Statement and Timeline Addressing Former AMS Executive Candidate Team ERA
February 4, 2023
KINGSTON, ON – In response to the surfacing of a harmful photograph, the AMS would like to elaborate on our comments to the Queen’s Journal and provide an update by issuing the following statement and timeline to our website and social media.
To reiterate and expand on the statement made by the AMS to the Queen’s Journal, the AMS would like to condemn the behaviour of the former candidate in the racist image mentioned. These harmful behaviours do not align with the core values and mandate that the AMS upholds, which include cultivating a sense of social awareness and responsibility in its membership and serving and representing the diversity of students at Queen’s University.
In referencing the AMS Constitution:
“The AMS recognizes that every student has the right to equal treatment with respect to student activities and organizations, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, creed, sex, gender identity, gender expression, record of offenses, sexual identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance. The Society further recognizes that some students have been historically and systemically disadvantaged pursuant to the above enumerated grounds, with resultant under-representation in institutions of post-secondary education. The AMS shall strive to be free of these forms of discrimination in all its endeavors.”
In efforts to better understand how to improve our policies concerning elections to protect students further, the AMS is committed to bringing this conversation forward to a multitude of bodies for an internal review. These will include the AMS Assembly, the AMS Board of Directors, and stakeholders within the university who will provide valuable insight on best directions.
With an awareness of the damaging effects of this topic, we have compiled a list of mental health resources for students who require support. Our sympathy extends to those who have suffered harm directly or indirectly from this former candidate’s actions.
Peer Support Centre
Rideau Building, 207 Stuart St.
- Queers 4 Peers
- BIPOC Talk
Queen’s Student Wellness
69 Union St, Kingston
Telephone Aid Line Kingston Distress, crisis, and informational support
Console by the AMS x StudentCare
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2
At approximately 4:00 pm, as the AMS was preparing for the All-Candidates Debate, we were made aware of a concerning allegation through an anonymous question regarding an Executive Candidate via our Debate Question form, which was submitted at 3:25 pm. The AMS was extremely concerned by this submission; however, as we had no prior knowledge nor had an official complaint to verify, we decided to add the following line to the moderator’s script during the debate introduction to urge individuals to come forward. The line was:
“[…] if anyone in the audience or watching online has any concerns about the comments made here tonight, the elections process, or the candidates, please feel free to email .”
Between the hours of 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, the AMS anonymously received several more concerning questions via our Debate Question form regarding the Executive Candidate.
At 8:07 pm, the AMS decided to call an emergency 10-minute intermission immediately after the Vice President of Operations debate section in order to discuss how to move forward, as the safety and well-being of students were our top priority. Again, we were unable to take immediate action as we had not seen this photograph nor knew who submitted the form responses. This discussion resulted in the addition of the following line to the debate question form, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, and for the moderator to say on stage at the debate.
“Once again, if there are any concerns about elections, elections procedures, or candidates in general, please contact Amir at .”
At roughly 9:30 pm, immediately following the debate, the AMS was made aware through the airdropping of a photograph that an executive candidate had been captured on photograph with darkened skin and making a racially insensitive statement.
Later that night, the campaigning team confirmed via phone call with the AMS that this was, in fact, an image of their candidate.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3
At 2:43 pm, the AMS started an internal investigation into our elections policies to see if we had grounds to act. At this point, there had been no official complaints on the matter so the AMS could not appeal the matter to JCOMM*.
At 7:39 pm, the AMS sent the Queen’s Journal a statement which was utilized in their article, posted on Saturday, February 4.
At 10:40 pm, the AMS received its first official complaint, which gave us grounds to continue the investigation.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
At 12:28 pm, the AMS received its second official complaint, which brought up more concerns.
At 1:53 pm, the AMS elections team held an emergency meeting to discuss next steps.
At 2:12 pm, Team ERA contacted the AMS with their official intent to drop out of the running for AMS Executive.
At 3:57 pm, the Chief Electoral Officer of the AMS Elections Team contacted the complainants with the results of the investigation.
*The Judicial Committee (JCOMM) is the highest body of appeals for any decisions made by the Elections Team. They work similarly to an appeals court, focusing on all Elections decisions and other matters of Policy. While the Elections Team is bound by existing Policy, JCOMM has a higher power of interpretation.
Please direct all media inquiries to Cassie Luk, AMS Director of Communications, at
Alma Mater Society (AMS) – //www.myams.org
The central undergraduate student government at Queen’s University, the AMS represents over 19,500 students and is the oldest student government in Canada. There are over 1,000 student volunteers and 700 paid staff.