Nearly 16 per cent of undergraduates opt out of AMS membership

Opt-out rates lower than expected across services, according to AMS president

Nearly 16 per cent of undergraduates opted out of AMS membership.
Journal File Photo

After fee opt-out numbers were finalized under the Student Choice Initiative (SCI), AMS President Auston Pierce told The Journal the rates were lower than expected.

Announced by the Ford government in January, the SCI is a policy that allows students to opt out of fees deemed non-essential by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). Because the opt-out period lasted for the month of September and students had the ability to appeal their opt-out choices into early October, the AMS could not confirm the opt-out numbers until after Oct. 11.

 “Although many organizations and services on campus and in our community have been negatively impacted, the opt-out rates are lower than what was expected,” Pierce wrote in a statement to The Journal. “This serves to demonstrate that our peers care deeply about our community and about the services, opportunities, and mission of the AMS, Faculty Societies, and other organizations across our campus.”

15.83 per cent of undergraduate students opted out of the AMS membership fee, which allows students to work at AMS services and vote in elections. 21.23 per cent of students opted out of both the AMS food bank fee and the campus safety and risk fee.

25.47 per cent of students opted out of The Queen’s Journal.

Nearly 24 per cent of students opted out of the sustainability action fund, and 25.29 per cent opted out of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) fee.

24.53 per cent of students opted out of the Tricolour Yearbook, while 20.63 per cent of students opted out of Accessibility Queen’s.

At the Oct. 28 Senate meeting, Tom Harris, interim provost and vice-principal (Academic), said the AMS food bank lost $1,500 in funding resulting from the SCI.

Harris also said the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) lost $4,500, and Queen’s legal aid clinic lost $22,000.

“Although the AMS is able to continue its work for students, the potential for significant damage to the student experience will exist each year with insecure operational funding,” Pierce said.

“We hope that the provincial government will reconsider this mandate, as it hinders future AMS teams from working to ambitiously improve the lives and experiences of our peers and compounds cuts to vital services in our province."

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