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AGM reaches, retains quorum despite O’Kane’s quorum-counting

Seonah Choi



Last week’s VUWSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Mount Street Bar and Café began late and finished early, with quorum being met with unusual ease. A hand count reported 123 present, and it is unclear how many of those attending were lured by President Geoff Hayward’s optimistic musings of an AGM “that is fun.”
Among the items on the agenda was a motion by Bevan Callaghan, a former VUWSA Treasurer, to create the position of Representative Organisations Officer to replace the positions of Environmental Officer and Queer Rights Officer on the Executive. Callaghan argued that the motion, if passed, would “allow the Exec to be a number (12) that can work.” The motion was met with resounding boos from the audience.
One of the notable moments of the meeting came when Environmental Officer Tushara Kodikara criticised Callaghan’s proposal and added that “Victoria could be the first sustainable campus in five to 10 years.” One audience member commented, “with free printing?” in reference to Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove’s Presidential campaign policy, to which Kodikara replied, “Can you guys shut up? No one likes you guys.”
The motion was defeated, with six supporting votes.
Among the motions that were passed was the formation of a representative group for the School of Geography, Environmental and Earth Sciences called VicEarth, in addition to a constitutional amendment that saw the role of Treasurer replaced by Administration Vice-President.
Proposed by current Treasurer Alexander Neilson, the motion was supported by Education Vice-President Joel Cosgrove who credited Neilson with the first budget surplus that VUWSA has seen in five to six years. The proposed amendment passed following a hand-count, called by VUWSA enthusiast Nicholas O’Kane and despite protests from Kodikara, who complained, “Can we ask not to have [a count of hands]? Nick keeps suggesting it.”
Hayward offered to those raising their hands that they could “use [their raised hands] to buy products from the Eastside Bar.”
“2006, $12 jugs – 2007, $3 cans,” he noted. He was corrected by Kodikara, who contended that cans were in fact $2.
Interest at the AGM began to diminish as Cosgrove’s motion about VUWSA and bank policy was proposed – one member from the University’s Flying Disc Team took the microphone under the pretense of commenting on the motion but instead promoted the group’s raffle fundraiser. Perhaps even more amusingly, several audience members later approached the Flying Disc Team member to purchase the raffle tickets.
As the meeting neared its awaited end, Hayward’s calls for general business items were met by O’Kane’s attempt to propose an amendment to the constitution regarding VUWSA and its clubs. He was informed that the motion was required 14 days notice, and, following debate, another quorum-count was called. Most disappointingly, quorum lapsed, which was of relief to those who feared that a VUWSA AGM was finishing without at least one struggle to garner interest.