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September 17, 2007 | by  | in News |
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A-Team members join VUWSA, UniQ solely to run for election

Election scandals aplenty were in the air last week as nominations closed and campaigning began for the VUWSA General Election.

Two members of right-wing group the A-Team, comprised mostly of Young Nats and ACT On Campus members, joined groups solely to run for election.

Queer Rights Officer candidate Sam Archer joined UniQ last week, as membership is Constitutionally-required for the position. UniQ President Laressa Donaldson said Archer asked to join one hour before nominations closed last Wednesday. He claimed to have just found out about the group and said he was interested in joining.

Donaldson asked if he was an A-Team candidate, and says although she “didn’t believe it would be appropriate to join UniQ on the basis of political purposes”, he was allowed to join.

In the meantime, Donaldson says Archer’s lack of involvement in the queer community will probably inhibit his election success.

She believes if he is not elected that he will leave the group. “I don’t think he has any true interest in the group, and no desire to be involved.” However, his exit from the group may come earlier than expected.

Salient understands the UniQ executive may rescind his membership due to the A-Team’s stance on cutting rep group funding and questions around how queer-friendly he is.

Archer could not be contacted before time of press.

University Council Rep candidate Jordan Williams rejoined VUWSA, having applied for an exemption on the basis of conscientious objection last year.

Williams says that he is not pro-VSM, but rather against the way the students’ association was being run.

Williams also attempted to buy favourable copy in Salient for the A-Team, during a drunken conversation with Salient Editor Steve Nicoll last week. Williams later told Nicoll he hadn’t meant it, being drunk at the time.

The A-Team’s International Officer candidate, Bradley Jacques, is also not an international student, although that is not Constitutionally- required.

VUWSA’s current International Officer Genevieve Fontanier says she “[does not] feel he would be able to adequately represent and promote international students, as he himself has not experienced the hardship [and other difficulties] that international students go through.”

Jacques on the other hand believes his interaction and relationships with international students on a number of levels would assist him in fulfilling the duties of International Officer.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

Comments (41)

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  1. Graeme Edgeler says:

    Jordan could have stood for council without being a member of VUWSA. The Education Act, VUWSA Constitution, and University Statutes require an appointment by VUWSA – that person need not be a member, or even a student.

    Of course, he couldn’t have voted for himself…

  2. blogette says:

    bishop’s gonna win anyway

  3. UniQ is a VUWSA rep group, and under the VUWSA constitution it is te rep group for all students who meet a certain number of categories. I do not believe the UniQ has the power to expel him, as he, if he is gay or bisexaul, or a number of other things, entitled to be included in them by the VUWSA constitution.

  4. peteremcc says:

    It’s funny, because these people are always suggesting that if you want to change things you should get involved and run for VUWSA.
    Then they complain when someone actually does that.

  5. According to the UniQ constitution, they may be able to expel him. I’ll have to get back to you with more info, though.

  6. I haven’t seen the UniQ constitution, but I’ve read the VUWSA constitution many times. One thing the VUWSA consititution is very clear on is that UniQ represents “all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, transgender, and intersexed students”. If Sam Archer fits into any one of these categories, he is a member of UniQ, wether UniQ likes it or not. If UniQ can expel a member who fits into these categories, they are acting in breech of the VUWSA constitution.

  7. If he fits one of the categories, yes, he can stay. His ‘queerness’ is still being questioned though – perhaps he could confirm it and then we’d know for sure.

  8. Q-team says:

    Just on behalf of UniQ, I will say that the possible reason for expulsion from UniQ was not based on Sam Archers sexuality(if hes queer hooray for him) but rather under the point of gross misconduct eg. using UniQ for his and/or A-teams political career as opposed to the benefit of actual queer students.

  9. Q-team says:

    Okay I didn’t say he wasn’t queer enough and I thought I stated that wasn’t actually the issue. As a volunteer for UniQ I just want to see someone who is actually interested in supporting queer students and the issues surrounding them.
    I don’t know if you have read his profile in Salient but he doesn’t say anything about the role of queer officer, queer issues or anything he would like to do in the role. All he says is that he’s from Wellington, in the A-Team and wants to get rid of the muppets.
    I don’t care if he is queer or not. I do care if is running for queer officer because the A-team want to push forward someone for this role so they can push their agenda and ideally have more control by taking as many positions as possible, as opposed to actually wanting to support queer students(which from what I understand is what the job is about).

  10. Bob says:

    You could argue that if he is genuinely interested in queer advocacy and representation, why wouldn’t he have already been a member? At the very least, it would give him some relevant experience; but instead he’s just coming from nowhere. Only hurting his own chances anyway.

  11. Peter says:

    The issue here Sara is that he suddenly joined UniO, an hour before the closing of nominations for VUWSA. It appears that he only joined, so he could be another name on the A-Team bandwagon. If you read his blurb in Salient, on why people should vote for him, all he talks about is the A-Team or getting the Muppets/ Retards out of VUWSA. He actually used Retards.He never metions queer issues once. For someone that wants to represent a minority disadvantaged group, using the word retard, and the connotations that go along with it, suggests that he is not that suited for the role. In his bebo page, he says he fears trannies. How will he represent them then? Stop defending him, just because you and he support the A-Team, and stop using the queer issue to push the A-Team agenda. You are as transparent as he is, Sara.

  12. Q-team says:

    Actually I doubt he will get kicked out (but thats just my opinion). I don’t think he needs to be either. I don’t think there is anything wrong with him joining UniQ, and I hope he comes to our next meeting and gets involved.
    If his motives for joining are for the positive benefits of queer students then I say there is nothing at all wrong with the last minute join up.
    If he makes clear his reasons for running for queer officer then there would be no need for this debate.

  13. Sam Archer says:

    I have read up on Salient today and I was suprised to see the comments from Laura McQuillan. I don’t appreciate having to ‘prove’ my sexuality as nicola suggested, but for the record I am bisexual.

    There was a convenient double coincidents between The A-Team and myself Monday last week. After I read the first Muppets flyer in a lecture, I txt’d the number at the bottom saying something along the lines of “good on you guys, somebody’s gotta hold them responsible for their actions”. Through the weekend I did a little bit of research into the VUWSA election system and wondered what I could do… It seemed natural for me to stand for Queer Officer, I don’t know why, I guess I cared more about gay issues than the environment and such (starting to trail off)… Back to the point: On the Monday I read the Salient which informed me that the only position The A-Team hadn’t already applied for was Queer Officer. I txt’d the same number as mentioned earlier asking if they still needed somebody and how can I put my name forward. I met up with Lukas 15 minutes later, we had a chat and got the ball rolling.

    Now my question for you Laura is: on what grounds do you suggest that I would leave or be kicked out of The A-Team and/or UniQ? As I understand it, I have paid my fees and have the right to join any university group for whatever reason (as long as I fit the criteria, which I quite clearly do). It seems to me that your article (more of a blurb) is simply a device to sift me out from the rest of the competition.

    PS: thanks Sara for the backup ^_^
    PPS: what I wrote to the Salient was very hurried… more about myself and what I stand for will be available on The A-Team website shortly.

  14. Antichrist Superstar says:

    a trannie-hating bisexual that wants to run for queer rights officer….? boy you are one smart cookie sammie…

  15. Antichrist Superstar says:

    according to you and your little friends the ‘a-team’, trannies and bisexuals are one and the same… somehow i dont think I’ll be voting for you

  16. Q-team says:

    Thanks for clearing things up Sam. Was just wondering about one more thing.
    If elected the A-Team is proposing that Rep-group funding be cut back to Zero, which would leave UniQ with no money.
    They suggest that Club members donate their own money and that UniQ look to outside sponsors. The feasibility of this idea is minimal as getting sponsorship is hard for anyone let alone a queer group. And as others have pointed out previously is the refund possible and if so people probably wont put there money into clubs etc..This would leave UniQ unable to continue to provide things like Pride Week, and the other events that UniQ organises throughout the year.
    Therefore is it problematic to run for queer officer and be a member of the A-team who wants to strip all funding from the queer support group on campus?

  17. Antichrist Superstar says:

    also sammie, good to know that queer issues are close to your heart… you know, joining the a-team etc… and only running for queer rights because that was the only position left without an act-team candidate… also good to see your willing to disseminate your political stance on queer issues in salient this week, as well as the uniQ meeting which you were obviously too scared to attend as you dont really have a clue what your standing for. good shit.

  18. Thanks for your comment Sam. I tried calling you a few times on Thursday and left a message but didn’t hear back, so was unable to get a comment from you before we went to print (still haven’t heard from you, actually, except on this website).
    Now that you’ve cleared that up, there is no basis for UniQ to kick you out, except if they were to believe, as said above, that you only joined to run for election and therefore believed you had committed gross misconduct.
    Could you clear up, though, why your Bebo says you’re “Scared of: trannies”? – perhaps this is a joke, but surely not the most queer-friendly stance a Queer Rights Officer candidate could take.

  19. Antichrist Superstar says:

    also sam, im pretty sure the only reason that uniQ would be potentially ‘questioning’ your sexuality, is because word on the street is that the candidate that the act-team had previously lined up was in fact not queer, and did not meet the criteria to run… so yeah, i guess it’s fair enough to be just a little bit weary of such circumstances dont you think…?

  20. Felicia Jollygoodfellow says:

    If I was on the executive of any non-political club or society on campus and someone approached me to join it, simply to further his or her politics, he or she would be shown the door. If I was in a good mood I would open it first.

    If that was ‘against the constitution’, I would hold a SGM, or similar, and change the constitution.

  21. peteremcc says:

    I can confirm that the candidate that was going to be running for the A-Team for Queer Officer WAS queer – they just didn’t meet the criteria.

  22. CJ Hunt says:

    Q-Team – if you want to know how to get sponsorship, go speak to Paul Brown – one of the best UniQ leaders ever. I’m pretty sure he got a bit of sponsorship. Maddy Drew also got a lot of stuff sorted while she was on board as well.

    As a former president of a rep group (VicCom) I dont agree with cutting rep group funding to zero. But I will say that you can get funding. You just need to have some volunteers with the smarts to get funding from outside groups. At VicCom we got a lot of sponsorship from business groups. UniQ is different of course, and is in a very different marketing position. But there are other organisations that are involved with queer rights, and companies that are related (companies like Durex I think has had a bit of involvement recently) etc.

    Also the advertising guru at Salient (a VUWSA paid staff member) is always willing to help rep groups get sponsorship. Try using resources like that.

    As for the article itself – I’ve always wondered why the queer officer HAS to be a member of UniQ. UniQ is a rep group, but like any organisation may not represent the needs or views of ALL queer students. I think the queer officer should have links with UniQ, but shouldnt necessarily be a member.

  23. Jessica Larson says:

    I certainly dont deny your stance Sam, but seriously suggest you get the act together and broadcast your views and stances in regards to QUEER issues as apose to the “retards” of the current exec. at the moment i will be voting for Mark Wright because he was the only one that didnt come across as arrogant (i would have voted for Rachel but something about her tone in Salient put me off). You guys really have to be careful what you write because people pick up on the tone and mannar of speech. Dont write anything you would be ashamed to show your grandma!!! thats the golden rule…unless she’s conservative Christian like mine – then you can even write about how great the civil unions act is.

  24. Smidge and Sons says:

    Even if it is just a joke that Sam is scared of Trannies (hillarious by the way), It’s not very encouraging.
    That’s exactly the kind of Homophobia that I would expect a Queer Officer to be challenging, rather than perpetuating themself. How are we supposed to have confidence in him that he is going to take a stand for our issues? How are we supposed to be assured that he even knows what such issues are?

  25. Q-team says:

    Thanks for your suggestions CJ, it’s always good to hear new ways for getting funding. I think though, Paul Brown said it best last Thursday at the UniQ AGM when he told Lucas Schroeter “getting sponsorship is fucking hard”, I didn’t see Maddy disagreeing either. Luckily UniQ still has the support and involvement of Paul Brown and other past presidents such as Maddy and Jasmine, and who I could safely say were all in disagreement with the A-team cutting rep-group funding. Unfortunately the UniQ volunteers and exec are not made up of commerce students and don’t have businesses to hit up that relate to our degrees/future jobs. There are great sponsors out there like the Aids Foundation that do continually support UniQ but the idea that UniQ, which is run by volunteers, could completely self fund itself and still continue to do all it does is unrealistic.
    Rep-groups deserve funding from there student body as they provide support and representation for students from various minority groups and act as an extension of the representation provided by VUWSA.
    And in regards to the Queer rights officer being a part of UniQ, that would be a good question for Paul Brown as I believe he was the one that pushed for the position to be established. I will hazard a guess and suggest that as the position is new and UniQ were originally the primary group advocating support for queer students on campus. Maybe the idea then was that the queer rep would benefit by being a part of a larger network and previous foundation of work done by the group.

  26. Sam Archer says:

    Hey, wow there’s a lot of feedback… I’ll take care of the flamer 1st… You are very observant/curious, but slightly misguided. That was a personal joke, unfortunately you weren’t there, so you wouldn’t understand… it is loosely based around a long conversation that I had with a group of transexuals on Vivian St. I’ll say no more on the matter, because it really isn’t your business. The same applies to “Age you wanna lose your Virginity: 7 (and video-tape it)”: I think it is referred to as ‘toilet humour’. Woops. (PS if you are going to be rude, you should have the courage to use your name… this a relatively small community, not gpforums… Cast your vote how you like, it’s a free & fair election).

    Unfortunately I could not attend the UniQ AGM due to having a term test on the same evening. Lukas kindly took my place at the meeting and filled me in on what happened the next time we spoke.

    I have been told that the main focus of the Queer Officer position (as an A-Team member in 2008, assuming enough seats have been filled) is to work directly with UniQ and any other relevant queer groups; providing support to gain sponsorship/funding, representing the views of the groups and the University Queer Community as a whole and giving queer students a voice on new policies and agendas.

    CJ is very constructive and definitely on the right track. Much more work will need to be done to ensure that queer students get a fair go and I hope to make a year of it in 2008.

    PS. I am not too arrogant to admit that I haven’t been involved in queer issues up until now. So far I have minded my own business around uni, I just go to class, have ciggies in the quad and go home. I know that clubs and groups do a lot of good for students. I also know that I don’t need to be part of a group to come to terms with who I am. I’m not putting down anybody who does, as it can be a difficult transition (depending on a persons upbringing). I was brought up with no religious affiliation, my parents wouldn’t care what I did as long as I was safe and not breaking the law… by the time I properly experimented I went to a school where nobody could care less what you do with your time (Wellington High School)…
    I have seen the ugly side of ‘macho’ though, at Wellington (Boys) College. It is possibly the most, dare I say, facist school in Wellington… Based of course on the word of Christ, trusty and time-tested up until about 1970 (Teachers and students alike)……………………………………………………I attended the school for 3 and 1/4 years.

    YES I AM RAMBLING…. it is too early in the morning to face all these questions, you guys know what I look like, I’ll be around Kelburn campus… Don’t be a stranger

  27. Nik says:

    I’d be seriously suprised if Sam Archer DID get to be Queer Rights Officer. I’m sure the Queer Students on campus would see right through his crap; a puppet for the A-Team, and definately not all that caring about his ‘fellow’ queers. Unless the rest of campus decides that Sam Archer decides that he is the man to organise Pride Week and sock it to the Queers. But if any actual queer person (one that goes to Uni-Q at least) votes for him, I’ll be suprised.

    Give Mark a go, or Rachel again. People who’ve worked for the Queer community, and actual know what’s going on.

    And besides, do the A-Team really think that cutting clubs is going to do anything?
    And that students are going to forget their values for $25?

    Please, give us some credit. Not only had the A-Team’s campaign been appallling; I heard one guy to trying to convince the International Students that ‘the hippies and lefties’ were trying to take over the University but then the “muppets” phamplet and all the resulting name calling. Way to bring up the tone of the election, fellas!
    I’ve also found the offer of $25 to be insulting. $25?
    Yay, kids, we eat this week! $25 isn’t a lot in the scheme of things. Seems a paltry amount to completely screw the clubs and get fucked in the ass while the Exec still get paid for sitting on their asses.
    But maybe the A-Team wouldn’t know; they’ve Grannies to send them $100 to waste on things like dirty little name calling booklets.

  28. Ivy says:

    Trannies are of course, very scary, and, as such, it’s entirely normal for a young bisexual person not involved in the queer community to be freaked out by trannies.
    I mean, it’s the short skirts and the heeled boots isn’t it?
    And of course, finding a lady attractive only to find out that she has a ripping baritone voice has got to make your average person quake with fear!
    And the Adam’s apple- how it throbs so menacingly, forcing you to tremble at the blatant display of androgyny and cross gender characteristics!
    Trannies walk around like regular people, they’re everywhere…

    Sam Archer is thus an entirely reasonable person to be scared of trannies.

  29. Alice says:

    all the’trannies’ as you call them – or people, as most other people call them – tht ive met, have been lovely. a couple girls (‘trannies’) i met about a few months ago at a rave sat down with me and we had a really good chat about normal things, an i thought they were absolute dolls. As for the ones that prowl up and down cuba and marion st, of all the pristitutes and (really really) shifty pimps out there, the drag queens and ‘trannies’ are the most friendliest. They come up and say hello, then politely walk away. I actually feel more safe if anything with them around, especially as some of the pimps along the streets will follow you and make all sorts of sick comments. They’re pretty loud, flamboyant and proud – im sure they would come to the aid of anyone who was being harrassed.

  30. Ivy says:

    I’m actually transgendered myself, and just taking the piss at people frightened by trans people because they’ve never met any (or have met some and prefer to not to engage their brain.)

    Apologies that the sarcasm was not obvious.

  31. Alice says:

    No apologies necessary – i was well aware it was a joke. My comment was just a mere personal opinion on the whole charade. Apologies however, if i came across as attacking you.

  32. Johnson McJohnson says:

    Who is this Jordan Williams? He owns a communications company apparently, “Minerva Communications” according to the companies office, and says on the A-Team website that he has contracted with SEVERAL political parties, AND politicians. This seems like quite a claim, especially considering the company has only been incorporated for 10 months. What sort of work has he undertaken for these many politicians? Is it mere puffery? Is he the local incarnation of Aleksy Vayner? Maybe you could investigate Salient?

  33. peteremcc says:

    Yes because nobody runs a legitimate business aye?
    Maybe you should get the Serious Fraud Office onto him!

  34. Eugene says:

    Perhaps its a front for trafficing in illegal immigrants to vote National in? Oh dear I seem to be sounding like Cameron Cotter…Aparently he lurrrrrrves plants ;-) …wtf

  35. Eugene says:

    *trafficking, apologies to you spelling Nazis I’m not here to cause you grief.

  36. I can confirm that members of the A-team are not only homophobes, but racists as well. Lets not forget their campaigns manager a) asked me if I was a “dyke” (his words) and b) said bisexual people “hadn’t had the operation yet”). (along with a host of other horrible things which aren’t worth repeating)

    Racism- Josh O’Rourke and Lukas Schroeter both called current Environmental Officer Tush a “monkey” (this was in response to Tush hitting them up about covering everyone else’s posters with their own A-Team posters) I hate to resort to attacking the opposition instead of articulating my own stance, but shame on them! Disgraceful behaviour.

    Sam- Transgendered people are just as entitled to respect as people whom identity with the gender they were assigned at birth. I don’t understand what’s so scary about the idea that someone born a biological woman or a biological man might identify with some or all of the gender characteristics of the opposite biological sex…seems a pretty irrational fear if you ask me.

    Overcoming transphobia is a huge barrier for many transgendered persons. I would hope that anyone running for Queer Officer would not only acknowledge this but actively make some changes to ensure transgendered students are given the respect and representation they deserve!

    Personally I support Rachael for Queer rep as I see it would be productive for her to be re-elected and to continue her progress on the queer mentoring scheme. As a previous UniQ president & queer rep for a year, she’s also had the chance to network with many movers & shakers in the queer community and will really be able to build on what she’s achieved if re-elected. In saying that,I do like Mark Wrights “camp cuisine” posters, they are very clever. However, I will most definitely NOT be supporting Sam Archer.

  37. Eugene says:

    Sam you gotta be taking the piss right? Going with the Act-Team? You shudda run for General Exec man.

  38. Ivy says:

    ‘bisexual “people hadn’t had the operation yet”‘

    Oh that’s hilarious.

    Actually, there was a time when you basically had to be straight to get the operation. Nowadays bisexuals can get the operation too ;-)

  39. The REAL Phillip says:

    Ivy sounds hot :)

  40. Smidge and Sons says:

    Ivy /is/ Hot.

  41. The REAL Phillip says:

    Ivy’s got my vote… if I can get her number in exchange.

    ;)

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