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February 19, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Eye on the Exec (19/02/2009)

It had been a long day by the time the Exec came together at 5:30pm. While tempers rose, and patience itself was gruellingly tested on a number of occasions, another productive and largely intriguing meeting came to fruition over the course of two and a bit hours.

Work reports were once again a point of contention in much the same way as they were the week before. Campaigns Officer Sam Oldham, who was absent, had produced a “rather late” report, and as such, it was not included in the meeting notes. Oldham had been contacted as to whether it would make an appearance in the following week’s notes.

A rather urgent matter was then brought to the Exec’s attention – one Joel Cosgrove and the outstanding funds he owed the association, totalling $1730.76. The 2008 president himself made an appearance, which the 2009 president expressed confusion over. (This was not the only time Jasmine Freemantle was rendered perplexed by her predecessor.)

Cosgrove argued that there were two parts to his debt – a legally binding amount totalling $300, which he expressed almost eagerness in repaying, and the remaining amount, which he adamantly believed he was under no legal recourse to drop a cent towards. “You’re setting a dangerous precedent here,” he asserted boldly.

The crux of Cosgrove’s argument centred around the payment of his salary during his much maligned trip to Australia last year. It was his belief that as the salary was granted by his Exec, it was within his entitlement as president to spend it, and therefore he should not be required to pay it back. “There’s case law precedents to back this up,” he insisted.

Freemantle, assured by legal counsel that the law sided with VUWSA, informed Cosgrove that should he wish to initiate legal action, VUWSA would reply in kind. Further to that, the president expressed unhappiness with Cosgrove going behind her back to “arrange things” with her staff – the accounts clerk, specifically. To this, Cosgrove insisted that he was asked by the accounts clerk to arrange some sort of repayment system in 2008, which Freemantle disputed as a patent untruth. She then raised two action points: 1) A formal written statement would be rendered from the accounts clerk to say that he had not arranged repayment with Cosgrove, and 2) a letter would be sent from VUWSA’s lawyers informing the former president that, yes, he would be required to pay back his debt in full. With that, an unhappy Joel Cosgrove left in silence.

Representatives from Studio – the Design and Architecture Student Association – arrived to pitch their budget. The well presented and argued proposals were mused over by the Exec, and while the amount they granted ($12,400) was considerably less than requested, Studio was adamant it would be sufficient to carry out everything it wanted to do one way or another. (A dollop of will power mixed with the stubborn will of an oddly distant faculty were the other ingredients required.) Freemantle expressed an interest in meeting with Studio in no more than two weeks to discuss VUWSA having a greater presence at the Te Aro campus, which the Studio clan seemed almost grateful to hear.

The Women’s Group – which as of this year has officially made the leap up from “club” to “representative group” for 2009, which Freemantle expressed an interest in making permanent. The group was granted $2000 from the Women’s Rights Officer budget, with $1600 allocated towards this year’s Women’s Festival, and $400 set aside for other events and campaigns throughout the year.

Finally, the Exec broke out their diaries and decided on official meeting time of Wednesday, 6pm, for the duration of Trimester 1. Well, there wasn’t a unanimous presentation of dairies, rather a placid set of nods and murmurs in the affirmative, but it had been a long meeting. We’ll let ‘em have this one.

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