05/06/12
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Eye on Exec

Budget delayed; another victory for Salient

The seventh meeting of the VUWSA Executive went for over two-and-a-half hours. Enough said.

Association Manager Mark Maguire kicked the meeting off with his latest year-to-date service report. Most of VUWSA’s services are now provided in co-operation with the University, which contracts them with money from the Students’ Services Levy.

Whilst sitting through the graphs showing the colossal figures of 88 users of the foodbank, 506 bus tickets distributed, and only 48 visitors to the Pipitea VUWSA office—this Salient reporter couldn’t help but wonder whether VUWSA’s claim to be student run is slowly becoming a fallacy. The money, and power, lies with the University’s delegated senior management officials—making VUWSA just a service provider with no guarantees to remain so in the future—who will be able to hold them to a higher standard and level of accountability than any student ‘democracy’ or ‘media’ ever could.

Opponents of VSM repeatedly said VSM would result in students having less say over their money. It’s debatable whether this is becoming true at Victoria. Have you seen any student consultation on the Students’ Services Levy? Or the Student Forum? If so, was it adequate?

VUWSA’s budget was not passed due it saying they were to be getting $56,000 from the University to partake in the Student Forum—and would be making an $11,000+ profit. Following questioning from Salient, the University’s “it’s a typo” excuse was used and passing was delayed until clarification could occur.

Though cuts have been made to last year’s budgeted expenditure, which didn’t include VUWSA’s reduced revenue, they are still on track for a deficit of about $200,000 by the end of the year. But this is significantly lower than the earlier projected $350,000. This isn’t a complete disaster though, because they’ve got $900,000 in liquid assets from previous executives’ pre-VSM money-hoarding efforts.

On a brighter note, VUWSA no longer has control of clubs, societies and rep groups following the independent review recommending that the University would do a better job. More details of this decision will appear in Salient at a later date.

A Student Representative Council will be held on Wednesday 6 June at 12pm in SU217 to provide members an opportunity to discuss implications of the Budget as well as VUWSA’s performance.

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