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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Presidential Address

Women’s Week, fee rises, library evacuations—it’s been a very busy past week. Just think—it’s only 4 weeks now till exams— joy!

There has been a fair bit happening down at the VUWSA Office and in the University, so I thought I’d give you all an update.

VUWSA Elections 2012

The nominations are handed in, and now the campaigning begins! For those first year or new students who have not seen a VUWSA election in action—you just wait! Before you know it every notice board, every lecture theatre will be stuffed with election material. Different candidates telling you why you should be voting for them in the upcoming election. While it can be easy to swipe away the leaflets all over your desk, I would stress that you have a good read of them.

VUWSA is in an incredibly important transition stage and it’s integral that VUWSA has a strong Exec for 2013. So make sure you read the candidate’s manifestos and get to know a bit more about them before you get to vote next week.

On Wednesday we’ll be holding a Candidates Forum in the Student Union Building, which will give you an opportunity to hear from the candidates themselves and the audience will have the opportunity to ask them some burning questions. But don’t fret if you can’t make it, we’ll be recording the whole thing, so you’ll still get an opportunity to see the candidates in action! For more info on where and when the Forum will be, check out the VUWSA facebook page.

Marriage Equality Referendum

A fortnight ago VUWSA’s SGM voted in favour of supporting Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. We had close to 200 students attend the meeting and there was overwhelming support of this motion at the meeting.

However, as a member-led, bottom-up organisation, a VUWSA member has called for a referendum on the motion passed at the SGM. This means that this election, as well as voting for your choice of candidates you will also be able to have the chance to vote on whether or not VUWSA should support this bill.

The wording of the referendum question is: ‘Should VUWSA support the marriage equality bill currently before Parliament?’

You’ll be able to vote yes or no, or if you would prefer not to answer the question, you can skip it.

All VUWSA members will have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election and referendum. Late this week/early next week you’ll all receive an email letting you know how to vote. There will also be physical voting booths across Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro campuses.

University Council

Last Monday, the University Council meet to set domestic and international fees for 2012. I and the other Student Representative on University Council, Max Hardy, spoke against the increase to domestic and international fees. Both Max and I argued that students should not be the ones who have to shoulder the consistent underfunding of the tertiary sector. As I said in my speech, “the system we currently have, where students are expected to plug the funding gap in order for profit margins to be reached is unsustainable, unfair and it cannot continue.”

However, despite the efforts of Max and I, Council voted to increase domestic and international fees by 4 per cent. The University will also be approaching the Tertiary Education Commission (they are the ones that give Universities money) to increase undergraduate Education and both undergraduate and taught postgraduate fees for Humanities and Social Sciences by another 4 per cent. I’ll keep you updated on the outcome of Victoria’s application for the extra rise goes. But that’s all from me this week. Stay safe, study hard and don’t forget to read up on the election candidates!

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