Editorial: What we want to see from the new AMS exec

Our new AMS executives were elected on Friday evening after a grueling three-week gauntlet of interviews, debates and campaigning. The new executives, who will take up their jobs on May 1, are comprised of both AMS insiders and newcomers, many of whom won on talking points of consultation, transparency and sustainability.

At The Ubyssey, we have become well-acquainted with your new government’s platforms, promises and personalities over this long, long campaign period. The real — and very hard — work is not too far in the distance. So, we’re offering our help. Going forward, here are a few pointers that we want to give our new execs.

We as a newspaper love transparency, so to see this as a main goal going forward would warm our hearts. This means allowing us to properly cover AMS Council meetings. Private, in-camera sessions during meetings are essential for privacy during legal or human resources discussions, but their continued overuse could jeopardize the AMS’s goal to not seem like an impenetrable fortress.

To mitigate this, President-elect Chris Hakim should crack down on the trend set by the previous Council, stop trying to dodge bad press and follow the example of transparency left by current President Marium Hamid.

Hakim would also be wise to learn from his opponents. Former presidential candidate Spencer Latu drummed up support with his dissatisfaction of the status quo and touched a nerve with students because he understands that for a lot of students, the AMS’s advocacy isn’t always enough.

Also with increased funding to the Sexual Assault Support Centre and a new fee to establish the Indigenous Student Support Fund both approved, the AMS has the tools to provide essential services and empower student action. We hope the society prioritizes supporting survivors and empowering Indigenous students as it works towards decolonization.

On the other hand, the slim failure of the AMS Bylaw changes is at best, a result of poor communication, and at worst an expression that students don’t trust the society to make sweeping changes all in one go. Since all the changes were packaged together, it was all or nothing — and some of them were genuinely good ideas that were tanked by the more controversial changes. If the AMS takes this result seriously, it would mean a lot in terms of gaining the student support and trust.

Diversity in the AMS continues to be a problem that we hope is taken into consideration this year. The lack of women and non-binary students running for AMS President is fully contrary to UBC’s demographics. So, it would be nice to see the new exec make genuine moves to consult with stakeholders and help diversify itself going forward.

Some of the candidates have found success with big, nice-sounding statements like having a fully ethical investment portfolio or moving Nest bookings fully online but sometimes the promises made on the campaign trail can be nebulous once candidates are finally in office. We suggest finding a concrete course of action to tether their goals to, if only as a means to keep them anchored and down-to-earth.