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March 16, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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See you at the IGM

This Wednesday the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) is holding its Initial General Meeting (IGM).

VUWSA is required to hold both an IGM and an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every year. Students are also able to call Special General Meetings (SGM), which must be for one specific issue. These can be called by a petition of 10 students presented to the VUWSA President or one of the Vice Presidents; a SGM can also be called by the VUWSA Executive.

At General Meetings students can change the VUWSA Constitution, and can alter and set formal VUWSA policy on anything.

A simple majority can make decisions at General Meetings, unless it’s a constitutional change, rolling an Executive member, or making someone a life member of the Association; a motion needs a 2/3 majority to pass in these instances. All resolutions (which are motions passed) of a General Meeting are binding on the VUWSA Executive, in contrast to Student Representative Council (SRC) policy, which as I outlined in last week’s column, functions more as a indication of student opinion.

General Meetings require at least 100 students to gain quorum, which is the minimum number of students needed in order for a meeting to proceed. If quorum is not gained within 30 minutes, the meeting cannot proceed. The meeting also lapses if at any time there is not a quorum present.

Proposed constitutional changes which are intended to be tabled at a General Meeting must be posted on the official VUWSA notice board at least 14 days prior to the meeting. This notice board is on the ground floor of the Student Union Building, outside VUWSA’s Kelburn campus office. General business, such as setting VUWSA policy on a particular issue (for instance, water metering), can be raised at the meeting without giving prior notice.

Wednesday’s IGM will address a number of agenda items.

Included on the agenda will be the election of student representatives to faculty boards, Academic Board and Academic Committee, and a range of other delegate positions. These student representatives perform a vital role in ensuring that students have a strong voice at all levels of the University.

I also intend on putting forward two motions at the IGM, which are proposed amendments to the VUWSA Constitution.

The first motion concerns renaming two VUWSA General Executive positions and altering the way which General Executive members are elected.

The first component of this motion involves the renaming Education Officer A and Education Officer B, to the much more appropriate Education Officer and Welfare Officer.

The change in titles is simply intended to endow the positions with descriptive and less cumbersome titles which are also reflective of the work that the respective Executive members undertake. Currently, Education Officer A has an education focus while Education Officer B has a welfare focus. It makes significantly more sense to have job titles that actually explain what each role does.

The second part of the motion is to change the way that certain members of the Executive are elected. At present there are 5 General Executive positions, and thus 5 vacancies at every annual VUWSA election. These positions include a diverse range of portfolio areas and specialisations, incorporating Campaigns, Activities, Clubs, Education and Welfare. The purpose of this constitutional amendment is to ensure that candidates are nominated for positions they actually wish to hold, and to ensure that students get to vote specifically for a Clubs or Campaigns Officer, for instance, rather than for 5 General Executive members en bloc. This change is to ensure a greater level of accountability – students know what nominees are standing for a specific position, and can cast their vote accordingly.

The second motion I intend on putting forward is to make the campus women’s group a representative group. The women’s group has always been supported by VUWSA, but has not been formerly added to the list of rep groups under Schedule 9 of the VUWSA Constitution. Current representative groups include, among others, VicComm (representing all commence students), the International Students’ Council (international students), and the Pasifika Council (Pacific students). While the VUWSA Executive has already passed a resolution recognising the women’s group as a rep group for 2009, we strongly feel that it is appropriate for the group to be permanently recognised as an official rep group.

The Campus Hub project is another important item on the IGM agenda. Motions will be put forward in order to seek a mandate from the student body supporting the VUWSA Trust contributing up to $12 million toward the project.

I encourage you to come along and have your say at the VUWSA IGM this Wednesday, 1pm, at the Mount Street Bar and Café, level 1 of the Student Union Building.

In solidarity and service,

Jasmine Freemantle

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