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July 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Vice-President (Academic)

For every 50-minute lecture you attend, the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes is huge. From the writing of the lecture to organising timetables, to the painstaking process of analysing every new course or degree, a huge amount of work goes into one 3000-second lecture. All this goes on behind the scenes to ensure that Victoria provides a quality education. But a quality education simply can’t happen without us, the students, having our voice heard from the classroom right up to the boardrooms at Vic.

My role at VUWSA means I sit as a student rep on the University’s Academic Committee and Academic Board. These Committees discuss major and minor academic changes, whether it’s a new degree or course that is being proposed, or significant changes to how grading works at Vic.

VUWSA has these student seats because we are connected with, and accountable to, students. We’ve built up the Class Rep system over the years so that when VUWSA reps speak at a meeting, we can be sure we are feeding those voices right up to the top. Class Reps are vital for getting our surveys out to classes, and also to tell us when there are issues so we can act on them. When I am unsure of something, it is a real relief to not have to speak from my own perspective, but to carry the voices of others. With Victoria’s recent proposed changes to make an A+ now worth 90 per cent, the VUWSA survey received over 400 student responses, which meant we could pass on the views of students who liked the change, and also raise the concerns of many students about issues of fairness.

All of this matters, because today you’ll get an email from Victoria asking how the Student Voice should be heard. The survey will ask about who sits in those seats on the University Boards and Committees and represents you. It’ll ask which students should sit on University Council, and how they get there.

VUWSA believes that student reps must be accountable, supported and connected. A random student sitting on a board can do little if not connected, supported and trained. Student reps must also be accountable. The beauty about my role is that if students don’t like what I advocate for, I can be removed.

So, in this Review, I’m asking you to support VUWSA’s continued presence at the table, so that the student voice can be heard, and to support VUWSA retaining the role we have in supporting the diverse range of student reps across the University. The VUWSA President should have a place on University Council, with the addition of a Māori student rep, accountable to Ngāi Tauira. Because student reps need to be supported, connected and accountable, so they can be an effective voice for students.

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