Student Apathy SInks IGM – Suddenly, we’re half the quorum we used to be…
VUWSA’s Initial General Meeting (IGM) was abandoned half-way through last Wednesday after student numbers dropped from 101 to 45, below the required quorum of 100.
While quorum was held, the meeting approved the minutes of the 2005 IGM and voted on the proposed constitutional amendments, but dispersed before Faculty delegates and a Publications Committee representative could be elected.
VUWSA President Nick Kelly proposed two constitutional amendments, while existing Publications Committee representative Nick O’Kane put three proposals to the meeting.
Kelly first proposed that VUWSA candidates run for specific portfolios rather than the general executive. Former-VUWSA President Jeremy Greenbrook spoke against the motion, claiming it would be “an attack on democracy.” The amendment means that in some cases only one person would run for a position, giving them easy access to the executive, he says. Clubs Officer Joel Cosgrove spoke for the motion, arguing that candidates should be elected to specific positions on the basis of their particular skills and talents. The motion was lost with 13 votes in favour and 53 against.
The second amendment – that the current 24 month limit on the VUWSA Presidency be abolished – was also voted down, with six supporting votes and 70 opposing. The motion was put forward by O’Kane, who says that students should be able to re-elect the President for as many terms as they wish, provided he or she is willing.
The only amendment to meet with overwhelming student approval was Kelly’s proposal that the section in the VUWSA constitution dealing with conflicts of interest be simplified. The section previously contained complicated and arbitrary definitions of ‘conflict of interest’ that Kelly says would have been impossible to investigate. Candidates are now to inform Salient of any potential conflict of interest. Ninety students approved the motion; four voted against it.
O’Kane’s other two proposals failed to make it to the voting stage.
O’Kane says he had ‘second thoughts’ about the proposed changes to the representative group charter. The changes included requiring rep groups to become incorporated societies. They would also need to have 500 members in order to be recognised which, in the view of many, would have been the death knell of some rep groups.
O’Kane then tried to split his final amendment – a raft of proposals dealing variously with exec size, STV voting and bonus rules – into individual motions. This move was blocked and the original motion failed to be seconded.
While the majority of faculty delegates are yet to be elected, students unanimously voted Charles Ropitini to the position of Academic Board Faculty Delegate. The rest of the delegates and the Publications Committee representative will be elected at a SRC this Wednesday.