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April 2, 2012 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA Engages Students at IGM

Several years too late

VUWSA’s first general meeting of the year last Wednesday brought lively discussion about the future of student representation and services at Victoria University.

VUWSA President Bridie Hood chaired the Initial General Meeting (IGM) which required a quorum of 100 to take place. 111 members attended.

The bulk of the meeting’s agenda consisted of a number of amendments to VUWSA’s constitution, reflecting how it must now operate under Voluntary Student Membership.

Despite expectations that the changes – described by Hood as ‘tidying up’ the constitution – would be uncontroversial, one became contentious with some students opposing it to show their opposition to the yet to be established Student Forum.

The motion in question sought to remove provisions for the election of representatives from VUWSA to Victoria’s University Council and other boards.

Hood’s rationale for the amendment was that the University had removed positions for VUWSA on these committees and replaced them with representatives from the new Student Forum, so there was no point in electing people whose roles no longer existed.

Those speaking against the motion wanted to continue to elect students’ association members to the roles, even though the University would no longer invite them to meetings.

They suggested retaining the positions could be a form of protest at the University’s decision to stop recognising VUWSA as the main body of student representation at Victoria.

Students spoken to by Salient said they were confused about how the Student Forum has come about, and that its creation was “a bit of a shock”.

The amendment was passed with 79 votes in favour.

VUWSA Treasurer William Guzzo spoke on the association’s statement of financial position. As previously reported in Salient, the current budget sees them on track for a $140,000 deficit.

Following questioning on whether this was expected to eventuate, Guzzo said they were “working very hard” to ensure that if there was a loss, it would be “very small”.

Also discussed was an upcoming review of the VUWSA’s governance and the services it provides.

Hood said that students would be consulted about how services should be funded in the future, but that services provided in 2012 would not be affected by the review.

In response to a question from Salient co- editor Asher Emanuel about the nature of VUWSA’s greater financial dependence on the University under VSM, Hood said further details on the relationship between VUWSA and the University will be released in a Memorandum of Understanding in the near future.

In general, students expressed that the IGM was more engaging than it had been in previous years.

However some had problems with VUWSA’s communication. One class representative described it as “pretty shit”, telling Salient the class reps had not been notified of the IGM.

Many students who attended said they were there for the free pizza.

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