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March 3, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Eye on Council

The brevity of the first Eye on Council column of the year can be attributed to the brevity of my attendance at the University Council meeting last Monday afternoon.

Having been informed that my first opportunity to rub shoulders with the University’s big-wigs would be followed by cake, I arrived at the Council chambers ten minutes before the meeting was due to begin in keen anticipation. As it turned out, the meeting actually started at 2:00 p.m. and not at 2:30 p.m. as I had thought.

I probably could have recovered from my late entrance if I had known where to sit and hide – instead, I lingered between the two tables in the room until Madeleine Setchell, the University’s communications manager, was forced to direct me to an empty row on seats on the opposite side of the room. It was labelled “Media.” Oh.

Anyway, the following fifteen minutes passed without event. I flipped through my copy of the Council papers, trying to surreptitiously figure what page everyone else was on but eventually gave up and instead began observing the meeting, since understanding what was happening was also proving too difficult.

There was no cake in sight. VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove acknowledged me from across the table. I noted that he bore an uncanny resemblance to a young Fidel Castro. It was probably just the shirt.

While obviously deeply engrossed in this headline-in-the-making, I heard Chancellor Tim Beaglehole say something like, “into committee… public… ” This as I learned later, basically meant I had to leave because the meeting was going into committee and it was now closed to the public (me).

Again, as the non-public attendees all turned to look at me sitting alone and clueless, Madeleine came over to quietly tell me that it was time for me to go. I’m pretty sure I saw Cosgrove laughing as I hastily made an embarrassed exit. P.S. In actual meeting-related news, the University has a surplus of $11.3 million for the period ending December 2007, $3 million above budget. Translates into: a whole lot of cake!

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