Between the Motions: AMS Council approves bylaw changes for upcoming AMS annual general meeting

AMS Council met last night for a special meeting ahead of its annual general meeting.

Here’s what you missed.

Proposed bylaw changes approved

AMS President Cole Evans and Governance Committee Chair Sebastian Cooper brought proposed bylaw changes for Council approval.

The main topic of last night’s agenda, these changes will come to the AMS’s virtual annual general meeting (AGM) on October 29.

The changes were split into four categories: past proposed changes, newly proposed changes, proxy voting changes and records policy changes. All past changes have failed to pass in previous referendums.

The past proposed changes to abolish the defunct Student Court and amend the AMS records policy to designate certain information confidential drew the most discussion. These changes were among the most controversial when put to referendums in past years.

At the September 30 Council meeting, Evans said these changes presented altogether in a single referendum question were unpopular due to the records policy. Cooper said the AMS has a responsibility to pass these changes so the AMS can obey its own bylaws.

Another major change proposed was to allow councillors to represent students at the annual general meeting, effectively allowing a councillor to vote on behalf of multiple students. This is part of Evans’s strategy this year to sidestep its trend of historically low turnout — having councillors represent other students could aid the AMS reach quorum which it needs to consider any motions, including these bylaw changes.

Other changes include updating job descriptions and fixing typos.

“It’s hard to explain to students why it’s important to correct spelling errors,” said Cooper.

“This is a way that we can make those changes to ensure that our society is smooth and well functioning.”

Student Senator Alex Gonzalez and engineering representative Emma Dodyk said bringing these changes for approval at the AGM rather than a referendum was “unethical” given that, if quorum is reached, the threshold for changes to pass at an AGM are lower than what’s needed for a referendum.

“The AMS already has a bad reputation with students and decisions like this are the reason why,” Gonzalez said.

All proposed changes except for the proxy voting changes passed. Council decided to separate contentious items such as abolishing Student Court from other perfunctory changes. The AMS will present them separately at the AGM.

Affiliate college ad hoc committee established

Council established an ad hoc committee for affiliate colleges intended to help the AMS liaise with students of those colleges.

The committee was established after brief discussion of which organizations are affiliate colleges and how the committee’s membership will look.

It will return to Council with a report on how the AMS can better support affiliate members in January 2021.