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September 14, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Vic students see both sides of VSM coin

VSM coin can be used as legal tender–it’s totally up to you, man, totally.

Interest in the recently tabled Freedom of Association bill may be drawn along political lines, but many students at Victoria University have come out in support of optional membership.

The bill, if passed, would give Vic­toria students the opportunity to choose whether they want to be members of the student’s association VUWSA.

Most students spoken to by Salient supported the idea of optional membership simply because they felt that VUWSA did not properly represent their views.

“VUWSA’s supposed to represent us, but it doesn’t really represent us very well because they’re just saying their opinions,” said one student.

Many students referred to VUWSA’s perceived political associations, highlighted by former President Joel Cosgrove’s affiliation with the Worker’s Party, and the association’s decision not to lay a wreath at this year’s Anzac Day commemorations.

“We’re forced to join, and then they go and do all this crazy stuff, and that’s representing the university, but it’s not a fair representation,” said another student.

Another major concern for students was that its VUWSA levy wasn’t being used towards activities or incentives that they wanted or needed.

“If I could clearly see that VUWSA was running efficiently, then sure, I’d pay my $131.90. But at the moment it’s bloody horrendous,” said one student.

Another student was surprised to learn that VUWSA claimed to fund clubs as she paid around $300 to play hockey for the university team—a VUWSA-affiliated sports club.

Political groups on campus that support VSM have also taken a primarily rights-focused stance on the issue.

“It’s important to remember that that’s how every other incorporated society and group in New Zealand operates, it’s not unreasonable to assume that students should be awarded the same,” said Student Choice spokesperson Lauren Brazier.

ACT on Campus and Victoria’s branch of Young Nats were also both highly supportive of VSM when spoken to by Salient in last week’s issue.

In 2009, full-time domestic students paid $131.90 each in VUWSA subscription fees. This payment goes towards a number of student services, including orientation, class reps, Student Job Search and Salient.

These don’t include the Student Services Levy, which pays for services such as Accommodation and Student Health, and the Student Technology Fee.

Despite concerns about VUWSA’s political views and spending, however, many students felt that the services provided by the association were important and that, if changes occurred, they would probably join by choice, if VSM was introduced.

“It’s more the system that needs to be adjusted rather than a bill completely scrapping it,” said one student.

“I know people who’ve used the food bank service, and the free bread service is also pretty good. I think there just needs to be more emphasis on student service instead of misguided advocacy,” another student said.

Most students said that they would be disappointed if Salient, which is largely funded by VUWSA, was no longer available.

“I think if you were to take away the compulsory fees towards VUWSA, people would still want to pay towards Salient,” one student said.

The Freedom of Association bill is due to have its first reading in the next week.


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  1. peteremcc says:

    “These include the Student Services Levy, which pays for services such as Accommodation and Student Health, and the Student Technology Fee.”

    That should be: “These DON’T include the [other levies]. VUWSA doesn’t pay for any of that.

    Also, there’s no reason why VSM would affect Salient at all – the Auckland Uni Student newspaper is full colour and glossy and MAKES money for the Auckland University Students Association (who are voluntary).

    Although, to be fair, Salient is clearly better given it just won the ASPA! ;)

  2. peteremcc says:

    Also, maybe we should get some commemorative coins made for when the bill passes.

    Competing currencies are awesome!

  3. Jackson Wood says:

    Corrected thanks to the sub editing prowess of Mr Mcc.

  4. peteremcc says:

    If only my prowess extended to fixing up all the paper versions!

    Or maybe predicting mistakes before they happen and get printed?


  5. Jackson Wood says:

    If only, Peter. If only.

  6. macdaddy says:

    Peter, I am sure you will join me. Why should we pay a Student Services Levy, when I don’t use those services? Why should I subsides other sick students or depressed students?

    Let’s go the whole hog and get rid of this as well.

  7. peteremcc says:

    That would be because one is provided by the university and one is provided by a union.

    This debate isn’t about who provides what services at what price, it’s about joining one organisation (the university) and being forced to join another (the union) at the same time.

  8. I thought you said ‘this one is provided by a unicorn’. I like my version better.

  9. peteremcc says:

    If Salient’s comments were editable, I’d change it just for you. :)

    VUWSA the Unicorn aye? There’s an interesting thought.

  10. macdaddy says:

    So you don’t agree with me.

    But I go to uni to study> I should only pay foy courses I take. I have medi insurance. Why should I be forced to pay for other peoples sickness.

    Surely you can join my campiagn to get rid of this tax.

  11. Estrogen says:

    I’m glad you have medical insurance macdaddy. Perhaps when the majority of other students don’t need or want free/low cost medical care on campus then funding won’t be necessary. But as it stands, those sick, depressed kiddies (shame on them) don’t all have funds or Mummy and Daddy’s Southern Cross card.

  12. macdaddy says:

    Why should I have for them? Tell them to get jobs.

  13. macdaddy says:

    ‘ Perhaps when the majority of other students don’t need or want free/low cost medical care on campus then funding won’t be necessary’

    How dare you speak for the majority? How do you know this?
    The medical centre just push their polictical agenda.. smoking being bad for you, etc.

  14. Matt says:

    macdaddy, although I respect[?] the fact that you so readily and unashamedly embrace your own selfishness (it’s a refreshing change from the usual attempts to somehow justify privilege), your lack of imagination is not so admirable. Surely you realise that 1)not all students can afford health care (probably most actually cannot) and 2)not being surrounded by sick/depressed etc etc people in your day-to-day life at university actually benefits selfish, privileged, rich ol’ you? You’re not paying for them as such, you’re paying to offset the effect that they might have on you. It’s like, extra insurance for you, and it even helps other people at the same time.
    Helping other people. Radical huh?

  15. macdaddy says:

    If you want to afford health care, you should work hard. That’s not hard. If people didn’t have to pay for vuwsa, then they could afford basics like health care, isn’t that right Peter.

  16. macdaddy says:

    Also Matt, I should be able to choose who I help and not be forced tohelp others. Isn’t that right Peter?

  17. Laura McQuillan says:

    Wow, understanding of satirical comments fail…

  18. peteremcc says:

    Or lack of satirical comment writing skill?

  19. Laura McQuillan says:

    I thought it was pretty good.

  20. peteremcc says:

    Wow, understanding of satirical comments fail…

  21. Steve says:

    Hey Peter, I don’t like paying tax to the soft cock government who steal my hard earned money and give it to the blacks and the gays and the cripples. Can you help me get my money back?

  22. CJH says:

    Steve, errr I think you’re on the wrong path here buddy. You can’t possibly compare a student union to the Government. Especially as a student union has the same status as your local bowling club :)

  23. macdaddy says:

    I can’t believe you think my comments are satirical!?! I can’t believe you don’t agree with me Peter, typical ACT Party socialist agenda.

    And another thing. Why should students be ‘taxed’ for Salient. Salient should be sold at market cost instead. It should also cost money, say $1, to comment on this website. Freedom is not free, it costs you and me.

  24. macdaddy says:

    nd another thing, why should I pay for student counseling. It’s not my fault Suzie cries a lot gets depressed and suicidal and needs someone to talk to. How is that going to help me get my degree?

    Don’t you agree with me here Peter?

  25. Ralph says:

    I’ll join you macdaddy. But only if you change your name.

  26. Hank Scorpio says:

    vic student media group with davis from vbc playing tunes making you swoon in a balloon

  27. Macdaddy says:

    Hey Peter,

    Here is another thing you can agree with me on.

    I was sitting in class the other week, when along comes Fatty Mcfatty. He sits right next to me and invades my space, the space I paid for.

    So when is the uni going to charge fat people for bums on sits, much like the planes do. Should fat people be charged twice as much as skinny people, as they take up more space and need two sits?

    What do you think Peter, I am sure you agree with me on this?

  28. Alpha says:

    Posted by macdaddy: “…typical ACT Party socialist agenda”

    lul wut?

    Students are poor, for the most part. Having to work (more than most already are) for money while working on our degrees will lower the quality of our qualifications, and is just stupid when most people pay for these levies through Studylink anyway; it doesn’t really matter how much they cost.

  29. macdaddy says:

    ‘more than most already are’ working. This means all students are working. Therefore, I don’t need to pay for them.

  30. These are facts says:

    51% = more than most.

    All students = 100%.

    ∴ More than most ≠ all students.

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