CARED, EQuiP, & AQ all dissolved at the Social Issues Commissions

Student volunteers hired for commissions 

The committees’ work was given to Collective Reflections.
Photo: 

The AMS Social Issues Commission (SIC) dissolved Committee Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (CARED), Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuiP), and Accessibility Queen’s (AQ) for the year.

In a normal year, these committees provide students the opportunity to focus EDII efforts and help shape policy at Queen’s and the AMS, while considering the experiences of marginalized students on campus. Student volunteers were hired for the committees before their dissolution. 

“Over the summer there was a turn-around within the [SIC], and with that came the restructuring of the commission,” Chlöe Umengan, social issues commissioner (internal), said in an interview with The Journal. 

The former amalgamated Social Issues Commissioner was terminated by the AMS, in an event Umengan referred to as a “turn-around.” Following the termination, the AMS divided the role into Social Issues Commissioner (Internal) and Social Issues Commissioner (External)—which Dreyden George now fills.

READ MORE: AMS Terminates Social Issues Commissioner

"The committee essentially took a back-burner given the situation. That doesn’t mean we didn’t care for them, or we didn’t care about what their goals were and what they wanted to do. Nobody was in that position [as the Commissioner] until I came in, which was September,” Umengan said. 

The AMS had other focus areas from the commission, according to Umengan. She explained the committees are not completely gone; their work has been given to Collective Reflections—which is an intersectional anti-oppression magazine run by the SIC.  

“We’re doing collaboration photoshoots with Collective Reflections, to give these committees some visibility still, and to give opportunity to students who never had the opportunity to model and to have the opportunity to represent a very important part of their identity,” Umengan said. 

Umengan is concerned about marginalised and BIPOC students at Collective Reflections working in excess while unpaid. She said she’s made herself as open as possible to supporting the team while they undertake more duties.  

The dissolution of SIC committees was, however, never formally announced, a fact Umengan acknowledged.

“I was rehired. I didn’t hear anything over the summer because I didn’t expect to. It’s the summertime. Then we come back to school in September. I still hadn’t heard anything. 

I emailed to see if I missed anything [...] but then I didn’t hear anything, same with other people who were hired for CARED,” Bella Orman, ArtSci ’23, and CARED rehire said in an interview with The Journal. 

“To this day, in January, I haven’t heard anything from the AMS about CARED.”

Orman believes the dissolution of the SIC committees means spaces and opportunities for marginalised students are being taken away. 

“I think now that [committees] have been taken away, it's like, they’re just taking away another area or this campus that could be safer and better for a lot of students here,” Orman said. 

“I think the AMS needs to go through a selection process of finding co-chairs that have committed and a genuine passion, because they're very important committees that contribute to the bigger cause of making Queen’s a better, more diverse, and safer place for students.”  

READ MORE: AMS implements policy changes to Social Issues Commission

Umengan said hourly wages staff members at the SIC received communications from the commission over the summer, but volunteers did not. Umengan said she believes the commission should have communicated with the volunteers.

According to Umengan, she inherited a budget cut when she joined the SIC. The budget was cut before her term started, in May of 2022. However, she said there was money left over from the summer, during the previous Social Issues Commissioner’s term.

“We have been able to really re-allocate the money that would have been used during [the summer] towards our new events and goals,” Umengan said.

In-terms of the SIC in general, Umengan said work should be done to differentiate and define the roles of the external and internal commissioner more clearly. She said this while acknowledging the work the Social Issues Commissioner (External) has been doing. 

When she leaves the commission, Umengan will discuss ways to improve the workload and efficiency, such as by advocating further for assistant manager positions. Additionally, she hopes to see the dissolved committees return for students next year.

Umengan clarified that, to her knowledge, the AMS is conducting a third-party review of the SIC. She could not comment further, as the AMS Executive is more directly involved. 

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