Team CBW addresses clubs and insider culture at second of two public forums

Team took questions in person and from Twitter

From left: Catherine Wright
Image by: Arwin Chan
From left: Catherine Wright

Clubs, campus services, the ReUnion Street Festival, sexual assault, mental health, international students, the “internal culture” of the AMS, student engagement and the Richardson Project were among the topics discussed by the AMS executive-elect at a public forum Tuesday night.

Team CBW took questions in person and via Twitter in the lower ceilidh of the JDUC in the second of two public forums. President-elect Kanivanan Chinniah kicked off the debate by talking about clubs, which he said are the “lifeblood of our community.”

Chinniah said he wants to give clubs rules in which to operate, but that within this set of rules they should be able to “do what they want”. After being asked about the risk that comes with managing hundreds of clubs, he added that he thinks it’s concerning to tell clubs their behaviour is “too risky” while the AMS asks the University for more “leeway” with risk.

Instead of funding the ReUnion Street festival using an “advantage fund” — used by the current AMS executive to fund the festival last October — Chinniah said he’d like to see more external partnerships and sponsorships take place.

“We don’t think that dipping into this fund year after year is sustainable,” Chinniah said, adding that he opposes the establishment of a student fee to fund the festival.

Chinniah and Vice-President of University Affairs-elect Catherine Wright both addressed questions related to international students.

Chinniah, who said that the University doesn’t do well with “internationalization”, added that the various languages and cultures of international students introduce different needs.

“We need to acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all,” Chinniah said.

Citing the Queen’s American Students Association, he said student-led organizations should be empowered to help integrate international students into the Queen’s community.

Chinniah said his team would engage with students in the 100 days before they assume their positions in the AMS. On Wednesday — in addition to a scheduled interview with Golden Words — he said they would be talking to “as many students as possible.”

Wright responded to a question about sexual assault on campus by suggesting “more active campaigning for students” as well as looking into what prevents people from accessing resources, and “how we can mitigate that.”

As for how to successfully engage students with the AMS, Wright cited the AMS Marketing Office and focus groups, as well as social media, surveys and online feedback forms from the communications office.

“We need to figure out how to better engage students,” she said.

In response to a question about the future of AMS-run campus media services, Vice-President of Operations-elect Kyle Beaudry said there’s been movement to the online medium, citing the accessibility and ease with which videos can be produced.

He said the recent amalgamation of StudioQ — which will see Yearbook & Design Services, Convocation Services and Queen’s TV combined into a single service — is “no different from what Tricolour was when it was amalgamated”.

As for the Journal, Beaudry said he thinks its editorial autonomy should be maintained, in spite of financial oversight.

While Beaudry said that the option to shut down student nightclub the Underground would be considered, he added, “We need to make sure we keep the social value in mind when thinking about whether or not to shut it down.”

This decision will involve consultation with students, he said.

The debate concluded with each CBW member telling the audience what they are most excited about. Chinniah and Beaudry both cited learning opportunities in their roles, while Wright said recruitment.


AMS, AMS elections, Elections

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