Petition launched to repeal dissolving of CEA

AMS President Lively says decision won’t be reversed

AMS Commissioner of Environmental Affairs Liam Dowling during the AMS Assembly on Jan. 19 where he was unable to comment on the dissolution of his own commission due to his bid for CESA Presidency.

On Feb. 3, a petition to reverse the AMS dissolution of the Commission on Environmental Affairs (CEA) went live online, but, according to AMS President Tyler Lively, it won’t change anything. 

Following a first reading on Jan. 19 and a second reading on Feb. 2, the CEA was officially dissolved via AMS Assembly vote, with responsibilities regarding sustainability and environmentalism to be re-allocated among remaining AMS commissions. 

However, last Friday, Earth Centre Manager of Operations, Amy O’Rourke, ArtSci ’17, decided to create an online petition in hopes of bringing the decision to a student-wide referendum. 

“Reverse the decision to dissolve the Commission of Environmental Affairs,” according to O’Rourke, was born from her discontent regarding the haste with which the decision was made, as well as the lack of consultation with the student body and AMS Commissioner of Environmental Affairs, Liam Dowling. 

Dowling was unable to provide any consultation on the subject during the two Assembly meetings, as he took a leave of absence from his position at the same time to run for President of the Concurrent Education Students’ Association.

“While seeking to spread sustainability through the whole of the AMS is an admirable feat, dissolving the CEA is removing a resource and focused entity with substantial knowledge of the sustainability going-ons in the AMS,” the petition reads. 

“This plan was a surprise to the student body & CEA volunteers when it was announced in January 2017.” The current goal is to reach 330 signatures, with a tally of 237 as of Monday. 

However, the petition doesn’t currently have a mechanism for ensuring signatories are verified Queen’s students. That fact was noted by Lively in an email to The Journal

“We will not be reversing our decision because of an online petition that can be signed by non-Queen’s students,” he said. “The closure of the CEA happened through a fair, open, and democratic process.”

He added that O’Rourke’s petition contained “inaccurate information,” saying it was “information which we have corrected on a number of occasions.” In place of the CEA, the AMS has indicated their new plan includes a transition committee and internal fund that can be accessed by other commissions for sustainability initiatives. 

“We are working to strengthen the AMS’s commitment to environmental sustainability and those behind this petition seem to only be interested in preserving an ineffective commission,” Lively said. 

However, for O’Rourke, the pushback is important to send a message to the AMS team. “This sets a dangerous precedent,” she said, “for the way important decisions are made.”

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