Here are notes from the regular AMS Council meeting of August 5, 2020 (held virtually on Zoom):


Omnibused Motions: Council approved a number of motions en masse, including:

Endorsement of a Statement of Principles for a Just Recovery after COVID.

Approval of $44,646 to replace the current surveillance system server.

Approval of a revised MoU with the University about access to student information.

Approval of a delay in the submission of a report from the Governance Committee on discipline.


COVID Effects: Georgia Yee, the VP Academic & University Affairs, reported on a COVID survey which showed that issues affecting students include layoffs, housing insecurity, access to technology for online courses, and mental health.  She said international students had been disproportionately affected.


UCRU: VP External Kalith Nanayakkara presented on UCRU (Undergraduates of Canadian Research-intensive Universities), an informal coalition of student associations from nine of the largest Canadian universities.  He said there are plans to make UCRU into a more formal, incorporated organization with bylaws and procedures.


CampusBase: Nicolas Williams, the AVP Administration, updated Council on CampusBase, the new AMS platform for managing AMS clubs, which it is hoped will be something that all campus groups will start using, not just the clubs, to help create a virtual community and a social network.


Appointments: Council appointed Nevena Rebic and Joshua Kim to the new working group for implementing the AMS Equity Plan.


Systemic racism: VP Georgia Yee said there is a large conversation going on about this, focusing on empowering survivors of incidents such as the recently reported one of a female Asian UBC student who was allegedly assaulted on a Vancouver bus.


Indigenous Lounge: Indigenous representative Laura Beaudry said the Indigenous Committee is talking of opening an Indigenous Lounge in September.


Talkative Students? Student Senator Alex Gonzalez reported that Student Senators were told they talk too much, but the Senator who made the comment has since apologized.


Who Shall Chair the Finance Committee? After much debate, Council approved a Code amendment to allow Councillors other than the VP Finance to chair the Finance Committee.  (The amendment will also allow Councillors other than the VP Administration to chair the Operations Committee.)  The debate focused on the need for oversight versus the need for experience.


Surplus Funds: AMS President Cole Evans shared a document on proposed distribution of surplus University funds resulting from tuition increases.  The University is proposing to spend money on COVID aid, a U-Pass subsidy, upgrades to the Graduate Student Centre, upgrades to the Norm Theatre, new vehicles for Safewalk, and graduate student aid.  There is still money left over that could be spent on emergency student aid, AMS-operated housing developments, Indigenous capital investments (including Indigenous art in the Nest), and investment in equity-related areas.

Some Councillors suggested focusing the student aid on mental health services.

Next meeting: The next regular Council meeting will be held on August 26, 2020.

Sheldon Goldfarb

Archivist & Clerk of Council

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