VUWSA has an eleven-year-old policy on its books to “support the changing of the current New Zealand Flag”, it has recently emerged.
It is unclear whether the policy—motion 21 of 2004—will require VUWSA to support whichever of the four godawful proposed flags goes up against Blue Ensign in March next year. VUWSA President Rick Zwaan, however, pointed out that VUWSA would still need to be satisfied with any proposed alternative.
The motion is just one of the hundreds of external policies still on VUWSA’s books, many of which are eccentric or outdated. Many more are purely ideological statements with few or no practical implications.
VUWSA external policy is voted on by the student body or by the now-defunct Student Representative Council (SRC). External policy is binding on the association until it is rescinded.
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The External Policy Book runs to 50 pages and covers everything from ham sandwiches with mustard to neo-colonialism in Latin America.
Under motion 134 of 1974, VUWSA officially “urges support” for a mandatory gap year between high school and full-time tertiary study in order to “combat academic elitism and encourage awareness of economic oppression”.
In 1985, VUWSA passed at least 56 separate motions pertaining specifically to sexism and women’s issues, including that the Government set up a women-only panel with the power to ban any video deemed pornographic or misogynist.
In 1987, the SRC passed a 339-word motion condemning US political interference in Latin America, a move that was bound to have prompted some soul-searching on Capitol Hill.
The prize for “most awkward policy” goes to motion 79 of 1975, which reads “That this Association congratulates the Khmer Rouge on the success of their fight to liberate Cambodia, and that it wishes them the best of luck in their endeavours to reconstruct that country.”
The policy was overturned in 1984, by which point the Khmer Rouge had massacred an estimated two million Cambodians.
Readers will be relieved to learn, however, that under motion 16 of 1985 VUWSA is opposed to nuclear weapons being brought onto campus.
Interestingly, it would appear that the Executive have been violating motion 192 of 1978, which states “That all Executive members be made to wear gold lamé suits and that they be required to walk on six-foot stilts as a mark of their dignified status.”
Violation of VUWSA policy by the Executive is potential grounds for censure, or even dismissal.
VUWSA’s external policies include:
190/70 “That the men’s toilets at the east ground floor be renamed the ‘Richard Wild Memorial Shit House’.”
191/70 “That Sir Richard Wild be invited to open the new room in the appropriate manner.”
30/73 “That fire drills be held on the hour, every hour in the morning, and ten minutes after the hour in the afternoon.”
83/73 “That the catering people put a sign in front of ham sandwiches when and if they contain mustard.”
100/74 “That this Association recognises that ecological problems cannot be solved under our present economic system and any attempts to solve them will in the long term be thwarted by the very nature of this system.”
92/77 “That instead of saying ‘Yes’ to the motion, people may be instructed to say ‘Pig’ and instead of saying ‘No’, that they may be instructed to say ‘Library Sixth Floor’.”
102/78 “That the Editor of Salient be given a cold shower at the end of the year in recognition of his services to the Association.”
167/78 “That this Association condemns the violation of human rights by the Soviet Union and United States, and deplores the way in which the issue of human rights is being used as a pawn in the rivalry between the two superpowers.”
202/78 “That Gaudeamus Igitur be sung before all SRCs and Executive meetings.”
112/81 “That VUWSA condemns the recent hiring of a stripper by members of the J7 rugby team to perform at a fund-raising function.”
126/81 “That Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is a she.”
109/82 “That VUWSA actively discourages Association members from using the word ‘Fuck’ during protest rallies, marches and pickets. That the word ‘Fuck’ is not to be used on official Association chant sheets, and that the word ‘Fuck’ not be broadcast over Association equipment during officially Association endorsed rallies, marches or pickets.”
16/88 “That this SRC acknowledges that the Palestinian civil and military authorities acted in the contravention of the moral and legal codes of the day in the events surrounding the arrest, conviction and execution of Jesus of Nazareth.”
5/03 “That capitalism is not only good but is necessary for graduates to pay off their student loans.”
27/03 “That VUWSA campaign for a GE-free campus.”
35/04 “That VUWSA congratulate Rodney Hide on his election to Parliament.”
2/05 “That VUWSA oppose extreme left wingers taking over the New Zealand Government.”