Motions on food security funding, tuition freeze and unionization bring over 1,100 students to AMS AGM

The AMS’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday evening was the third in 40 years to reach quorum, with over 1,100 members attending and the AMS successfully passing all its motions.

The 2022 AGM, held on Monday evening over Zoom, had six motions on the agenda, including formalizing support for the CUPE 2278 campaign to unionize all student workers, and calling for a tuition freeze and sustained food security funding.

The AMS also offered $5,000 in prizes — a $500 tuition credit for 10 students — to students who attended the meeting. This was a $1,000 increase from last year's AGM, which failed to meet quorum.

Motions pass with ‘a thundering majority’

Students approved a motion that formalizes the AMS's support for CUPE 2278's unionization efforts. The campaign comes after research assistants and student academic workers have been trying to unionize to help fight against toxic work environments and pay inequity for years.

"Unionizing is the only way that they can address these problems collectively and legally require UBC to negotiate with them," AMS President Eshana Bhangu said when motivating the motion.

The motion passed with "a thundering majority," according to Bhangu.

The next motion called on UBC to provide sustained and long-term food security funding.

Food insecurity been brought to the forefront after students led a walkout protesting against UBC's lack of funding and ignoring the rising demand for aid on October 21.

"UBC can’t claim to be a world-class university while offering Band-Aid solutions," Bhangu said.

The motion passed with 93 per cent in favour.

The fifth motion proposed continual advocacy from the AMS “to UBC and the Provincial Government for a tuition freeze or tuition reduction” and that “the Provincial grant cover all lost revenue for the Universities.”

Bhangu spoke about students’ fatigue with tuition rising every year and how the government needs to provide more funding to UBC “so students don't have to cover all those costs.” This motion passed with 94 per cent in favour.

Once all the motions were passed, prize winners were announced. Notably, the meeting lost quorum — quorum is about 600 students — minutes after awarding prizes. Bhangu then adjourned before the planned town hall session.

Last year, the AMS continued with its AGM town hall session, despite not reaching quorum.

In a comment sent to The Ubyssey, Bhangu explained that the town hall would have been considered an "unofficial meeting" and that it is best practice to end a meeting once quorum is lost.

She said the AMS will pull questions submitted during yesterday's meeting and post the answers on its website. She added that the student society would look into retention methods to ensure enough people stay for the town hall in future years.

Motion summary

Motion 1: Approval of the Agenda. Passed.

Motion 2: Financial Statements and Auditors. Passed.

Motion 3: AMS Position on CUPE 2278’s Unionization Efforts. Passed.

Motion 4: AMS Calls on UBC for Sustainable Food Security Funding. Passed.

Motion 5: AMS calls for a Tuition Freeze. Passed.

Motion 6: Report from the President and Managing Director. Passed.