Thursday, October 25, 2007

AMS meeting October 24th, or boo to code & policies.

Yesterday there was an AMS council meeting. I missed it, but since everyone loves hearing about the machinations of democracy, or better yet, themselves, here's a summary written up by Blake Frederick, the AVP Academic and University Affairs (otherwise known as Brendon's minion), on his brand-new blog: I also have word that a certain illustrious blog was featured to encourage more people to run for office! woot!

Reading Blake's summary over, it strikes me that the code and policies committee is a bit ridiculous. Yesterday they brought forward a policy restricting sound recording and video recording at AMS council and committee meetings. This is a topic that when you really think about it, might actually be important a couple times a year. Whatever. But code & policies has pro-actively taken it on! It almost instantaneously devoted attention to this (in my opinion silly) topic, to introduce (in my opinion silly) code amendments, when at the same time, code & policies has been sitting on some big items that have literally been waiting for attention for years. Big items like committee reform, and a students' assembly. These are initiatives that actually had council support, and partial approval, but were sent to the committee for some more work and expertise. Hah - the committee is basically a junkyard of abandoned policy. Apparently, committee chair Scott Bernstein's personal aversion to the gaze of video lenses (the horror!) is more important than council's priorities.

This actually brings up some bigger topics:

  • Council tends to bundle things off to code & policies when anything of a slightly technical nature comes up, or when they can't seem to agree. This means that any complex or controversial policies end up being delayed indefinitely, and council can conveniently forget about them. This is also symptomatic of the fact that other working groups in the society don't seem to draft policies at all. There isn't a great venue for policy consultation other than the committee, and the whole council itself. Both have proved agonizingly inefficient in different ways.
  • In the terms of reference for the committee (code section V article 6), it is clear that the body is to be used by council as an expert group. If the code & policies committee doesn't follow council's priorities, in favour of (in this year's case) bylaw changes and the chair's personal initiatives, there's a problem.