AMS Assembly: Society discusses details of compensation policy

Assembly focuses on budget for policy, definition of emotional labour

The AMS met over Zoom on Oct. 8.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

AMS Assembly met over Zoom on Oct. 8 for its second meeting of the 2020-21 school year.

The meeting focused on the Compensation Policy the AMS proposed at its last Assembly on Sept. 25. The policy will allow students to be compensated for aiding the AMS through consultations, meetings, and focus groups. 

The AMS intends to provide a range of compensation options to students, from a meal paid for by the Society to monetary compensation. 

A discussion period allowed members of Assembly to discuss any questions or concerns they had with the compensation policy. 

Matthew Mellon, AMS commissioner of external affairs, and Charlotte Galvani, AMS commissioner of campus affairs, spoke about details regarding the budget of the policy.

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Galvani noted the AMS does not foresee exceeding the budget for the policy and that budgeting will be improved during the coming years as the Society learns how it can more accurately budget for compensation. 

Mellon also said a portion of compensations provided to students would come out of the budget of the Commission of External Affairs. The reallocation of funds from this commission would be able to provide funding for the policy.

“This year especially, my budget is quite flexible; in the past my commission did have a lot of committees that worked under it and a lot of other projects that don’t necessarily need the funds they did at one point, so I have quite a bit of wiggle room within my budget,” Mellon said. “For that reason, we’re not super concerned about being able to make room for [the policy], we will just be required to reallocate funds and we don’t see significant issues with that.”

Members of Assembly also discussed the issue of emotional labour and how it should be measured when determining appropriate compensation. 

“There is a lot to consider when talking about emotional labour and a lot of it is not on paper. There is no perfect definition that can perfectly encapsulate what emotional labour is and what that kind of experience entails,” said Angela Sahi, AMS social issues commissioner.

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Sahi explained that the objective of the policy was to remove as much subjectivity regarding the definition of emotional labour as possible to ensure an unbiased consultation. She noted that emotional labour is a personal experience and isn’t always detectable when speaking with students.

“Our goal is to recognize that when students are consulting about topics that are really heavy and hard to talk about that their emotional labour be expended,” Sahi said. “What we’re trying to do is put value to that and make sure that we are compensating students for exerting that energy and effort that typically goes uncompensated.”

Sahi said that when determining whether a student is exerting emotional labour during compensations, the consultation board should consider the sharing of personal experiences to be classified as exertions of emotional labour rather than students merely reporting information. 

Galvani also explained that the values chosen during consultations will be chosen between the student(s) consulting and the person doing the consulting to ensure that both parties are on the same page as to what emotional labour entails. 

The policy is now being set forward to be presented to the AMS Board of Directors.

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