Between the Motions//

Between the Motions: SJC investigation quashed, PC1/2 approved after contentious review

On April 24, AMS Council met to rescind its investigation into the UBC Social Justice Centre (SJC) and pass its updated respectful workplace (PC1) and sexualized violence (PC2) policies.

Here’s what you might’ve missed. 

SJC investigation rescinded 

During the April 15 meeting, AMS Council passed a motion to appoint an Ad Hoc Investigations Committee to investigate the SJC for allegedly violating the society’s code by contacting lawyers without AMS authorization.

The SJC filed a lawsuit in February against Hillel BC Society, alleging Hillel's former contractor defamed them by distributing “I [heart] Hamas” stickers with the SJC's logo around campus in November 2023.

On April 24, Council moved a motion to rescind its investigation of the SJC as the lawsuit will be amended to remove the SJC as a plaintiff. 

The motion passed. 

PC1/2 passed after three years of review

Students first expressed concerns over PC1 and PC2 in April 2023, and in August 2023, students largely criticized PC2 for not being survivor-centric.

PC1 and PC2 were first passed by the student society in 2019 and are required to be reviewed every two years. These policies have been under review since September 2021. In August 2023, after community concern, the policies were indefinitely postponed. 

In September 2023, the AMS created a working group for the PC1/2 review that included experts from the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre and UBC’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office, among others. 

The most significant changes to PC1 and PC2 include establishing an annual review, removing the false claims clauses and a change in investigation decision-makers. 

The August 2023 draft of PC2 included a false claims clause which would allow the AMS to take “corrective action” for people who “intentionally make malicious and false allegations of Sexualized Violence.” 

At the time, then-AMS President Esmé Decker said the policy review had a false claims clause “to address the past history of PC1 and 2 being weaponized, particularly in retaliation to other PC1 and 2 reports.”

This clause, by recommendation of the working group and firm Robin Fern & Co. who held a PC1/2 consultation process on behalf of the AMS, has been removed from PC1/2 and instead, an amended version was added to AMS’s policy on policies, GV1. 

The August 2023 draft of PC1/2 also included allowing elected student leaders, such as the AMS VP administration, VP finance and HR committee chair, to be the decision-makers on claims of workplace discrimination and sexual misconduct.

Now, the decision-makers include the AMS’s managing director and the AMS president. 

Student Senator Jasper Lorien said the PC1/2 working group did not want students to be decision-makers, but AMS executives did. 

“I will say, I still wish there had been zero students making decisions, but this is where we are and it's much better than the current policy we have,” said Lorien.

Board of Governors representative Eshana Bhangu said the AMS is run by students and students should be decision-makers. 

“Every single decision from the highest dollar figures to actually very significant HR consequences for personnel are made by students at this organization,” said Bhangu. “To not have any student decision makers kind of undermine the entire organization itself in the model that we operate in.”

The amendments to PC1/2 passed.