Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.
Waikato University Students Association
Waikato University Students Association
- Gerard Couper.
As it presently stands the Waikato University Students' Association provides little encouragement for student involvement in their students' association. Perhaps this has been due to the lack of interest shown by the present President, John Fry, who incidentally wasn't present at August Council.
The tone of this comes across to me in an ad for vacant exec position that appears in Nexus. It offhandedly mentions that anybody who cares to apply for the following positions......
Certainty students are classified with the present operation of WUSA for Duncar Stuart was elected next years President on a "bring back WUSA" campaign in what was a remarkably high poll; 750 out of 2200.
The association also occasionally uses a rather strange method of student democracy - referenda. The latest was over the question of the secterian chapel. It seems to methat such methods only sample student opinion rather than encouraging its expression and development.
However, there are progressive changes proposed that centre round plans for an effective SRC. WUSA has student-staff committees for each subject (something Vic could well do with) and further up the heirarchy faculty committees.
Earlier this year representatives from these and "anybody else who wanted to attend" gathered together to form an SRC. Little interest was shown and two of the three meetings failed to gain a quorum.
I think one of the main reasons for this is the inverted basis of the SRC. It works from committees to SRC and therefore stiffles mass participation at the SRC level. However it is still possible that a more democratic form based on Vic's much vaunted SRC may be adopted.
The University of Canterbury Students' Association is undergoing a leadership crisis. The students have passed a motion of no-confidence in the executive and yet the executive sees no reason for it to resign.
Canterbury is the second largest New Zealand university with about 6500 students, and over the last few years has become known as the commercial and administrative centre in the student world.
It is the only university which has full control over its own union facilities, but in gaining this control it has tied itself to the enormous administration that this entails.
Consequently Canterbury executive members have spent much of their time in making sure the facilities are up to standard and that everything is running efficiently, leaving them little time to actually organise amongst students on education, international and national issues. In fact, Canterbury's president is largely a business manager for the association.
Presently the Canterbury executive is negotiating with the university (who actually own the student union building) to extend the Deed of Management, which is the lease for the building. There is some debate as to whether they should let the university reclaim complete financial control of the building or not. There is a strong feeling that the association should get rid of the responsibility so as to get back to its primary function - involving students in political, educational and welfare activities around campus.
The executive crisis arose out of the administrative morass when three executive members had private talks with an association employee about staffing cutbakcs in the union building. The president, Don Leonardo, resigned because he was not informed of the meeting.
At a subsequent Student Representative Council Meeting a motion of no confidence was moved in the executive. At the next executive meeting four members resigned, but a motion that the whole of the executive resign was lost (most thinking that they were not going to resign and watch all the work that they had done for students go down the drain.)
The arrogant attitude shown by the executive may be challenged at a Special General Meeting if there is enough enthusiasm around to do that. Unfortunately, the Students' Association has become so distinct from students, that it may be difficult to find a quorum to do that.
— John Ryall.