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February 27, 2006 | by  | in News |
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SJS has left the building

Student Job Search (SJS) has relocated its premises to Mount Street after a dispute over occupancy charges of the Student Union Building.

The organisation was previously housed on the ground floor of the building, where it was operating rent free “since the beginning of time immemorial” says SJS Chief Executive Dean Carroll. However at the end of the last year, Carroll says, SJS received a bill from the Union in excess of $30,000. It was non-negotiable and not paying would directly result in SJS’s eviction.

Head of the Union, the University organisation that runs the building, Rainsforth Dix says she was forced to “make sure our costs were covered” by asking SJS to pay occupancy costs. She “didn’t think they should object to paying rent up here” while SJS was paying rent for their office on the Pipitea campus.

She adds that while VUWSA had been paying a contribution towards the upkeep of the building charging SJS hadn’t been necessary, despite the fact that they are an outside organisation.

VUWSA President Nick Kelly says Dix’s justification is “very flawed”. Although VUWSA last paid its contribution in 2004, the debt was subsequently wiped by the University Council. However, VUWSA still budgets for the contribution and still wants to pay it. Payments will continue when the dispute over the ownership of the building is resolved. Dix is “not looking at the wider picture, as she well knows”, he says.

Although Dix believes SJS was getting a good deal being charged occupancy costs, Carroll objected to paying altogether. He says SJS is an organisation that makes “significant contribution to the University”. Bringing in $8 million worth of earnings for students over summer it enables many students, especially international students, to remain at university.

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About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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