AMS Assembly Recap: Nov. 29

JDUC

AMS Assembly voted on Thursday to call a special referendum for a JDUC redevelopment fee in January.

Liam Tharp, vice-president (operations), told Assembly efforts like town halls have increased student engagement in the JDUC redevelopment process. He added the Society was addressing concerns surrounding the redevelopment fee.

“The main concern that we heard was students did not want to be paying for a building they would not be seeing,” Tharp said. “As such, the fee will be lowered while the building is under construction.”

While Tharp couldn’t speak to the exact new amount, he said the architects would be returning to consult with students and host town halls from Jan. 7 to 17, during the campaign period

He said preliminary floor plans for the JDUC would be available during the town halls and are subject to change.

ASUS President Sagal Sharma raised concerns over pursuing more student consultation during the redevelopment fee campaign.

“I wish this would have been prior to January, because I think this would have been valuable information before going into a campaign,” Sharma said. “Something like showing designs would have been really beneficial prior to the start of the campaign. That is more of a concern to me than student engagement.”

Society President Miguel Martinez said the rules surrounding campaigns and referendums prevented the AMS from sharing advertising materials. Tharp added four months wasn’t enough time for the architects to present materials before December.

Afterward, Engineering Society President Carson Cook raised concerns over approving a campaign timeline without prior knowledge of the referendum details.

“There may be more pressure to approve the details if we’ve already approved the timeline,” he said.

Jamil Priani, Sci ’18 AMS representative, shared similar concerns.

“I don’t think we as an assembly can properly assess what calling this referendum would be without having this information,” Priani said. “I really like the idea of the JDUC redevelopment fee. I just don’t want to set it up for failure.”

Tharp said it was important to vote on the campaign timeline because it was the last AMS Assembly of the year and the AMS executives would need time in the new year to prepare information for the University’s Board of Trustees.

Priani suggested having the information presented to Assembly before holding a vote to call a referendum. A final vote could then determine the specific wording of the referendum’s terms. All this could be done via an online vote, he said.

Assembly then discussed potential voter fatigue. Because students will vote on the JDUC redevelopment fee in the same time period as voting in the AMS executive elections, Assembly noted either campaign might go overlooked.

Martinez said he’s “not necessarily” concerned about potential for voter fatigue, and added the AMS should “put more trust in students not to get fatigue.”

“I do encourage and expect all students to engage … Over the last couple years, from election to election, we actually do continue to see a rise in the percentage of voters,” Martinez said. He noted students didn’t experience fatigue last year, when the JDUC redevelopment fee referendum followed AMS elections.

However, Priani said last year’s voter turnout for the JDUC redevelopment fee referendum was so low that if 200 members less had voted, the AMS would’ve had to increase the percentage at which the fee would have to pass.

Tharp reiterated the efforts the AMS has made to engage students in the redevelopment process this year, and said students would know what they were voting for this time around. 

Assembly passed the motion, despite opposition.

Ratifications

AMS ratified Zoey Aliasgari to the position of Judicial Affairs Deputy, and Susie Emerson to the position of Judicial Affairs manager for the remainder of 2018-19.

 


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