AMS adds omnibus bylaw referendum to VP academic special election

Following the failure of an AMS bylaws omnibus referendum to meet quorum in the 2019 and 2020 general elections, it will be sent back out to the students in the VP academic special election.

At the March 11 AMS Council meeting, councillors voted in favour of adding the referendum to the ballot in the upcoming special election. The campaign period for the special election will begin on March 16 and voting will take place from March 23 to 27.

The AMS bylaw changes included some basic housekeeping, including the abolition of student court, an extension of the AMS membership and a general improvement of referenda guidelines. Notably, it includes an amendment that would allow Council to keep certain records confidential if their “disclosure would be harmful to the AMS, third parties, ongoing investigations, solicitor-client privilege, or the secrecy of in camera discussions.”

In the general elections, 3,549 students voted in favour of the referendum, but it needed a minimum of 4,647 votes to reach quorum. It fell short by 1,098 votes.

Katherine Westerlund, the interim president of the Engineering Undergraduate Society, suggested the inclusion of this referendum to the special election and recommended the AMS do more to promote it.

“I don’t think that I’m alone in saying the Yes Campaign for the referendum during the general election was relatively lacklustre,” she said, noting that this is the third time the AMS will be putting this up for a vote.

The Yes Campaign is the AMS’s advertising campaign to encourage students to vote ‘yes’ on their referenda.

AMS President Chris Hakim noted issues with hiring for getting the Yes Campaign off the ground this year.

“We’re definitely going to emphasize a bit more on meeting with various clubs and constituencies on the referendums as well,” Hakim said.

“I think coordinating with those groups as well around social media and awareness … is a big thing in trying to make sure constituencies are also advertising the referendums to make them available [to students].”