Salient started their year in the office with the sad news of the Christchurch earthquake. Much has been written about this already, but our counterparts at Lincoln and Canterbury Universities outdid themselves in the recovery effort, and our thoughts go out to those who are still working to rebuild Christchurch and their lives.
The last week of February was also Orientation Week at Victoria, which for the most part consisted of pashes, rashes and free food sachets, courtesy of VUWSA. Maybe some people who lived in the halls made some new friends—I’m not sure, I was still living with my mum at the time.
We were all welcomed back to university with the fanfare of jackhammers as the quad was ripped up as part of the Campus Hub Project. An upside of these developments was the addition of the Hunter Lounge to the Student Union Building, with neighbours Salient making excessive use of the new bar.
The annual Great Debate turned into the major politics scandal of the year, with Labour MP Darren Hughes accused of sexually assaulting a Victoria University student following the event. Hughes later resigned from Parliament.
Everyone in Wellington shat themselves thinking that we could be the next big quake, while VUWSA actually did something productive, raising $8000 for Christchurch’s Student Army.
Japan were next on the list to fall victim to Mother Earth, and this disaster dominated the media for the remainder of March.
Closer to home, MGMT performed in Vic’s brand new Hunter Lounge, which made us feel pretty damn special about ourselves.
Finally, VUWSA held its IGM and reached quorum without having to reschedule, proving Seamus Brady to be already more successful than predecessor Max Hardy, probably due to provision of pizza.
April and Easter rolled around, the investigation into the Hughes affair continued, complete with much speculation and accusation.
Peter Dunne actually did some work as Revenue Minister, and, along with Steven Joyce, cracked down on wayward overseas student loan borrowers.
Construction work on the Student Union Building was finally finished, the University proving it was capable of achieving something. The results of a survey undertaken by VUWSA were released, showing Vicbooks to be the most-used service. Salient was second most-used and nothing much else was used at all, surprise surprise.
Don Brash shocked everyone by giving Rodney Hide the ol’ heave-ho which, to be honest, is pretty impressive for a 70-year-old.
The Government once again threatened to send debt collectors after overseas loan borrowers, while students escaping ‘the man’ played Carmen San Diego.
The government attempted to stop us from taking a little from this box and a little from that box, over Skynet. Essentially, most MPs just proved how little they knew about how computers and the internet actually work.
Victoria University opened Milk and Hone, exclusively for Victoria staff and postgraduate students, which most undergraduate students packed a mega sad about.
Trimester One ended, there were some exams, and obviously everyone was really sad because Salient wasn’t published over the break.
Most students came back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, all ready to study in Trimester 2, but thanks to a University balls-up, some of us still didn’t know our grades from the first trimester.
Labour scared off the VSM monster-under-the-bed of student associations by continuing to filibuster every question day in Parliament.
While ACT on Campus celebrated the fact that ACT’s VSM Bill looked almost certain to eventually pass, the group won further media attention, sparking controversy when their Auckland Vice-President told an AUSA office-holder to “get raped” in a Facebook comment.
In a last ditch effort against VSM, OUSA ‘scarfie’ President Logan Edgar locked himself in a metaphorical (and literal) prison cell. It is interesting to note that this dramatic protest attracted more media attention than NZUSA’s expensive campaign did.
Labour continued to filibuster to avoid the VSM bill, and people actually started to kick up a fuss about it. Victoria students shocked the nation when they actually gave a shit about something, turning out in their hundreds to protest a number of cuts to University programs.
VUWSA held its AGM and enough people turned up to eat pizza and win quorum. Students defied apathy, and actually discussed something, with the Legalise Love movement and preparation for VSM proving to be the hot topics of the day.
The University Council asked for 4 per cent more cash money, when increasing fees for 2012. But the council couldn’t touch our levy, because Joyce introduced a proposal to limit the number of things that could be classed as ‘student services’. We Are The University, swelled in numbers by Workers’ Party and Unite members, held a protest in the Hunter Courtyard, and captured media attention when they stormed the building to find Pat Walsh, which in turn attracted the presence of police on campus.
Maori students’ associations made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Waitangi Tribunal to block VSM, but this ultimately failed, as the bill was passed into legislation (nearly ten years after it was introduced) on Wednesday 28 September. ACT on Campus President Peter McCaffrey allegedly motorboated Heather Roy at the ACT Party offices over the newly-passed piece of legislation.
VUWSA, having pretended that they were up to fucks all year, showed that they actually had some sort of plan in place for the advent of VSM. Enrolments for 2012 opened with the option of joining VUWSA for free, however this is yet to be confirmed by an SGM which will be held on Thursday 13 October at 1pm in the Student Union Building—go along!