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April 23, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Resignations Rattle VUWSA


The sudden departure of two VUWSA Executive members has left the student political world in turmoil and the ever- engaged student body crying out for stability.

Both executive members succumbed to the pressure of academic study, as the strain of balancing university work and the hours expected of VUWSA executive members became too much. Speculation is rife as to whether the University intentionally inflicted the academic burden upon the two.

Vice-president (Welfare) Ta’ase Vaoga was the leading lemming to jump, followed shortly by International Officer Debbie Zhang.

Current Welfare Officer, Rory McCourt has been co-opted into the role of Vice-president (Welfare) by the rest of the executive, until a by-election can be held at a later date. VUWSA is constitutionally required to fill the vice-president position, but can leave general executive positions empty following resignations.

The exit of Va’oga has left President Bridie Hood the only executive member with any experience in VUWSA prior to 2012. Despite this, Hood wasn’t concerned with the resignations.

“I’m not worried because [the resignations] didn’t signal any underlying issues in VUWSA, [rather] it was about personal commitments that they resigned,” Hood said.

Va’oga said that, though she was passionate about VUWSA, her “priority [needed] to be study.”

“VUWSA needs someone in that role that can do all the day-to-day stuff but is able to contribute to protecting, revitalising, and taking the association to the next level,” she said.

“Post-graduate study is quite taxing and I really wasn’t managing my study work-load well at all, so it was time to leave.”

Departing amicably, both Va’oga and Zhang only had positive things to say about her time at VUWSA. Though she raised concerns over the future of VUWSA’s role in providing welfare assistance to students.

“Student welfare is fundamental to a supportive learning environment and I think largely VUWSA has done this well, particularly in the last two years, but [they] will find it increasingly harder to manage with less funds,” she said.

Speaking on the association’s upcoming governance review, Va’oga thought it was important that should the executive downsize, VUWSA keep welfare roles in order to provide representation for groups which the soon to be established Student Forum are neglecting. As previously reported in Salient, the Forum is set to become the new primary representative body on campus by authority of the University.

“If the Student Forum is to exist exactly in the form the University proposes, then I think it would be important to keep those general executive portfolios like Queer, Womens, and International to ensure that those groups have a voice on campus,” she said.

“That is not to say that they won’t at all if the positions don’t exist, but given that they are equity groups that the University is choosing to ignore, VUWSA should continue to support them.”

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