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September 28, 2009 | by  | in News |
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University issues former VUWSA President two-year trespass

VUWSA accused of not being radical enough. “Gnarly” and “bodacious” still up for debate.

Victoria University has issued former VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove and Workers’ Party member Heleyni Pratley with a two-year trespass for their part in last Monday’s protest fracas.

Protesters, many from the Workers’ Party, pelted members of the University Council with eggs and rotten fruit after the council agreed to move its fees setting meeting to a secure location in the Kirk building.

A university spokeswoman confirmed that two people who are not students at Victoria had been trespassed from the university for two years from all campuses.

A memo from VUWSA Association Manager Mark Maguire confirmed those two former students were Cosgrove and Pratley.

The university spokesperson said the behaviour at the council meeting was in clear breach of university boundaries.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle, who attended the council meeting, said that while she voted against moving the meeting from chambers, she felt the environment had become disruptive.

“It was my hope that students in the gallery would reconsider exactly how they were portraying things and let the speakers speak.

“I do firmly believe that those sorts of meetings should be made public,” she said.

Confusion arose when it appeared Freemantle had abstained from voting to move the meeting.

Council was briefed prior to meeting that a vote against such a resolution could be registered by saying nothing.

The Workers’ Party released a statement saying Pratley was not responsible for throwing eggs or fruit, while Cosgrove threw a single egg which he later cleaned up.

“In this case, as in others, it is clear that the university is targeting the people it sees as the leading activists organising against their slash and burn agenda,” Cosgrove said.

Accusations were rife that Workers’ Party member Alistair Reith was responsible for throwing an orange at the back of VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle’s head.

Speaking on the VBC, Reith confirmed that he had thrown “a few eggs,” but did not recall hitting Freemantle.

“It was a bit chaotic. There were eggs flying left, right, and centre,” he said.

Reith said he had no regrets and would partake in similar action again.

“The university bureaucrats who are paid several hundred dollars to turn up and raise our fees can afford the dry-cleaning to remove a bit of yolk off a suit.”

Sam Oldham, who organised the protest but had resigned his position as VUWSA’s Campaign Officer prior to it, told the VBC that he’d become frustrated with the association’s less than “radical” approach to fee raises and advocacy in general.

“The people I was pleasing I wasn’t sure I wanted to be pleasing.

“VUWSA’s history is called A Radical Tradition, and VUWSA couldn’t be further from that tradition right now,” Oldham said.

Freemantle disagreed with Oldham’s assessment.

“There has been a more active attempt to engage with students [this year] than VUWSA has seen in the past 10 years,” she said.

No details were available at the time of publication about the fate of others involved in the protest fracas.

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  1. Gibbon says:

    I’d say VUWSA is probably borderline gnarly.

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