Between the Motions: AMS events restructuring after COVID-unsafe club crawl

AMS Council met virtually for a specialThursday meeting last night.

Here’s what you missed.

AMS Events club crawl an AMS ‘PR hit’

After councillors challenged executives on an AMS Events pub crawl held on Halloween weekend, Council approved the formation of an ad hoc committee on AMS Events Structure & Audit to evaluate how to fix and change the accountability structure of AMS Events.

AMS Events advertised the crawl as “socially distanced,” but event photos on AMS Events social media showed little to no mask usage, gatherings larger than the provincially recommended bubble of six and makeshift cobweb partitions between tables.,

While AMS Events, ThePlug Vancouver and Vancouver Tasting Tours co-hosted the event, AMS President Cole Evans distanced the society by saying it was merely the promoter of Vancouver Tasting Tours’ event.

A councillor asked how the executive was not aware of the event due AMS VP External Kalith Nanayakkara’s role as President of The Plug. Nanayakkara replied that due to conflict of interest, he keeps The Plug out of executive conversations.

Councillor Nevena Rebic acknowledged that there may be confidentiality issues, but “keeping those lines distinctly drawn doesn’t put students first.”

“Because at the end of the day it’s harmful to students and if there was this potential to mitigate some of that harm, it’s frustrating that bureaucracy gets in the way of adequate actions being taken.”

Ryan Wong asked how the event was able to happen in the first place and how the society is going to prevent similar incidents.

AMS President Cole Evans couldn’t provide a complete answer as to why it happened, saying he wasn’t “privy” to those discussions.

Evans said AMS Events doesn’t report to a specific executive, adding that during his time at the AMS there have been many issues with this department. This incident was especially a “PR hit” for the society.

“I’m not going to be satisfied myself until I see some sort of tangible change in how things operate because there’s been too many of these instances to be comfortable with the department functioning as it has.”

Keith Hester, AMS managing director, countered that it didn’t fall under his jurisdiction and instead execs had oversight.

Hester later said he wanted to be a member of the ad hoc committee since it was in his “purview.”

Councillors discussed other recent instances of people gatherings in the Nest without following COVID-19 guidelines.

Rebic questioned Evans’s deflection of blame when it came to gatherings of people in the Nest.

“I would like as a councillor to see that my executive is responding in a way that is compassionate to the student perspective so we’re not blaming students but we are taking accountability and responsibility,” Rebic said.

Committee chair honoraria face no contention

Sebastian Cooper, governance committee chair, introduced a draft version of the new policy I-23 on committee chair transition reports.

The policy will standardize the transition report process and define what should be included. It also sets out provisions to pay outgoing committee chairs an honorarium equivalent to three to six hours’ work.

Cooper asked for feedback, but the Zoom call was silent. Most councillors indicated that “yes,” they supported the early version of the policy in a straw poll using the Zoom participants tab.