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July 25, 2011 | by  | in News |
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OUSA Prez Locks Himself In Metaphor

The president of the Otago University’s Student Association, Logan Edgar, came up with a novel way to protest Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) last week.
Edgar locked himself in a cage from 7pm on Monday until 1pm on Wednesday. This “Presidential Prison” was a way to symbolise how students have been locked out of the decision-making process surrounding VSM. Of the 5000 submissions received on the issue, 98 per cent opposed the bill.

Despite this opposition, the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is currently progressing through Parliament with the support of the ACT and National Parties.

“They are locking us out, so I am locking myself in to make a stand to protect the wide variety of services students associations offer their students,” says Edgars.

NZUSA supported the protest and believe the cage also symbolises the ‘lock out’ from services students will suffer should VSM become a reality.
“Students would be locked out of the student services, campus life, and independent representation and advocacy that associations currently provide,” said Co-President of NZUSA, David Do.

ACT Party MP, and initiator of the Bill, Heather Roy, says Edgar’s protest shows the opposite of what he intended.
“Perhaps Logan is bored. His planned protest makes the opposite point to what he presumably intends. Voluntary Student Membership will free students from the cage of student associations, it won’t lock anyone in or out—as Mr Edgar is claiming,” Roy said.

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this