AMS winter referendum statements

See the full list of descriptions for student fees up for a vote at the fall referendum

The Journal provides free space in our print edition and online for parties on the referendum ballot. All statements are unedited.

This year, the winter election and referendum will take place on February 9th and 10th! Check your student email or go to https://queensams.simplyvoting.com/(link is external). Have your say on this year’s Executive, Undergraduate Trustee, and referenda candidates!

Any questions or concerns can be directed to the AMS Chief Electoral Officer, Laura Devenny at ceo@ams.queensu.ca(link sends e-mail) or the Secretary of Internal Affairs, Caroline Hart at secretary@ams.queensu.ca(link sends e-mail)

Please note that candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

AMS Executive Candidates

Team RTZ

Hello Queen's,

We are Team RTZ and we are vying for your vote to be elected as the Executive for the Alma Mater Society. Respectively, we have worked in various branches of student involvement since the beginning of our time at Queen’s. With our vast experience, we believe we have what it takes to significantly improve the Alma Mater Society. 

 We are honest, and we promise to speak candidly to you. Unlike many candidates in the past, our motives for running as Executive of the AMS stem from shared frustration over the inaction of the AMS this year. Over the past few years, student government at Queen’s has faced many challenges. Although we have many students to thank for leading us throughout the years, persistent failures and issues prevail within the Alma Mater Society.  

Students still lack sufficient mental health services on campus, Faculty Societies and affiliated AMS entities receive little to no support, the AMS has lost hundreds of thousands of student dollars over the years, administrative advocacy and senior management transparency is non-existent, and communication regarding detailed plans for COVID-19 have not yet been shared. The list could go on. Of the failures however, one has stood out to us. The AMS has not taken action against the abhorrent violence towards Jewish, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA2S+ students on campus. Believe us when we say it is time for actionable change.  

We are seeking your support in fostering top-down change within the AMS, facilitating sweeping restructuring to the Queen’s culture, and rebuilding the Alma Mater Society as a respected and trusted student government. These words are not empty. Team RTZ has prepared for over 5 months and has conducted hours of consultations with student leaders across campus. We have relayed everyone's sentiments in our official platform document. Please take the time to inform yourself on the actionable changes Team RTZ want to make. 

The time for action is now. Help us shake the foundation of the Alma Mater Society. 

Team TIA

Hi! Our team consists of Isaac Sahota, Amelia Cockerham and Tabassum Pasha. We are running for the positions of AMS president, VP of University Affairs and VP of Operations, respectively.

Isaac is a third-year Political studies major student, Residence Don, ASUS peer mentor who has been involved with the Social Issues Commission through the Accessibility Queens Committee for the past two years. He is deeply passionate about achieving an academic institute accessible to all, whether it be physical accessibility or financial accessibility. His direct involvement led to the renovation of the sidewalk from Watts Hall to the Tindal field parking lot and the slope angle adjustment of the sidewalks, and he brought the initiative of a needs-based bursary under the AQ a step closer to fruition. He is presently working with the Orientation team to make the 2021 orientation an accessible and welcoming one for every Queen’s community member.

Amelia Cockerham is a third year Film and Media student also working towards a certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. In her first year, she was a member of the Music in Residence team and chamber choir at the Bader International Study Centre, working to foster a sense of community on campus by organizing student events. Currently, she is a member of the Education on Queer Issues Project Committe working towards creating safe and open spaces for Queer students at Queen’s. She is passionate about fostering inclusive and accountable environments, particularly those in an educational setting.

Tabassum Pasha is in 4th year working on completing a Commerce and Biology dual degree. She worked for the Residence Society as a residence facilitator for years, working with students to create a safe and comfortable environment. Currently, she is a board member of the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre, an organization devoted to confronting all forms of oppression on campus. Outside of university, she is involved in organizing efforts to support Kingston’s unhoused community. She cares deeply about taking care of everyone in the Queen’s and extended community and creating a space where everyone can thrive.

The 2021-22 term at Queen’s will be defined by work, and team TIA is known for their work done on campus. Our team will be focussing on making campus a safe place for every community with a goal of making it physically and financially accessible to everyone. We recognize that QTBIPOC students face additional systemic barriers at the post secondary level, and therefore we will work towards dismantling these barriers while supporting the entirety of the Queen’s community. We look forward to being able to connect with everyone and present our platform.

 

Undergraduate Trustee Candidates

Jaya Sharma

It’s time that students get the change they’ve been fighting for. I have spent countless hours familiarizing myself with student concerns and planning how to maximize my time as trustee. The pillars of my platform are Continued Learning, Accessibility, Representation, and Engagement (see @jayafortrustee on Instagram). More important, however, are the goals I’ve set for my time as Trustee. I will pressure the administration to immediately implement their pledges against systemic racism and advocate for stricter measures punishing hateful behaviour on campus. I’ll establish relationships with student advocacy groups, especially marginalized populations, to get their voices heard on the board. I’ll advocate for university-wide initiatives to train students on consent and for mental health supports targeted towards survivors. I will hold the university accountable to their commitments on divestment and sustainability. I will demand immediate changes to our mental health services, including getting more funding to hire counsellors, ending same-day booking, and establishing specialized supports for BIPOC and 2sLGBTQ+ students. I’ll initiate conversations about lowering international tuition rates and implementing comprehensive mental health, career, and academic resources for International Students. This is an ever-growing list, and I’ll be continuously seeking student perspectives and feedback throughout my term, particularly from those who have felt ignored by the university’s decisions in the past. My experience as a first-year intern in the AMS has taught me that change is often hindered by institutional regulations and alienated governing bodies. So I promise you this: no matter how much time or effort it takes, and no matter how uncomfortable I have to make the administration, I will keep pushing- on every issue that means something to our students. So to all of you who (justifiably) feel that nothing will change, please let me prove you wrong.

Seyon Shelvachandren

Our campaign addresses key issues that face the Queen’s community. The goal is to promote health and safety, accessibility, as well as serve the student’s interests first before anything else.

I want to make sure that students feel heard so the campaign can be meaningful and resonate with students. I don’t like empty promises, empty promises take away the dignity from the position itself.

It’s going to be great. A lot of work is being done and I think people will like what this campaign will have to offer. I also want people to know that they can reach out to me with their concerns and if it’s feasible for the position itself, I’ll take action. Again, if it’s feasible for the position itself, I don’t like empty promises.

I also want to show that anyone can run and put up a fair fight in these kinds of elections. I’m not much of a popular guy or a part of any inside circles but I’m hoping a victory can show that any of us can get up there and make our voices heard. I’m really inspired by the last trustee who won as a minority woman in the STEM field. Though our adversity in life is certainly different, I can definitely understand some of the challenges she may have faced, being a minority myself and a male in the nursing program here at Queen’s.

I’m really thankful for being a able to be a part of the Queen’s community as it’s given me so much in the short amount of time I’ve been here, and I’m hoping I can give back to it during the rest of my time here.

 

Triennial Review

Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre

The Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre services as a home away from home for Indigenous students at Queen’s. FDISC supports the well-being of Indigenous students through holistic supports and programming. At FDISC Indigenous students have access to counselling, advising, and cultural programming to help them be successful in their studies at Queen’s. These programs include tutoring, sharing circles, sacred fires, and financial aid assistance. FDISC has offered all programming remotely and will continue to be a support for Indigenous students online.  

Helen Tufts Child Outreach

The Helen Tufts Child Outreach Project (HTCOP) offers help and support to Kingston children aged six to twelve, who may be having difficulty in school or who, for various reasons, would benefit from spending time with an older tutor once a week throughout the school year. Helping the children with basic math and reading skills is an important part of the program, but the approach is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, with the emphasis on the idea that learning is fun. 

This all-volunteer program has for many years been sponsored by Sydenham Street United Church. It should be noted that HTCOP is not a religious program. The program is now jointly offered by Frontier College and Sydenham Street U.C. The children spend about an hour and a half per week, on  Monday, or Wednesday or Thursday evenings, through the academic year at the program which is held at the church. Most of the children’s time is spent one-on-one with their buddies/tutors, but the evening also includes a group activity—such as a game—and a healthy snack organized by program supervisors. Tutors are Queen’s University students, and are all Frontier College volunteers.  Families are informed of their child’s tutor’s name, but the boundaries of the program prohibit the release of personal information of the tutors, or connection of the tutor and child on any social media networks. 

When parents or guardians cannot bring their child to the program transportation to and from the program is paid by the program. Every week a volunteer phoner from one of the congregations contacts the family to make sure that the child can attend. 

There is no charge to families for the program.    

JDUC Accessibility Fund Fee

The JDUC Accessibility Fund fee provides crucial funding for the improvement of physical accessibility features in the John Deutsch University Centre. It was previously part of the Accessibility Queen’s Fee, which supported accessibility initiatives on campus since its formation in 1988. This separate fee was created at the inception of the JDUC Redevelopment Project and has been running concurrently with it. As the main student centre on campus, the JDUC must be a building that all students can access and enjoy. The JDUC Accessibility Fund fee helps to ensure that the JDUC will become and remain barrier-free for everyone.  

Peer Support Centre

The Peer Support Centre (PSC) is a confidential, non-judgmental, and safe space for any undergraduate student on campus. The PSC provides students with empathetic peer-based support, validation, reassurance, and resource referral when needed. Some students may find it easier to connect with a person who is at a similar life stage and who may be experiencing similar life challenges. Although we are not a replacement for counselling services, we believe in the benefits that come from having an empathetic and listening ear, and a safe space to share emotions and thoughts. The PSC promotes a community of support at Queen’s and helps ensure students feel supported throughout the challenging experiences at university. 

The PSC is a unique service in that it is the only mental health resource on campus. Our service offers the undergraduate AMS community with confidential, non-judgemental, empathetic, peer-based support. Furthermore, our core values are comprised of safety, empathy, acceptance, confidentiality, and community. Our drop-in, one-on-one support provides undergraduate students the opportunity to speak with a trained, empathetic volunteer about absolutely anything. We allow students to feel heard, validated, and comforted during what can be an extremely uncomfortable time in their lives, especially this year.  

At one point or another, we all fall down, and the difference between staying down or getting back up can be as simple as having someone who’s willing to listen to you, and to let you know that you’re not crazy for feeling what you’re feeling. Our motto is “no problem is too big or small, we care about them all”. When students need someone to talk to, we’re here to listen. Drop by our Zoom rooms anytime, we’re open 7 days a week from 10:00am - 10:00pm.

Queen’s Medical Review (QMR)

The Queen’s Medical Review is a tri-annual, entirely student-run publication produced by students in the Faculty of Health Sciences, predominantly in the School of Medicine. The magazine endeavours to bridge the disciplines of medicine and the humanities, beautifully intermingling the arts and sciences. In recent years, QMR has published issues that cover topics such as love, conversation, and turning new leaves in medicine. Presently, the student fee is used primarily for publication and production (the printing and distribution of magazines). While the current status of COVID-19 has altered what this process looks like, the QMR hopes to use the fee to update their online publication software/platform and upgrade equipment so that they are able to invite more students to safely participate in the magazine.

ASUS Fee (voted on by ArtSci students only)

ASUS, ArtSci's student government, is behind many incredible parts of the ArtSci student experience – ArtSci Formal, Department Student Councils, the Personal Interest Credit, Queen’s Equity Conference, Supper Series, ASURF, and Life After ArtSci. We bring dogs to campus, students into KGH, leather jackets to Queen’s students, mentors to first years, and a hot takeout meal every two weeks to attendees of Good Times Diner. We have between 1000 and 2000 volunteers every year, a strong and passionate community, and have grown massively in the last ten years. Yet as we look ahead to the next 130 years, and the tens of thousands of students who will require service, community, and advocacy throughout them, we know we can do more.   

The ASUS130 Fee Change is how we propose to help ASUS do more for its students. Given that we represent 2/3 of the Queen’s undergraduate population, it is long overdue to introduce a third Executive member, bringing us on par with every other major Society on campus. Our students deserve the better representation, services, and advocacy a second Vice-President can bring. A change to volunteer compensation will mean that our no-experience necessary positions are compensated more fairly for the work they do for students. Finally, a change to our permanent staff structure will set the Society up for a strong future, and better services for Arts and Science. The passing of this fee change ensures immediate benefits to ArtSci students, and will make ASUS a better student government, community, and home. For the price of two cups of coffee, ASUS130 will fundamentally improve the ArtSci experience. And if you need help to pay, we've recommitted to our ASUS membership bursary for the next five years. Visit queensasus.com, or find us on our social media, for more information.

ASUS Orientation (voted on by ArtSci students only)

ASUS, and its sibling societies PHEKSA, COMPSA, and CESA, are jointly responsible for Arts and Science Orientation. Known for its fantastic traditions, exciting events, and amazing community-building, Arts and Science Orientation is the perfect welcome to Queen’s. It raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society, innovates with exciting events like the Mudmoiselle Mud Race, and puts on exciting events for the entire Queen’s Community, like Sidewalk Sale. This fee brings the Arts and Science community together to support Orientation.

One aspect of the proposed fee involves Orientation accessibility. Because all expenses are covered by first year registration, and the costs of Orientation have continued to rise, increased fees have made Orientation less accessible. As a result, we propose to cover some ASUS Orientation expenses with this new Arts and Science Orientation Fee, lowering costs to first years. Similarly, new funding from ASUS for Sibling Societies’ Orientations can help preserve their distinct identities and programming, while directly lowering costs for first year students. All four of these Orientations are vital to building community and introducing students to their peers, and keeping them accessible is vital.

A final part of the fee concerns ASUS Orientation. The Head Gael, four chairs, 36 Orientation Coordinators, and hundreds of Gaels welcome Arts and Science students with incredible energy, spirit, and passion. However, planning extensive programming for thousands of students is time-consuming work. Currently, that work comes with very limited compensation. In order to ensure that these positions are open to students regardless of financial backgrounds, and to ensure a reduced fee for Orientation attendees, a small fee can cover Chairs’ currently unpaid full-time August work. Similarly, the Arts and Science community can ensure that some meals are paid for the 36 OCs who put countless hours into organizing each event uncompensated.

Queen’s American Sign Language

Queens American Sign Language (QASL) offers students a free and engaging environment to learn sign language. Students with any level of background knowledge of ASL are encouraged to attend our Level 1 class and practice space taught by a Deaf instructor every Sunday! New members are always welcome throughout the year. Next year, QASL will establish a level 1 beginner class and level 2 advanced class with your support. We also host workshops with other clubs and services where we teach ASL, Deaf and Hard of Hearing history and culture, and cater to the theme and goals of our partner club, business, or affiliated group. QASL is the first and only ASL related club or group on Queen’s campus and we have worked extensively with Queen's students to create a more inclusive and accessible environment for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at the University. QASL intends to continue bridging the gap between the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities and the hearing community, and our classes at Queen’s are only one component of how we intend to make Queen’s more accessible! If you are interested in joining our classes, join our Facebook groups on our Facebook: Queen’s American Sign Language. You can also visit our website for more information, to access resources, view our blog, or keep up to date with our activities: https://queensasl.wixsite.com/qasl. We are also active on our Instagram: @queensasl. Please feel free to reach out with any questions about our activities or if you are interested in getting involved with our classes or learning about how you can contribute to making Queen’s more accessible!

Queen’s Asian Students’ Association

As the oldest cultural club on campus, the objective of Queen’s Asian Students’ Association is to provide a safe and welcoming community while promoting inclusivity and diversity for the Queen’s community while breaking the stigma surrounding the Asian culture. Specifically, QASA aims to promote the Asian culture on campus through hosting a variety of social events such as Noodle Night, SingCon Gala, and Night Market to bring everyone together and celebrate Asian culture! We also hope to continue and promote the discussion of racial injustice with the Queen’s Community.  

Queen’s Protecting Animal Welfare Society

Queen’s Protecting animal welfare society (QPAWS) is a student-run organization that aims to raise funds and awareness for animals in need in the Kingston community. QPAWS organizes social media campaigns to draw attention to the hardships animals face while in shelters and what can be done to help them. QPAWS also works with sponsors and partners to conduct raffle giveaways to raise money for the Kingston Humane Society. The Kingston Humane Society is very understaffed and needs as much help as they can get.  Curious? If you want to get involved or just want to know more, please reach out to qpaws@clubs.queensu.ca

Follow QPAWS on Instagram at www.instagram.com/qpawsqueens/ or like QPAWS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/qpawsqueens/ to get the latest updates throughout the year.

Queen’s Squirrel Watching Club

The Queen’s Squirrel Watching Club was founded in 2018 to bring together the members of the Queen’s community and the furry friends that share it with us. Our goal is to improve the local environment in which squirrels reside, raise awareness regarding our woodland friends and join together like-minded individuals with a passion for squirrels. QSWC is the perfect place for anyone wanting to get involved with the Queen’s community in a nutty fashion! Our involvement has expanded from the Queen’s student body to the greater Kingston community. We have presented at the Kingsbridge retirement community, done interviews with the community members to gather their opinions on squirrels, and aim to become a sponsor for the Kingston Humane Society.  

Queen’s Television

Queen’s Television, or QUTV, is a student run news-network that aims to serve as an inclusive platform through news broadcasts as well as other segments. What started as a few students coming together to create an organization in which campus news was accessible, informative, and entertaining grew to a club where students collaborate, create, and connect with the Queen’s community and greater Kingston community.  

Queen’s Television also provides students with the opportunity to participate in video production, learn and gain real experience in journalism, and work other avenues such as marketing, events, finances, and graphic design. While Queen’s does not have a program for journalism, Queen’s Television’s existence hopes to fill this need and provide student with experience in reporting, research and story finding. We believe that these are all necessary skills for students looking to branch out in this industry, by also giving them modern ways of reporting, and gaining experience with the basic technology that the industry uses. 

Through many collaborations with Queen’s organizations and Kingston businesses, Queen’s Television continues to develop its relationships in the community to give both incoming and current students a sense of familiarity with the place we call home. We strive to build a place where students and residents can find something of interest to read, watch and learn about through our platform. By helping support Queen’s Television, you will help us in supporting our students and community.

Queen’s Applied Biotechnology Club

We are a group of undergraduate students who are passionate about the advancement of biotechnology in several sub-fields including medicine, ecology, nutrition, agricultural, renewable energy and more. We aim to create new methods and technologies in the field as well as reproducing previously established technologies and experiments. We do this with the intention of giving all interested students the opportunity to learn more about the rapidly progressing field of biotechnology as well as push the field ourselves. 

We hold weekly meetings and host socials, fundraisers and other events for members and prospective members, the details to which can be found on our Facebook page.

QUCraft

QUCraft hosts the Queen’s Minecraft campus recreation project and survival server. We are one of the largest projects of this kind in Canada. Over 450 students from various years have joined our server and collaborated to help the ongoing build of the campus so students can visit their beloved university from the comfort of their computer. We have a vibrant and active community of students playing together and collaborating on many amazing projects. We aren’t just a Minecraft club; we are a community who supports and welcomes everyone. Many students in our club use our server to reconnect with friends and make new friends with common interests. Our members have expressed a deep sense of belonging to our community. Check us out at https://qucraft.me!

We also host biweekly events, engaging students in fun and exciting activities. For example, Dragon Rush, where students team up to beat the Ender Dragon, or the Campus Hunger Games, where students play the classic Minecraft hunger games while exploring the virtual campus. We have collaborated with other groups such as COMPSA to create events like the Halloween Minecraft Pumpkin decoration contest. Our events have consistently attracted many students who love to interact with their peers and look forward to these exciting activities.

As we have a large group of students and a feature-rich server, we pay a monthly server hosting fee. Currently, the server is paid for through the support of our student members. However, students should not need to worry that they will lose their community if they don’t donate. Using the opt-out fees, we will be able to pay for our server, and potentially upgrade it to allow for more diverse activities. In addition, having this source of funding will allow us to run more exciting events, and reach more students across campus.

Queen’s CODE

Queen’s CODE is a new group at Queen’s with the goal of fundraising and promoting the CODE charity, the Canadian Organization for Development through Education. We have worked extensively with CODE in the past months to develop a framework for CODE university chapters and we are proud to be the first in this regard.  

CODE works in developing countries including Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya with the goal of promoting every child’s right to read. We believe that the key to poverty elimination and unlocking the full potential of the next generation lies in literacy and education. CODE works to increase access to highly qualified educators and culturally relevant learning materials. CODE strives to be socially and culturally responsible by working with local authors and educators to prevent inadvertent colonialism. Between 2017 and 2018 CODE helped ~600 000 children with its repertoire of 6549 teachers and librarians in 1733 schools and libraries filled with 101 767 books. CODE has been rated as one of the top 100 charities due to their focus on human rights, accountability, transparency, fairness, and sustainability. 

CODE has also been rated a top 10 international impact charity by Charity Intelligence Canada. This is due to its high value per dollar spent. A formal evaluation found that grade 2 students in CODE schools had triple the language fluency of equivalent students at non-CODE schools. Another study in Kenya found that CODE students outperformed equivalent non-CODE students by 80% in literacy tests. 

Queen’s CODE is so excited to be embarking on this new journey in the promotion of every child’s right to read. 

QWave

QWave is Queen’s University’s premier music production club. We foster a community focused on collaboration, education and promotion; allowing producers, both amateur and experienced, to grow their skill and continuously become better. We offer biweekly tutorials on how to use music production software and promotional opportunities for artists on campus. This year, we are vying for a minimal opt-out fee that will allow us to create an on-campus music studio that YOU will be able to access! We’re also going to be putting this money towards getting renown and successful music producers to come on campus and host masterclasses! Let us help you discover your passion for music.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@theqwave) and check out our website for more information: www.theqwave.ca 

Women in International Security Queen’s (WIIS-Queen’s)

Women in International Security Queen’s (WIIS-Queen’s) is a chapter of WIIS-Canada which is Canada’s premier organization advancing women’s leadership in the field of international peace and security through research excellence, professional development, mentorship, and networking. WIIS-Queen’s functions on a broad definition of international peace and security, including many diverse aspects of the field.  WIIS-Queen’s is a completely inclusive club which works to enhance and advocate for all women in the field. WIIS-Queen’s has worked to create and maintain an integrated network with the group through our mentorship program, connections with community members and professionals in the field of International Security through conferences and other events, as well as academics within WIIS-Canada, Queen’s University, and Royal Military College (RMC). WIIS-Queen’s is proud to be one of the only clubs on the Queen’s campus which delves into the issues and complexities of International Security. Beyond this, we are especially proud to be the only club of this nature which focuses on women in this field. Our working relationship with RMC is remarkably important considering the lack of this type of clubs at Queen’s.  

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