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September 9, 2013 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA Annual General Meeting 2013

Not joining VUWSA may no longer be enough to escape student politics, with the Association seeking to open voting in VUWSA elections to all students, rather than just members.

VUWSA will seek to pass a number of constitutional amendments at its AGM in the Hub this Wednesday, including a motion allowing students who have specifically chosen not to join VUWSA to vote in VUWSA’s elections.

VUWSA’s mandate has been consistently challenged by the University for not representing all students, as only three-quarters are members. This membership number was part of the rationale behind the University taking away VUWSA’s seat on the University Council. A University review of representation that is currently underway is looking at new models to salvage student representation following the collapse of the Student Forum, and it will be recommending whether or not VUWSA should regain the seat that was taken off them and given to the now-defunct Student Forum.

It is expected VUWSA will be using the proposed universal elections as weight to their argument for a return, as they could claim to be fully representative of the student body once again.

VUWSA President Rory McCourt told Salient the University had been “reasonable, rather than ideological” when evaluating VUWSA’s role, stating the motion was aimed at increasing the student voice.

“We believe that as many students as possible should be able to hold us to account. All students currently get a say in who their Class Rep is, why shouldn’t they also have the democratic right to choose who represents them on Academic Board?

“Giving every student a say in our elections is about recognising that every student’s voice matters.”

In the past, all students could vote in VUWSA elections, as all students were automatically VUWSA members. Since Voluntary Student Membership began in 2012, only VUWSA members have been able to vote in VUWSA elections.

If the amendment passes, it will take effect at the VUWSA elections later this year.

Also at the AGM, a motion will be tabled to nominate a new VUWSA life member, reflecting their extraordinary service towards helping students. Their identity will be revealed at the meeting, but it’s expected McCourt will be nominating himself. Current life members include Labour MP Andrew Little and Hugh Rennie QC.

This will be the first AGM to take place inside the Hub. A quorum of 100 students must be reached for the AGM to go ahead, and be maintained for the duration of the meeting—a relatively small number, yet one which has proven difficult to reach in previous years. Last year’s AGM was cut short when VUWSA lost quorum after a number of students left to go and claim free Red Bull that was being given away on campus.

McCourt has told Salient the Hub provides “unique challenges” for counting and maintaining quorum, and with so many avenues for students to escape the dreariness of student democracy, VUWSA will be relying on the free pizza more than ever.

 

Constitutional changes to be moved at the AGM

  • Opening elections to all students.

  • Clarifying the pay of Executive Officers from trimester-based pay rates to annual pay. This will incentivise Officers to cooperate with handover and planning between years.

  • A raft of minor changes, including typos, inconsistencies, and macrons in Ngai Tauira.

Changes to the Publications Committee Charter

  • Pubs Comm will be able to oversee alternative media forms outside of Salient; for example, the VBC. These will be delegated to Pubs Comm by the Executive.

  • Minor grammatical changes.
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