AMS Assembly outlines cuts & restructuring

Queen’s Model Parliament on probation, cuts to Society commissions

President Martinez addresses Assembly.
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Student Choice Initiative cuts and changes

AMS President Miguel Martinez provided a presentation to Assembly on Thursday outlining the changes to the Society following the Student Choice Initiative, which allows students to opt-out of non-essential fees. 

Following the Society’s restructuring earlier this month, numerous positions, committees, and programs have been dissolved.

Among the changes were the Academic and Municipal Affairs commissions being combined into the Commission of External Advocacy. Several cuts were made within that commission, including the Boys and Girls club of Kingston, the Breakfast Club, the United Way Committee, the Kaleidoscope club, and the Provincial Advocacy Committee.

Martinez added the Society is currently reconsidering its status in the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and will likely bring that to discussion at the next Assembly.

Within the Commission of Campus Activities, cuts include the Recreation Committee, the ReUnion Street Festival, Orientation Round Table Coordinator, and the Deputy Commissioner.

Queen’s Model Parliament (QMP) is under one-year probation and the Board of Directors will decide at the end of next year whether the conference will continue. 

Martinez said the Society is maintaining the conference, despite its increasing deficit, due to recognition of its “historical importance.”

He added the Society is uncomfortable about turning the conference into a club because “they have acquired a significant amount of liaison with the federal government.”

“If it continues to run a deficit, the Board of Directors will likely make the recommendation to Assembly to dissolve the conference,” he said. 

Within the Commission of Social Issues, cuts include the Mental Health Awareness Committee, the Students for Sustainability Committee, the Students Against Poverty Committee, the Indigenous Affairs Deputy, and the Equity Affairs Manager. 

Martinez said one thing the Society considered when making cuts to the Social Issues Commission was “the impact those services are having and what they’re actually doing,” as well as whether other clubs or university services were doing “the same thing.” 

While hours were reduced for certain positions, nothing was cut from the Office the Secretariat. For example, the Judicial Affairs Manager position’s hours were reduced from 25 to 15. 

“Following the recent events of myself from this past year, the Judicial Affairs Office will now fall under the Secretary, removing its direct correlation, direct link to the [AMS] executive,” Martinez said. He added this will create an “arm’s length from the executive.”

More general changes include moving the Assistant Clubs Director from a salaried position to a volunteer position. 

Martinez said the Society’s corporate side will face significant reductions in management opportunities. 

“This solves two issues,” he continued. “It solves the issue of the fact that we can’t afford to pay all these managers anymore, but it also solves the issue of not having enough people to be the manager on duty.” 

He said these will be replaced by a supervisor position. 

“We were already moving in that direction before the Student Choice Initiative, however the Student Choice Initiative was kind of the cherry on top,” he said. 

Martinez also said the Operations Officer will have more decision-making power for services to make them financially sustainable. 

 

Board of Directors Report

According to Mikela Page, chair of the Board of Directors, interviews for the external investigation into President Martinez will be wrapping up this week and a report will be released later in March. 

 

Discussion

According to President Martinez, the University is considering removing “O Canada” from convocation and asked the Assembly to take a stance on the issue.

Assembly members questioned why the University would choose to maintain “God Save the Queen” but remove Canada’s national anthem.

Rector Alex Da Silva and Social Issues Commissioner Myriam-Morênikê Djossou pointed out certain groups like international or Indigenous students may not feel comfortable with the inclusion of the national anthem during convocation. 

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