A couple of people have asked me why I’m re-running for President. As one former student politician claimed, it must be either madness or a sense of loyalty. I’ve just come from the signing of the Student Union Deed and Operating agreement. Basically this is a massive achievement and I’m on a high, and this is the sort of thing that makes me want to go another year.
But it’s not all like that.
On Monday the University increased domestic fees by 5% for 2007. The only votes against the motion were the two student reps and the Rep appointed by the Council of Trade Unions. This is year four of the fee maxima scheme where student fees rise by up to 5% every year. The only real bonus was that a motion I moved calling for the university council to lobby government for increased funding so fees wouldn’t have to increase carried unanimously. However the level of university activity in this area has been low to date. An Official Information Action request done by NZUSA revealed that in the last two years the university had written five letters to the Minister of Tertiary Education about government underfunding. Five letters is hardly making a strong case and doesn’t really show a commitment to increasing funding, despite many council members claiming they would push it hard in the past.
But students can’t rely on the university bureaucracy to do the job for us, any more than we can rely on the promises of MPs. We need to build a mass movement against fee increases. We still have 3 weeks of trimester left, so there is still time for us to end the year with a strong campaign over this issue. But to do this we need your help:
EDUCATION ACTION GROUP MEETING: 1pm in the Clubs Room, Student Union Building, this Tuesday.
Come along and help us campaign for an end to students paying ever increasing fees as a result of government underfunding.
In other news Student Job Search statistics show that VUWSA members (students at VUW) are as a student body earning the most through student job search. The number of dollars earned by VUWSA members in the past year has increased by $30 million dollars. We have now past Auckland as the highest earning Student Job Search branch. Students Associations own Student Job Search and VUWSA gives a contribution of its operational budget to Student Job Search to help keep it going. There are a number of reasons this could be the case (change of location, better marketing etc) but whatever they are, it is still a really positive stastic.
However there is a flip side to this. There is always concern that if more students are getting work through Student Job Search it could mean students are being forced to work longer hours in order to survive. The lack of support for students from the government despite promises they’d increase access to allowances could well be a big driver of the change.
Finally remember to vote this week. The link to the on-line VUWSA election will be sent out to your student computer accounts on Tuesday morning. They’ll also be manual polling booths throughout the week so people can use this as an option to vote. It’ll come as no surprise that I urge you all to get out and vote. It’s your students’ association and you are all members of it. It’s important that you have your say so you get the best possible candidates for the 2007 VUWSA exec. Voting doesn’t take very long but it really can help make a difference to the future of VUWSA, the University and our student community.
Have a good week…