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August 1, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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PREZ COL

With a General Election looming VUWSA is organising a series of events to raise awareness around key issues on campus.

To kick things off we are hosting “the Great MMP Debate”, featuring the Campaign for MMP and the Vote for Change. Chaired by Political Scientist and commentator Dr. Therese Arseneau, you can hear more about this important referendum and what each side is arguing for—Thursday 6PM, Clubs Lounge Student Union Building.

Democracy Galore!

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are the highest decision-making body of VUWSA. They are your opportunity to ask your reps questions about their work during the year and how they’ve dealt with certain issues—like the Review of Undergraduate Education. We’ll also be presenting our Half-Year Report and Statement of Accounts for adoption. This report is in addition to our (more often than not) fortnightly Executive Work Reports that can be found on our website.

This year’s AGM is scheduled for Thursday August 11th at 1pm in the Clubs Lounge in the Student Union Building.
A number of amendments to the VUWSA Constitution have been proposed to be voted on by students. One of the most significant is to move Student Representative Councils (SRCs) online. It’s hoped that by moving SRCs online more students will be able to engage with VUWSA and strengthen our democratic processes.

SRCs at times have played a key role in VUWSA’s history providing directives and policy positions on various issues. Despite that, for much of the 1990s they were never utilised—and in recent years have often struggled for a variety of reasons, usually highlighted by them struggling to reach quorum (of only 50 students) and the subsequent (and often justified) criticism levelled at VUWSA for poor organisation.

VUWSA must adapt to meet the needs of students and allow for greater opportunities to engage with their Association. A move to online meetings was supported across the board in our Student Survey of over 4000 students last year. This proposal is the beginning of that process.

Under the proposed changes, all students will be able to vote on SRC motions online. A physical meeting of the Student Representative Council would be held prior to voting opening where motions will be moved and debated. The meeting would then resolve to put the motions to an online vote by all students, not just those present at that time and place.

Following a SRC meeting, students will receive an email that will provide you with a link to the voting page. It will contain the the footage from the meeting and any supporting documents that may help you when you cast your vote on each motion. For a motion to be adopted as VUWSA policy it will need to gain of quorum of 5% of the total student population (about 900), and from that, gain a simple majority of fifty per cent of the vote
plus one.

This move will strengthen VUWSA ability to effectively engage and allow VUWSA to gain a more representative sample of student opinion on issues.
There are also some changes to Executive proposed. These include changing the Vice-President (Administration) back to a Treasurer, retitling the Vice-President (Education) to Vice-President (Academic), and merging the Activities Officer and Campaigns Officer into a new position of Vice-President (Engagement) who will be tasked with fostering engagement, activities and campaigns between VUWSA, students and the wider community.

More information can be found on our website and I look forward to see you at the AGM!

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