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July 31, 2006 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

1,2,3 and a bit – user pays is full of shit…

NOTICE: 12NOON, COTTON 122, TUESDAY AUGUST 1ST: CHANCELLOR TIM BEAGLEHOLE, VICE CHANCELLOR PAT WALSH AND FINANCE COMMITTEE CONVENER JAMES OGDEN WILL COME AND ANSWER STUDENTS’ QUESTIONS ABOUT FEE SETTING. THEY WILL PRESENT A GENERAL CASE FOR WHY FEES KEEP GOING UP, AND THEN BE OPEN FOR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FOR STUDENTS. ALL STUDENTS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT FEE INCREASES SHOULD ATTEND THIS MEETING.

It’s that time of year again folks. Members of the University Council want to meet with students about the coming fee setting. In 2004 we tried to set up a similar forum, however Stuart McCutcheon (McCuts as the students called him), the then Vice Chancellor told us he “didn’t want to be paraded in front of Nick Kelly, Scott Trainor and Fleur Fitzsimons”. So the university agreeing to a forum about fees and to answer any questions that the students have is a development. A strong turn out at this forum is a signal to the university and government that students are really concerned about fees and the yearly increases – so come along, bring tough questions and all your friends.

Students at Canterbury University and the Canterbury College of Education that is soon to merge with the University had their first round of fee setting today. Students found out about the proposed fee setting meeting at the end of last week. Despite this over 1000 students gathered outside the fee setting meeting last Wednesday. Student reps won a victory with the university management agreeing to delay fee setting for domestic students until August. The proposed fee increase at Canterbury is 5%, and will be 10% for students enrolled at the College of Education. For students enrolled in early childhood the university has proposed a massive 60% fee increase.

At last Monday’s exec meeting I was directed by the VUWSA exec to write a letter to Canterbury University Vice Chancellor Roy Sharp (former deputy VC at Vic) congratulating him on the democratic and transparent way he has gone about fee setting. Here is a copy of my letter:

Dear Roy,
I have been instructed by my executive to write to you and express our congratulations at the way you tried to conduct fee setting at Canterbury University. We feel that your method of notifying students (an e-mail sent the Friday before the meeting to the student President) is more than adequate notice to one of the primary stockholders within the university. Accusations that this was “dodgy” by the president of the Canterbury College of Education Students’ Association (CCESA) are clearly unfounded, as we are sure you informed students as soon as you possibly could. Any suggestion that the Canterbury University Council were trying to rush a fee increase through to avoid protests and proper debate has no basis to it whatsoever.

I also would like to commend you for your bold decision to increase fees for students studying in early childhood by 60%. This sends a clear signal that the merger of the Christchurch College of Education and the University of Canterbury is in the best interests of students at the current College of Education.

Finally it is good to see that the democratic, transparent and pro-student practices you were well known for the Victoria University have continued in your role as Vice Chancellor at Canterbury. Keep up the good work!

Yours Sincerely
Nick Kelly
President
Victoria University Wellington Students’ Association

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