AMS Decoded: What to look for in the February 10 Council meeting

Every few weeks, your student government spends a Wednesday night talking about a bunch of things. In most cases, what we talk about wonʼt affect a students’ day to day activity, but there are always a few tidbits that might interest you. Hereʼs what to watch out for in the upcoming AMS Council meeting on February 10, 2016.

UPass referendum

The theme of this meeting will undoubtedly be referendums. Council will be approving referendum questions to allow general AMS students to vote. The first question — and arguably the most important — is approving the UPass, which allows UBC students access to cheap and unlimited transit. However, as the UPass contract with TransLink is only valid for two to three school years, the contract needs to be re-approved when it expires. If approved, the UPass will cost $39.50/month in the 2016-2017 school year and $41.00/month in the 2017-2018 school year. If this referendum question fails, UBC students will no longer have access to the UPass program.

Fee referendums

There are also two referendum questions this year that relate to student fees. The first asks to approve a $4.20 increase in the AMS general membership fee, making it $42.64 from the current level of $38.44. This change is likely motivated due to the reduction in business revenue and rising overhead cost, as well as other financial inflexibilities. The second question concerns the fee structure of the Extended Health & Dental plan. The question will be asking for more flexibility in terms of how the fee will increase year-to-year, ensuring the plan’s financial sustainability.

Other referendums

In addition to these referendum questions, there will also be housekeeping Bylaw and Constitution changes as well as proposed changes to the AMS Bylaws surrounding future referendum questions — so, a referendum question about referendum questions. Confused yet? In addition, student petitions have been circulating to double the World University Service Canada (WUSC) fee that supports refugee students at UBC, to bring back The Gallery lounge in the old SUB and to introduce a fee to support student performance and cultural clubs on campus.