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October 1, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Name Change Clapback

Following the announcement of the name change, student councillors Alexandria Mark and Isabella Lenihan-Ikin have faced significant online backlash.
Alexandria and Isabella both voted in favour of the name change.
“We have been called shills, puppets, out of touch elites, been accused of selling our votes, and had cruel and degrading memes made about us,” said Alexandria.
In a Facebook post, VUWSA president Marlon Drake condemned “the targeted personal bullying of a 22 year old student leader [Isabella Lenihian-Ikin] in our community”. He said that such behaviour was especially irresponsible “given the climate of mental health in our community many criticizers of the name change have been highlighting”.
Alexandria said she believes “there is a huge amount of misunderstanding and misrepresentation going on” regarding the role of students on the uni council.
“We are not there to vote the way the majority of the student population thinks, or only consider student views when making decisions,” she said.
“We are required to consider all the evidence with the appropriate weighting, and make independent, responsible decisions to the best of our ability. This is what we did.”

We asked Isabella why she chose to vote for the name change when so many students were opposed to the change. She said, “yes, of course I listened to what students said. But I also had to listen to the professional advice that was provided to me and the other members of council.”
Isabella said that she trusted the research and advice behind the name change and felt in that it was important to enhance overseas reputation. She acknowledged there are other issues that need to be addressed by the council, such as lack of student mental health care, lack of affordable housing, and lack of equity.
“I have struggled see this issue of name change in isolation from these other issues, because I think they are valid and many of them I think are true. But, the decision we have in front of us is about changing the name – and I agree with that.”
The consultation process behind the name change, on the other hand, has been roundly critiqued. Isabella said it undeniably “could have been better”.

Marlon said that he was disappointed in the consultation.

“What could have been a very exciting, creative and engaging process for students instead turned into a pretty ugly conversation,” he said.
However, Grant Guilford has defended the consultation at the council meeting, saying that there was little interest in the forums he offered.
Council members Traci Houpapa and Farib Sos voted against the change. Guilford abstained from the council vote because “they [the council] would not accept that I would have an open mind on the decision”.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins must sign off the change before it’s final.

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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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