Between the Motions//

Between the Motions: Students criticize lack of discussion at AMS special general meeting

At last night’s meeting, AMS Council met to hear statements from students-at-large, a sustainability report and approve code suspension.

Here’s what you might have missed.

Students express frustration around the SGM

There were three student-at-large statements, all criticizing the AMS’s decision to remove staff access to the AMS Food Bank and the lack of discussion or action at the special general meeting (SGM).

In March 2023, the AMS restricted UBC staff access to the AMS Food Bank starting in May 2023 because of financial hardship. On June 4, the AMS held a SGM because of a petition Sulong UBC submitted in April to hold a SGM to vote on a motion to reinstate AMS associate members’ access to the AMS Food Bank and to hold referendums, going forward, regarding changes to food bank access. Associate members include UBC and AMS staff and faculty.

One student said “the AMS shut down the vote to reinstate staff access to the food bank in less than 30 minutes.”

They also asked why students were not consulted before the decision was made.

President Christian ‘CK’ Kyle said the AMS does not “have a really comprehensive set of bylaws around special general meetings,” and they decided to follow similar procedures for their annual general meeting — which includes ending the meeting if quorum is not met within 30 minutes.

He also added that the AMS has not met quorum for an SGM since 1970.

CK also said the decision to restrict food bank access was made by the AMS executives who are elected by students and in consultation with the Student Life Committee.

“I wish that we could do more. I wish we could serve everybody … it's not a decision we take lightly,” said CK.

Another student-at-large said they were “disappointed that the AMS chose to change the mode of delivery from in-person to online only four days prior to the meeting” and called on the AMS to hold another SGM.

CK said the change happened because Sulong UBC asked for the SGM to be made hybrid and the AMS “realized the increased cost of that meant that we couldn’t actually do it hybrid.” He said he should have made the meeting online to begin with and takes “accountability” for the changes made.

“I would also say that they're not trying to keep workers out. We're just trying to do our best to feed students,” said CK.

Senior Student Services Manager Kathleen Simpson also gave a presentation on recent food bank usage.

She said the food bank saw 25,203 student interactions last year which is a 90 per cent increase from the previous year.

Simpson also said last year $500,000 was spent on food purchasing, and while they will spend the same on food next year, the amount of food spent per person will decrease because of food prices increasing.

She adds that some items will be cut next year like carrots, yogurt, canned tuna and weekly specials.

“When we think a little bit about expanding access, including the possibility of expanding access to staff as well, we would be, unfortunately, looking to make additional menu cuts,” said Simpson.

Other business

Council heard a presentation from the VP Admin Office about their annual sustainability priorities. Some of the initiatives include hosting a plant-based September campaign, reducing single-use items in the Nest and doing an energy audit on the AMS Student Staff Office.

There was also a motion to suspend two codes to allow the executives goals presentation and approval of the budget to occur in July instead of June.

The motion was passed.