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August 17, 2014 | by  | in News | [ssba]


The Forum, held at the Hub at 1 pm last Thursday, was a chance for all of your potential student representatives to explain why you should vote for them in the upcoming election (polling closes this Friday!). If you missed the event of the year due to some unforeseen emergency, you can read our coverage of the event below.

Candidates: Rāwinia Thompson, Rick Zwaan.

Rāwinia detailed her involvement in VUWSA as Academic Vice-President, and the challenges VSM had brought for the organisation. She said VUWSA should demonstrate its value, and should engage with everyday students, who she said felt disconnected. She wanted VUWSA to eventually charge students for membership.

Rick then spoke, talking about the successes he has had as Welfare Vice-President, including Fairer Fares. He also floated the prospect of nap rooms, which generated a great deal of interest from the crowd, along with cheap late-night meals. Rick discussed student engagement, increasing outside revenue streams, and opening budgets to student input.

Wilbur Townsend asked how the tertiary system should be restructured. Rāwinia said that VUWSA needed to demonstrate students are valuable by talking the corporate language. Rick said that students felt too much like customers, and queried the value of VUWSA being part of NZUSA, given its lack of reform since VUWSA threatened to leave (last year).

David Alsop asked about financial plans. Rick pledged to get $2 million in funding and said he would improve services and revenue streams. Rāwinia said she could be more ambitious than $2 million, and would get a lawyer to negotiate with the University.

Alasdair Keating asked Rāwinia a patsy question about whether she could do the job given that outgoing president Sonya Clark has endorsed Rick. She said she had the skills.

Joel Rowan asked the candidates whether they supported VSM. Both said students should have a choice over whether they join VUWSA or not. Rāwinia said VUWSA should become so good that everyone should want to join. Rick said he wanted a three-day festival at Kelburn at the beginning of each year.

Sonya Clark asked the candidates for their greatest weaknesses. Rick said his attention to detail, Rāwinia said her emotional engagement with student issues. Come on, guys.

VP Academic
Candidate: Jonathan Gee
Running unopposed, Jonathan said he was still putting up posters as he wanted students to know him. He wanted to improve the Class Rep system, and supported puppies and nap rooms, though they are not in the Academic portfolio.

VP Welfare
Candidate: Madeleine Ashton-Martyn
Also running unopposed, Madeleine talked about her experience as VUWSA’s Equity Officer, particularly in organising the Let Me Go Home march. She also supported nap rooms and cheap food.

VP Engagement
Candidates: Ben Guerin, Toby Cooper.
Ben talked about the need to diversify the events VUWSA offers – he said VUWSA would run a ball and hold more sports events. He said VUWSA should improve its website and app. Toby then spoke, and pointed out that it was his fourth campaign for a VUWSA role (he has been successful in one). He said he would listen to students’ stories.
Cooper was then asked whether he could tell the audience a story. He could, and he said he also supported more balls at uni. Balls were a surprisingly prevalent theme in the debate.

Candidate: Jacinta Gulasekharam
Another running unopposed, Jacinta talked about the need for VUWSA’s finances to be tightly managed, and the skills and experience she had for the role.

Education Officer
Candidate: Ellen Humphries
Unopposed, Ellen talked about the four different classes she has represented as well as her general interest in education.

Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer
Candidate: Rory Lenihan-Ikin
Unopposed, Rory said he would actively encourage the University to divest from fossil fuels.
Rory was asked, by former president Rory McCourt, how he would best represent Rorys. Rory said he would represent all students, but would work hard to represent Rorys well.

Equity Officer
Candidates: Chennoah Walford, Quan Nguyen
Chennoah, speaking first, said she was a people person. She hoped to facilitate engagement with many different representative groups. Quan came out saying he was ready to fight for the people he represented, and said that VUWSA was not engaged with students.
When asked about LGBT engagement, Chennoah said it was not for her to speak for all groups, but she would listen. Quan said he had practical experience fighting for rights. When asked how they would engage, Quan said it should be “our plan”, not his plan. Chennoah said she would attend meetings and facilitate.

Clubs and Activities Officer
Candidates: Rory McNamara, Theo Brown
Rory spoke first, saying that university should be fun, and he wanted people to wear Vic colours with pride. Theo said that he wanted to bring back Faculty Games and improve O-Week, but could make no promises.
The two candidates were asked whether there were any problems setting up clubs. Neither were aware of any.

Campaigns Officer
Candidates: Ibrahim Salih, Nathaniel Manning.
Ibrahim, a former cleaner at the University who has worked on the Living Wage campaign, spoke about his passion for the living wage and his engagement with campaigns in general. Nathaniel spoke about his experience on the executive of Young Labour. Both candidates said they would support a living wage for VUWSA staff.
Stella Blake-Kelly asked the candidates whether they had experience beyond politics. Nathaniel said his political campaigning experience gave him skills; Ibrahim said his motivation was not at all political, that he was passionate and would fight.

Publications Committee Representative
Candidates: Cam Price and Stella Blake-Kelly
Cam Price and Stella Blake-Kelly spoke, both saying that Salient should increase its revenue from advertising, and get less money from VUWSA.


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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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