The AMS isn’t in great hands

Image by: Katharine Sung

Our process: The endorsement is the result of a vote by The Journal’s Editorial Board. The Editorial Board considers prior interviews, debates, platforms, and a private questioning period with the teams before making a decision.

Competition has been said to breed excellence, but in the case of this AMS election season, it’s left us with nothing more than controversy and disappointment.  

The Journal’s Editorial Board voted unanimously not to endorse any of the AMS executive teams for the 2023-24 school year. The vote was 0 in favour of endorsing TBD, 0 votes to endorse KMV, and 19 votes not to endorse a team. There were no abstentions. 

The Journal learned of team ERA’s withdrawal from the race during endorsement deliberation.

It’s profoundly disappointing the AMS and Queen’s will miss out on the competent leadership the Board believes Ryan Chen, Kin ’23, and Alicia Parker, ArtSci ’24, could have offered students. 

Facing the challenge of addressing a leaked racist photo of their teammate, they spoke to the Board with transparency and genuine concern for the incident’s impact on equity-deserving community members. The decision to end their campaign was gracious. 

However, even if they had remained in the race, the Board did not feel comfortable endorsing Team ERA if Elisabeth McHarg’s, ArtSci ’23, name was on the ballot.

Unfortunately, the clarity and specificity present in team ERA’s platform and in Chen and Parker’s discourse with The Journal was missing in those of teams TBD and KMV. 

While charismatic, aptly named team TBD frequently acknowledged their limited understanding of AMS’s inner workings. Humility is an admirable quality, but students would likely feel better about voting for a more knowledgeable team. 

It’s great to want to learn on the job, but there isn’t time to waste figuring out how to do what you were elected to do. That work should happen before the campaign even begins. 

Encouragingly, team TBD have taken initiative, consulting with cultural and equity-focused clubs to make up for their lack of lived experience. Nevertheless, the team lacks professionalism and would be out of their depth as the AMS executive. 

Their overly ambitious platform, inexperience, and difficulty answering questions on how they would advocate for students at Senate showed a clear lack of awareness of the demands and responsibilities of the executive’s role. The Board also found their eagerness to weaponize the scandal that caused team ERA to withdraw to be in bad taste.

Team KMV has valuable experience managing a large public budget in their roles within ASUS Orientation, which could translate to better financial transparency. However, their written platform frequently over-explains and comes across as condescending.

The team has some good ideas like a meal plan students could use within the greater Kingston community. While ambitious, the initiative does have precedent as meal plans have extended to food trucks on campus in the past.

However, team KMV are three people with nearly identical leadership experience and a campaign team made up of ASUS Orientation connections. Under their leadership, there’s potential for the AMS’s infamous cliquey culture to become the worst it’s ever been.

As a team, KMV lacks self-awareness on the issue of the AMS’s exclusivity. Individually, any of the three candidates could be trusted in the vice-president (operations) role because of their budget management experience.

Their suggestion of inviting students to office hours isn’t enough to get student engagement back to pre-pandemic levels, as the average student is unlikely to walk into their office to chat. This idea implies an expectation that students will come to them rather than the other way around. 

Ultimately, the Board does not have enough faith in either team’s ability to effectively represent the interests of all Queen’s undergraduates to warrant an endorsement. 

The AMS should be working to build trust and communicate professionally both with students and on their behalf. Meanwhile, Teams TBD and KMV released platforms riddled with typos and repurposed graphics from their predecessors. 

The decision not to endorse a team should not deter future candidates. Rather, students with AMS executive ambitions should feel their contributions to the community are more crucial than ever—impossible standards are not keeping the Board from endorsing a team.  

Disappointment is this AMS election season in a word. If students feel neither of the remaining teams are equipped to represent them well, they don’t have to choose. Voting none of the above on the ballot or abstaining are options.

While The Journal’s Editorial Board voted not endorse any team, we should all hope for the best outcome for AMS employees and all students, regardless of who forms the next executive.

—Journal Editorial Board


AMS, AMS election, ams endorsement, ERA, KMV, TBD

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

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