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Welcome back to the second trimester for those that decided to come back, and for new students, welcome to Victoria!
Over the break some good and bad things happened—the Uni has proposed a model for Uni Council that largely ignores student feedback and could silence genuine student concerns. On the positive, after years of campaigning, the Government finally announced a plan to make our flats slightly warmer.
Democratic elections, not council selection
Last trimester we asked you who you wanted to rule the university, and you said that the University Council (the governing body of the university) should have students and staff on there, with a strong preference for the students being either the VUWSA President or another student elected at large.
The Council has put out a proposal that has a pretty decent composition, with at least two students, two academics, two graduates, and at least five women required to be on Council. However, it’s proposed that all members of council would be selected by a panel created by Council, via a nominations process, rather than the current democratic model.
For the Council to be an effective governing body, the students on it need to have credible mandate and ability and connections to bring diverse range of student perspectives to the table. This decision should be made by the collective intelligence of the student body and not by a select few.
Proceeding with the proposal is completely contrary to the vision Victoria as an institution values—trust, integrity, academic freedom, critical inquiry and independence. Democratic process must be at the heart of a capital city university and its peak body.
VUWSA has launched a campaign to protect our right to vote—head to vuwsa.org.nz/ourvuw and show your support.
Yay warmer flats
On the more positive note, the Government announced last week that they are planning to make it mandatory for rentals to be insulated from 2019. VUWSA has been campaigning for years for minimum rental standards so it’s a fantastic step forward. It will mean that putting a heater on in your flat will be slightly less futile than it currently is.
The proposal could be improved by including other key elements that lead to healthier homes such as heating and ventilation requirements, as well as ensuring the technical parts on the compliance side are strong enough that your landlord will actually do what’s required. VUWSA will be pushing for these improvements over the coming months.