The AMS has announced the five questions it has put forward and the two questions submitted by petition to be voted on by students in this year’s referenda — and you’ll have the final say when voting is open from March 11 to 15.
Here’s the low-down on the questions, with more in-depth news coverage to come:
Changing the AMS Bylaws
Proposed changes include abolishing Student Court as an oversight body, granting the AMS the ability to limit the release of documents that could cause “financial or economic harm” to the society and stipulating that referenda questions meet more strenuous criteria than previous. AMS Bylaw changes require two-thirds of members who cast their votes to vote “yes” to pass, and this year’s changes range from fixing spelling mistakes to controversial reforms.
The entire docket of proposed changes can be found here. The question reads:
Do you support and approve amending the AMS Bylaws in accordance with the changes presented in the document entitled “Proposed Changes to AMS Bylaws”?
Nearly tripling funding for the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC)
After the SASC's support services were almost cut by the AMS last summer, the society is now asking that the fee for the Sexual Assault Support Services Fund, which funds the centre, be nearly tripled. This is to support the SASC's now-expanded hours, roster of support services and new peer-run programs, such as Healthier Masculinities. The question reads:
Do you support an increase in your AMS fees by $5.67, to increase the fee for the Sexual Assault Support Services Fund from $3.63 to $9.30 a year, as of September 2019?
Note 1: All money raised through this fee will be deposited in the Sexual Assault Support Services Fund and may be used only for sexual assault support services and initiatives. Any money raised through this fee but not used in a given year shall remain in the fund for use in a subsequent year for sexual assault support services.
Note 2: The $9.30 fee will be indexed to inflation, increasing each year in accordance with any increase in BC CPI, beginning in September 2020.
Creating an Indigenous Student Fund Fee
After creating an Indigenous committee, the AMS is proposing an annual fee of $0.95 per student (tied to inflation) be collected for the Indigenous Student Fund to support Indigenous students and student initiatives on campus. It reads:
Do you support the AMS establishing a fee of $0.95 a year to contribute to an Indigenous Student Fund, as of September 2019?
Note 1: All money raised through this fee will be deposited in the Indigenous Student Fund and may be used only for Indigenous student support and initiatives. Any money raised through this fee but not used in a given year shall remain in the fund for use in a subsequent year for Indigenous student support and initiatives.
Note 2: The $0.95 fee will be indexed to inflation, increasing each year in accordance with any increase in BC Consumer Price Index, beginning in September 2020.
Continuing the U-Pass Program
Did you know the U-Pass is only renewable by a student vote? The AMS reached an agreement with TransLink to continue the program at $42.50 per month — it currently costs $41 per month — until 2025. The question reads:
Do you approve of the continuation of the U-Pass BC program with an increase to the U-Pass Fee from $41.00 per month to $42.50 per month commencing May 1, 2020, and, furthermore, approve annual increases to the U-Pass Fee of up to 2% (rounded up to the nearest nickel)?
Note 1: A long-term renewal has been secured for the U-Pass BC program until April 30, 2025.
Note 2: If this referendum is not approved, UBC students will no longer be eligible for the U‐Pass BC program.
Decreasing the Graduating Class Fee
The AMS Graduating Class fee is collected to implement a gift or project for each graduating class, but has largely gone untouched or stuck in initial planning phases recently. The society is asking to decrease the fee given that it is not usually spent. The question reads:
Do you support a decrease in the Graduating Class fee from the current $7.00 to $3.00 upon graduation, to begin in September 2019?
Note 1: All money raised through the Grad Class Fee will be deposited in the Grad Class Fund and may be used only for the purpose of supporting Grad Class as defined in the AMS Code of Procedure. Any money raised through this fee but not used in a given year shall remain in the fund for use in a subsequent year for Grad Class.
Expanding accessibility of the Campus Culture and Performance Fee
This question is one of two questions presented by petition to students and is meant to expand the criteria of clubs who can access funding through the fee. It reads:
Do you support changing the terms of reference for the Campus Culture and Performance Fee to allow additional clubs to receive funding from the fee according to the following formula:
a) The clubs already receiving the funding from the fee shall establish criteria according to which additional clubs can receive funding.
b) The AMS Finance Committee shall screen applicants and refer any club it thinks meets the criteria to the clubs already receiving funding.
c) The clubs already receiving funding shall collectively decide if the referred club should receive funding.
d) No more than one additional club shall be approved to receive funding in any one year.
e) Once approved, a club shall be permanently added to the number of clubs receiving funding and shall get an equal share of the funding.
f) Any club can voluntarily give up its right to receive funding from the fee.
Note: This change will not affect the amount of money students pay in AMS fees.
Creating a fee to establish a permanent thrift store on campus
This is the second question proposed by student petition by Project Imagine to collect a $0.95 fee (tied to inflation) to establish a permanent thrift store on campus. It is unclear where the location would be, but pop-up thrift shops have seen a fair amount of popularity on campus lately. The question reads:
Do you support the AMS establishing a refundable fee of $0.95 to contribute to the establishment of a permanent thrift store location on campus?
Note 1: The fee would be fully refundable upon request.
Note 2: The fee would be levied annually on all active AMS members beginning in September 2019 until the thrift store is self-sustaining as determined by Project Imagine executives in consultation with the AMS.
Note 3: The fee would be used for operational purposes.
Note 4: The fee is indexed annually to the BC Consumer Price Index.