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October 4, 2015 | by  | in News |
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Eye On Exec: “Do we care about what’s happening in Palestine?”

Salient shocks with selectively edited headline

Salient wasn’t told the time of this week’s meeting nor sent an agenda, so walked in ten minutes late to find everyone reading a bunch of documents with “confidential” written all over them. The Exec had already moved into committee, because of course they had, so Salient can’t tell you anything about the following half-hour or so other than that Rick’s pledge to start getting better pizzas at VUWSA seems to have finally come to fruition.

Naughty Rory reported that the University rugby club booked out the Boyd Wilson clubrooms to do some rugby stuff in, and then turned up to discover the rooms had been gutted. In an unprecedented case of Early Builder Syndrome, some renovations had begun ahead of schedule, leaving Victoria’s Campus Operations honcho Rainsforth Dix “jumping up and down” with anger. Rory is to hold a “what the fuck is going on meeting” (his words) with Dix in the coming week.

Next up was a report from the Policy Committee. In the report, the Risk Committee had been misspelled “Rick’s Committee”, and Naughty Rory moved that this name become permanent. The right-hand side of the table—consisting of Jacinta, Ellen and Nathaniel—voted in favour of the change, but the motion was defeated by the left-hand bloc of Good Rory, Madeleine, Jono, Toby and Rick. Naughty Rory then moved that the left-hand side of the table be henceforth known as “The Fun Police”. After some debate about whether the members in question were allowed to vote on the motion or had a conflict of interest, the vote went ahead, and the motion passed when Rick moved his chair to the right-hand side of the table and voted in favour.

Salient would like to confirm that, yes, the events described above actually happened.

Jacinta then tried to move the meeting into committee to discuss Salient FM, but made sure to act as vague and suspicious about it as possible (she needs some protips from Rick). Because they hadn’t really been given a reason for moving into committee, Naughty Rory and Nathaniel opposed the motion (the first time this has happened all year) and Toby abstained, although the motion still passed. As it turns out there was nothing all that suspicious at hand, the discussion didn’t really need to be in committee, and we’re just going to tell you about the new mixer we’re buying for Salient FM anyway because, well, it’s our damn mixer and the old one broke.

Rick and Jacinta then had some sort of power struggle over which of them is chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. They talked about some stuff but Salient wasn’t really listening, partly because Rick was saying things like “there was discussion about some of the line items that we discussed in the earlier discussions”. What we can tell you is that, according to Rick, VUWSA is on track to post a surplus of close to $100,000—around $99,700 above budget (yes, VUWSA budgeted for a total surplus of $300). The Exec’s excitement was somewhat tempered when Rick mentioned that his calculations had included an income stream that he couldn’t remember if he was supposed to include. Incidentally, that income stream is worth exactly $100,000. For fuck’s sake.

The Exec then discussed Red Peak (no, seriously). Before the meeting, Good Rory had circulated an email to the other Execcies to ask whether, given that VUWSA has an eleven-year-old policy on its books to support the changing of the New Zealand flag, VUWSA should now officially support Red Peak. Someone got a bit carried away and pointed out that VUWSA still had most of its $15,000 campaigns budget remaining (you have got to be kidding me). Thankfully, Toby and Naughty Rory pointed out that VUWSA would look like idiots to even weigh into the flag debate at all (that’s Salient’s job—looking like idiots, that is). After about 15 minutes of discussion, the Exec decided they would post a thing on Facebook to ask students some stuff about the flag, or something. We’re seriously considering changing Good Rory’s name after this.

The Exec then discussed the trifling matter of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Buckle up.

This meeting occurred on Tuesday directly before the lecture by former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers, and the Exec decided they needed to take a position on it. Nathaniel pointed out that VUWSA “has a history of activism” and Madeleine said they would be “doing a disservice to students” by sitting on the fence—the implication being that it would be “activist” and in students’ interests to support the pro-Palestine protest of the event.

Here’s a list of quotes from the ensuing discussion:

  • “We need to support club activities,” said the Clubs and Activities Officer (i.e. Naughty Rory).
  • Madeleine: “Do we care about clubs doing whatever they want, or about what’s happening in Palestine?”
  • Jono: “It’s a complex issue.”
  • Rick: “There’s undisputed facts about what happened in Gaza in 2014.”
  • Ellen: “I don’t feel informed enough to make a decision on behalf of students.”

The Exec decided not to take an official position. A number of them expressed a desire to attend the event, but only if they could first jam metaphorical fenceposts up their bumholes.

The Exec moved on to fee raises. The day before, the University had once again raised fees by the statutory maximum amount. The elected student representative on University Council, Stella Blake-Kelly, had voted in favour of the increase, much to Facebook’s ire. Rick described Blake-Kelly’s decision as “unfortunate” and Nathaniel moved a motion expressing general disappointment in the raise. Nathaniel’s motion—clearly targeted at Blake-Kelly—was seconded by Toby, but the rest of the Exec opted to discuss the issue before voting.

Most of the Exec agreed that fee increases suck, but that they help to maintain quality, and that the real problem is an overall lack of funding for universities. Ellen pointed out that as VUWSA had barely campaigned against the fee increase despite knowing it was coming, it lacked the moral authority to whinge about it now. Nathaniel re-put his motion and the Exec voted it down.

So, after a mere two and a half hours, the meeting was over. Salient would like to point out that this was by far the best Exec meeting of the year so far, for the following four reasons:

  1. Things happened.
  2. People talked openly about stuff.
  3. Not all votes were unanimous.
  4. There was pizza and laughter.

And with that, Eye on Exec for 2015 is finished! That slight breeze you’re feeling? A collective sigh of relief.

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