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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.

Getting back to Campuses

Getting back to Campuses

But very few people are usually concerned about how well NZUSA policy reflects the ideas held by students on constituent campuses and consequently how NZUSA Council's should work to make national policy.

Unionist Pat Kelly addressing Council

Unionist Pat Kelly addressing Council

A major argument against the Women's Commission was over precisely this point. Whereas nearly all the delegates to the Women's Commission saw it as a body which would construct new women's policy, Victoria saw it merely as a body which would tie together the policy which was hopefully being constructed on the constituent campuses.

It may be a circular argument but it has important implications for a diagnosis of the women's policy "problem" in NZUSA. The reason put forward at May Council for the formation of the women's commission was that NZUSA policy was not up to date and that there had been no attempt made to action it. Therefore a commission of women that focussed on women's policy would make women's issues a going concern in NZUSA. The argument against the women's commission was that the fault of NZUSA women's policy was that campuses had very little of their own women's policy and there had been no emphasis on it on the constituent campuses (or if there had the previous council delegates had not mirrored that concern). So, the fault lay in the lack of campus action and the undemocratic nature of the constituent associations, whose delegates were not doing their job in putting forward student priorities to the national, education and international commissions.

Photo of a group of students sitting at a table covered with paper

Dougal Stewart (Massey), Gyles Beckford & Anthony Ward (Vic.), Bruce Kirkland (NZSAC).

Hence, while the women's commission was seen as a solution by one group of council delegates, it was seen as merely a red herring by the other group.

The divisions which existed on this issue between Victoria's stand (that while the women's commission's work should be supported, the continuance of the commission should not be) and the stands of campuses such as Otago and Auckland (permanent continuance of the women's commission) continued on to other areas - divisions which I believe stemmed to a large extent from the position Victoria took up on the need for democratic associations and the challenge that this presented.