August 25, 2017 

KINGSTON, ON – Today, AMS President Jennifer Li made the following statement on behalf of the AMS Executive: 

“Over the last few days, we have heard and considered the concerns expressed to us by students and alumni over the transition of Bikes and Boards from an AMS corporate service to a student-led club. We wish to take a moment and respond to some of the comments and better explain the decision.  

“Firstly, it is important to reaffirm that while the AMS Board of Directors made this decision on the recommendation of its Finance and Risk Committee, it falls to us to implement their instructions. The nine students and three community members of the Board are tasked with making decisions in the best long-term interest of the Society and its students. Sometimes, those decisions are very difficult. While it is not appropriate for us to divulge the deliberations of our corporate board, all board members—including us—have an obligation to stand behind the collective decisions that are made.  

“Within our delegated management authority, we have done what we can to soften the impact of this decision on the six student staff of the former service, as well as the impact on active transportation in the student community. 

“Let’s first talk about our actions in regards to the former staff. As per the instructions from the Board of Directors, staff members of Bikes and Boards were given termination payments, and the Head Manager in particular received above what is legally required. Any suggestion that these staff were not compensated by the AMS is untrue.  

“In addition to receiving termination payments, the four staff who would have continued working into the year were given exceptional eligibility to apply to work as service staff at another AMS service during the fall hiring period normally reserved for arriving first-year and transfer students. AMS Hiring and Appointment Policies and Procedures also allows for an exception to be made in extraordinary circumstances and it is the position of the entire AMS Executive that this eligibility should apply to the former Head Manager of Bikes and Boards.  

“We recognize that, sometimes, our policies and procedures that are intended to guarantee fairness to everyone may not account for individual circumstances, and as student leaders we have a responsibility to see that fact and work to address it when we can. To that end, we sought legal clarification which resulted in our decision to extend eligibility to the former Head Manager of Bikes and Boards to apply as service staff, as well as for salaried positions in the AMS as they become available. 

“We have chosen to address these concerns as a statement because we firmly believe that Facebook is not the place to talk about people’s employment history, work study status, or other confidential matters. To respond to every Facebook comment directed at us would be to break the confidence of all of our more-than-700 student employees. But we must also be accessible and accountable to our 17,000 students, and that’s why we always invite you to send us an email, give us a call, or come right into our offices for a chat.  

“We would also like to talk about next steps for Bikes and Boards and the sustainability community more generally. The $2,500 grant provided to Bikes and Boards and the various other forms of financial and logistical support provided by the AMS will help it to succeed going forward as a volunteer-driven initiative that fosters active transportation. It will no longer have to compete with other bike shops and will be able to focus on its core mandate of providing affordable repair services to students and the community. 

“It is a worthy cause that we believe in and it will be joining more than 250 other AMS clubs that facilitate conferences, sell products at-cost, and provide a variety of other amazing services for students. We believe in clubs and their ability to do exceptional things on campus, and we hope that you do too.  

“Our job as your student government is to empower student leadership of all kinds and help it to succeed, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. We are confident that the AMS Clubs Office and the new Sustainability Partership will reignite Bikes and Boards as a meaningful part of the sustainability community at Queen’s.  

“In closing, we thank you all for your continued feedback on this. We are constantly learning and growing as your representatives, and this has strengthened our commitment to listening to students in all that we do.” 

 

Please direct all media inquiries to Craig Draeger, AMS Director of Communications, at communications@ams.queensu.ca or (613) 533-6000 x 75850. 

BACKGROUNDER 

Alma Mater Society (AMS) – http://www.myams.org 

The central undergraduate student government at Queen’s University, the AMS represents over 17,000 students and is the oldest student government in Canada. It has over 1,000 student volunteers and 700 paid staff. 

Bikes and Boards — http://bikesandboards.ca/  

Bikes and Boards was started as an AMS service in 2013-2014 and provides the student community with low-cost bicycle and longboard sales and service, as well as seasonal skate sharpening.