This editorial represents the opinions of the 104th Ubyssey editorial board whose term ends April 30, 2023.
This time of year is filled with endings and new beginnings. The current AMS executives will leave office at the end of the month and be replaced by a new group, elected by you, the student body. The new execs are made up of both seasoned student politicians and student government newcomers.
We at The Ubyssey are familiar with our student society’s operations and the promises of the incoming AMS execs — we attended every debate and AMS Council meeting this past year. We’re familiar with the society's issues and where they’ve been lacking. In addition to our AMS knowledge, we talk to students and cover what they are struggling with. We believe we have a grasp on what students want and need from the AMS.
So, as this editorial board's term comes to a close, we want to tell you (and the AMS) what we hope to see this year.
Students elect student leaders and pay student fees, so the issues students care about should be at the forefront of everything the AMS does.
At The Ubyssey, we love transparency and we want to see more of it from the AMS. We’re hoping the AMS increases the visibility of AMS Council by publicly broadcasting meetings and allowing students to easily access AMS records.
Right now, we are the only newspaper consistently keeping students up-to-date on the operations of the AMS. And while we love our work, the AMS should take a more hands-on approach in ensuring students know what their student society is doing.
And when it comes to records access, we want to see the AMS think about students first when it comes to revising their records policy. In October 2022, the AMS proposed changes to its records policy after The Ubyssey requested access to redacted emails a month earlier.
We wrote an editorial about this, and the AMS quickly backtracked. Of course, as journalists, we care a lot about being able to access records since it helps us hold the AMS accountable. But, all students who are part of the society should be able to access its records.
We also want to see the AMS make its budget more transparent. This past year, there was no preliminary budget, and the March budget reforecast showed discrepancies compared to the original budget. The AMS’s 2022/23 budget projected $4.2 million in revenue and a $1.25 million deficit, while the reforecast projected the society will make $4.7 million in revenue, with roughly a $481,000 deficit.
We also want the AMS to consult Indigenous students regarding the AMS Sustainability Action Plan and finish the Indigenous Coordination section of the plan. We want the AMS to ensure members of its executive team are familiar with the society’s Indigenous finance guidelines and the AMS’s relationship with Musqueam. The debates during this year’s elections showed us this knowledge is lacking.
Another knowledge gap during this year’s elections was around sexual misconduct policies and prevention — many candidates did not include details on how the society will support students through sexual assault. The AMS must also work toward solidifying survivor-centric frameworks when it comes to the review of policy PC1 and PC2, the AMS’s Respectful Community and Workplace and Sexualized Violence policies.
Students have shown frustration with AMS this year. One way they could repair those relationships is by working with student activist groups on demonstrations, walkouts and other means of protest that matter to the student body. The AMS should also make sure it is listening to marginalized voices when the society’s actions will directly impact them. The AMS exists to advocate on the behalf of students, and it’s time they start doing so.
We also want a kick-ass clubs fair with a Ferris wheel. Just kidding. Unless…
The Ubyssey published an editorial in opposition to the AMS’s proposed changes to its records policy on October 25, 2022, and in support of the Trans Coalition on March 3.