Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 13. 1969.
Students gain SRC vote
Students gain SRC vote
Any student who comes to meetings of the Student Representation Council can vote.
This provision was included in the constitution of the S.R.C. which was passed at a Special General Meeting of the Victoria University Students Association last Wednesday.
The first motion to be considered accepted the concept of an SRC by 42 votes to 32.
This automatically meant that moves by Simon Arnold to scrap the present executive system in favour of regular SRC meetings attended by the whole student body could not be further discussed as a separate motion.
The alternative proposal was the draft constitution prepared by a sub-committee set up by the AGM last year.
Students who left the meeting following the dismissal of Mr. Arnold's proposals, missed the passage of a significant amendment to the draft constitution.
The original constitution allowed for the direct election, on a faculty basis, of 40 members.
There would also be about 32 other members, including members of executive and representatives from other student and administrative bodies on the SRC.
This clause was rejected in favour of giving voting rights to "all those members of the association who attend."
Moving that the SRC Constitution be moved as a constitutional amendment, John amendment, John Wild, Men's Vice-President of the Students' Association, said there were two alternatives.
"One is to continue the present system, and the other is to bridge the gap between the executive and the general meetings of the association.
Mr. Wild briefly described the SRC as defined by the draft constitution.
Opposing the motion. Simon Arnold said the executive had "ill-defined powers and ill-defined terms of references.
"I don't like the idea of a small group of people deciding policy when it seems none have any competence to represent me," he said.
"The only way policy can be discussed is at a meeting like this."
Mr Arnold proposed that the elections for President, Treasurer and Secretary be operated as they are now.
"All other positions would be filled by appointment by the SRC," he said.
Mr R. Palmer said that about 32 could control the SRC.
"Arnold's proposals mean true democracy," he said.
"When something like Salient is shitty, we should be able to go along to a meeting and discuss what is wrong with it."
Bill Logan said that the SRC would be in essence "a diluted version of what we have now.
"We have got to have some system where the executive is continually forced to justify its existence to the student body as a whole.
"Those who are interested are in a position to make decisions.
"The criticism has been made that only a few people will be interested and it may be difficult to get quorums.
"But the dynamic of the system will be one of growth.
"This is a constructive way of involving as many as possible in the affairs of the association," he said.
George Fyson said: "The time when you must have democracy is when a crucial issue arises.
"And when it does arise, you must not have a chosen few debating it.
Mr Archibald, supporting the motion, said: "All the arguments of those opposing the SRC are based on the fallacy that students will react to policy.
"You'll only get those coming who are interested in a particular issue."
Gerard Curry, the President of the Students' Association, said: "We want something where the basic policy motions are made on a broader basis.
"An executive of 15 members is not sufficient to create a sense of involvement.
"We are all agreed that some steps are necessary to get us nearer our goal.
"I sympathise with their views but I cannot accept the proposals that Executive should be abolished.
"Some members are not able to come along to general meetings of the association, but feel their rights should be protected.
"This can be done through representations.
"Mr Arnold's proposals take away 12 people from executive.
"This leaves three people to carry on the administrative functions of the association."
Interjectors; "Rubbish! Rubbish!
Other interjectors: "Rubbish!"
Mr Curry: "I'm prepared to accept that is a slight overstatement."
Mr Curry said monthly meetings would not have a representative base.
"Those whose time is at a premium must have representatives present," he said.
Owen Gager, opposing the motion, said he had just heard a most curious defence of an executive proposal.
"This proposal has not been defended in concept or in principle.
"The mover and seconded of the motion have simply claimed that the alternative to their motion was Mr. Arnold's proposal.
"This is typical of the kind of leadership we are asked to perpetuate."
Mr. Gager compared executive with the National Party and said, "when the National Government was faced with an urgent need for social or democratic reform, it set up a committee.
Continued on P. 3.page 3
Debate on SRC
Continued From P. 1.
"This is what executive has done.
"If you are to argue in the Pol. Sci. I terms which Mr Curry is so fond of, this new committee resembles an Upper House, which even a National Government had cause to abolish."
"When Mr Curry says he doesn't think this kind of meeting can make fundamental decisions in student politics, it just means he's looked around the meeting and decided he doesn't like the people here."
Mr Gager said either they believed that other people should represent them, or they should represent themselves.
John McGrath, a former president of both Victoria and the New Zealand University Students' Association said some students had the opportunity to see how the student councils at Canterbury worked.
"They are getting in some 60-70 students," he said.
"They all know what they are taking on, and feel they can achieve something worthwhile.
"We are getting only this number along to Special General Meetings," he said.
Caroline McGrath said Mr Arnold's proposals were a "red herring".
"You need people to do the donkey-work," she said.
"Simon had a portfolio which he never did anything with because he didn't have anything to do.
"And he resigned."
"Let's come to the issue—do you want a broader basis in the decision making procedure?" she asked.
David Shand, a Vice-President of NZUSA said Mr Arnold's proposals were "completely and utterly bankrupt.
"This meeting has shown this."
Mr Shand said he recently observed the Student Council at Canterbury in action.
"The contrast could not have been greater," he said.
"Everyone there was representing someone.
"How representative is this meeting tonight?
"Members of the SRC are elected by someone, they have a mandate from someone who they are liable to."
Mr Shand also said the standard of debate would be higher.
The motion, that the proposed SRC be moved as a constitutional remit was passed 42-32.
Debate on the detail of the SRC was interrupted briefly when the chairman Mr Curry ruled as out of order, an amendment giving voting rights to any who attended.
The chairman's ruling was challenged by Mr Gager and Mr Palmer.
Mr Wild took the chair, and recognised Mr Palmer.
Mr Logan challenged the chairman's ruling.
Miss McGrath took the chair.
Mr Logan said Mr Curry had recognised Mr Gager, not Mr Palmer.
This was sustained.
Mr Wild took the chair and the meeting disagreed with the original point of order raised by Mr Gager.
The amendment was allowed.
The debate was basically similar to that on the previous motion and the motion was carried 24-22.
Members of the audience agitated.
There was a further move when discussing schedule 5 of the Draft Constitution to limit the vote to those detailed in the constitution.
The chairman's ruling was disagreed with by Mr Logan, when he accepted the motion as being in order.
Mr Logan said this was contrary to a motion which had been passed earlier in the evening.
His objection was sustained on a voice vote.
It was moved Arnold/Hurst that Schedules 5, 6, 7, and the addendum under Section 2 be struck out.
This was passed on a voice vote.
Mr Curry then spoke.
He said a completely new body had emerged from the meeting than that which had been drafted by the sub-committee of the AGM.
Mr Arnold moved the speaker be no longer heard.
Mr Wild refused to accept the motion.
Mr. Curry said the SRC constitution had been given most thorough consideration by the committee.
"They sought to determine what provisions were suitable for Victoria University," he said.
"It was passed by last year's executive and again by this years.
"Then it came to this meeting.
"What this meeting has done is to change the whole basic structure of the SRC.
"For reasons outlined earlier, it will be less representative than an SRC.
"There will be problems of administration.
"The basic policy-making of the association should not be made by a body which is open to the whims of those who attend a particular meeting."
As Mr Curry was speaking, some students left the auditorium in order to prevent a quorum from passing the motion.
A quorum was present by one vote.
As this was announced, two students slipped out the door.
In came John Lenart with a smile on his face.
Fifty-one members being present, the motion was put and passed unanimously.