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Eye on Exec

Laura McQuillan



Weirder and possibly even funnier-looking than in 2006, this year’s VUWSA executive sees the return of many familiar characters, along with a heap of fresh meat.

Establishing himself as a running joke early on, Education Offi cer (Welfare) Chris Renwick has vowed to accept criticism only from Maori exec members, had a motion of no-confidence passed against him and was threatened with a rolling.
(FYI, ‘rolling’ means the removal from office of a VUWSA exec member by students in a Special General Meeting, not like the scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Violet turns into a blueberry. Although that is another possibility.)
At the exec’s annual retreat, a breakdown in communication between Renwick, outgoing Welfare Vice-President Jules van Cruysen and incoming Vice-President Heleyni Pratley kicked-off the fighting and finger-pointing.
Following the retreat, Renwick allegedly sent a large number of whinging emails to the exec about Pratley. In response, Clubs Officer Melissa Barnard threatened to wire Renwick’s emails to her Trash folder.
Exec members also told Salient that fighting came to a head at the retreat after Renwick took an hour and a half to wash two pots. He appears to be employing the tactics in his general duties, reporting to the exec that he spent 10 paid hours of one week writing half a page for Salient and talking to Sean from Studylink.
At an exec meeting in January, Renwick was censured for repeatedly bellowing at members of The Victoria Broadcasting Club (VBC) radio station to shut up during their explanation of VBC’s business plan. Renwick said he didn’t like the plan, but refused to tell them which parts he had issues with.
Renwick later sent an email to the exec, saying: “I do have a perhaps unfortunate habit of telling people to shut up but if Geoff as Chairperson was more assertive in enforcing meeting rules then I won’t be telling anyone to shut up!” By mid-February, VUWSA followers had begun to place bets on who would be the fi rst to be removed from their position. On the same day that betting began, Renwick found himself in trouble following allegations of misdemeanour at the recent New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) national conference.
These included allegations that Renwick had left an offensive message on the voicemail of WelTec President and Maori caucus rep Toni Spiro after not receiving an agenda, and that Renwick had also attempted to pass an un-seconded motion of no-confidence in Spiro. Renwick said he apologized for the voicemail message, but disputed the no-confidence motion allegation.
Renwick also told the exec that only Clubs Officer Melissa Barnard or President Geoff Hayward could criticise his actions as they are both Maori (possibly even cousins), creating a joke which still continues down at the VUWSA office.
Asked by Salient for a comment, Renwick confirmed the allegations but said his decision to accept criticism only from Maori must be taken in the context of a hui, rather than in the context of how his behaviour reflects on VUWSA.
Exec members also told Salient that Renwick had voiced the idea of undertaking an exec-massacre later that same night. Barnard reckons her and Hayward are safe because they’re Maori, and told Salient she intends to sell the exclusive story to Woman’s Day should such an event occur.