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September 7, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

VUWSA’s Wang may whip out trouble

The resignation of VUWSA Education Officer Tim Wang last month may leave the association’s exec walking a tight rope for the remainder of the year should an investigation rule July’s by‑election invalid.

Wang’s resignation, the seventh this year, means only six of the original 12 Execeteers elected last year remain in office.

Five vacant positions were tentatively filled in late July after a by‑election. But the by‑election itself has been a point of contention after questions arose concerning its legitimacy.

A complaint registered by ACT On Campus Vice‑President Peter McCaffrey noted that the online ballot for the by‑election contained an option for No Confidence on three elections with more than one candidate, considered invalid according to VUWSA’s constitution.

The second part of the complaint concerned security procedures at the in‑person voting in the quad. It is alleged student IDs were not checked, presenting an issue of legitimacy.

In an email sent to VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle and Association Manager Mark Maguire, head of the by‑election subcommittee Jeremy Greenbrook‑Held noted that an arbitration panel had been established to consider the complaint.

The panel is made up of former NZUSA Co‑President Joseph Randall, former VUWSA Treasurer Graeme Edgeler, and Senior Lecturer in Statistics Dr Richard Arnold.

“The committee felt it was important to have a broad membership of the panel,” Greenbrook‑Held wrote.

The resignation of Education Welfare Officer Robert Latimer before the mid‑trimester break led to his role being co‑opted by a non‑voting exec member, who will be selected by the Exec at a meeting this month.

Difficulties could arise if the panel should rule the by‑election invalid, and the five newly elected exec members finding their voting powers retracted.

With nominations already being called for positions on 2010’s exec, Wang’s role is likely to be co‑opted in the same fashion as Latimer’s. This would leave six exec members with voting powers, the bare minimum required for quorum.

Among a list of motions still needing to be tabled and voted upon, this year’s exec still needs to approve the make up of VUWSA’s 2010 budget. Should there for any reason be fewer than six execeteers present, the exec won’t be able to do this.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle has abstained from commenting on the by‑election or the investigative processes involved with it.

VUWSA Association Manager and by‑election returning manager Mark Maguire failed to provide Salient with the full details of the by‑election, des-pite numerous requests to do so.

The VUWSA Constitution, available on the VUWSA website, states that the Returning Officer is required to “declare the result of the election by posting one copy of the declaration on the Association noticeboard.”

The constitution provides a template for how the declaration of the results should be formatted.

The declaration of the election results should include the number of votes for each winning candidate, the number of no confidence votes, and the total number of votes cast for each position.

It also requires that this declaration of the election result is signed and dated by the Returning Officer and assistants.

A provision in the constitution also says that exec members can also be elected to their positions at a Special General Meeting.

“In the event of a vacancy or vacancies amongst Executive members other than the President and/or Vice‑President (Education) and/or Vice‑President (Welfare), the Executive may resolve whether any such vacancies will be filled by election at a Special General Meeting or by a by‑election provided that by‑elections shall not be held after the end of the second academic trimester,” the Constitution states.

The arbitration panel is expected to have presented its findings before the 2009 VUWSA General Election later this month.


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Kia ora, biography box, kia ora.

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  1. Sarah Forester says:

    Love the headline mjo. Wanna get a coffee sometime with me?

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