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August 21, 2017 | by  | in VicUFO |
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VICUFO

Addressed to:

Rory Lenihan-Ikin (President of VUWSA) & the wider VUWSA executive

 

Kia ora,

I am writing on behalf of Victoria University Feminist Organisation (VicUFO), formerly VUWSA Women’s Group, to express our need for the name change of our representative group. We feel that as our community develops, so does the need to underline and prioritise the diversity and inclusivity of our group. The name “Women’s Group” no longer represents the needs of our wider community and those involved in our group. We feel that the shift from “VUWSA Women’s group” to “VicUFO” is necessary to encompass those within our group who do not identify as women, but rather identify as non-binary, or other gender minorities. To accompany this change, we are proposing adding two new roles to our executive:

  • Women’s Rep (representing all students identifying as women within the group)
  • Gender Minority Rep (representing all non-binary and gender minority students within the group)

This is necessary and important for two reasons. The first is that not all non-binary and gender minority students identify as women, or even femme. So, the experiences and oppression that they face is different to those faced by students identifying as women. We need this representative to express our understanding of this need, and to listen to non-binary and other gender minority students so that we can better our processes and fairly represent them and their needs within our wider community.

Second, having a Women’s Rep role is to acknowledge that not all women within the student community may identify as feminist. We do not want to discourage or take away from those women falling into this category, and feel it is important to have a Women’s Representative in order to hear concerns of students who identify as women, because as mentioned previously, women and non-binary folk should not be lumped into the category of gender minorities together.

Together with VUWSA, we will be working to further define the roles and functions of these two representative officers, to ensure that the needs of our students within the group and wider community are met. Furthermore, we would like to suggest a position on our executive for a representative of students of colour. We acknowledge that our current pākehā executive are in no position to make a decision on this currently, but nevertheless would like it opened up for future VicUFO executives.

VicUFO’s current executive feels that the name change is necessary and reflective of our goals of inclusivity. Our community has expressed support of this decision dating back to our 2016 AGM in October. It is time to change this outdated name, and show our students that we are supportive of gender minorities. We propose going forward with the name change to be:

  • VicUFO (representing all students who identify as women, and gender minorities)

 

Kindest regards,

Cole Hutchinson (VicUFO President)

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