The first of two public forums for the incoming AMS executive-elect, Team CBW, was held Monday evening in the lower ceilidh of the JDUC.
CBW, consisting of Kanivanan Chinniah, Kyle Beaudry and Catherine Wright, was acclaimed as the incoming AMS executive on Jan. 14.
During the forum, each team member answered a series of questions after presenting their opening statements. Chinniah was the only one to give a closing statement.
Audience members asked the team questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #AMSvotes or by tweeting directly at the AMS elections team’s account.
Chinniah said the AMS doesn’t necessarily “do the best job of consulting with students on the issues that matter to them”, adding that his team would like to implement “small practical changes to the AMS to really embody what the AMS is about”.
He said he thinks the most important point in the team’s platform is an experiential credit for students, and added that financial issues are the biggest problem presently facing the University.
In response to a question regarding the integration of students from the Bader International Study Centre, Chinniah said his team has included a plan to have resources available for former Bader students living in the University District for the first time.
“It’s important for us to have a good consultative relationship with Castle Connections,” he added.
Vice-President of Operations-elect Kyle Beaudry said his experience with the Commerce Society will help him with interviewing and hiring prospective AMS employees, although challenges — including the speed of the hiring process — are still present.
Beaudry said it isn’t realistic to make big changes to AMS services in order to mitigate the impact of surpluses and deficits, as long as services are working to budget to zero.
“If the [AMS’s] not-for-profit status was changed, this would alter the environments [the services] are working in,” he said.
Beaudry also defended the team’s idea of substituting many small job fairs with one big one, saying this would allow for more streamlined advertising and could be “less confusing” for students.
Introducing CBW’s “ideas for de-stigmatizing mental health concerns”, Vice-President of University Affairs-elect Catherine Wright proposed “safe talk” sessions for students to help identify individuals with mental health concerns.
Wright, who occasionally referred to her notes while speaking at the forum, said her personal advocacy style is one of collaboration before confrontation.
In response to a question about optional student fees — which have increased from 41 total fees to 76 over the last 10 years — she said the “reasons that groups are going for student fees” concerns her, more so than the number of student fees.
When asked how the team can ensure that the AMS is taken seriously, Wright said, “to be relevant to students, we need to be willing to engage with students on all levels.”
The second public forum will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. and is slated to be more interactive than the first. AMS Chief Electoral Officer Chris Casher said Monday evening that Tuesday’s forum would give individuals the opportunity to ask any questions at any time of any of the three members.
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