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July 30, 2012 | by  | in News | [ssba]

“We’re not representative.”

WORLD’S LEAST REPRESENTATIVE FORUM SET TO SPEAK FOR YOU  

The University initiated and administered student forum held its inaugural meeting last Tuesday. Twenty members were in attendance, but a cloud of uncertainty meant little came from it as most were unsure as to the role of the forum.

Members debated whether the forum was a decision making, consultative, or representative body. Many felt they lacked the mandate of students if they were to be considered a legitimate representative body.

“We’re not representative” said one member, “we have been chosen by the University,we have not been voted for by any of the students, therefore we have no right to represent students.”

University Council Student Representative Max Hardy said neither the Council or senior management knew what the role of the forum was. Forum Chair, VUWSA President Bridie Hood then said that it was “up in the air” as to what the forum would do.

The forum was made up of students from

various representative groups and faculties that were selected by the university. But one member Salient spoke to revealed he had gained his seat simply by submitting his CV to the University and requesting it.

Forum administrator Tasha Sharp, who receives her salary from the Student Services Levy, revealed the results of the Student Forum survey. Only 185 people, or 0.9 per cent of the student body, replied to the forum survey despite it being sent to all students. Most felt that forum members should be democratically elected and wondered why the forum was needed at all considering the presence of VUWSA.

Both VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare) Rory McCourt and Hardy, felt that students should be able to vote on the existence of the forum through a referendum. However, one member asked whether it was fair to survey students on what the forum should be doing when the forum itself did not know.

After it became obvious discussion about the forum’s meaning would not reach a

conclusion during the meeting, it was decided an executive committee needed to established to further discuss these issues. This in itself also proved too difficult so it was agreed another committee be established to decide who should be on the first one. The second committee equated to half the room.

Director of Student Administration Services, Pam Thorburn briefly spoke to the forum about the Student Services Levy consultation. Few members took the opportunity to discuss the levy but this is probably due to no adequate briefing information being made available.

One member Salient spoke said the meeting was “disappointing” and expressed frustration that the the forum spent too much time discussing itself rather than addressing genuine issues that students were facing. He listed three concerns he had not been able to raise.

“Most people don’t give a damn. That’s the problem.”

 

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