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March 9, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

No Country for Old Men, No Quorum for Old Woman

In a near-perfect display of why DJs tend to be the only people who know how to elicit a crowd to raise its hands, the Campus Hub Special General Meeting (SGM) flopped to a staggering anti-climax last Wednesday when the much-publicised public meeting failed to reach quorum.

The Victoria University Student Association (VUWSA) called the meeting hoping to receive a mandate from students to contribute $12m of VUWSA Trust funds to the redevelopment of the Student Union Building. The building’s redevelopment is pegged as part of the Kelburn campus hub redevelopment project.

Before the motions approving the $12m contribution could even be broached, a quorum of 100 students needed to be present and willing to vote. But before a crowd of bustling club day seekers, club managers and drifters, the impassioned calls of VUWSA Trust member Teresa Saxton for those present to raise their hands in participation fell, as it were, on deaf ears.
VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle viewed the disappointing outcome more as the inevitable victim of circumstance rather than a shining indictment of student apathy.

“There’s a lot of other things going on in the quad here today,” Freemantle said. “It was unfortunate that we had to organise an emergency PA set up, so I think students couldn’t hear us. Students certainly do support this, so we’ll be trying for this again at our IGM.”

VUWSA Trust member Alistair Shaw perceived the limp response as further evidence of the current quad’s ineffectiveness.

“It just shows what a bad venue this is and that we need to do stuff to it,” he said.

“The students are keen. Maybe the publicity wasn’t focused enough or people weren’t mobilised enough. I guess that all the people who are keen haven’t taken it seriously enough to make sure they and all their friends are here.”

When asked if the decision to hold an SGM amidst the hustle and bustle of Clubs Day was myopic, both Freemantle and Shaw were resolute.

“The reason we decided to hold it in the quad was more of a symbolic gesture,” said Freemantle.

“The quad is one of the main areas that will be redone as part of the redevelopment of the Kelburn campus.”

“The clubs are a key focus about what’s happening with the Student Union Building,” Shaw noted.

“They have been intimately involved and they’re getting a lot out of it, so it seems sensible to put it on when club members would be here and for the clubs themselves to be able to promote it to people.”

Following the announcement that quorum had not been reached, VUWSA Welfare Vice-President Freya Eng told the noisy crowd that VUWSA would broach the motions to students again at the upcoming IGM.

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to put it to the IGM which is on the 18th of March at Mt. Street Bar at 12:30,” Eng announced. Should VUWSA fail again to attract the necessary numbers needed for quorum, the VUWSA Trust’s contribution to the Campus Hub redevelopment will not be deployed and the Student Union Building will forego any significant redevelopment.

Freemantle remained confident the student body would mobilise in favour of making a contribution, and would give the decision the due respect it required.

“All students are able to attend and participate in general meetings. This is an important aspect of VUWSA’s democratic process, and one which VUWSA hopes students will take seriously,” she said.

The President remained positive that quorum would be reached on 18 March.

“I never count my chickens before they hatch, but we will certainly do our best.”


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Kia ora, biography box, kia ora.

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  1. Correction: Lisa Sacksen, not Teresa Saxton. Teresa Saxton is a Senior Finance Executive from Chicago, not the woman responsible for conducting last week’s SGM.

    Dental plan
    Teresa needs braces
    Dental plan
    Teresa needs braces

    Kia ora, fact checking, kia ora.

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