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September 28, 2014 | by  | in Opinion VUWSA |
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What does justice mean to us in our everyday lives at university?

As a Law student, I usually think about justice in the wee hours of the day when I’m tackling my readings. In my youth, I was drip-fed stories of underdog heroes like Frodo Baggins or Tommy Pickles. Small in stature but big in heart, these underdogs would overcome insurmountable obstacles in the name of the greater good. So it’s no surprise that in reading through court cases, I transform into a cheerleader for the little guy. Whichever party is in the weaker position deserves victory. Why? Because I say so. That’s all that matters. Insert silly tongue-poke emoticon here.

Building these emotional narratives about court cases has been my way of determining right from wrong. Funnily enough, the law isn’t all that interested in rewarding the underdog because of their inherent underdog status. Some might call this a logical, reasoned approach, in contrast to the naivety of my own thinking.

I call this a difference of opinion.

We should not readily accept pre-existing definitions of justice. Let’s say for a moment that you lived in the parallel universe where the Justice Lords (as opposed to the Justice League) were in charge of protecting mankind. Justice is in the goddamn name, so they must be good guys, right? Well, the Justice Lords seized control of the world’s governments, suppressed free speech, and got all trigger-happy with their powers to perform lobotomies. Is this what you’d call justice?

To you, justice might mean getting an essay mark that reflects all the late nights and Red Bulls you invested. Justice might mean that your landlord doesn’t crash your flatwarming party unannounced or that your manager doesn’t overly pressure you into working extra hours. Whatever concerns or worries pop up in your life, VUWSA can ensure that you are treated justly and respectfully.

VUWSA offers all students access to a free, professional and confidential Advocacy Service, which is 100 per cent independent from the University. The service is primarily provided by the amazing Jackie Anderson, your Student Advocate. Whatever your issue, Jackie will listen to you, explore options and risks, and support, coach, and work alongside you towards a solution which is in your best interests.

Jackie has many years’ experience in youth advocacy and can assist you with most things. She can provide you with information and advice, explain University regulations and processes, suggest options, attend meetings with you, advocate on your behalf, facilitate communication, mediate disputes, debrief with you, or simply refer you to other services that might be able to help.

Having worked with Jackie this year, I can honestly say that she is one of the most kind and knowledgeable people I have ever met. She can be contacted at advocate@vuwsa.org.nz.

As the Beatles say (to the tune of ‘Let It Be’):
“When you find yourself in times of trouble
Your Student Advocate is here for free
Speaking words of justice
See Jackie!”

 

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