In rare unanimous vote, AMS Assembly won’t endorse new alcohol policy

Engineering Society questions AMS membership implications

AMS Assembly gathered for its second meeting of the year on Oct. 15.

AMS Assembly gathered on Oct. 15 for its second meeting of the school year, voting to reject the University’s proposed alcohol policy and passing a motion to make paying the AMS membership fee mandatory to vote in student elections.

During assembly, members voted unanimously to not endorse the current draft of the University’s alcohol policy after reviewing student feedback. The move came after multiple Queen’s student governments made their opposition to the policy public during the consultation period.

Assembly originally convened on Oct. 10, but failed to make quorum.

Assembly makes AMS membership fee mandatory for voting in elections

Assembly passed a motion amending the AMS constitution to make paying the Society’s membership fee mandatory to vote in student elections.

Zaid Kassim, Engineering Society vice-president (University Affairs), raised opposition to the policy change during discussion. “This is not about the fees, but about the implications regarding clubs and elections,” Kassim said. He said elections should be open for all students regardless of membership.

Lucas Borchenko, AMS secretary of internal affairs, and the Society’s Executive responded by saying the policy change acts as a way for students to know what they are “opting into and out of.” William Greene, vice-president (University Affairs), said these decisions are made by students who believe in the value of the AMS, but admitted the situation is “unfortunate.”

“I want to just make it very clear that election and voting in AMS particular, should be open to all students regardless of membership,” Kassim said, “The AMS is still their voice, but now they are just voiceless students to me.”

The motion passed with 16 votes in favor and eight against.

AMS sees 15.1 per cent fee opt out rate

In his report, AMS President Auston Pierce informed Assembly of the rate of students who chose to opt out of once-mandatory ancillary fees under the Student Choice Initiative (SCI). 

“It will have to be something that we grapple on from here on out,” he said. “It puts a lot of our organization and our advocacy abilities at risk.”

According to Pierce, the Registrar’s Office is still processing some appeal requests, but currently 15.1 per cent of undergraduates opted out of the AMS membership.

When it came to individual fees, 21.4 per cent of undergraduates opted out of the AMS food bank, 24 per cent opted out of the Sustainability Action Fund, and 25 per cent opted out of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.

The AMS currently has not provided The Journal with a list of all fees and their opt-out numbers.

Ratifications and Motions 

Among the motions passed on Tuesday night were changes to clubs policy, the AMS Constitution, Non-Academic Policies and Procedures (NAM), and Policy Infringement Protocol and Procedures (PIP).

Assembly also ratified a number of clubs, including Queen’s Women in Leadership (QWIL), Queen’s Dancerama, Get REAL Queen’s, Queen’s University Scientista, and Canadian Association in Research in Regenerative Medicine at Queen’s. The approved organizations are all subject to individual opt-out. The body has also ratified 51 other new clubs.

Discussion about the JDUC redevelopment was tabled until next Assembly.

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