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August 7, 2017 | by  | in Eye on Exec |
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Eye on Exec

On July 31 Treasurer/Secretary Tom Rackley presented current drafts of the many proposed changes to VUWSA’s Constitution. According to the current Constitution, these changes must be confirmed and “posted on the Association notice board ten days before” a General Meeting.

The proposed changes ranged from the “non-controversial” (relocating some articles to a different section) to more substantive changes such as disbanding the Student Media Committee (SMC) and changing the way VUWSA sets its budget.

When Salient became editorially independent from VUWSA, the role of the SMC was reduced to simply financial oversight, rather than content advisory. The SMC could make recommendations to the editors or VUWSA, but it could not make binding decisions. Maintaining the SMC, according to Rackley, was “just overcrowding bureaucracy.”

To “offset” the loss of the SMC student representatives, VUWSA is proposing to increase the members and role of the current Publications Editor(s) Appointment Committee. The membership would be expanded to include a representative each from the Pasifika Students’ Council and the Postgraduate Student Association. Any member of the other representative groups in the Constitution may be invited to join the committee “at the committee’s discretion.”

VUWSA is also proposing to extend the role of the Publications Editor(s) Appointment Committee to include assembling to “resolve or mediate disputes related to Salient or the Publications Editor(s).”

The other major change proposals concerned Part VII — FINANCE. Many of the points are to be reworded or deleted. Deletions were to be made to sections that were already located in the Financial Delegation section in VUWSA’s Delegated Authority Policy, or would no longer be relevant due to other changes to the Constitution (e.g. regarding SMC). The Delegated Authority Policy’s purpose is to “clarify the roles and responsibilities of the General Manager”. Such responsibilities include the “managing and monitoring income” and “allocating expenditure within budget”. However, VUWSA’s General Manager role has been replaced by a Chief Executive Officer, and it was not discussed at the meeting how this implicates the policy.

Probably the biggest proposed change to the Finance section would be regarding how VUWSA sets and passes its budget. Currently, VUWSA is constitutionally bound to not go into deficit. However, VUWSA feels that this “unrealistically” binds the Executive to a budget that may not account for unforeseen costs. VUWSA had an experience of unforeseen costs this year, and fortunately received a grant to avoid breaching the Constitution. VUWSA considers a change is necessary to avoid this situation again in the future.

Transparency was a major concern for the Executive, and it will be proposed that future budgets must be presented to students for approval. If future Executives are going to budget for a deficit, they must make their case to the student body, “de-incentivising the budgeting of deficits.”

VUWSA will release their confirmed proposed changes before their Annual General Meeting. The date is to be confirmed.


VUWSA’s minutes are available on their website.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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