Between the Motions: AMS appoints interim VP external

On October 11, the AMS met to discuss Campus Vision 2050 updates, services goals for the year and appointed an interim VP external after considerable debate.

Here’s what you might have missed.

What's the vision?

After 18 months of community engagement and policy work, the final drafts of Campus Vision 2050, the Housing Action Plan and the amended Land Use Plan are now available for students to view.

Associate Director of Community Planning Joanne Proft and Senior Manager of Public Engagement Aviva Savelson sat in at the council meeting to present key updates and ongoing work about all three plans.

Proft said the university will begin increasing the number of student housing units, expanding land-based research and developing clearer climate action commitments in the upcoming years.

“We’re looking at increasing student housing by 3,300 net new beds and 1,000 replacement beds as a priority, reflecting financial constraints,” she said.

This will increase on-campus student housing to 17,300 beds from the current 15,325 beds.

Proft also said they hope to work with the AMS to advocate for increased funding from the government, as UBC access money externally.

Ongoing work includes developing a new rainwater management plan, making sure community amenities are supportive of growth and updating the childcare expansion plan.

New year, new goals

AMS Senior Services Manager Kathleen Simpson presented the services goal for the upcoming year. The updates surrounded the food bank, peer support, Safewalk, Sexual Assault Support Centre and tutoring.

Simpson said Food Bank usage has been steady. The goals for the new year are to create more sustainable logistical operations, with a focus on gaining more fundraising from large-scale organizations.

Simpson said Safewalk usage went up 70 per cent this year, largely attributing this to the increased promotion done to advertise this service. The AMS will conduct an internal program evaluation to determine how students are engaging with the program and how it can better reflect needs.

As for tutoring, Simpson said that tutoring has now expanded to include LSAT and MCAT support and hopes to increase private tutoring by 20 per cent.

Debate over interim VP external appointment

After an in-camera session, Strategy and Governance Lead Joshua Kim was appointed as interim VP external affairs with 22 votes in favor, 2 abstentions and 1 against.

Shortly after, a student-at-large initiated a discussion item to reconsider the appointment of Kim.

Citing the ongoing debate about PC1 and PC2, the AMS’s respectful workplace and sexualized violence policies, and Kim’s involvement with them as the strategy and governance lead. The student-at-large called this appointment a “liability” to the image of the student society.

The student continued that neither the SJC or Pride Collective supports this candidate. Amid these concerns, the student called on the councillors to reconsider their vote or table the vote to a time when another eligible candidate emerges.

“He has our distrust, our anti-endorsement,” they said.

In response, President Esmé Decker said Kim’s role is to execute what the executives delegate and is not the author of the PC1 and PC2 drafts.

“I take responsibility for those drafts and the process that needs to go forward to improve those,” said Decker.

VP Academic and University Affairs Kamil Kanji echoed Decker’s points, adding that Kim brings a robust resume filled with appropriate and applicable experiences.

Another student-at-large said putting an executive into a position for more than half the year without an election was "not democratic" and "sets a dangerous precedent."

In an email callout for the position, it said the job would last till the end of term, but the official job posting said the interim's term would last till January

Following another in-camera session, Kim’s appointment was finalized.