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August 15, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Salient Rates VUWSA Execs Half-Yearly Work Reports

Seamus Brady, President

Prez Seamus has done, in his own words, “lots” so far this year, and indeed, there’s no obvious padding in his extensive, 15-page work report. That he’s often in his office until 10pm, his dedication to the role. Seamus has continued to improve the relationship between VUWSA and the University; overseen the best O Week festival in the country; and actively worked on improving engagement and communication between VUWSA and students. He’s represented students’ interests on a number of national boards, and moreover, he’s fulfilled the diplomatic part of presidency very well—especially compared to his predecessor Max “Power” Hardy. But for reasons unknown—perhaps lack of confidence, or a sense of resignation to the inevitable—he has been unwilling to do much more than go with the tide. Seamus has failed to rock the boat, even though the likely implementation of Voluntary Student Membership next year has meant that it really was necessary. Looking at the media coverage that Otago University Students’ Association president Logan Edgar managed to reel in for the CSM cause, he could have been a little more outspoken. Overall, though, Seamus has been an excellent captain, keeping VUWSA on an even keel after many years of stormy weather. If Max and Seamus’ legacy is upheld next year, VUWSA is in good hands.
Rating: 4/5
Fun fact: Seamus’ office is full of dead ladybirds!

Bridie Hood, Vice-President (Education)

Bridie, the star of VUWSA 2011, is in the Association for all the right reasons. Consequently, her work report reflects work that she has done: there’s no sense that she is exaggerating her achievements. She has single-handedly revitalised the class representative system, transforming it from a token, tiresome gesture at the start of each course to a real, legitimate chance for students to have their voices heard. In Trimester 1 of this year, 91 per cent of classes had class reps, and just under 80 per cent of them attended a class rep training session; there are now even scholarships to reward them for going above and beyond the call of ‘class rep’ duty. That’s huge, and that’s more or less entirely Bridie’s doing. She’s been a genuine advocate for students, and has ensured that they have a real, legitimate voice within the University. So far this year, Bridie has clearly been Seamus’ right-hand woman, following on from a relationship they built in the Vice-Presidents’ office last year. This goes to show what can happen when people see VUWSA as an ongoing commitment, rather than a year-long term. Bridie is passionate, tuned-in to other parts of student culture and society, and genuinely believes in the importance of VUWSA and tries to convince others of the same.
Rating: 5/5
Fun fact: Bridie looks a lot like Uther’s sister Freya!

Asher Emanuel, Vice-President (Welfare)

Asher is working on a huge deficit of hours that he is unlikely to make up over the course of the year. However, that he has managed to achieve such a considerable amount regardless highlights the flaws in VUWSA’s quantitative methods of assessing work. Calculating work in hours encourages exec members to pad out their fortnightly work reports with ‘tasks’ such as responding to emails and checking voicemail messages. Asher’s work to date proves that it is possible to make a difference within VUWSA despite apparently not being on top of his workload. Together with Welfare Officer Ta’ase Vaoga, Asher has improved the profile of VUWSA’s welfare-related services (especially at the satellite campuses) immeasurably. It’s also reassuring to see that he looked outside of Victoria University for ideas as to how to improve initiatives such as the VUWSA Food Bank. His position as a newcomer to VUWSA has enabled him to identify and address the Association’s weaknesses clinically, efficiently and without undue emotion. Moreover, as was demonstrated at the VUWSA AGM last week, Asher—a DebSoc veteran—is easily the Association’s most effective and convincing communicator. And today, more than ever before, VUWSA needs more effective and convincing communicators. Keep up the good work Emanuel.
Rating: 3.5/5
Fun fact: According to his IMDB profile (yes), Asher starred in an episode of Shortland Street in 2008 as ‘Harley Henley’!

Daniel Wilson, Vice-President (Admin)

Kudos to Daniel Wilson, this year’s Vice-President (Admin), for admitting that his role is one of the most useless in the VUWSA exec. Vice-President (Admin) was first instated as a paid alternative to Treasurer, and has since become more or less redundant since VUWSA’s appointment of a general manager at the end of 2009. Consequently, it will be dissolved next year. As the Association’s final Vice-President (Admin), Wilson claims to have made VUWSA more accountable, and to have reduced expenditure on sports and cultural councils. He has also played a lot of Minesweeper. It is worth noting that one of Wilson’s chief responsibilities was to organise and oversee the Publications Committee, which governs Salient, but he has failed to attend at least two meetings and has had minimal engagement with the publication. Also, he identified his sole weakness as an initial lack of institutional knowledge—though this has since been rectified. Phew! Daniel’s done a passable job as VUWSA’s last Vice-President (Admin), but not enough to convince us that the position needs to be retained in 2012—though this is more the institution’s fault than his. Good on him for acknowledging this.
Rating: 3/5
Fun fact: Daniel is a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris!

Jennifer Fellows, Education Officer

Education Officer Jennifer Fellows’ relationship with Vice-President (Education) Bridie Hood has been the most efficient of the entire exec, with the two working to ensure quality academic support and representation for students. Jen has been proactive and helpful, as typified by her work on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and Faculty of Architecture and Design boards. Fellows is a worthy addition to the general exec team.
Rating: 3/5

Ta’ase Vaoga, Welfare Officer

Working alongside Vice-President (Welfare) Asher Emanuel, Ta’ase has improved the profile of VUWSA’s welfare services across Victoria University. She helped out with study week breakfasts and flu shots, and also organised a trip to Christchurch to help out post-earthquake. Vaoga has also enthusiastically contributed to other areas of VUWSA outside of welfare.
Rating: 3/5

Jeremy “Jezza” Peters, Clubs Officer

As Clubs Officer, Jezza has had an active presence within VUWSA. He has ensured that the relationship between the Association and clubs has been smooth: both Clubs Week and his Meet and Greet were well-attended. He was also the sole exec member to give a detailed justification of his application for a bonus.
Rating: 3/5

Campbell Herbert, Activities Officer

The ‘wildcard’ of the exec, Campbell resigned from VUWSA at the end of last trimester in order to go to Germany on exchange. His last column in Salient criticised the structure and functions of VUWSA, but this was seen as an extension of his trolling the exec in a misguided attempt to hold them accountable. In his half-year report, Herbert acknowledges his being “outspoken” as a weakness that “can often lead to dissent”.
Rating: 2/5
Fun fact: Campbell Herbert appeared in an ad for
cheese in a spray can called ‘Mr Cheese’!

Josh Van Veen, Campaigns Officer

Campaigns Officer Josh Van Veen started the year off well, organising a lively launch to the Education Action Group with guest speaker Winston Peters. However, the rest of Trimester 1 saw little promotion of public debate, though this is likely due to Van Veen’s illness. This has also seen him miss half of the general exec meetings so far.
Rating: 2.5/5

Tom Reed, Queer Rights Officer

Tom has had an active presence on campus, organising Pink Shirt Day, creating and facilitating the Safe Space training programme, and organising queer mentoring. His involvement with UniQ is obvious and commendable, but the promotion of their events could have been improved.
Rating: 3/5

Haley Mortimer, Environmental Officer

Environmental issues have not featured prominently on campus so far this year, and Mortimer’s designated Environment Week passed without comment. Perhaps more concerning is that this was not questioned by the general exec. Also: VUWSA has a vegetable garden?
Rating: 2/5

Andy Gao, International Student Officer

The role of International Student Officer within VUWSA has always been problematic, and this year has been no different. The position aims to actively engage with international students, but international students’ needs are dealt with primarily through a specific council, so it seems like the role exists purely for the sake of political correctness.
Rating: 1.5/5

Necia Johnston, Women’s Officer

As Women’s Officer, Necia has continued with the initiatives her predecessor established in 2010. She has also mobilised and maintained a small group of interested individuals as part of VUWSA Women’s Group, but this affects a small number of Victoria’s student body, and it must be questioned whether the role of Women’s Officer is worth retaining in the long-term.
Rating: 2.5/5

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

Comments (48)

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  1. Josh Van Veen says:

    “Environment Week passed without comment”

    That might have something to do with the fact that Salient didn’t cover it. Sounds like a failure of journalism to me.

  2. Uther Dean & Elle Hunt says:

    Josh, we were not informed of any events planned for Environment Week, and our repeated requests for information were not returned. Moreover, posters advertising events planned for Environment Week were seen to be put up on the day of the events. Haley included “planning and coordination of… the environment issue of Salient” in her half-yearly work report when her total engagement with us was writing her 250-word column. We have tried to actively promote VUWSA’s events and activities wherever possible, but we can only do so when they are made known to us within a reasonable period of time, as we discussed at length at the beginning of the year. Also, “passed without comment” refers to the failure of VUWSA exec members to hold each other accountable at the general meeting where Environment Week was discussed.

  3. Taase says:

    I think the actually issue here is that Environment week was not actually in the half yearly report as an event that happened because it did not occur in that reporting period. Half year reports are to the 30th June. Environment Week happened in July.

  4. Alex says:

    Was environment ommitted from the report because it happened in July, but the report goes to 30 June?

  5. Your Name says:

    It clearly shows us what positions are needed. Get a womens officer out, get rid of campaigns, get rid of Admin, get rid of International. I am sick of VUWSA saying that they are getting ready for VSM but they still pay for a fricken womens officer. Get the shit out. Bridie does a great job reppin the women. We don’t need a token one with a free position.

  6. Agrees with above says:

    Also a queer rights officer is a joke. Get some people who need to be on the exec on there. Such as a yoyo expert because they would provide more for the students then any of the other psoitions do.

  7. Josh Van Veen says:

    Elle and Uther, I’d accept that if it weren’t for the fact that you sent a reporter to the Environment Week debate, recorded it on video, took photos etc… Then never mentioned it in print. All I’m saying is that you like to criticise us for not doing enough, but then when we actually do stuff, you ignore it. Just seems a little unfair.

  8. The Trees says:

    NOBODY HUGGED US THIS YEAR

  9. Pseudonym says:

    This is why Critic is better than Salient.
    Journalistic integrity and honesty rather than fawning sycophantic coverage.
    Journalists should really disclose their interests – why wasn’t the friendship of the editors with those they ranked highly mentioned anywhere?
    I transferred from Otago Uni last year and went to Auckland Uni in 2009 and Salient is easily the worst of all the student magazines.

  10. owen says:

    Pseudonym I give your post a 2.5/5.

  11. joe says:

    owen you are way to kind. What utter rubbish.

  12. Alex says:

    Even if Pseudonym didn’t compare Salient with every other mediocre student magazine in the country, they raise a point. Their interest – relationships with exec members should have been declared, or at least how they decided on the ratings!

  13. Elle Hunt says:

    Pseudonym, I disagree that the above is “fawning [and] sycophantic” (as, I imagine, would the exec members who received less than positive reviews). My friendship with Asher Emanuel and Seamus Brady did not influence our reporting on their half-yearly reports, as Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly had as much input into the writing of this article as I did. Moreover, other exec members who I do not fraternise with outside of the office (such as Bridie and Daniel) also received positive write-ups. Credit was given where credit was due, and we justified both our praise and criticism with specific examples.

  14. Galanar says:

    Uh… Craccum has no journalistic integrity because they have no journalism.

    Also, have you read Critic’s coverage of the changes at Planet Media? Talk nabout undeclared interests! Also, Seamus isn’t strutting around claiming to have Salient in the palm of his hand. Like say some scarfie might be doing.

  15. Rod Oram says:

    I don’t think THIS is why Critic is better than Salient. Critic has been really good this year, mostly down to the editor’s ability to encapsulate and reflect on scarfy culture in a classy(er) way.

    Tabloid news covering every detail from the fucked-up political bubble that is OUSA is an effective way of ensuring accountability. But anything different to that does not mean there is a lack of “journalistic integrity and honesty”.

  16. Pseudonym says:

    Thank you for the feedback. Regardless of the quality of your magazine (or lackthereof) no-one can accuse Salient of being unresponsive to criticism.

    Now that I’ve created a debate (which was my intention all along) – please allow me to posit these questions:

    1. On what basis are rankings calculated?

    2. Why are relationships and potential conflicts of interest not being disclosed? I believe this is common practise in the grown up world of adult journalism (or in an ideal world it would be) so why isn’t Salient doing the same? I believe you should lay out *all* the facts – even the inconvenient ones, and let the readers of your magazine decide.

  17. Galanar says:

    What facts haven’t been disclosed? Elle talked about her friendship with Brady and Emanuel. Is there anything else?

  18. Uther Dean says:

    I run a theatre company with one of the artists we featured in the arts issue. That’s about it. I think.

  19. SBK says:

    My Mum works with Brady’s Mum – but I only just found that out today.

    FOR FULL COVERAGE OF THAT SHOCKING REVELATION CHECK OUT SALIENT WHEN WE RETURN AFTER THE BREAK

  20. Elle Hunt says:

    Asher Emanuel lives in a house that I used to live in. I have since attended three (3) social gatherings there. At one, I threw up in his living room and smashed a wineglass.

  21. Harry Evans says:

    I live with Asher Emanuel and I can happily confirm that Elle has vomited at our house.

  22. Uther Dean says:

    I attended high school with Seamus Brady.

  23. Uther Dean says:

    I am facebook friends with Josh Van Veen.

  24. Lewis van den Berg-Shaw says:

    I won an election against Josh van Veen, which he is still comically bitter about. I am physically and emotionally incapable of sexual intercourse.

  25. Lewis van den Berg-Shaw says:

    The musical loop of the Seinfeld DVD menu helps me concentrate whilst I’m checking my facebook.

  26. Lewis van den Berg-Shaw says:

    The ratings were calculated based on the amount of takeout curries supplied to paid members of the Salient staff.

  27. Molly McCarthy says:

    I kissed Max Hardy.

  28. Lewis van den Berg-Shaw says:

    NO SOUP FOR YOU.

  29. Uther Dean says:

    I once congratulated Ta’ase for getting her column in on time.

  30. Jerry says:

    But Molly, are you “master of his domain”?

  31. Josh Van Veen says:

    “I won an election against Josh van Veen, which he is still comically bitter about.”

    Lolwut? I’m not bitter about that. If I recall correctly, you were the one who angrily stormed out of a candidate’s meeting and then had a vitorlic rant about me on Facebook. I couldn’t care less about that election. I was just concerned that my comments about Salient caused you so much distress.

  32. Lewis van den Berg-Shaw says:

    I was equally concerned that you didn’t seem to know what the role was actually for, and that you’d given the attendees at the forum the wrong impression.

    Glad to see your electoral apathy scored you an executive position though!

  33. Josh Van Veen says:

    “I won an election against Josh van Veen, which he is still comically bitter about”

    Lolwut? I’m not bitter about that. If I recall correctly, it was you who stormed angrily out of a candidate’s meeting, and then wrote a vitriolic rant about me on Facebook. I was just concerned that my comments about Salient caused you so much distress.

  34. Josh Van Veen says:

    Ugh, sorry for the double-post. My original comment did not show up when I refreshed.

    “I was equally concerned that you didn’t seem to know what the role was actually for, and that you’d given the attendees at the forum the wrong impression.”

    I knew full well the Publications Committee doesn’t have editorial oversight. Saying that I’d somehow force Salient to print more crossword puzzles was obviously not meant to be taken seriously.

    And it’s not electoral apathy to say I don’t care about the Publications Committee. You don’t exactly do much.

  35. Nelly says:

    It’s gettin’ hot in hereee

  36. Jonathan Coleman says:

    Take it from me – charters never work. Sell Salient off and the market will ensure quality student journalism prevails.

  37. Josh Van Veen says:

    Yeah, totally. Sell it.

  38. Seriously though... says:

    Lol journalistic integrity FTW – http://www.critic.co.nz/articles/1262. What a joke Pse.

  39. Pat Walsh says:

    The Real VUWSA Ratings for 2011:

    (Based on my objective observations and a deep look into the half-yearly reports)

    Seamus – 4.5,
    Bridie – 4.5,
    Asher – 2.5,
    Daniel – 3.5 ,
    Jen – 3.5
    Ta’ase- 4,
    Jeremy – 3.5,
    Campbell – 0.5,
    Josh – 2.5,
    Tom – 3.25,
    Haley – 2,
    Andy – 1,
    Necia – 3.5

    VUWSA Overall – 3.5/5

    And the Salient Ratings…

    Uther – 4
    Lewis – 1.5
    Elle – 3.5
    SBK – 3.5
    Molly – 3

    Salient Overall – 3/5

  40. Pat Walsh says:

    Oh, and David Burr – 5/5.

    He should be the VUWSA President, Salient Editor and a Nude Model all next year. That is all.

  41. Pat Walsh says:

    But seriously, you have to love Animal of the Week. Srsly.

  42. smackdown says:

    uh whats all this rude chat who are you bozos

    josh van vaeen u were supes in dawsons creek

  43. smackdown says:

    get a clue weirdos heres some home truths about salient

    number 1 salient is tops.

    number 2 haimona gray

    number 3 yes

    every day i see salient slagged off by the immature gang and i think “huh what a buncha hooey” james van bane what’s in a name? rude as the day is long imo

    molly is my fav im glad the writers wrote her back in

    uther is a bit of a loon

    elle hunt hates vita soy and i dont blame her

    carlo sports cafe lets be honest

    lewis is a social construct get enuff goons in a room and he materialises out of their sub conscious

    dont trust anyone else

  44. Pat Walsh says:

    Smackdown – 4.5/5

  45. smackdown says:

    dont accept the status quo friends

  46. Pat Walsh says:

    Uther just went up to 4.5/5

  47. Pat Walsh says:

    That awkward moment where Molly finds out your true identity…
    PS. Bulbasaur is definitely the optimum starting Pokemon.

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