Instagram account ‘AMSxposed’ documents alleged working conditions in student government

AMS Board of Directors launch independent review of allegations made against the Society

The AMS said it’s “continuing to read and reflect on each post” shared by the account.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Instagram account ‘AMSxposed’ launched Monday to document the alleged  “unhealthy, unjust, and at times illegal experiences of student workers” within the Alma Mater Society (AMS).

The launch of the platform follows the release of Instagram accounts ‘Stolen by Smith’ and ‘Erased by FEAS,’ which were created in July. 

The owners of AMSxposed, who remain anonymous but claim to have previously worked for the AMS, told The Journal they launched the account because they “felt a responsibility to do whatever [they] could to stop the exploitation of student labour.”

“During our time at the AMS, we were constantly told stories similar to the ones shared on this page,” the account owners wrote. “Many students would explain how they felt silenced and worthless as employees of the AMS (ourselves included).” 

They took to Instagram because they felt changes wouldn’t occur without public pressure and accountability for the AMS’s “unhealthy culture and unethical policies.” 

READ MOREFollowing criticism, AMS & Rector share support for Stolen by Smith account

The account had gained 299 followers at the time of publication. 

“Every year, the AMS leadership promises to change, promises to start prioritizing its students, and every year, they perpetuate the same cycle of violence against their employees that are unwilling to conform,” the account owners wrote. “[W]e felt students need to be adequately warned about the realities of the AMS.”

Anonymous posts capture a range of students’ experiences while working for the AMS to demonstrate that the Society’s issues are part of the structure of the organization and not the product of one executive team. 

However, the account owners noted that some stories directly address the COVID-19 pandemic and “subsequent poor treatment of service staff,” which captures the current AMS executive’s “complicity in the AMS’s continual abuse of student workers.”

“[T]he AMS leadership team have no way to know just how many of these stories are shared by their current staff,” the account owners wrote.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the AMS said it’s “continuing to read and reflect on each post” shared by the account.

“The stories being shared are serious, upsetting and not in keeping with the culture at the AMS,” wrote the Society.

READ MORE: AMS releases equity action plan outlining commitments to QTBIPOC students

The AMS Board of Directors has started an investigation into every story shared because of a legal obligation to investigate all the claims, regardless of when the event occurred.

However, the AMS also noted each submission could potentially result in consequences for the individuals depicted within them and asked those submitting stories to ensure they reflect a factual account of the experience. 

In a disclaimer shared through the account, the owners wrote that its “content has not been verified” and they don’t “claim responsibility for the veracity of the comments made.”

The Board, which independently oversees AMS operations, functions as a neutral resource for individuals who would like to share their own experiences or provide additional information about an experience shared through the account. 

“They will be investigating the claims made on this account and will seek the assistance of external professionals where appropriate,” the AMS wrote, clarifying that the board’s investigation will be conducted independently from the AMS Executive, Senior Leadership Team, and Permanent Staff. 

The account owners said all external professionals used to investigate the claims should be publicly identified by the AMS to students.

READ MORE: ‘Erased by FEAS’ captures systemic discrimination in the Faculty of Engineering

“The safety and health of our staff is paramount to us,” the AMS wrote. “It is clear that a culture change must occur.”

Individuals with concerns about the current term are encouraged to contact Director of Human Resources Eve Garrison, President Jared den Otter, Vice-President (Student Affairs) Alexia Henriques, or Vice-President (Operations) Alexandra Samoyloff. They can also file an anonymous report to Human Resources.

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