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



VUWSA’s Annual General Meeting is this Wednesday at 1pm in Mount Street Bar. At this meeting a motion to change the Salient charter is being put forward by one of the VUWSA exec members.

The motion is as below:

18. That Salient provides regular coverage of VUWSA affiliated clubs affairs to appear in every issue of the publication. The coverage is to include, though not necessarily limited to, one page per week. The publications editor in conjunction with the clubs officer is, responsible for liaising with clubs to ensure provision of this coverage.

This is totally unnecessary and poorly thought out.

Clubs and their activities already make up an integral part of what Salient prints. Without reporting on their doings, Salient would cease to be the students’ magazine. I can see the need for a motion along these lines if Salient wasn’t doing this already under clause 2 of the Salient Charter. However, anyone who has read through Salient know that we are doing this thoroughly. The person who has put this forward has no working knowledge of how Salient operates and its constraints and has taken no opportunity to get her head around Salient’s operation.

Here is why the motion is unnecessary:

  1. We already do it: Salient has a notices page which is extensively used by some clubs. Our news section has consistently featured stories about clubs.
  2. There has been no consultation over this proposed motion. The first I heard of the motion was when it was posted on the VUWSA noticeboard. The first time Masha came to talk to me was last week. She says it is just what clubs want. This stems from a motion raised as urgent business at the Clubs Council Committee (CCC) on 13 August. The motion stated that the CCC “support the provision of a page in Salient for clubs per week”. I was not notified of this or asked to speak at that meeting or any meeting since. No club has approached Salient directly to complain about coverage.
    There apparently was one complaint from Amnesty International, but this stopped on the president’s desk and hasn’t reached mine. No doubt gathering dust.
  3. The motion is contrary to clause one of the Salient Charter: “The Editor shall determine the form and content of Salient with complete freedom from political interference.”
  4. This year Salient has reached out to clubs multiple times via Clubs Coordinator Brent Hayward. We have informed clubs they can use the notices section, and asked them to inform us about what they’re doing, events they’re planning and accolades they think should be mentioned in the news section. The editor simply does not have time to go chasing clubs who are late or muck around in getting content in, and it’s forseen that if clubs don’t get copy in and the one page isn’t filled, it’ll be Salient, not the clubs, clubs officer or clubs coordinator, that takes the rap.
  5. Clubs recently launched the Clubs Express zine, a publication devoted to clubs.
  6. The space within Salient is limited—there are only x amount of pages, but there are over 100 clubs. The variable activity of clubs means that some will get more coverage than others, and Salient is unable to guarantee that if there were an overflow of content one week that it would all be run—and would therefore be forced to choose which club’s content is published.
  7. One of the core functions of the new VUWSA website, due to launch any time soon, is to be a focal point for clubs.

There are alternatives to this constitutional amendment to make sure coverage of clubs activities is at a level Salient can work with, not one imposed on it. These would include inviting the editor to CCC meetings, a working group including the clubs officer, co-ordinator and the editor.

The problem isn’t about a rule in the constitution, it is about communication.

I urge you all to come to the AGM on Wednesday and vote against this motion and encourage your friends to come along and do the same.


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

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