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April 26, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Views on VUWSA

Not really a million dollar value

The VUWSA executive are elected each year to govern the students’ association.

Half way through the first semester, there appear to be some problems with the 2010 exec’s goal to improve the public perception of the association.

In a press release issued by VUWSA in March, President Max Hardy said the association was looking to renew the “values that underpin the organisation” and restore “VUWSA’s credibility with students”.

While VUWSA can claim some victories, such as successful advocacy for students incorrectly disenrolled from French courses, the association appears to be letting integral administration tasks slide.

The VUWSA constitution requires an Initial General Meeting (IGM) to be held within the first four weeks of the academic year.

At this IGM, the audited accounts are meant to be presented. External auditors were meant to have these audited accounts to VUWSA in plenty of time for the association to meet its constitutional obligations. This has not been the case.

A meeting date has been set, after three previous meetings had to be cancelled as the audited reports were not available.

The constitution requires a notice of the IGM to be posted on the noticeboard outside the VUWSA office at least 14 days prior to the meeting. While this obligation has been met it appears to be almost the only advertising of this meeting, other than an advertisement in Salient this week.

A snap poll of students in and around the Student Union Building showed that not one student was aware of the upcoming IGM, let alone where or what time the meeting is to be held.

This does not bode well for the meeting reaching the required quorum of 100 students.

While this exec is so far nothing like the complete fuck up of previous years, they are still accountable to the students and still control millions of dollars of student money.

As an organisation funded by students, students should be able to easily find information about what is happening to their money and what else is going on, such as minutes from exec meetings.

Over $20,000 was spent on the VUWSA website upgrade last year to serve some of this purpose. While there are staff and exec members trained to upload information to the website, minimal amounts of information have been uploaded in 2010.

The 2010 exec profiles were updated earlier in the year, but the other sections of the website have been left untouched.

A request for 2010 copies of VUWSA’s official public documents should be a simple task. It took pestering by Salient to get even some of the information, and as we go to print, we are still waiting for the rest of it.

Information received highlights another weakness.

Inadequate minutes of the exec meetings render some parts of these important records useless. As an official record of VUWSA, the minutes should be clear and informative. One meeting’s minutes state “THAT the work reports tabled at the meeting be accepted by the executive”. This does not make it clear who tabled reports, who submitted one late and who did not submit one at all.

Last week’s meeting, (as reported in Salient) was not the first example of how the 2010 exec do not seem to take their responsibilities completely seriously.

While some exec members such as Seamus Brady, Caitlin Dunham and Zachary Dorner have near perfect attendance records, other officers, such as Alan Young and Alice Pan, cannot say the same.

On the exec retreat at the start of the year, the work report requirement was discussed. The exec are all aware that to be paid, they are required to submit a fortnightly work report by Tuesday midday. There are limits on the number of times a report can be late, or submitted verbally before the officer’s pay is affected.

Unfortunately Salient is not able to quote the exact requirements, as the Work Report Policy is part of the information we are still waiting on.

Next week we will be taking a closer look at the 2010 exec members individually, and how their performance stacks up.

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News Editor and Chief Editor-Annoyance. Thinks you should volunteer to write news. Is easily distracted by shiny things.

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