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July 13, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Vice President’s Column


Student politics at its best is often an instant turn off and an object of ridicule for most stable and rational people. At its worse it solidifies peoples hatred towards, and detachment from something that at the end of the day represents them at a university and national level.

This week, as a member of Victoria University Students’ Association (VUWSA), you will have the opportunity to participate in something that is often threatened; yet rarely realised.
A Special General Meeting (SGM) has been called to vote on two motions that could see the removal or ‘rolling’ of the VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle and Welfare Officer Robert Latimer from office. The meeting will first need to reach a quorum of 100, and second, the motions will need to pass with a two-thirds majority if anything is to happen.

You have to go back to 1988 to find a President who got rolled for quite legitimate reasons.

This is why it confounds me as to why Jasmine Freemantle is facing a rolling. A President who works a average of 100 hours a week, is tracking a surplus, is at the office on the weekends and public holidays, produces seven or eight page weekly work reports, exorcised VUWSA of the Worker’s Party, and has brought a new sense of accountability and transparency to VUWSA.

She inherited a dysfunctional Association and has spent most of the year future proofing the VUWSA. Things such as the introduction of a Manager, so that the miscarriages of accountability such as Joel Cosgrove’s infamous Australia junket on student money and the pimping of the VUWSA Van will never happen again, as well as dealing with the multiple unresolved grievances against her predecessors.

There’s been much talk of Jasmine’s ‘draconian’, ‘dictatorial’ or ‘brooding’ leadership. It’s hilarious this comes from former and current Executive members whom Jasmine, along with the rest of the Executive, have held accountable in their positions.

They present dismal half page work reports, submit patronising and severely lacking bonus proposals at Executive meetings or refuse to take any responsibility for gaffes that have occurred on their watch.

Who would be surprised these people, prime examples of old-school VUWSA muppetry, start throwing around such adjectives when the Executive demand how they can justify student money being given to them, even when they haven’t even fulfilled their basic constitutional obligations. They’re annoyed they can’t get away with it.

It is this sort of stuff that quite rightly turns people off student politics.

Go and read Jasmine’s and Robert’s respective work reports on the VUWSA website, and decide for yourself, and please come to the SGM this Wednesday.

VUWSA Special General Meeting, Mount Street Bar, 1pm


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