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October 5, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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President’s column

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Tolley and her draft Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-2015

Earlier in the year the students’ association organised for the Minister of Education and Tertiary Education Anne Tolley to address students at Victoria. I organised for this event to take place at a Student Representative Council (SRC) meeting scheduled for Tuesday 6 October.

Last Thursday afternoon I was contacted by Tolley’s office, who informed me that she would no longer be attending, due to an “urgent Ministerial meeting now set for that time.”

The students’ association is disappointed that Tolley has cancelled, especially as there is slight opportunity to reschedule given that the end of the trimester is almost upon us. We are disappointed that students will miss out on the opportunity to hear from Tolley, and to question the Minister about important tertiary education issues.

The VUWSA was particularly interested in hearing from the Minister about the draft Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-2015, released last week. The draft Strategy prioritises completion rates and achievement amongst young people (aged under 25). It also states that the “Government is committed to maintaining reasonable fees for students, but will explore ways of giving providers some additional flexibility to raise revenue.”

This comes on the back of yet another tuition fee increase for Victoria students (5% for undergraduates and $500 for postgraduates) and a 94% increase to the student services levy. The VUWSA is concerned that this “additional flexibility” will mean further student fee rises, including the possibility of a removal or lifting of the current fee maxima policy.

The draft Strategy is available on the Ministry of Education website The students’ association will be making a submission on this document, and we encourage all students to consider making your own. Submissions are open until Friday 6 November and can be emailed to tertiary.strategy@minedu.govt.nz

Boyd-Wilson Field student consultation

Last week I reported on the consultation process currently being undertaken by the students’ association over a proposal to develop the Boyd Wilson-Field into an all-year and all-weather training ground with an artificial surface.

Last Tuesday I presented a forum on the proposal with VUWSA Trust (VUWSAT) Chair Alistair Shaw. At the forum we outlined that the proposal is a result of a series of reviews on the best way to develop the field in order to provide for current and projected use by students, including student clubs. These reviews have included investigation into natural surfaces and confirmed that, given the geological features of the site, that the current proposal is the only practical way to develop a multi-use sports facility that can sustain usage.

The proposal includes:

  • An artificial surface enabling all-weather use accompanied by floodlighting to an approved standard
  • A field that provides for increased use by clubs as well as plenty of timetabled spaces for free casual use by students
  • A grant from the VUWSAT of around five hundred thousand dollars, representing approximately half of the capital cost
  • A user-charge regime so that regular users contribute to the maintenance and replacement costs
  • Charges estimated at fifty dollars per hour for the whole field. Depending on how groups wish to use it, the Field will be able to accommodate up to four groups at once
  • Adequate on-going expenditure on maintenance so the useability of the field is protected over its life time
  • A reduced cost loan to the University, also from the VUWSAT, to allow for the project to be brought forward even in the absence of any other funding
  • A management system to share access to the Field and the Boyd-Wilson Arena on an equitable basis.

The students’ association are surveying students by email to gauge student support for sports facilities on campus and the appropriate mix of general funding from all students (including non-users) and user charges. All Victoria students will be sent the survey shortly. We encourage you to complete the survey in order to help inform the decision making process.

Climate change march on parliament

A collective of campus environmental and social clubs are calling on the Government to set a 40% emissions reduction target. A march is to be held as part of this campaign, in the lead up to the 350 Global Day of Action scheduled for Saturday 24 October.

VUWSA’s involvement in the campaign results from a motion passed at a recent SRC meeting, which resolved:

“That VUWSA signs on to the Greenpeace Sign On campaign in support of a 40% emissions reduction target below 1990 levels by 2020 for New Zealand. This is to play our part in reducing the global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration back to a safe 350ppm. To underline student support for urgent action to avert dangerous climate
change, we ask that VUWSA put out a press release stating our support for the Sign On and 250 campaigns, as well as write a letter to this effect to Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith, and Prime Minister John Key.”

Event: Student Climate Change March on Parliament
When: Wednesday 16 October, 12 noon
Venue: Departing from Kelburn Park

International Students’ Council AGM

This Friday the International Students’ Council (ISC) will host their Annual General Meeting (AGM). The meeting will include proposed constitutional amendments and the election of the ISC Executive, amongst other business.

The proposals include formally widening the goals of the Council. Currently the ISC has three constitutional goals:

  1. For international and domestic students at Victoria University to establish both fraternal and cultural relationships;
  2. To put forward meaningful activities and events encouraging international students to enrich their social, cultural and academic experiences;
  3. To promote awareness of cultural diversity and international issues in order to contribute to a better international atmosphere on campus.

It is proposed that an additional four goals be added. These include:

  1. To raise international students’ visibility on campus;
  2. To ensure that international students’ issues are recognised and taken into account by the VUWSA and the University;
  3. To act on and discuss international students’ issues that concern students as citizens;
  4. To uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and to endeavour to work in good faith, and partnership at all times, including the observance of Tikanga Maori when appropriate.

Membership of the ISC is open to all Victoria students.

Event: International Students’ Council Annual General Meeting
When: Friday 9 October, 3.30pm
Venue: Memorial Theatre Foyer, Level 1, Student Union Building, Kelburn campus

In solidarity and service,

pressig

president@vuwsa.org.nz

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Comments (3)

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  1. Magonagal says:

    Good news about Boyd wilson field. it’s about time the Trust stopped dithering on that one.

  2. smackdown says:

    i’mma play tackle rugby and tackle u

    score six tries a day

  3. smackdown says:

    how about we go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes gang my treat

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