Between the Motions: Proposed climate emergency fund, persisting anti-Proctorio sentiment at October 14 meeting

The AMS presented calls to action against the use of Proctorio at an October 14 AMS Council meeting.

After the Vancouver-Point Grey candidates debate, AMS councillors met over Zoom to discuss the climate emergency, Proctorio and a new housing service.

Here’s what you missed.

$1.5-million climate action fund proposed

Students and alumni at the meeting advocated creating a Climate Emergency Response Fund, to come out of the $6.8-million tuition surplus that the Board of Governors allocated to the AMS and GSS earlier in the term.

Climate Justice UBC member Michelle Marcus and others involved requested $1.5 million of the surplus for a “student-oriented climate action, racial justice and COVID-recovery initiatives.”

The presentation said that this fund would allow for the advancement of the “AMS Sustainability Action Plan and dozens of other student priorities.”

Key actions of interest include funding BIPOC students to shape climate policies, funding the UBC Climate Hub, including climate emergency awareness building in student orientations and funding a UBC Activist Lab.

The fund will begin receiving applications in December 2020 and January 2021, with funds to be disbursed in March 2021.

Marcus said that President Santa Ono had expressed interest in the project. AMS President Cole Evans added that the society is working to get the university to match funds going to the climate emergency response fund.

“There’s a really broad scope of what it can impact, not just climate related but again racial justice, social justice and more,” Evans said.

Further calls for UBC to ditch Proctorio

Since the AMS released principles advising against the use of Proctorio — a controversial exam proctoring service that many UBC professors have opted for during COVID-19 — UBC still hasn’t changed its relationship with Proctorio.

AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Georgia Yee presented calls to action against the use of Proctorio, outlining several reasons she said UBC should discontinue using the service. Yee’s reasons included demonstrating compassion for students, staff and faculty; “unethical behavior” by Proctorio; equity concerns and technology concerns.

Yee said that Proctorio conflicts with academic freedom as a UBC value.

“I’d ask why we protect the ‘academic freedom’ of alt-right speakers on campus inciting hatred towards minorities but we do not act to protect the academic freedom of valued community members such as Ian Linkletter,” she wrote in the presentation.

The contract with Proctorio will be coming to an end in term two, and the AMS will work to prevent the renewal of that contract, Yee said.

Yee outlined four goals to continue the AMS’s fight against Proctorio.

These include ending the UBC–Proctorio relationship and stopping instructors from compelling students to use online proctoring. Other goals are for UBC to offer low-barrier alternatives to remote proctoring software and support student and staff academic freedom.