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February 12, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Eye on the Exec (11/02/09)

An abridged version of the ’09 Exec met on Wednesday in a cordial and productive fashion far removed from the hullabaloo that cast a pall over the previous year’s proceedings. It was a meeting coloured with talk of budgets, campus redevelopment, and, of course, Joel “You Can’t Spell Classy Without the First Letter of My Surname” Cosgrove. “It’s VUWSA,” the President herself chirped at one point. “Something different every day!” Kia ora, Jasmine, Kia ora.

The meeting began by trundling through the usual formalities; apologies were accepted and work reports were presented, which Salient is pleased to report all but one member had completed on time. The exception was Education Welfare Officer Robert Latimer. Citing stress and an unusually heavy workload the previous week, Latimer had negated to let anyone on the Exec know the fruit of his VUWSA labour would be tad late in blooming. He offered his apologies and promised to exercise discretion if the situation ever arose again. Education Vice President Freya Eng suggested that if anything of this kind happened again, an e-mail should be “flicked off” to Jasmine to keep her and the staff whose job it is to sift through VUWSA’s wheelings and dealing in the loop as a simple courtesy. Latimer and the Execeteers in attendance were affable in accepting this. (Also, it should be noted that all VUWSA exec reports will be available online this year for the first time.)

President Jasmine Freemantle, in discussion of her work report, described a meeting she had with Akmal Ellyas Ali, the Welfare and Development Chairperson of The University of the South Pacific Students Association (USPSA) and Seann Paurini, in regards to building a relationship between the two student representative bodies. Freemantle – and a delegation, if VUWSA felt so inclined – were invited to visit Fiji and see firsthand the work their south pacific cousins rendered in the name of student advocacy. The idea of sending a delegation was quickly shrugged off, but Freemantle expressed an interest in financing her own way to the island nation later in the year.

The exec swiftly moved onto matters financial, granting speaking rights to VicCom representative Darnel O’Neil, who came to pitch VicCom’s budget for the 2009 university year. The proposed budget, while erroneously formatted on the meeting printout, was easily digested and commented upon. Questions were raised over VicCom’s proposed “Casino Night,” which O’Neil quickly laid to rest, saying that while gambling was involved in a sense, participants would be playing for sponsorship prizes, not cash. VicCom also requested funding for the purchase of a computer and a telephone line for their Pipitea campus room. Freya Eng inquired as to whether the computer would be connected to the internet, and if so, who would fit the bill. O’Neil herself wasn’t entirely sure, but it was suggested that perhaps the computer could be connected to the university’s SCS system as a means of convenience. It was then agreed that $13950 from the Rep Group Pool would be granted to VicCom, on the proviso that some funds were to be spent on a computer, estimated by O’Neil to cost $1300, and the upkeep of a phone line, estimated to cost $25 a month.

Queer Rights Officer Nathan Cooper was called upon to present UniQ’s proposed budget for 2009. He noted that the amount requested in 2009 was almost identical to that granted in 2008, with the exception of the fact that additional costs surrounding the Vic UniQ’s hosting of this year’s UniQ National Conference needed to be taken into account. This came under some scrutiny from the exec, who inquired as to whether the national conference would include a registration fee (it does not) and whether it would be open to members of the “wider public” (Cooper noted that attendance would be comprised entirely of UniQ members). Jasmine Freemantle iterated that UniQ, by virtue of who they are and the difficulties they faced in drawing in funds, received special consideration from VUWSA, and this would be taken into account again this year. She moved, however, that some of the proposed costs for the national conference (including $2,500 for food and $600 for accommodation) needed to be tapered down to more modest amounts. The proposed budget total was decreased by $800 in light of this to a total of $6800 and passed.

The final financial matter discussed was a letter from the Vic All-Stars, a choir affiliated with the Musicians’ and Artists’ Social Club, requesting funds for t-shirts to raise their profile during clubs week. Freemantle questioned incredulously the group’s need for funding at all, noting that they are already members of a funded club. Should the exec agree to fund the shirts, Freemantle said, the funds would need to be drawn from the exec’s grant pool which, apparently, is “half gone” already. Confusion surrounding the status of the Vic-All Stars reigned supreme (to be a club or not to be a club – that was the question). It was finally agreed that Administration Vice President Alexander Neilson would be called upon to write a letter to the Vic All-Stars inquiring as to whether or not they wished to become an affiliated club in their own right. The question as to why the Vic All-Stars had employed the use of the Australian version of the Southern Cross in their logo was answered sagely by Welfare Vice President Seamus Brady, who noted that they were simply “Word stars.”

The meeting rounded off with few matters administrative, and the President was given the opportunity to employ some of her shrewd teaching trickery in the process. It came as Nathan Cooper was asked to comment on what he, as a member of the VUWSA entourage, had gleaned from the recent VUWSA – VUWSA Trust Session. Freemantle, playing the part of the incredulous student, asked to know why on earth the student body should be required to pay $12m to upgrade the Student Union Building and what benefits would there be for students. Cooper replied that the cost would be spread out over a period of 15 years, and that the upgrade largely serves to benefit students. The President seemed pleased with the lucid responses of her Queer Rights Officer, and the fact the exec appeared to have learned something in the course of their adventures.

Finally, a matter which has been rich in rumour was broached – former VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove’s outstanding costs from his much maligned trip to Australia. The deadline for Cosgrove to repay the costs had been and gone (last Thursday), and Freemantle was conscious of the fact that whispers had been buzzing regarding the controversial former President’s intentions – initiating legal proceedings against VUWSA being the chief rumour. She assured the exec that she had received legal counsel on the matter and would be acting in accordance with that. “I will be nice,” Freemantle said, boo-booing a suggestion to call a financial recuperation company into action, citing an intention to use the court system instead – the details of which she did not elaborate on.

The meeting concluded with the President instructing the exec to “bring their dairies” to the next meeting so that an official day for meetings could be agreed upon. Those who failed to do so would be at the whim of those who did, and that’s all that needed to be said about that.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    Not bad, Mr Oliver, not bad at all.

    Seems that either this years exec are better suited to their positions than their predecessors from 2008, or else the coverage in Salient has become more friendly. Either way, i’m impressed with their work thus far.

    Was it Jasmine’s idea to post the exec reports online this year? If so, she gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me. No better way than that to carry through on her campaign promise for greater exec transparency. Well done!

  2. Marika Pratley says:

    Yeah it was her idea to publish the Work Reports online.

  3. Shitkicker McGee says:

    VicCom got $13,000?? Really?? A tenth of that will go towards the computer and the rest to what? Someone tell me pleaseee!

  4. Neal Perry says:

    What is VicCom? I’ve been here for like 10 years and never even heard of them. Thanks representative democracy and multiple campuses, thanks.

  5. That would be the Commerce Students’ Association – http://www.viccom.org.nz/

  6. Freya Eng says:

    Yes VicCom is an Education/Academic Representative Group – we have four: VicCom, for Commerce students, LSS (Law), STUDIO (Architecture) and PGSA (Post-Grad).

    Regarding the work reports being put online, we agreed on Executive Retreat that we would make VUWSA’s business much more transparent in 2009 by being more proactive with our website, which has been an incredibly under-used medium in the past. It’s a bit messy at the moment (we’re currently sorting that out with the company that runs our website), but you can now view both the minutes of our Executive meetings and our work reports online, which is cool I think. Accountability can be a hoot, can’t it? Bit of casual bed-time reading perhaps.

    Indeed it is to Jasmine’s credit that she makes sure that the things we say as an Executive that we’re going to do are all done (and in an efficient and timely manner, too).

  7. Chris says:

    Good eye on Exec. Refreshingly free of the bullshit injokes and forced hilarity that characterised it last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. This is actually informative.

    Also looks like exec has got off to a good start. I am quietly flabbergasted and pleased!

  8. Jackson Wood says:

    Wow that is praise.

  9. Kurt Sharpe says:

    $13950 for VicComm seems alot.
    But sounds like VUWSA has got off to a great start, good on Jasmine for making the work reports available.

    Great eye on exec as well! Better then anything I tried to read last year!

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