COUNCIL SUMMARY – FEBRUARY 12, 2020 & FEBRUARY 26, 2020
Referendum Questions: The special meeting of February 12 was called specifically to discuss the questions being sent to the membership. Council approved a general package of bylaw changes, including the abolition of Student Court and the introduction of rules to designate certain records confidential. These will now go to referendum March 2-6 for approval by the general membership.
Council also approved a proposed bylaw amendment that would create a seat for an Indigenous student on Council. This too will go to referendum March 2-6.
The regular meeting of February 26: The following issues came up:
Art Sale? Or not: The agenda on February 26 included a motion related to selling two pieces of art from the AMS Art Collection. However, a large delegation from the Visual Arts Department presented arguments against the sale, and the student directors of the AMS’s Hatch Art Gallery also said such a sale would be detrimental, so the matter was referred back to the committee dealing with the issue.
Air Conditioning: Council approved a motion to spend up to $15,000 to hire an engineering expert to look into expanding the air conditioning system in the Nest in a sustainable way.
Financial report: VP Finance Lucia Liang reported that the AMS was getting more revenue than expected from its businesses and was spending less than expected on its Executive portfolios. More money than expected was spent on the Welcome Back Barbecue because of a change of artist.
Councillor Max Holmes noted that despite the extra spending on Welcome Back Barbecue, there was still an increase in the overall surplus, and suggested that the AMS should use such money to help students now rather than putting it aside for the future.
Lobby Trip: VP External Cristina Ilnitchi reported on her trip to Ottawa with other student unions in UCRU (Undergraduates of Canadian Research-intensive Universities) to speak to MP’s and government staff about issues surrounding affordability, international students, Indigenous students, and undergraduate research.
She said it was a successful trip, with more meetings than in the past two years.
Access Grants: VP Ilnitchi also reported that the provincial government is bringing in new access grants, which she said is great first step towards affordability, though still not enough.
Strategic Plan and Equity: President Chris Hakim said he was hoping to bring in consultants to help with the process of creating the strategic plan. VP External Cristina Ilnitchi said the RFP for consultants on the new Equity Plan is going out in March.
Block Party: Managing Director Keith Hester said the line-up is out and 3,500 tickets have been sold.
Budget and Fees: Council passed two Code changes, one to update the section on how fees are administered and one to change the budgeting process to have it start earlier and produce a preliminary budget by the end of April instead of the end of May.
Next meeting: The next regular Council meeting will be at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in the Michael Kingsmill Forum on the fourth floor of the Nest.