Here are notes from the regular AMS Council meeting of March 24, 2021 (held virtually on Zoom):


Business Presentation:  Managing Director Keith Hester reported on business issues under COVID.  AMS businesses had been producing $1 million a year before the pandemic, but 2019-20 was just barely positive, and 2020-21 is expected to be negative.  Our focus is on member safety, and we are keeping our food outlets open mostly as a service.  Not all outlets are open now and not all will open in September.  It’s still not clear how many students will be on campus in the fall, but the plan is for a full reopening in January.  He said it will take until 2024 for a full business recovery.

The Managing Director added that it would be useful to restructure fees and said expenses on the student government side were a bit of a concern.  President Cole Evans said it would be good to reduce bloat in student government.

VP Finance Lucia Liang said that because UBC has announced a return to campus, the AMS budget for 2021-22 is being redone.


Proctorio: VP Academic & University Affairs Georgia Yee announced that Proctorio, the remote invigilation system, is being restricted in its use to faculties that require it for external accreditation.

She noted that as a newly elected member of the University’s Board of Governors, she would have to handle the conflict of interest between her new role and her role in AMS advocacy.  AMS President Evans said he would be taking over from her in some cases.


Sustainability: Council heard a report from VP Administration Sylvester Mensah Jr. and his team on the collaboration efforts this year and the work towards net zero carbon emissions.  He noted that a policy was still needed on Indigenous issues related to sustainability.


Hong Kong statement: In response to a question from Councillor Mathew Ho, VP External Kalith Nanayakkara said the AMS’s statement on the Hong Kong situation had been brought to UCRU, the federal student lobbying body, and they will be putting out a statement as well.


BizChina meeting: In response to a question from Mathew Ho, VP Administration Sylvester Mensah Jr. said he had strongly urged the BizChina club to rescind its invitation to a representative from Huawei because of Huawei’s alleged involvement in the treatment of the Uyghurs in China.


Overlapping clubs: In response to a question from Councillor Ray Hua, the Chair of the Operations Committee (Katherine Feng) said that with over 300 clubs already in existence, a common reason for not constituting a new club is that their purpose overlaps with an already existing club.  She added that work is being done to help people know what clubs already exist.


Jeanie Malone’s last meeting: Long-time Board of Governors rep Jeanie Malone reported for the last time on issues at the UBC Board, as she is moving on and being replaced by Georgia Yee.


Election Results: The Archivist noted that though turnout in this year’s AMS Executive elections was low, it was not the lowest turnout ever: in 1988, the last time the Presidency had only one candidate, turnout for the presidential race was only 4.8%, compared with 5.9% this year.  As for the Spanish Flu year (1919), there was no voting at all for President then because that was another year with only one candidate for President, and in those days if that happened the candidate was simply acclaimed.


Return to Campus: VPAUA Georgia Yee reported that the AMS will be advocating for rapid testing and a vaccination clinic on campus; also financial relief for international students forced to self-isolate, along with a commitment to lecture recording post-pandemic.  To help determine priorities, Councillors recommended consulting students with dependants, students with disabilities, students living with older family members, immunocompromised students, and international students who can’t enter the country.

Councillors also commented on time zone issues, sanitizing classrooms, and the possible extra burden on TA’s and instructors if courses are both online and in person.


Next meeting:

The next regular Council meeting will be held on April 7, 2021 on Zoom.

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