AMS endorses Just Recovery principles for equity after COVID-19

AMS Council on August 5 endorsed international climate organization 350’s COVID-19 Just Recovery principles. The five principles are focused on prioritizing health, providing economic relief, supporting local communities, preparing for future crises and building solidarity on a global scale.

In a statement, the AMS announced its goal of using the principles to advocate on behalf of the student body and to develop a sustainable, humanitarian COVID-19 recovery plan.

In a previous meeting on June 9, the AMS Advocacy Committee made the unanimous decision to endorse these principles before bringing it to Council for approval.

“We received a lot of positive comments regarding these principles,” said Joshua Kim, AMS Advocacy Committee chair. “These were principles that are genuinely out there to help the people and help the students … we have this chance to go a different direction for a better, sustainable and just future.”

In implementing changes aligned with the Just Recovery principles, the AMS said it wanted to pursue a recovery plan that does not bring society back to how it was before the pandemic but encourages individuals to make more ethical decisions instead.

“I think that it is something that, as the AMS, we are proud to stand behind in order to create those policies that are aligning with a just recovery from COVID — and to be able to advocate on behalf of the student body, to fight for these marginalized communities,” said Georgia Yee, AMS VP academic and university affairs.

After the AMS’s endorsement, different committees and portfolios are developing plans to address the climate emergency, racial discrimination, economic injustices and other global crises exposed by COVID-19.

For instance, the VP external portfolio is coming up with suggestions for the provincial and federal governments in terms of how it can provide students with better support.

Additionally, the VP administration portfolio is incorporating climate justice principles into its work by striving to become zero-carbon and by developing goals for its Climate Action Plan 2030.

Given that most classes will be online this fall, Yee said the AMS wants all UBC students to have equitable access to educational resources no matter where they are in the world.

“We must address all of these things, not in different bubbles, but together,” said Yee.