Affirmative action taken by Queen's Socialists executive

AMS and Human Rights Office concerned by self-nomination requirement, says Clubs Manager

The self-nomination form for Queen's Socialists Executive team.

On Nov. 20, the Queen’s Socialists  (QS) will be holding an election to fill three vacant positions on their executive team. However, the requirements for self-nomination have prompted concern from both the AMS and the Queen’s Human Rights Office. 

According to the Queen’s Socialists’ self-nomination form, which was posted on their Facebook page, “the Queen’s Socialists constitution states that a majority of the executive should identify as any of the following: a person of colour, transgender, nonbinary, and/or a woman.” 

The “equity requirement,” as it’s written on the nomination form, states that it’s designed to ensure preferential representation for oppressed groups of people on the club’s executive. 

Nominees who don’t meet the equity requirement are allowed and encouraged to run, the form states. However, the requirement may disqualify applicants during the elections process if the maximum number of executives who don’t meet the requirement has been filled.

An applicant must also disclose all Queen’s  clubs, governing bodies and unions in which the applicant holds a membership or position, as well as any student advocacy groups in which they hold an elected position. 

QS member Callum Tomkins Flanagan, ArtSci ’18, was involved in drafting the new policy. 

In an interview with The Journal, she said that “even though the executive doesn’t have explicit authority, just the ability to come up with proposals, we want to guarantee that it won’t be dominated by cis white men.”

According to Flanagan, the requirement published on the self-nomination form is actually a “relaxed” version of QS’ initial proposal. 

“It’s not a nice reality or something we wanted to go with but it’s something we had to do with respect to actual people who would run ... originally our policy was that more than half [of executive positions] be people of colour and more than half be transgender and/or women.”

When contacted about the election process, both the AMS and the Queen’s Human Rights Office expressed concerns. In an email to The Journal, AMS Clubs Manager Grace Kim stated that she had been previously unaware of such an action taking place. 

“There is no known case of affirmative action by AMS clubs,” she stated.

“While the AMS believes that clubs should maintain autonomy over their practices and procedures, after discussions with the Queen’s University Human Rights Office, we share their concerns regarding the fact that the Queen’s Socialists require [executives] to self-identify as one of the groups that have been listed.” 

All AMS clubs have a process that ensures equal opportunity of involvement for all students, she wrote, explaining that “students who identify as one of these groups may not feel comfortable disclosing this in an application to a group of students they do not know.”

Kim also noted that all AMS clubs are required to send updates made to their constitution to the AMS Clubs Manager — as per Policy Manual 1, Section 7, Part 2A of the AMS constitution. 

The affirmative action statement is not in the QS constitution that has been provided to the AMS clubs office, nor the one published on the Queen’s Socialists website as of Thursday morning.  

“We are currently waiting on Queen’s Socialists to send us an updated version of their constitution so that we may review it and ensure that it is in line with AMS Policy,” Kim wrote. 

“We would have helped the Queen’s Socialists with the concerns above, however we do not have their updated constitution.”

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