AMS Assembly approves final motion to dissolve Commission of Environmental Affairs

Fall term break plebiscite question results revealed, Phys Ed program to officially close

Credit: 
Journal file photo

AMS Assembly this Thursday began with heartfelt congratulations being given to all the various executive candidates and elections teams for their work over the past two weeks of campaigns. 

However, quickly after, the room turned their focus to the dissolution of the Commission of Environmental Affairs (CEA), Fall Term Break, and a closed session to discuss Non-Academic Misconduct.

Commission of Environmental Affairs to be officially dissolved after final reading

After a long series of questions from concerned members-at-large, AMS Assembly officially ratified the motion to dissolve the CEA.

Vice President (University Affairs) Carolyn Thompson introduced the final reading of the motion and announced that the executive team plans to create an internally restricted fund of $30,000 to ensure that sustainability remains a priority throughout the AMS.

Member-at-large Amy O’Rourke asked whether The Earth Centre will be able to become a club upon dissolution of the CEA, to which Commissioner of Environmental Affairs Liam Dowling and AMS President Tyler Lively reassured her that it would.

Member-at-large Diana Yoon asked whether the SLC has a sustainability mandate going forward, to which Vice President (Operations) Dave Walker responded that the restructuring of the SLC involved “increasing the time commitment of Operations Manager to add a sustainability mandate” and hiring a new permanent Facilities Officer on staff.

When asked by a member-at-large whether Queen’s Sustainability Week would continue in light of the dissolution, Dowling responded that to the best of his knowledge the week would be cancelled next year.

However, in a follow-up response, Thompson promised that the executive team would advocate for the continuation of Sustainability Week going forward.

Aesculapian Society Junior Representative Julia Milden inquired as to what motivated the executive team to dissolve the committee, to which Lively explained that it was something that had come up about a year ago in their goal planning after realizing the AMS had continually fallen short in terms of sustainability.

“It’s not uncommon for the AMS to make operational changes like this without a broad student consultation,” Lively said.

After about an hour of debate and discussion, the motion went to a vote — it passed 27 to six, with one abstention.

Fall Term Break Plebiscite Question Results

Lively announced the results of the Fall Term Break plebiscite question listed on the winter referendum. The results indicated that 4,152 students voted for option one, and 3,708 students voted for option two, which works out to 52.8 per cent versus 47.2 per cent.

Option one would push move-in day back by one full week, placing it on the Sunday, eight days before Labour Day. Orientation Week would begin on move-in day and last for seven days, ending on the following Sunday. Classes would begin the Tuesday after Labour Day, and a four-day long Fall Term Break would occur from the Tuesday to the Friday after Thanksgiving.

A discussion then followed about how the AMS should advocate for the best interest of students with regards to this issue, and Lively moved to add a motion to the agenda stating that the AMS Assembly should endorse option one when negotiating with administration.

The motion went to a vote, which passed 24 to 6, with two abstentions.

Reports

In his President’s Report, Lively announced that they will be selecting an architect by Reading Week, who will carry out future JDUC renovations. He also revealed that the graduate residence space in the JDUC will be reallocated as student life and club spaces.

Commissioner of Academic Affairs Leah Brockie wrote in her report that the AAC has been working with the library to build a Syllabus Bank system, which would allow the library website to have an Exam Bank-like portal for course syllabi.

Commissioner of Social Issues Lea Keren has created a proposal for a new salaried position within the SIC called the “Equity Affairs Manager.” The job involves working 15 hours a week, from September to April, in which the manager would seek to oversee the internal operations of the commission.

Keren also announced that the Committee Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (CARED) will be receiving a space in the JDUC.

Assembly voted to create a new award called the AMS Peer Support Award, to be awarded annually to students who make an outstanding impact in supporting the mental well being of another student at Queen’s and contribute to supporting the Queen’s community.

AMS Assembly attendees were required to sign a confidentiality agreement as the meeting moved into a closed session to discuss the state of AMS Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM), facilitated by Judicial Affairs Manager Ryan Pistorius. Pistorius also published in his public report a variety of graphs and charts reflecting NAM statistics ranging from May 2011 to December 2016. 

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