Petition destroyed by activist
A petition to make student association membership voluntary was torn up by a student activist on Cultural Clubs Day last Wednesday.
Student Choice, a campus group which advocates Voluntary Student Membership (VSM), created the petition in their ongoing effort to make VUWSA membership voluntary.
Two pages of the petition, one of which was taped to the Student Choice desk, and the other being carried by VUWSA enthusiast Nicholas O’Kane, were destroyed by Peace Action Group member Kerry Tankard.
Tankard told Salient that after being a VUWSA volunteer for several years, she was enraged by Student Choice’s attempt to gather support for VSM, particularly at a VUWSA-run event such as Clubs Day.
VUWSA executive members told Salient that VUWSA in no way supports the destruction of the petition.
Student Choice representative Mike Heine said he was furious about the destruction of the petition. “A lot of hard work had gone into the day. We’d been there for three-and-a-half hours, we had a lot of support, and it was all ripped up and thrown out.”
Heine says: “There are a lot of people who don’t see value in what they’re getting or not getting anything, and they’re saying why should we have to join and subsidise others who are getting something, and it’s for those people, and people that VUWSA don’t represent.
“It’s about giving them a choice whether or not they want to join a union. If you have a choice to join a club or a trade union, it’s the same thing for our student unions as well.”
ACT MPs Heather Roy and Rodney Hide were also on campus to promote VSM for student unions and associations.
Roy told Salient that she is in favour of VSM as students’ associations are the only ‘unions’ in the country which have compulsory membership.
Roy currently has a private member’s bill for VSM in the ballot before the House of Representatives.