Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 18. 27th July 1972
Who Killed Democracy?
Who Killed Democracy?
The S.G.M. held on the 18th July 1972 purporting to sent $2,000 to the Vietnam Aid Appeal, represented an inaccurate and misleading expression of Student opinion for the following reasons:
The complete disorder which arose from the unconstitutional methods adopted by the Chairman Mr. P. Cullen in conducting the meeting, whereby he (a) permitted a non — student to address the S.G.M. while both part-time and full-time students were denied such privilege, (b) permitted non-students to register their votes after their presence had been drawn to the Chairman's attention, (c) attempted to push Mr. A. Shaw's motion through with what is best termed "indecent" haste, and in the process denying any student whatsoever (bar Mr Shaw) from the right to speak to the motion, (d) neglected to ensure that an effective and fool proof system of voting existed whereby an accurate registration and count of votes could be recorded, (e) denied at least 20 to 40 students their right to register their vote, by arbitrarily forcing the discontinuation of the function of the scrutineers in counting the votes against the motion to send the $2,000, (f) refused to accept and/or acknowledge a number of motions from the floor; procedural motions of no confidence' in the Chair, motions disagreeing with rulings of the Chairman, and motions to adjourn the S.G.M. on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and that its disorderly nature was rendering the voting proceedures impossible to comply with.
The following examples demonstrate the many inaccurate and irresponsible statements made by the Chair, and through the Chair, as regards (a) the destination of the $2000 and (b) the financial position of the Victoria University Students Association (heareafter called VUSA) It is submitted that the overall effect of these statements was to mislead many people voting for the motion to send the $2,000. (a) It was represented to the students attending the S.G.M. that the $2000 was to be given for the medical aid of North Vietnamese civilians, whereas it is our contention that the $2000 is presently in the possession of the Wellington agent of the New Zealand Medical Aid Committee for South Vietnamese People in National Liberation Front Areas.
1. The claim made by the President of the VUSA Mr P. Cullen that the VUSA was "well able to pay the $2000 because it wasn't needed this year, and probably won't be needed next year for the Cricket Pavilion" represents a distortion of the true position of the VUSA's commitments to the Cricket Pavilion scheme.
In Fact : after the S.G.M. of the 3rd July 1972, at which $500 was voted to the Vietnam Aid Appeal, Mr Cullen informed the Chairman of the Pavilion funds Committee that because of undue pressure being brought to bear upon the VUSA funds, the Association's commitment to the Pavilion fund could not be met. Mr Cullen was granted a suspension of the commitment upon the condition that he make a written statement to have the suspended commitment budgeted for the 1973 budget already, says much for the financial situation that the VUSA must find itself facing in 1972!
If such pressure was being brought to bear on the Student Association's funds two and a half weeks ago, what sudden relief made it possible for Mr Cullen to contend publicly that the VUSA was enjoying a favourable financial position and could afford to send $2000 to the Vietnam Aid Appeal?
And commitments forgotten? At no time during the S.G.M. on the 18th July was any mention made of the VUSA loan of $6,000 to the Pavilion fund, a longstanding commitment. In this respect we wish to question the competence of the Executive, because in our approach to five members of that body, not one has admitted knowledge of any such existing obligation.
2. It is our contention that the money paid to the University for the use of amenities by the organisers of the PBEC conference did not constitute any part of VUSA's funds We thereby wish to refute those claims made at the S.G.M. of 18th July, that such money was at the disposal of the VUSA fund for student activities.
3. It was stated to those students present at the S.G.M. of 18th July, that an existing reserve fund exceeding $30,000 was available for the use of VUSA if needed. However, since that meeting members of the Executive have repeatedly assured us that this represties even if needed.
Although we have by no means exhausted our arguments. we feel it necessary to point out that with injunction proceedings under way, comment upon many impending legal issues is precluded.
However, we can inform you that the effect of the Interim Injunction granted on the 21st July 1972 has the effect of freezing the $2,000 until the Court gives its ruling.
|(a)||the Constitution should be abided by,|
|(b)||each individual student should have an inherent right to register his/her vote on matters on which he/she is entitled to vote.|
|(c)||that an accurate method of voting should be implemented.|
|(d)||that such method should be foolproof, and,|
|(e)||that a clear and honest statement of relevant facts should be presented to the student body where it is desirable that this be done.|
Mark J. Porath. Ian O. Caddis, on behalf of their supporters.