Between the Motions: AMS Elections period extended, UBC athletics planning for a $1 million shortfall

Last night, AMS councillors met for the first time in 2024 to hear presentations about upcoming elections, athletics and recreation and student services.

Here’s what you might have missed.

AMS prepares for upcoming election season

First, councillors heard a presentation on the 2024 general elections and referendum from Elections Administrator Max Holmes.

This year, the voting period will be longer than previous years, from March 1 to March 8, adding three extra days. Unofficial results will be announced at 9 p.m. on the final day of voting.

Currently, the committee is considering increasing the level of transparency for joke candidates. In the past, joke candidates like ChatGPT and Remy the Rat were not required to disclose the candidate’s actual name on the ballot. Regardless, joke candidates will continue to be able to run, as Holmes believes that they increase overall voter turnout.

UBC Athletics and Recreation reports a $1 million dollar shortfall in expenses and revenues

Next, Managing Director of Athletics and Recreation Kavie Toor presented updates on the athletics and recreation strategic direction and budget.

He highlighted key achievements from the past year, including the launch of an IBPOC student athlete and wellbeing scholarship, record number of concerts at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, sold-out intramural leagues and 10 national championships for UBC Thunderbird teams.

Toor said the main challenges are demand exceeding supply in many program areas and finances. He noted that over 100 teams were on the waitlist for intramural volleyball.

In the 2024 budget, the biggest expense is facility operations, with over 15 million allocated.

Toor said that the UBC Aquatic Centre operates at a loss of 1.7 million per year. His team is “reluctantly” looking into charging students for access.

There is also a $1 million dollar shortfall in expenses and revenues expected for 2023. Toor said this shortfall has occurred because of the wage increase passed by the province in June 2023 and that his team is working to minimize negative effects on student programs.

The main revenue sources moving forward will still come from student fees and general operations.

Majority of student services see increase in user interactions

Next, Senior Student Services Manager Kathleen Simpson presented on 2023/24 AMS services. This interim report covers 17,773 user interactions recorded between May and November 2023.

The largest service by usage is the Food Bank. reported 12,463 user interactions, an 84 per cent increase in interactions from the same period last year. The food bank's annual budget is $108,039, and the total cost to date is $57,398.46.

AMS Safewalk reported 1,197 user interactions with call volumes remaining high. Following promotion efforts during early September, Safewalk saw a significant increase in the number of nightly calls. In late October, it surpassed the last year's interaction count of 800 trips.

Another service that has reported increases is tutoring, which saw a 32 per cent overall increase in interactions. Highlights include the launch of the LSAT and MCAT services as well as improved training for the tutors.

Interim President Ben Du gives his first remark to council

Before winter break the council appointed former AMS VP Administration Ben Du as the interim president till April 30, 2024, the end of AMS executives' terms.

Du started by emphasizing the need to focus on resiliency and collaboration as elected representatives toward constituencies.

“I want to take a moment and recognize as well that it's really an exciting time,” he said.

He said he would work to keep the AMS a productive environment.

“Over the next four months, I'm focused on pushing forward.”