JDUC renovations to commence May 2021

AMS Assembly talks revitalization project, society elections

AMS Assembly gathered on Nov. 7.
Photo: 
AMS Assembly convened on Nov. 7 to discuss student election procedure and hear an update about the JDUC renovation.
 
AMS President report
 
In his report to Assembly, AMS President Auston Pierce encouraged all students to attend Patrick Deane’s open conversation sessions. According to Pierce, “the University is working with us to make these sessions as accessible as possible to everyone within our community.” 
 
He plans to be in attendance, along with both AMS vice-presidents and other members of the AMS team, for as many of these sessions as possible.
 
Pierce also reported on the suspension of the duty to disclose requirements on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy. He encouraged all students to voice their opinions during the feedback period, which will last until Nov. 22.
 
Vice-President (Operations) report
 
Jessica Dahanayake, vice-president (Operations), focused her report on her collaboration with Queen’s Period, the University chapter of the Period Movement, whose mission is to “end period poverty and stigma through service, education, and advocacy within the Queen’s and Kingston communities,” according to their AMS webpage. 
 
Queen’s Period installed Take1Leave1 bins in female and gender-neutral washrooms in the JDUC and the Queen’s Centre that contain menstrual products. The bins are intended to foster a “culture of caring and awareness for our peers who menstruate,” according to Dahanayake.
 
She said the bins are “for those who are in a pinch for a product.”
 
Dahanayake noted the bins have been both successful and fairly self-sustaining since installation. To keep them stocked, the AMS and Queen’s Period will be holding period drives throughout the week.
 
In its collaboration with the AMS, Queen’s Period will also send out a survey to students. 
 
“The purpose of the survey is to understand what Queen’s students want for themselves and their peers,” Dahanayake said. 
 
The survey will determine whether students have had to sacrifice food or rent funds to pay for menstrual products, whether they consider menstrual products luxury or non-luxury items, and whether they have had to miss class and other academic obligations due to menstruation.  
 
“This hasn’t been talked about enough on campus,” Dahanayake said. “We will use this data [collected from the survey] to see what action needs to be taken, and what we should ask from the government in relation to period accessibility.”
 
JDUC update
 
In a presentation to Assembly, Chloe Draeger, special projects officer, said construction on the JDUC revitalization would begin in May 2021 and take 22 months.
 
Draeger also addressed the failed attempts to establish a JDUC student fee in January of 2018. The fee failed narrowly, and feedback surveys indicated that students felt an $89 fee was too high.
 
“[In the] summer of 2018, we brought it back to the drawing board,” Draeger said, “We re-engaged with Queen’s Physical Plant Services, we brought on a new team of architects, and we invested heavily in talking to our students.”
 
 
Draeger also highlighted the attention paid to make the redevelopment of the JDUC environmentally conscious.
 
“We’re proud that the JDUC project is now targeting theLEEDgold certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system which will place it at the cutting edge of environmental stewardship models on this campus.”
 
Signature requirements for referenda and AMS elections
 
Pierce also presented on signature requirements for referenda and AMS elections.
 
“One of the big goals for us and our team is to make sure that AMS elections are as accessible and competitive as possible,” Pierce said.
 
He said that one of the main focuses in a review of AMS elections was how they run, specifically during the nomination period.
 
Currently, candidates running for AMS office are required to collect 320 signatures from students within AMS membership.
 
“That can be a barrier to a lot of people,” he said. “It can be a very time-consuming process, especially when it all has to be written down by hand.”
 
Concerns raised about the accessibility included rules that banned potential candidates from talking about their platforms with nomination signatories and the time constraints placed on platform development because of the lengthy nomination process.
 
COMPSA president Nana Boateng proposed the idea of using an online signature system in lieu of handwritten signatures during the pre-election period.
 
Dahanayake responded by saying that online programs would be more flexible and allow the AMS elections team to easily discern AMS members from students without a membership.
 
Pierce said that he was in favour of an online system, acknowledging that it would also resolve privacy concerns about students walking around with lists of student numbers.
 

Corrections

This article was updated to reflect the correct estimated time of completion for the JDUC according to Chloe Draeger.

The Journal regrets the error.

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