Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.
Student politics at Massey University is very much of a one-man band. Through lack of any clear political direction, and general student apathy, the president, Dougal Stewart has become something of a benign autocrat. Dougal sees his role as that of "helping" students, providing them with services such as "piss-ups", concerts etc rather than initiating any decisive or progressive political leadership.
MUSA does not experience the adminstrative hassles of Auckland as their union building is effectively under the control of the Board of Hostels. The association's executive meetings mainly concern themselves with housing schemes and minor administrative matters. Consequently, attendance is often sporadic and effective control lies in a few members.
In terms of administration and the provision of student services MUSA's operations could probably be judged as competent However, in terms of providing progressive leadership MUSA must be found sadly wanting. There are no traditional structures for involving students in any political policies.
Though MUSA has AGMs and SGMs there are no SRCs or international or education committees, which means that effectively the decision-making is left in the hands of the Exec. A clear example of how this oeprates can be seen over the Bursaries Issue where the Exec (or was it?) decided there would be a referendum, a petition, but no Bursaries March. The decision was from the top and because there was no effective vehicle for student opinion the decision was not over-ruled.
It is ironical that in Dougal's "Message from the President" in the Massey Handbook he says, "As part of the student body you can accept or change MUSA policies and through your MUSA representatives you can endorse or oppose NZUSA policy".
He displayed an amazing amount of autonomy from his constituent policy e.g. voting to affiliate WONAAC to NZUSA when MUSA has SPUC policy on its books. Massey's influential 6 votes went according to the personal discretion of the MUSA caucus i.e. Dougal rather than according to any policy decided by Massey students. The traditional low level of interest on campus was reflected in the Massey Caucus which consisted of mainly Dougal and the occasional presence of three others.
This tack of any well-thought out political line in August Council is only a sympton of the traditional stance of Massey students. There are reasons for such classic quotes from Dougal as "Yeah, that sounds all right, I'll vote for that."