said.

“Allowing for the Board to speak more freely and actually make decisions that are in the best interest of the student body and the AMS Corporation is incredibly important.”

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