A lot of bureaucratic lingo was thrown around at this year’s AMS Elections debates, and it can be difficult for students who don’t work within the AMS to follow along, let alone know if they’re telling the truth.
With that in mind, The Ubyssey is fact-checking every candidate’s platform and all the statements they made during the debates to determine whether they're true, misleading or plain old false.
Here are our deep dives into some of the more questionable claims made by lone VP Finance candidate Lucia Liang.
Lucia Liang: “The AMS Finance team has been working closely with RBC to develop a Secure Online Money Transfer system which we launched in Q2 of the 2019-2020 fiscal”
True, but not the whole story: While Liang’s team worked towards the final rollout of the new system, the idea was set in motion during Former VP Finance Kuol Akuechbeny’s tenure. The online money transfer system was planned to be implemented by summer 2018, but it was delayed due to issues with security in the system. He had mentioned the updated system would take two years to be functional.
The new system was rolled-out around the end-of-September deadline stated in Liang’s executive goals, but outgoing President Chris Hakim didn’t confirm the final rollout until October 2019 in a Council meeting.
But the system faced problems early on. Liang faced criticism from Engineering Undergraduate Society Interim President Katherine Westerlund for rolling out the new system without advertising it adequately to clubs and constituencies. Liang responded that she didn’t yet have the staff to manage the new system in full operation.
Liang: “$15,000 for an AMS Tutoring App was granted in support of expanding affordable and quality tutoring services on campus.. this service has brought back strong financial returns since its inceptions and continues to grow.”
True: The AMS Student Services budget 2019-2020 was amended to reallocate $15,000 within the budget. “Originally, the line number we want[ed] to use was supposed to go to a second Advocacy Coordinator, but now it will go to the app,” Lucia said in the council meeting.
Liang: “We pushed the deadline of the preliminary budget this year ... We’re starting the budget process way ahead this year.”
True: The proposal put forward by the Finance Committee — which Liang chairs — aimed to amend the code to change the preliminary budget deadline from May 31 of each year to April 30. The code amendment was approved, as confirmed by AMS President Chris Hakim in a Facebook message.
Liang: “The MSP increase[d] from $35 to $75 for international students.”
True: Beginning in January 2020, international students are charged a health-care coverage fee of $75 a month. Previously, they were charged $37.5 per month in lieu of the Medical Services Plan premium.
Liang: “The ticketing service right now has a very high service charge ... At the end of the month, we get a lump sum and we work with students to figure out the allocation of our money.”
Unverified: When the three- to five-year contract with Showpass was finalized in 2018 at a rate of seven per cent, there were talks about negotiating the contract to charge a fee less than that. In her 2019-20 AMS Executive Goals, Liang touched on the idea of renegotiating the contract or finding a new ticketing service. We couldn’t verify any further developments.
This is a live article and will be updated as further information come to light.