COUNCIL SUMMARY – SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

Here are notes from the regular AMS Council meeting of September 29, 2021 (held in person in the Nest):

GSS elections: Council approved an agreement to allow the Graduate Student Society to use the AMS elections software (Simply Voting) in its upcoming election.

Athletics and Recreation: Council heard a presentation from UBC’s Kavie Toor on UBC’s priorities for Athletics and Recreation, including the introduction of the motto “Take Flight” to encourage all students, not just athletes, to feel like UBC Thunderbirds. He also talked about education work on sexual violence prevention and noted the huge demand for Intramurals and Recreation now that students are back on campus. He said all programs from before COVID are being offered, but at reduced capacity.

Carbon Offsetters: Council heard a report from Carbon Offsetters, the consultants looking at AMS greenhouse gas emissions. The report said the AMS produces 791 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, with the largest amount coming from employee commuting. The consultants recommended introducing a greenhouse gas reduction plan. Options for reduction might include allowing employees to work from home and providing shower facilities for bike riders. They also recommended a waste audit and audits to ensure heating and ventilation systems are operating optimally.

Equity Plan: Council approved an Equity Action Plan, which recommends creating a full-time equity and inclusion position.

SSM on the Finance Committee: Council debated whether it was appropriate for the Student Services Manager to sit on the Finance Committee, part of whose work is approving the budget for Student Services. Council approved the appointment for this year, but directed the Governance Committee to look into the issue.

Other Appointments: Council approved other committee appointments, including the following chairs:

Advocacy Committee: Eshana Bhangu

HR Committee: Romina Hajizadeh

Student Life Committee: Aryan Mishra

Governance Committee: Kamil Kanji

Operations Committee: Lauren Benson

Finance Committee: Mary Gan

Accident on Northwest Marine: AMS President Cole Evans noted the sad news from the weekend about the two students hit by a car. Councillors later discussed safety issues, such as lighting, in the Northwest Marine Drive area and across campus

Vaccinations: AMS President Evans said the AMS is going to evaluate how to implement a mandatory vaccination policy.

Fermentation Lab Committee: Council defeated a motion to dissolve the Fermentation Lab Committee, the body that was looking into implementing the 2014 microbrewery referendum.  Some Councillors said that until there is a new referendum to resolve the issue, the committee should remain.

Drug testing: VP Academic & University Affairs Eshana Bhangu said the AMS has obtained fentanyl testing strips and is looking into purchasing more.

Tuition consultation: Eshana noted that the University had agreed not to remove a question on increasing tuition from its consultation survey. She added that the AMS will continue to oppose tuition increases.

Federal election: VP External Saad Shoaib criticized Elections Canada for abandoning the Vote on Campus program, which he said led to the long line-up to vote in the Nest.  He will be advocating that the program be reinstated for next time.

Preferred Names: Chief Electoral Officer Oscar Yu said he has been able to convince UBC to allow students to use their preferred names, not their legal names, in AMS elections.

Honorary degrees: Eshana Bhangu, in her role as student Senator, reported that the Senate had voted to suspend awarding honorary degrees until a review can be done.

Involving students: AMS President Evans noted that over 100 students at large had applied to serve on AMS committees. He asked Council for suggestions on how to keep those who are not appointed involved. Suggestions included: invite them to serve on focus groups, create an advisory body of such students, keep in contact with these students to let them know about other opportunities, create a First Year Committee, and direct them to the Constituencies. It was agreed to refer the issue to the Student Life Committee.

AGM: Council discussed motions to put on the agenda for the Annual General Meeting in October. There will be constitutional amendments and motions calling for federal election reform, a student affordability plan from the Board of Governors, a tuition freeze or reduction, and legislation guaranteeing student tenancy rights.

Next meeting:

The next regular Council meeting will be held in person in the AMS Nest (4th floor) on October 13, 2021 at 6 pm.

Sheldon Goldfarb

Archivist & Clerk of Council