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March 19, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Candidate Profiles: VUWSA By-Elections

I know that hardly anyone gives a fuck about university politics, but it’s important. Vote.

It’s the by-elections for your Education Vice-President Wednesday 21 March 12pm. .

Here’s some quick profiles of your candidates

Shiraz Baksh

1st year Commerce. Age 19. From Wellington, born in India


  • “Is it gonna be a full on election?”
  • “The role we’re all going for — what does he do?”
  • “I originally thought this role was for Vic Plus Points.”
  • “I thought education was of no value… [but] I went through a life changing experience and now I see the value of education.”


  • More training for class reps (“All I got was a booklet and not everyone reads booklets”).
  • Lecturers could go to Student Support sessions.
  • Clearer instructions so freshers don’t get lost.

Lars Thompson

5th year Law, Politics, and Criminology. Age 22. Auckland. Currently the Rostra (that’s the Polsoc magazine) editor.


  • Grinned at me when I was grilling Shiraz.
  • Corrected Joseph (Association Secretary) about the election date.
  • Gave a detailed explanation when Shiraz asked what exactly this job involves.
  • Owns a ghillie suit from when he used to have more spare cash.


  • Shed light on the uni’s internal operations. Sees it as an issue that there are only one or two student reps on each board.
  • More publicity on what our faculty delegates get up to, e.g. last year there wasn’t much exposure on the cuts to the Languages departments.
  • More transparency, and consistency, between faculties on grade result wait times.

Andrew Lee

3rd year Politics and International Relations, minor in Media Studies. Age 20. Auckland and England.


  • Didn’t make many unsolicited comments.
  • Likes NBA basketball an “unreasonable amount”.
  • He wants to get involved in VUWSA because as a student, he’s felt, not like he didn’t have a voice exactly, but not exactly empowered, either.


  • Empowering students so they don’t feel “below” staff. “We’re partners with staff.”
  • Empowering class reps to have a more active role. Encourage class reps to actively seek out problems, and contact class reps bi-weekly during semester.
  • Easier access to grade averages.
  • Access all lectures online.
  • 48 hour no questions asked extensions available for all courses. Currently it’s available for some courses but not others.

Brahmasari Zakaria (“B”)

2nd year Psychology and Law, minoring in Philosophy. Age 26. From Bali, lived in Wellington since age 17.


  • “I like food, sleeping, walking around, and spending money.”
  • “My age? I’m the oldest one here,” *nervous giggles* “I think I’m… 26.”
  • “Is this gonna be on media? Uh-oh.”


  • “I want to improve student experience. First year was hell for me, I felt very alone and received no help. I want to let students know what services are being offered.”
  • Get lecturers more involved in the student experience. “In my psyc class, I couldn’t take notes because my lecturer talked really fast.”

Zane Berghius

3rd year Music Student. Age 20. From Taupō. VUWSA forgot about him so he came to the Salient office last minute.


  • “I like to come up with taglines, so I thought for this campaign, ‘profressional’. Putting the fresh back in the profesh.”
  • “My mother was a teacher, which opened me up to different levels of understanding of education.”
  • “I’m aware that I”m coming into a group of people who have worked closely together”
  • “I have a malleable approach, I’m used to dealing with people from diverse backgrounds.”
  • “Not just another Law student”
  • Was very patient with Salient’s shoddy work practices.


  • Wants cohesive systems, and all staff and students to have understanding of policy.

Rhianna Morar

Law, Political Science, and International Relations student. Age 20. From Levin. Involved in Victoria University Feminist Law Society. Has been part of We Have Power and Thursdays in Black.


  • Major fan of Geoffrey Palmer because all the law reform he’s done is really inspiring.
  • Uses te reo


  • Whakawhanuangatanga – establish relationships between students, peers, lecturers, and core services.
  • Make PASS available for both competitive and non-competitive courses.
  • Train class reps to be more advocacy focused, and make students more aware that class reps are available for advocacy
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About the Author ()

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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