AMS approves new committee to implement recommendations from governance review

An ad-hoc governance review committee has been created to implement the recommended changes from the recent AMS governance review. The committee appointment meeting, during which its members will be chosen, will take place on May 18.

This external review was the first of its kind conducted since 1994 — and with many of its recommendations accepted by Council, the new review committee has a sizeable task ahead in executing them.

Among recommendations made were the extension of councillors' terms to two years, the removal of the Oversight Committee, and a recommendation that the VP Finance become the permanent chair of the AMS’s Advisory Board for Business and Administration (ABBA).

However, the acceptance of all recommendations made during the external review has raised some concerns. 

Former AMS councillor Viet Vu, for one, raised concerns about the recommendation for all councillors to have two year terms. He noted that BA students do not declare their major in economics until the end of their second year. This means that the first time they can run for council as a part of the Economics Undergraduate Society (ESUS) is in their third year. To accommodate the two year system, councillors who are elected would have to extend their degree by a year.

“My hope is that the ad-hoc committee will look at each of those recommendations and really think about 'Okay, does this actually make sense. Can we actually implement it,'” said Vu. 

Ava Nasiri, current AMS president, noted that despite concerns about a lack of research into the feasibility of the recommendations, the new committee has yet to determine their terms of reference — otherwise known as their scope and limitations. The terms of reference will be set during their first meeting on May 18. Once the terms are set, Council will have the opportunity to either reject or accept them.

“[With the] terms of reference I think that we can really clearly articulate some of the sentiments that Council or a few councillors were bringing up around the role of the committee and looking into feasibility,” said Nasiri.

Nasiri also provided a reminder that the governance review committee will be held completely accountable to Council.

“At the end of the day it all comes back to council,” said Nasiri. “It's the authority and responsibility of Council to hold the implementation committee accountable if they're coming back and saying, 'This isn't feasible, we recommend you don't do this one.'”

Over the course of the next month, the new committee will be creating a plan of action with a prioritized list of recommendations.

“There is the work that's being done on the ground to create space and allow for the possibility of implementation to happen, and then there's the formal structural role of council and the committee in ensuring that these processes are followed in the manners in which the students expect,” said Nasiri.