Between the Motions: Elections Administrator hired, AMS Events to cut back-to-school event costs

In its final meeting of the summer, AMS Council met last night in the Michael Kingsmill Forum to hear an update from AMS Events on back-to-school events, to discuss a motion to reform the Election Appeals Committee and to hire an Elections Administrator.

Here is what you might’ve missed.

Back-to-school events expected to see drop in revenue

AMS Events Managers Nadeem Kajani and Rish Das gave an update on Jump Start, Firstweek and the Welcome Back BBQ.

Kajani said the AMS is collaborating with Jump Start for the second year on events — such as an outdoor movie night and a tote bag painting event — and that he hopes to see this “mutually beneficial” relationship continue in the future.

On Firstweek events, Kajani said the AMS had not met its sponsorship targets for Firstweek due to inflation, but that steps are being taken to offset this revenue drop.

“We’re basically spending less on events, but at the same time we aren’t compromising the quality and liveliness of these events,” he said.

Lastly, Das said the AMS is on track to sell out of all its tickets for the Welcome Back BBQ.

Multiple councillors asked the presenters about the post-event clean up for the Welcome Back BBQ after trash was left behind in the Nest plaza following last year’s Block Party.

Das said after Block Party, UBC scheduled cleaners to come collect the trash on the Monday after the event — Block Party was held on a Friday — instead of the Saturday. He said the AMS is working closely with UBC’s Film & Events Office this year and that the office is aware of the upcoming event.

Councillor Audrey Chow asked whether the AMS would lose money on Welcome Back BBQ.

Das said the AMS always budgets to lose money on large-scale events like the Welcome Back BBQ due to the cost of production and the subsidization of tickets. He echoed Kajani’s earlier comments that Events has cut costs elsewhere, adding that the AMS would also try to maximize revenues by selling all available tickets.

A not so appeal-ing motion

Councillors also voted to refer a motion to reform the membership of the Election Appeals Committee back to the Governance Committee.

The Speaker of Council, the person filing an appeal of an Elections Committee decision, and a representative from the Elections Committee currently serve on the Appeals Committee. If passed, the motion would have replaced the latter two seats with AMS councillors.

Chow, who chairs the Governance Committee, said the motion was intended to ensure the Appeals Committee is unbiased in its decision making and to prevent potential conflicts of interest.

Councillor CK Thomas said he was concerned that by removing the person filing an appeal and Elections Committee representative the committee could make a decision without their input.

Chow said that these individuals could still be invited to the meeting on the appeal, and that documents related to the person’s appeal would always be reviewed.

Board of Governors representative Max Holmes asked why the conflict of interest rules for the Elections Committee were not applied to the Appeals Committee. He also asked if the UBC Vancouver Senate was consulted on the proposed changes since AMS Elections oversees student senator races as well.

Chow said the Governance Committee didn’t want to propose restrictive membership requirements to the Appeals Committee.

Additionally, Chow said the AMS’s ombudsperson and Speaker of Council were consulted. AMS President Eshana Bhangu added that Georgia Yee, a Board of Governors member and student senator-at-large, was also part of the drafting of the motion.

Following a short discussion, Chow motioned to refer her original motion back to Governance Committee. The motion to refer passed unanimously.

Along with discussing the Election Appeals Committee, councillors also later approved the hiring of Ashley Haines as this year’s Elections Administrator after voting to increase the position’s pay last week.