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Sign returned, VUWSA and LUSA ‘friends’ again

Laura McQuillan



Exec criticises Salient for criticising exec
Issues between VUWSA and Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) over a stolen sign have been resolved and the sign returned, according to the presidents of both associations.
A ‘New Zealand Cricket Turf Maintenance Facility’ sign was stolen from the Lincoln University cricket academy during the VUWSA executive’s trip to Christchurch for the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations conference in June.
Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) Vice President Brian Dunckley told Salient the sign is “in the post”, and that he accepts VUWSA President Geoff Hayward’s apology. Relations between VUWSA and LUSA will not be soured following the incident, he says.
Vic’s Vice Chancellor Pat Walsh says he is “disturbed by the reported behaviour of some members of the VUWSA executive”. Walsh says the theft “reflects very poorly on them, and damages VUWSA’s reputation and that of Victoria University.”
Dunckley says despite Hayward’s apology, the person he believes to be the culprit is yet to apologise.
“The officers who did this don’t seem to quite understand that they are in a role of leadership and have to lead by example. Every association is remembered for [its worst action] and sadly this year the Vic exec will not be remembered for anything positive – from a national view at least,” says Dunckley, who calls the exec’s behaviour “the only downside” to the conference.
In a statement to Salient, nine officers from the VUWSA executive said: “VUWSA would like to…[highlight] the fact that, during NZUSA June Conference, a delegate from another campus was kicked out for multiple cases of sexual harassment, and violence, yet Brian does not see this as a downside.”
MEANWHILE: Arguably-dishonest exec ‘keeps NZUSA honest’
A letter to Salient last week, signed by 12 of the 13 executive complained that Salient is going out of its way to portray them as “immature children”, following coverage of their antics at the NZUSA conference. President Geoff Hayward was the only non signatory.
The executive also said in their letter to Salient that the previous story focussed too much on the theft of the sign, the theft of a ‘Debt Monster’ costume from Otago Polytechnic Students Association and the licking of urine from a footpath, and not enough on the ‘positives’.
Unbeknownst to Salient, VUWSA Queer Rights Officer Rachael Wright, Education Vice President Joel Cosgrove and Environmental Officer Tushara Kodikara each conducted workshops at the conference. Kodikara has since been contacted by NZUSA and Auckland University Students’ Association, who have requested copies of the presentation.
The executive walked-out of the conference’s closing plenary after being denied speaking rights and being banned from caucusing to explain their position to two chief delegates, who spoke on behalf of the exec. The executive’s letter to Salient said that after motions ‘That NZUSA recognise the democratic government of Palestine’ and ‘That NZUSA recognise all democratically elected governments’ were voted down, and “the threat given by the NZUSA to expel all attendees bar the chief delegates from each association led to the walkout. It was a walkout in protest at the lack of debate, discussion and representation.”
In their statement to Salient, the exec said “[Dunckley] also seems unfazed by the fact that motions against recognising democratically-elected governments were defeated at closing plenary, and debate was silenced.”
Arguing that other students’ associations were involved in worse activities than VUWSA, and that the exec had facilitated more workshops than any other association, the exec challenged Dunckley’s motivations for being involved in his students’ association, and said “we know what ours is, it’s serving students, and that’s why we’re keeping NZUSA honest.”