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September 16, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Massey Doesn’t Get Quorum For EXMSS

The situation at Massey University’s Extramural Students’ Society (EXMSS) has gone from bad to worse, with the society deadlocked at a failed AGM last week.

EXMSS were supposed to hold their annual general meeting last week, but the meeting did not proceed due to a failure to reach quorum. Only 12 members attended, 13 short of the required number. Chapman abandoned the meeting after seven minutes, under the advice of contracted business advisor Alan Millar. Millar is being paid $100 per hour by EXMSS, which is funded by students’ money through contract agreements with Massey University.

The meeting would have seen voting on several proposed changes to the EXMSS Constitution, all of which would have increased Chapman’s power within the society. These included reducing the number of Executive members from seven to four, reducing the quorum at Executive meetings from five to four, and reducing the quorum at annual general meetings from 25 to 20. The proposals also included a change which would have allowed Chapman to be paid fortnightly, rather than quarterly.

Following the meeting, outraged EXMSS members confronted Chapman with their views on her conduct.

“I think you’re being deliberately obtuse … your representation of the extramural students is so unbelievably poor; you’re the President and you owe us an explanation,” said EXMSS member Hannah Pratt.

Chapman did not respond to criticisms, instead leaving the room stating Pratt had “a hostile attitude” and that she was only prepared to “speak with intelligent people”.

After the meeting failed to reach quorum, Chapman was quoted as saying the lack of quorum did not bother her, though she later described her disappointment at the meeting’s outcome.

“I was taken aback by the way today’s meeting failed, and regret that it could not take place as planned,” said Chapman, adding that “options are being explored” for a new meeting date.

Extramural students had requested the meeting be streamed, given their distance from campus, but requests for live streaming were turned down by EXMSS. Salient understands EXMSS was left with no capacity to live-stream the event, after EXMSS Communications Manager Adam Dodd was suspended following the publication of articles criticising EXMSS in Massey University’s student magazine Massive.

As a result of Dodd’s suspension, Massive has not been able to upload content online. Chapman did not respond to Salient’s attempts to contact her regarding Dodd’s suspension, or when the next AGM would be held, by the time Salient went to print.

EXMSS members have investigated court action to remove President Jeanette Chapman, but found such action would be too expensive. As EXMSS is an incorporated society, complaints to the registrar of the Companies Office force Chapman to stand down by way of a High Court judgment.

Several weeks ago, a number of EXMSS members applied for a special general meeting (SGM) where Chapman could be voted out of office by a two-thirds majority. Requests for an SGM have to date been ignored by EXMSS.

As previously reported in Salient, Chapman is paid $53,000 per year—more than any other student president—for her role, after promoting friends to the Executive and gaining contracts which pay on top of her annual presidential salary.

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