Assembly passes stricter referendum rules

Nov. 19 AMS assembly recap: AMS vote for new definitions of mandatory fees, announces that fall referendum was nullified

Credit: 
Graphic by Ashley Quan

Issues of student fees and the nullification of the fall referendum were on the table at AMS assembly Thursday night.

All motions were passed, including amendments to new student activity fee policies and the ratification of Jon Wiseman as commissioner of internal affairs and William Benwood as assistant clubs manager.

The assembly had been scheduled to discuss proposed changes to election policy, but the AMS executive cancelled the discussion and tabled it for a later date.

Proposed changes to Student Fee Policy passed

Vice President (Operations) Kyle Beaudry presented to assembly what he called the key proposed changes to student fee policy.

The proposed changes would include a new definition for what is considered a mandatory fee. For a fee to be mandatory, it must be proven that it is essential to all student life and sustains primary facilities and services.

The changes will also let students opt-out of fees that go to charitable organizations to reflect student choice and create a stricter definition of what constitutes an external group.

The policy will also prevent groups who have been defeated during the referendum period from returning to referendum later that year.

The motion passed with some opposition.

Nullification of the fall referendum

President Kanivanan Chinniah made a statement confirming the nullification of the fall referendum. See the full story here.

During question period, a member of Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC) asked Chinniah why the groups that were directly affected by the AMS’s mistake weren’t invited to the closed session to provide their opinions. Chinniah answered that he regrets the AMS’s mistake, but they had received legal advice to limit the closed session to members of the AMS assembly.

Hiring committee for a new Chief Electoral Officer

Sarah Letersky, vice president (university affairs), put forth a motion to strike a hiring panel to select the new Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for the remainder of the academic year. The motion passed unanimously and the assembly voted on nominees for the selection process.

The nominees for the hiring panel include:

·        Julie Tseng, EngSoc President

·        Matthew Lawson, EngSoc representative

·        Connor Bevans, ComSoc representative

·        Max Garcia, COMPSA President

Conference and charity student fee discussion period

In discussion period, Beaudry asked the assembly if they thought the threshold for passing student fees should be higher than 50 per cent. The consensus among members of assembly was that mandatory student fees should have a higher voting threshold than opt-out fees.

In the second part of the discussion, the assembly debated whether student fees should fund single events that already receive user fees.

Jennifer Williams, clubs manager, said that it’s hard to define conferences as a single event, because they often run promotional events leading to their most popular one. Alex Wood, the EngSoc vice president, said the challenge of defining conferences can be mitigated with a bursary for participants.

The discussion concluded with a vote on whether the AMS should look into the feasibility of a campus-wide conference bursary. The assembly was unanimously in favour of the idea.

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