AMS Assembly: compensation policy for student labour in the works

Assembly discusses equity efforts; ratifies Environmental Sustainability Commissioner

Members of AMS Assembly had their discussion on Zoom, a video-chat platform.
Photo: 

AMS Assembly met over Zoom on Thursday evening for its first meeting of the 2020-21 academic year.

The meeting focused on the ratification of budgets for various AMS commissions and discussed various topics that have recently grown in awareness, like Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII).

The Assembly officially ratified Molly Urquhart as the Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability (CES), which is a new position on the AMS Senior Management team in 2020-21.

However, the executive said the commission currently has no budget—any funds it may require will come from the Vice-President (University Affairs) special projects line.

“We’re really excited to have her on, we think this is a really, really important gap that has been filled and that she’ll do a lot of really important work this year,” Alexia Henriques, AMS       vice-president (University Affairs), told Assembly.

According to Henriques, the AMS is also working to alter the AMS Food Bank’s operations in the coming months and develop a proactive safety campaign for homecoming.

EDII

“We wanted to recognize the shortcomings and inequities that have occurred within the AMS as an institution, but also within our academic institution: Queen’s,” Jared den Otter, AMS president, told Assembly.

He opened up the floor to student leaders from the Arts & Science Undergraduate Society, Engineering Society, Nursing Science Society, and Commerce Society to discuss how they’ve acted upon EDII commitments.

“The way that I see this is it’s a chance for us all to work together to be better, to make positive change, to commit to long-term goals, and not let the momentum that we’ve created this summer fade away,” den Otter said.

He added that the AMS is working to add a social issues tab to its website to connect students with resources.

Alex Samoyloff, AMS vice-president (operations), said she’s working on revisiting corporate mandates of AMS services to make hiring as equitable as possible.

Henriques said the Senate Orientation Activity Review Board has created an EDII working group to review orientation activities and hiring practices.

The working group is scheduled to provide recommendations on how to make orientation more inclusive by November.

According to Henriques, the AMS will also be adding an International Affairs Deputy to the Campus Affairs Commission to represent international students in the AMS. The position will be hired in the coming weeks.

Compensation Policy

The AMS is working on a compensation policy that would see students compensated—ranging from a meal paid for by the AMS to an hourly rate of $25 per hour—for helping the AMS through consultations, meetings, and focus groups.

Charlotte Galvani, AMS commissioner of campus affairs, said the policy was inspired by student-run Instagram accounts like ‘Stolen by Smith,’ ‘Erased by FEAS,’ and ‘AMSxposed’ that detailed experiences of discrimination at Queen’s.

“After all the Instagram accounts came out, it really made us reflect at the AMS how we wanted to utilize our money to be able to properly compensate and recognize the work that students put in that allow us to create policies for them,” Galvani said.

The proposal will be voted on in the next AMS assembly on Oct. 15.

“Our vision for consultations […] it’s like bringing people in and being able to have conversations with them as opposed to utilizing people’s stories on ‘Stolen By Smith’,” she said.

Want to see more like this? Subscribe to our newsletter, Campus Catch-Up to receive regular updates right in your inbox.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.