The AMS deconstituted and rejected dozens of clubs last term

Last term, the AMS deconstituted close to 100 clubs and rejected 20 out of 24 new applications.

In order to accommodate new club applications, the AMS Clubs and Societies Working Group deconstituted dozens of clubs with dwindling membership. Some, like the UBC Young Liberal Club (YLC), were reconstituted after a review.

“There were some vacancies [in] the club as individuals graduated and pursued other opportunities, and this led to a transition period that resulted in the AMS de-constituting the Young Liberal Club,” YLC executive Nathan Bowles said in a statement. “This was quickly reversed through a hearing between AMS administrators and the current UBC YLC Executive Team, and the club has since been reconstituted without penalty.”

Gaining club status is also becoming more challenging for students.

Spencer Austman, a fourth-year computer science student, submitted an application for the AMS Digital Association as a way for members of the r/UBC subreddit and other online forums to come together and meet.

“We sent off the club application before the deadline and waited until [we] got an answer,” he said. “We had already prepped some of the next step documents, writing bylaws and preparing documents for the next steps in AMS application process.”

Austman’s application was rejected by the AMS Clubs and Societies Working Group without cause.

“I just got an email one morning … it was super generic, like, ‘Dear AMS Digital Association, we regret to inform you that you will not become an AMS club,’ and I’m like, there’s no actual reason,” he said. “Apart from the ‘Dear [insert club name here],’ it was a template email.”

According to an AMS document, 20 other clubs were also denied admission, and four were accepted. The main causes behind their denial were for not strictly adhering to AMS naming conventions in their club application form and/or not providing unique services.

Other causes were specifically about the nature of the clubs itself.

“Not actually giving back to the UBC community - just using UBC as a source of volunteers,” read the AMS’s reasoning behind some rejections. Others were simply attributed to being a “charity club.”

These groups will have to wait until September 2018 to re-apply.

“With over 400 clubs and constituencies, plus a number of AMS services, the AMS has to think critically about what a proposed club is able to offer students that doesn’t currently exist in some way, shape, or form,” said AMS VP Administration Pooja Bhatti in an emailed statement.

“Each application is reviewed, debated, and voted on by elected student leaders.  What sets a successful application apart from an unsuccessful one depends on: - if the application is completed properly; and - if it is a unique idea that isn’t offered elsewhere in the AMS.”

When the AMS rejected a men’s rights club in 2016 for overlapping with the Healthier Masculinities Program, then-VP Administration Chris Scott said that the decision was a result of administrative strain on the student union.

“We’re kind of at our maximum of clubs that we can support. We’re strictly enforcing that there has to be very little overlap to accept new clubs. That was a plan across the board in the fall when we went through those applications,” he said.

This article has been updated to correct Spencer Austman’s name. The Ubyssey regrets this error.