The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) will fill the vacant arts student seats on AMS Council after four of the five recently-elected representatives resigned to work in the offices of AMS execs.
At the beginning of April, Arts students elected five representatives — Audrey Chow, Romina Hajizadeh, Kamil Kanji, Joshua Kim and Lawrence Liu — to serve on AMS Council. But, soon after the election, Kanji, Hajizadeh and Kim resigned to work in AMS President Eshana Bhangu’s office and Liu resigned to work for VP Finance Rita Jin.
Kanji, who was hired as the Strategy and Governance Lead in Bhangu’s office, cited multiple factors for his decision to resign from his councillor position, including being able to help students in his new role and the fact that it was a paid position.
“Working under a president like Eshana wasn’t an opportunity I’d miss,” he added.
Hajizadeh, who was hired as the Equity and Inclusion Lead, also said the role’s financial compensation drew her towards it. “This position allows me to finance my living expenses while maintaining my involvement in student advocacy,” she said in a statement sent to The Ubyssey.
Hajizadeh said that while she regretted leaving her position as an arts representative, the two roles were in direct conflict with one another since councillors cannot be paid members of the AMS.
Bhangu clarified that the candidates hired for her office went through the usual hiring process “which consists of multiple components including written submissions and interviews,” in a statement sent to The Ubyssey. She said these candidates were hired regardless of faculty association.
She also said the successful applicants were given time to consider their decision.
“There are codes and procedures in place to fill vacancies and the AMS will work with the AUS to ensure that it's being supported throughout the process,” she added.
Jin sent an almost identical statement to The Ubyssey, adding that members of her office come from several different faculties.
In a statement, first-year arts student Joe Vento said he hoped the AUS appointed the runners-up from the spring election for the vacant Arts AMS representative positions. Vento came in seventh in that election.
“While the council can appoint anyone who is eligible, selecting the candidates who ran (and are still interested in the position) shows respect for the voters' preferences. It also rewards those who followed the AUS elections process, whether it be collecting signatures, participating in the AUS candidate debate, or campaigning around campus,” he wrote.
AUS President Fatima Rua said the vacancies will not initially be filled through a by-election. Instead, the AUS will hold an emergency council meeting mid-June and will urge potential candidates from the Faculty of Arts to come to the meeting.
She said each prospective candidate will get a few minutes to speak about why they are suitable for the role of a representative on AMS Council before being selected by AUS executives and departmental clubs like the Political Science Student Association and the Geography Student Association.
After being elected, the new arts representatives will hold their positions until by-elections in the fall when they will go through the proper election process.
“We are determined to have our four AMS vacant seats filled before the June 22 AMS council meeting,” Rua said.