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The University year started with Vic introducing a new Engineering degree to rival that of Massey Wellington.
The University realised there was an accommodation shortage, so decided maybe they could build a new hostel by ploughing down half of Fairlie Terrace – a plan which was good until the Aro hippies found out and kicked up a fuss.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard paid a surprise visit to Vic along with Helen Clark to announce a wee bit of funding for Vic’s School of Government.
Upon arrival, Howard was heckled by Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove, who didn’t know which of the old men Howard was, because he’s not a John-Howard-phile. Cosgrove was arrested later the same day outside Premier House, and appeared in the New Zealand Herald with a pained expression as he was taken down by a girl.
Possibly the most important event of March (for one Salient News Ed, at least) was the NOFX Orientation show. The show was oversold, which later led to a bitch-fest between VUWSA and the Student Union over who was to blame for too many people showing up. After being refused entry to the show, leftover punks rioted, tearing a door off the building and cutting the power supply.
The VBC launched, which was a joyous day in the hearts and minds of many a student, and MyVictoria also launched, although most students still haven’t figured out how to use it (one login my arse).
The first cracks in the VUWSA exec began to show as then-Welfare Vice President Heleyni Pratley went on a vivid rampage around the VUWSA office and back stairwell, scrawling ‘Love’ on every wall and painting in sight. Salient still has a large piece of paper saying ‘LOVE!’ on the office wall. VUWSA also held a Debt Day protest, which even got TV crews up to the Quad and people in attendance, most likely because of some type of free food.
VUWSA’s Acting Women’s Rights Officer Clelia Opie acted natural despite probably already knowing she’d get fired for making thousands of dollars of calls to psychic hotlines from phones in the VUWSA office, with the final bill sitting at over $5500. The scandal was code-named Opiegate. And by code, I mean just named. Education Officer Chris Renwick resigned the same month to concentrate on homework following an earlier threat of rolling by Pratley.
Georgina Dickson and Jenna Butt were co-opted into the positions, and Salient chuckled at their newly-teamed surnames. Tee hee hee.
Vic didn’t quite win the University Games shield, in fact placing third, but there was probably a moral victory won somewhere along the way. Salient got a free trip to Christchurch to take some sweet photos, including that one in the magazine that Clubs Development Officer Brent Hayward said made him look retarded. With an entourage of cheerleaders, Vic was one of the loudest and hottest universities taking part.
Pratley also laid a communist wreath on ANZAC Day, reading “To the dead and the dying in the struggle against imperialism, victory shall be theirs”. The same wording featured in the wreath laid by 1973 VUWSA President Peter Wilson in protest against the Vietnam War and again 30 years later by 2006 President Nick Kelly. A flag was also burnt within Law School grounds opposite Parliament, making it a rather anarchic occasion all round.
The monsoon season soon approached, and the Student Union Building fell foul of a flood when some of the ceiling collapsed whilst other sections just got really, really wet. The Women’s Room was closed for business for a week or so after the rain made its way through that ceiling right down to the floor of VUWSA – several stories below.
Vic’s fraternity Beta Omega Chi launched, and promised not to kill any students, although there were some raw meat and vegetables involved in their initiation process. It was also discovered in a Love Test widget that VUWSA President Geoff Hayward and Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove were 97% compatible.
Salient dug up some VUWSA phone bills and called up the psychic hotlines involved in the Opiegate scandal, who denied any responsibility for possible addictions to their phonelines, and put the blame back on the University. The University got an 0900 ban, and about time too. The Sunday Star-Times, and other media outlets, tried jumping on the Opiegate bandwagon, but fucked up pretty badly. We took them to the Press Council, and lost (apparently accuracy is idealistic). Opie paid back all the money the same month, and Opiegate was closed.
A top-secret camera was also discovered in the Student Union Building, which apparently caught someone from The VBC getting changed. Ooh la la!
There were no Salients in June, but the news didn’t stop (well, it did sort of). People kept going to the bar, for some reason, and they drank beer and other alcoholic beverages and were assumedly rather merry.
A by-election was held for a Women’s Rights Officer and Education Officer, and Gabrielle Stewart and Reverend Paul Danger Brown joined the exec.
Also, the University began building the controversial hostel. Take that, hippies!
Party pills got banned, but no one really takes those anyway, so Vic students weren’t overly affected by the party pill party poopers.
The wackiest exec event yet was the NZUSA conference in Christchurch, where the exec stole a sign from the Lincoln cricket academy and brought it back to Wellington, along with the brief theft of a Debt Monster costume and some public urination. The exec hated on Salient for a while, and one member may have threatened a breach of confidence action, but in the end, the sign was returned and all was well again.
The first annual Polar Fleece Day was a raving success, organised by Salient staff and run to save polar bears and their friends from the threat that is climate change. As if it exists. At the same time, The VBC launched its muesli brand, which some people probably bought and ate, and were happy.
The Massey Engineering degree was reported to be in trouble after huge competition from Vic, and in an ongoing dispute between Massey management and Council, its future is still in question.
Auckland University also began a study into the addictiveness of psychic hotlines, giving Salient one last opportunity to bring up Opiegate.
The Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA) held a week of shame to protest the Parliamentary anti-satire legislation, which included centrefolds of now-banned images. CHAFF, from Massey Palmerston North, had the best centrefold, which included ‘FAGS’ written in large pinky-purple writing over a picture of Parliament.
That same month, an M&M machine fell victim to a beating and hostage standoff, discovered tied naked to a pole. Despite the Student Union’s investigations, the culprit was never caught, and the candy was wasted.
Chicks jealous of the fraternity started up a sorority, Sigma Omega Pi, which launched this month and raised money for children with cancer. Students at Vic also held a protest in the Quad involving boxes, and a city, dubbed ‘Box City’, to raise awareness about student living conditions, which suck. A bit like Helen Lowry Hall, apparently, after Salient investigations exposed some questionable management practices and under-par living conditions involving mould and mushrooms.
Former VUWSA President Nick Kelly also announced his intention to run for mayor. His press release read “Kelly, a bus driver…” and letters to Salient asked ‘is Nick Kelly driving a bus?
Students were finally locked up for their crimes against couches following the Undie-500 in Christchurch, where drunk Cantabrians and Otago-ians rioted with fire and bottles directed in the general direction of firemen and cops.
Back home, Welfare Vice President Heleyni Pratley quit after an up-and-down year, to return to her home planet, and concentrate on her Honours homework.
A pack of right-wingers contested the VUWSA election, and actually managed to get some people to vote. Headed by ACT On Campus National Treasurer Lukas Schroeter, who told Salient he’s never been drunk or smoked anything, they made fun of the VUWSA exec almost as well as Salient did, complete with copyright infringements. They also promised students a $25 refund, which was debated, and debated, until Salient got sick of it and stopped the debate.
Salient also found out that VUWSA membership can be voluntary upon application to the VUWSA President, and suggests pro-VSM students sort that out for next year so we don’t have to hear about freedom of association anymore (by the way, to the guy in INTP363 who said in the first lecture that VUWSA membership violates his human rights – you’re a dick, and your voice sounds like Mickey Mouse).
By the end of the University year, Facebook had been banned from VUWSA computers, giving Salient staff little reason to come to work.
The A-Team lost the VUWSA election by a really rather large margin, which was unfortunate. Some blamed Salient, some blamed apathy, others blamed the A-Team’s VSM links. That shit’s scary, man. Geoff Hayward also lost, and will be replaced by Joel Cosgrove in January.
Fees rose, which everyone saw coming, despite heaps of noise from students who just wanted to be heard. The Council meeting even moved rooms, which was a bit fun for Salient and The VBC, who got to squish into a tiny bunker on the fourth floor of Hunter with about 30 other people, and it was hot, and we were thirsty.
And that’s what happened this year.