Here are notes from the AMS Council meeting of May 31, 2023:
Full House! Max Holmes, the new Speaker of Council, noted that for the first time in living memory every seat on Council is filled (though he noted that this is in part because we removed the seats that are always vacant).
Order, Order, Order! The Speaker made a presentation to explain Robert’s Rules of Order. The Clerk of Council later explained that the rules are named after General Henry Robert, who when he wasn’t inventing rules was involved in the Pig War of 1859 right near British Columbia.
Plans and Presentations: AMS President Esmé Decker went through the new Strategic Plan and also talked about the AMS Sustainability Action Plan (ASAP) and the Equity Action Plan, both of which are up for review.
More Presentations: Kathleen Simpson, the Senior Manager of Student Services, told Council about AMS Services, noting that there were over 23,000 user interactions last year: she said the Services have a significant impact on students. Food Bank remains the Service with the most interactions, reflecting issues of food insecurity. Peer Support has shown a large increase in usage and also in seriousness: 42% of those seeking help spoke of suicidality.
Academic Experience Survey: VP Academic Kamil Kanji reported on the Academic Experience Survey, which garnered over 3,400 responses, and showed that students are unhappy about tuition levels and don’t think UBC cares what they think about those levels. Also, 38% of respondents said they had experienced food insecurity at some point during the year, which connects to the high use of Food Bank. 41% said they had experienced mental health issues, and 57% said they had faced housing hardships, a large increase probably connected to the end of the Covid rent freeze.
In response to a question from student Board of Governors rep Kareem Hassib, VP Kanji said the data is used thoroughly in AMS advocacy.
PC1 and PC2: In response to a question from Science Councillor Salva Sherif, President Decker said it is hoped that revised versions of the sexualized violence and respectful community policies will come back to Council by September in time to be in place for the School Year.
Drinkfill: VP Admin Ian Caguiat said he is looking at possible locations for a beverage filling station that would dispense kombucha and other healthy beverages, along with soda – but no alcohol (though there may be mocktails).
Budget Consultation: VP External Tina Tong said the AMS submission to the BC budget consultation process has been presented.
Bring Back the 480: VP Tong said she is talking to a student who wants to launch a campaign to bring back the 480 bus.
We Are Not Alone! VP Finance Abhi Mishra said it was good to learn at the stakeholders meeting in Montreal with Studentcare that other schools are facing funding challenges with their health and dental plans that are similar to ours.
A Committee Meets! Karisma Jutla, Chair of the Student Life Committee, was the first chair able to announce that her committee has met.
The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 in the Michael Kingsmill Forum in the Nest at 6 pm.
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