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August 5, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Eye on Exec

The 14th meeting of the VUWSA Exec proved to be the scene of the inaugural Sonya-and-Rick show, with the two Vice-Presidents and (the only thus-far announced) 2014 Presidential Election candidates jostling for title of Most Opinionated Executive Member. President McCourt’s stint in the States saw Sonya Clark Vice-President (Academic) gain confidence during her trial-run in the role that she will no doubt be running for. Meanwhile Rick Zwaan, launched from mere Officer to Acting Vice-President (Welfare) overnight, seems likely to throw his hat in the ring for the top position now that he’s one step closer to the Presidential Suite.

The minutes passed with the few backtracks that came following their constitutional discovery that they could not co-opt someone onto the Executive as they had intended.

First on the agenda was the upcoming office move, which apparently requires as much time to plan as the Christchurch rebuild, with the finishing date being pushed back further and further. The current offices, down in the depths of the Student Union Building, across from the cemetery, and surrounded by a bubble, were only meant to be temporary as part of the Campus Hub redevelopment. As they say in Real Estate, it’s all about Location Location Location, and VUWSA have their sights firmly set on the top—that is, the top floor of the Student Union Building, where VicBooks used to be. Better presence, they tell us. More visible to students, their lifeblood. The cost of such relevancy? About $400,000. The University has agreed to stump up 50 per cent, the VUWSA Trust 25 per cent, with the remainder to be drawn from VUWSA’s (rapidly depleting) reserves. There’s one upside, though—we’ll be getting another coffee shop.

Next was the upcoming by-election, which, as detailed in the last Eye on Exec column, the Executive voted to hold one month after deciding not to have one. It will now be held just before mid-tri break, two months after Simon Tapp first resigned. Former Presidents Nick Kelly, Amanda Hill and 2012’s Bridie Hood will sit on the election committee which acts as an oversight to make sure the election doesn’t follow in Zimbabwe’s footsteps.

The by-election will also include the position of student representative on the Publications Committee, as only one student ran for the two seats last year after VUWSA failed to formally advertise the vacancy during the nomination period. The Committee, which is responsible for the oversight of Salient, appoints next year’s Editor(s). The Committee also consists of the current Salient Editors (yours truly), the VUWSA President, Treasurer, and a representative from Ngāi Tauira. Despite our personal involvement, we can attest to the fact that the Committee doesn’t really do much other than Editor appointments, and will require some serious reform if Salient is to enjoy a long and healthy future.

Fortunately (or unfortunately if you’re only reading this as you tear it up to throw in your flat’s fireplace), the next item on the Exec’s agenda could see such reform occurring this year. With the Annual General Meeting date finally being set for just before the mid-tri break, the Executive are looking at what possible constitutional changes they want to make, which will in turn be put up for approval at the AGM.

Aside from changes to the Publications Committee, VUWSA is also looking to open up their elections to all students—not just those who decide to join VUWSA. Though the President is sure to spin this otherwise, the consideration of this change is solely down to VUWSA wanting to get its seat back on the University Council. Management told the Council that the VSM legislation meant VUWSA could no longer retain that seat because its elections were not open to all students anymore. Cue: Student Forum, the replacement ‘representative’ body which supposedly represented ‘all students’ (read: death knell for VUWSA), whose implementation doesn’t deserve any more objective reporting.

With constitutional changes due to the lawyer this Wednesday, it looks like VUWSA have failed to learn from the mistakes made by University Management when it came to the Student Forum. Instead of using the transition to VSM as an opportunity to adapt and evolve—and make a genuine attempt to address the issues that brought about the legislative change in the first place—the Exec will be starting this work the night before and getting a B.

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About the Author ()

Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly are Salient Co-Editors for 2013, AKA Salient Babes.

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