Between the Motions: Council approved code changes and election referendum

AMS Council met on February 7 to approve governance code changes and pass a bylaw change, which will also be voted on by the student body in a referendum during AMS Elections.

Here’s what you might’ve missed.

Governance Committee Chair Ayesha Irfan presented the Code Changes 2023’s Standards of Conduct report. The document is meant to be “a very clear set of guidelines” outlining AMS Council member responsibilities for incoming members.

Senator Mathew Ho raised concern regarding redundancies in the report, but Irfan said that it is intended to be “as descriptive as possible.”

The approval was passed, along with amendments made to the business plans and electronic voting in camera. These changes are all part of the Governance Committee’s governance restructuring report.

The latter amendment was passed to allow councillors to vote with electronic devices during in-camera sessions, but otherwise councillors have to keep all devices closed.

The former amendment, developed in partnership with the VP Finance Office, now requires a grant report to be submitted outlining monetary and project objectives when seeking funding from capital projects fund.

“It really would help the VP Finance Office[‘s] record-keeping when it comes to figuring out why your project was approved in the first place and how much money is going there and what's the attention and the purpose behind it,” Irfan said. “It's a very long term plan.”

“I hope that other folks on this board can see how this would be … a financially responsible thing to do.”

Council also passed a bylaw change which will require interim President Ben Du to call a referendum to be held during elections.

The referendum will ask if the student body if they support and approve amending the AMS bylaw to require the VP Finance to complete a report every three years that summarizes all financial-related decisions to inform future AMS budgeting choices and hold executive accountability.

Du said he hopes the report will provide structure to short-term financial priorities while ensuring that future committees are informed of past monetary commitments.

“This bylaw amendment serves a purpose to make sure that we better manage … how we manage student fees, frankly, in addition to our other sources of revenue,” Du said. “[This is] especially fitting for this year because we are operating in deficit year over year and we cannot sustain the way we are currently operating.”

Du said he hopes the referendum will “bridge cohesion between student executive leadership, and support staff and our permanent staff.”