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August 7, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Low Turnout at Fees Forum

Last week’s joint University-VUWSA forum on fee setting has been heralded as a success, despite low turnout by students.

Chancellor Tim Beaglehole, Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh and Chairman of the University Council’s Finance Committee James Ogden were among the University representatives present at the forum, which was designed to allow a dialogue between the University and students on the issue of fees.

However, the various University representatives attending the forum were only barely outnumbered by students.

Beaglehole began by arguing that students should be directing their arguments to the government rather than the Council. Government contributions to universities had dropped since the 1990s and not all of that reduction was covered by increased fees, he said.

The need for an annual fee setting was “driven by the system, but not something that the Council faces with joy,” Beaglehole said.

This was a view shared by Ogden, whose analysis of the University’s financial position, as outlined by a 14 slide power-point presentation, also made much of increasing salary and energ costs (see sidebar).

VUWSA President Nick Kelly, who chaired the forum, believes the University is “actually not in that bad a [financial] position,” citing increased student enrolments this year.

The forum was heralded as productive by both sides, although there was allround disappointment at the number of students who attended. Kelly explains this may have been because of the transition between different Campaigns Officers, but adds that the “exec need to take some ownership.”

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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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