Dear Friends and Supporters,
OPIRG and Levana have just learned that the most recent Student Life Centre Agreement (dated April 28th 2011) designates the office space in the Grey House as jointly held AMS and the Society for Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) space. Additionally, other spaces in the house are jointly owned by the University, the AMS, and the SGPS. No space in the Grey House is owned solely by the AMS.
This means that the AMS Space Allocation Committee under the Commission of Internal Affairs does not have the jurisdiction to allocate space in the Grey House alone. They do not have the authority to evict OPIRG, Levana, or EQuIP from the Grey House.
The Space Allocation Committee delivered an eviction notice to OPIRG, Levana, and EQuIP without an understanding of their own policies that designated the space as shared space. This demonstrates that the entire ratification and space allocation process is not fully understood by the AMS itself, let alone clubs who are understaffed in the summer months. That the AMS chose to evict three organizations from the Grey House, without re-allocating the space to anyone, demonstrates not only a lack of good faith but a willful act of abuse. Particularly the decision to evict EQuIP based on a minor technicality, a club with a presence in the Grey House, at Queen’s and in Kingston for almost 40 years, demonstrates the AMS acted in bad faith.
OPIRG and Levana never refused to re-ratify. We communicated repeatedly that we needed more time to make a decision during the summer months. It was never stated that either group was choosing to not re-ratify. Allegations claiming otherwise are false. See our e-mail communication for more information.
Many have been questioning why the decision to re-ratify has taken so much time for both OPIRG and Levana. The answer is complicated because it involves a nuanced understanding of the nature of the work we do. OPIRG and Levana serve not just undergraduate students but professional students, graduate students, and the wider Kingston community. Being an ‘AMS Club’ would just be one part of our identities; we receive fees from the SGPS as well and have partnerships with many organizations throughout Kingston. Whose ‘jurisdiction’ we fall under is complicated and confusing. We have not been attempting to outrun our responsibilities to students by taking our time in making a decision on re-ratification, we have been contemplating what it means to be owned by the AMS, and particularly this AMS, as a club.
Ratification is one aspect of our relationship with the AMS, an organization that we have a long history with and that has in the past been unsupportive of our activities and work.
The current AMS government’s campaign committed to upholding anti-oppressive principles and practices and supporting the goals of our organizations. We were under the impression that our relationships were improving. We were wrong.
We will not allow a safe space we have spent decades building and nurturing to be taken away. We refuse to bow to homophobic, transphobic, and sexist attempts to evict us from our space.
We are staying.