The AMS Equity Plan is a concerted effort by past and present AMS staff as well as consultant Adeline Huynh with the aim to align and action the AMS’s equity and inclusion initiatives. The Equity Plans short term goals include an examination of AMS internal framework, consultation with stakeholders, advocacy of policy reform, and development of training practices pertaining to equity and inclusion. In the long term, the plan’s key performance indicators include accountable and transparent hiring measures as well as 50% HPS marginalized groups representation goals achieved (Committee appointments, Council, Candidates). Ultimately, with the guidance of research and student voices the foundational plan aims to assist AMS develop its potential as a student society operationalizing equity and inclusion.
View successful Equity Plan proposal here.
Equity Plan Project History:
The Alma Mater Society (AMS) underwent a governance review led by MNP in 2016. One of the issues identified in the report was that some groups on campus were not adequately represented by Council as Councillors are elected by their faculties, not based on pre-existing social or cultural cleavages. In an attempt to create spaces for representation based on students’ personal identities, the Student Issues Caucus and Equity Caucus were ideated as working groups of the AMS Advocacy Committee and AMS Student Life Committee respectively for the purpose of representative consultation. For two years, the AMS encountered difficulties in populating the Equity Caucus and getting its work off the ground. To take part in the Caucus, students were asked to submit cover letters, resumes, and to come to speak at the Advocacy Committee. During this time, the AMS recognized that these were significant barriers to participation and lowered the amount of information needed from participants. Last year, the VP External Office also took a more proactive approach in reaching out to equity seeking students/communities to promote and discuss the Caucus.
In 2018, the AMS Advocacy Committee determined that in order for this endeavour to be successful, significant changes were necessary. Through conversations with the AMS Executives, the AMS Policy Advisor, UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office, and the student-led Resource Groups, it was proposed that the membership for those interested in participating in this work should be more open and easily accessible. We received feedback that the areas in which equity work would need to be done stretch far beyond just AMS’s advocacy and that the predetermined Caucus structure may not be the best place to start this work. As such, from a council mandate in 2019, the VP External Affairs was tasked with the creation of an Equity Plan and maintaining consultation with affected groups to determine what this would look like.
The Equity Plan will have three Guiding Principles
- Accessible: Consistently dismantle barriers for historically, persistently, or
systematically marginalized groups to occupy leadership, physical spaces, and engage meaningfully with the AMS in order to develop fulsome change. We are dedicated to doing this by making information about the AMS’s work clear, easy to find, and in plain language as much as possible.
- Accountable: Ensuring we have strong mechanisms for oversight and metrics for measuring progress, we’re being responsive to the evolving perspectives and needs of our membership, and that we’re bringing in and reporting back to the people, groups and communities that are affected by our work.
- Representative: Historically, persistently, or systematically marginalized groups proportionately access and are empowered to hold space in our organization and decisions that are made are not done without the leadership of affected groups.
External Consultant Adeline Huynh:
A deline is the Principal Consultant of The Commons, an inclusion strategy firm. Like everyone else in BC who do not trace their ancestry back to our province’s first peoples, Adeline has roots somewhere else. Her parents and their families immigrated to Canada as the war in Vietnam drew to a close and settled in Vancouver (S ḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories). Although she was born under the shadow of the city’s majestic mountain ranges, Adeline spent her formative years under the wide-open skies of the prairies. As a young woman, Adeline returned to the west coast to attend university eventually earning her Masters of Social Work at UBC. She has made Vancouver her home for almost 15 years and lives here with her wife and their son. Growing up as a queer first generation Canadian has turned Adeline into an intercultural ninja – nimbly moving between and bridging cultures. She brings this lived experience and over a decade of community building, organizational development, and J.E.D.I (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) experience to her work with clients that range from the non-profit, post-secondary institutions, to the private sector.
Graphic Recorder & Indigenous Policy Expert Michelle Buchholz:
Michelle is a proud Wet’suwet’en woman and is a member of the Witset (Moricetown) Band and was raised in Smithers, BC. She is a member of the Gitumden clan and the Cassyex house. Michelle is a graphic facilitator and recorder and has been working with various clients including provincial and federal government, First Nation communities and organizations, universities, health authorities, consulting groups, and youth groups. Her passion is working with Indigenous communities to raise Indigenous people up, with an emphasis on the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples. Michelle holds a Master of Public Policy from SFU and completed her capstone project on developing policies to address anti-Indigenous racism in health care.
Equity Plan Advisory Committee:
- External Consultant Adeline Huynh
- The AMS President – Cole Evans
- The AMS VP Academic and University Affairs – Georgia Yee
- AMS Equity and Associate – Lilly Callender
- Representative from the UBC Black Student Union – Maia Wallace
- Representative from the AMS Indigenous Committee – Ceilidh Smith
- Representatives from the AMS Council – Joshua Kim
- Representative from AMS Operations (Staff) – Praneet Sandhu
Equity Plan Discussion Graphic Recordings
Throughout November and December, the AMS hosted discussion groups to consult the members of the student body on experiences and perceptions regarding Equity and the AMS. Each session involved a graphic recording done by Michelle Buchholz, which captured key themes brought up in each group. The photo’s and information gathered, will all be used in the creation of the AMS Equity Plan.