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March 8, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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President’s column

President's column

A lot is at stake over the next few months.

The Act Party currently have a Bill in Parliament that would put an end to accountable student representation, devastate advocacy, welfare and many other student services, severely weaken the vibrancy of campus and eventually decrease the quality of education at Victoria. I think you should let the Government know that you don’t want a bar of it.

When you enrol at Victoria, you become a member of VUWSA and you chip in for a vast array of services that VUWSA provides. Being a member of VUWSA means that you have a say in how your money is spent and those that spend the money are accountable to you. That is not true for other services at Victoria which are not accountable to you, but take your money nonetheless.

Paying more money for less is not something that many students want to have to do. The Act Party Bill in Parliament proposes that you can no longer pay for important student services with your student loan or have control over what services are delivered and how much they cost. Instead, you will either have to pay the money upfront if you choose to join, or you will have to pay the money to the University. The trouble is, the University cannot provide the services to you at the same cost as VUWSA, which relies on many thousands of hours of volunteer labour and is not burdened by the bureaucracy of a large institution. And why should they if they are not accountable to you?

Student representatives make sure that your education is a priority for the University and students are treated fairly and not taken advantage of. They also make sure that your money is spent well. You need a voice across the University, on University Council, each Faculty, and each class. You also need a voice making sure that there are appropriate learning and teaching facilities, as well as facilities for non-academic activities. Student representatives ensure the University is thinking about the whole student experience.

But I don’t really want to preach to you. Instead I would like you to make up your own mind. Would you prefer that you had accountable student representation and that you were levied by an organisation that students could control or would you prefer that you were levied (more) by an organisation that you had no control over?

You can find out more about the Act Party Bill at www.saveourservices.org.nz.

Also feel free to email me, or pop into VUWSA, if you have any questions or ideas.

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