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April 8, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Eye on Exec – End of Summer Special

14th January:

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for their first meeting of the year, the Exec started as they meant to continue; bourgeois style. As they handed around camembert and floated the idea of having meals provided for their future meetings, President Rory McCourt announced that “[Association Manager] Mark has ordered our iPads.” Unfortunately the meeting went into committee before any context could be given to that statement.

As much of VUWSA’s activities rely on the University for funding in the post-VSM environment, any discussions that relate to these funding contracts are confidential for reasons of commercial sensitivity, so must take place ‘in committee’, which means Salient can’t report on it.

Moving out of committee, Wellbeing and Sustainability officer Rick Zwaan gave a progress report on the Fairer Fares campaign, somewhat worryingly admitting that he wasn’t “really sure what the numbers mean” in reference to the quotes he’d received for advertising in bus shelters. Fairer Fares, one of VUWSA’s major campaigns for 2013, is supported by a number of environmental groups and Wellington City Council councillors.

The meeting finished on a high note, with Education Officer Gemma Swan exclaiming, “I love this job!”, to which Equity Officer Matt Ellison responded, “We don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not.”

30th January:

McCourt had been busy networking across campus, while Zwaan still waiting on an accurate quote for the bus shelter ads (upon reflection, $500 in total for a number of ads in shelters across Wellington just seemed too low…). The Exec, in particular Campaigns officer Harry Chapman, felt uncomfortable on granting $5000 to this aspect of the campaign; they settled on $5000 as an upper limit (which could be spent but didn’t have to be) for these communications.

13th February:

Given the extremist political leanings of past execs, an ongoing concern for 2013 is to avoid seeming too aligned with any particular political party’s policies. Up for discussion was whether VUWSA should throw their weight behind the Green Party’s ‘Everyone Needs the Right Help’ campaign, which highlights the need for better support and services for rape survivors. McCourt pointed out that this was an initiative that
VUWSA should be supporting. These questions will continue to arise throughout the year, and VUWSA will have to decide on a case-by-case basis how they are working to their values.

As the meeting ended with a gripping powerpoint tutorial by Ellison on how to access work emails from home, Salient noticed that McCourt was using his not one, but TWO (2) iPhones to support the projector. So that’s why they call him the bougie monster…

27th February:

Another meeting, another large amount of time spent in committee leading Salient to question why we even bother coming when VUWSA.Inc seems to spend more time thinking about the moneyz than the honeyz. Even VUWSA’s representation of its members is under a contract with the University, due
to participation in the Student Forum, so they moved into committee to discuss issues of a democratic nature. There was a painfully long discussion about whether or not VUWSA should have their logo on the University’s Smokefree Campus posters, which advertise Victoria becoming smokefree from April 29.

Eventually the exec voted against it, as they didn’t want to be associated with something that takes something away from students, and thought the implementation date not being at the start of the year was disruptive. Pandering to non-existent student opinion, all bar Vice-President (Welfare) Simon Tapp showed they didn’t really get the logic of ‘messaging’ and ‘impact’ in enacting changes to ‘attitudes’. The advertising for the change—supported by the majority of students who submitted—promotes it as positive change towards a “healthier campus” and “cleaner air”, not an oppressive measure that will punish rule breakers as the University won’t even really be enforcing it.

13th March:

Committee: 20, Salient: 0.

27th March:

Just to make sure everyone had really earned their Easter break, the Exec met for over three hours this time around, by the end of which a number of Exec members were holding each other for support in the face of seemingly endless bureaucracy.

Language surrounding the Student Forum in the March 13 minutes had to be changed, as “VUWSA has withdrawn from Student Forum. No faith in Student Forum,” was deemed “quite frank”. Treasurer and minute-taker Jordan McCluskey said he was just recording what had been said. It was agreed that McCourt would “touch up the language but not the intent”. Vice-President (engagement) Mica Moore had been talking to VicIDS, who want Victoria to be New Zealand’s First Fair Trade University.

Members of the exec who seemed reluctant to support the project were soon reminded that VUWSA already committed themselves to Fair Trade way back in 2009. Someone pointed out that the coffee in the meeting room wasn’t Fair Trade, while McCluskey offered, “I don’t want to start a massive shitfight, but… it’s a giant crock.” McCluskey opted to abstain from voting to grant $200 to the campaign as, “It’s fucking ridiculous”. Salient wonders whether the Fair Trade commitment was considered when VUWSA opted to have their 2013 wall-planners and diaries produced cheaply in China.

Tensions rose when the Exec had to pass a motion to pay international speaker Hördur Torfason, whose recent visit to Victoria cost the exec $200. The Exec had not been consulted by McCourt on the cost before Torfason spoke at the University, and a number of Exec members questioned what would happen if they simply didn’t pay. McCourt explained that he had got the price reduced from $2000 to $200, so had decided to go ahead with booking the speaker. Zwaan said that he was uncomfortable about VUWSA undertaking activities he didn’t even know about (like the recent Easter Egg Hunt) and it was decided that McCourt will come to the Exec with an “up to” spend limit for future costs such as guest speakers.

The Exec have also finally set a date for their IGM, which will be held on Wednesday 17 april.

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