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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972

Student Funds for Student Purposes

Student Funds for Student Purposes

The decision of the S.G.M. of 3 July to send $2,000 to the Vietnam Aid Appeal raises a number of very serious issues. They are issues that demand the attention of all of us, they cannot be ignored any longer by any student at this University.

In 1969 the Association fee was $13. It was raised to $19 in 1970 and last year it was raised to $24. It is a fee moreover that must be paid for by ail of us. It can only be avoided, at the discretion of the Vice Chancellor, on grounds of hardship.

After 7 months the Association is already in the red and this is despite an extra $30,000 on its overall budget of last year. The Association has an annual income from its 6000 students at around $144,000. Of this amount approximately $96,000 goes in to the Union Building and maintenance Trust Funds and a special trust account. A further $6000 goes to Publications Board to run 'Salient', 'Cappicade' and various handbooks. $6000 is not sufficient for these purposes and traditionally further money must be found each year for Publications Board. This year it is expected that the loss may be as high as $1000

This accounts for $17 out of the $24 fee and leaves only $7 or $42,000 for the day to day running of the Association. Out of this sum $11,400 goes in wages and Honoraria, $2,900 in general office expenses, $12,100 in Administration and levies to national student bodies leaving only $17,500 for student activities. Student activities essentially means tournaments and club grants.

In other words out of $144,000 on $17,500 is used for general student activities. It is true that the student does see the rest in terms of Union Buildings and 'Salient'.

The point is that the compulsory levy of $24 is to be used to administrate the Association for the benefit of students. Quite clearly when only $7 is used to run the Association and only $3 used for studen't activities this is not being done. The aims and objects of the Association are well set out in the Constitution. The first summarises them all - "To further the interests of the University and its students" - The remainder talk of fostering intellectual and social life in the university, promoting the health and physical welfare of its members, promoting sport, printing and publishing magazines and newspapers. S.11 summarises them again "To arrange to- hold and conduct plays, concerts, carnivals, processions, dances, festivals, tournaments, conferences, entertainments and other sporting intellectual and social functions or events as Executive may think fit."

We pay $24 every year tor all these activities and only $4 is spent on them.

There is also a provision in the constitution, and rightly so, for the Association "to assist any charity or charitable purpose which in the opinion of Executive it may be .desirable to assist."

The universities have been in the fore front of the cry for 1% Aid We have already donated to charities over $1000 this year. This has come from the $42,000 set aside for Union Administration and student activities. It represents over 2%. Now it has been proposed to send $2000 to a further charity. In one stroke we are asked to donate a further 5% to a single charity.

We are already in the red and cannot afford it. Where is this money to be found. In this years budget $11,000 was set aside for sports and cultural clubs. Only half of this has been paid out. It is now proposed that what is left in this fund will be used for the $2000 grant to the Vietnam Medical Aid Appeal.

From our $24 less than $2 is used for Club grants These are the clubs that in the long run fulfill the aims of the Association. To do this they get less than $2. If the grant goes ahead they will receive only $1.50.

These are the vital issues that concern all of us A further S.G.M. has been called for Wednesday 19th July to consider the motion "That this Association send no money to the Vietnam Medical Aid Appeal."

The issue of sending money to North Vietnam is only at secondary importance. The real question is how is our $24 being spent. Why do student activities see only $3.

This question cannot be discussed properly when only 150 students attend. We must all be there. If you do not attend this Meeting future S.G.M.s will continue to vote away large sums of association money to purposes and organisations that bear no relation to the interests and objects of this Association.

Henry Stubbs