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University Council Elections Victory for Democracy

Matt Jones



Nominations for the three vacant positions on the University Council from the Court of Convocation have closed with just three entrants, meaning that there will be no election and only one new member to the Council.
The three entrants are Emeritus Professor Tim Beaglehole, Wellington City Councillor Ian McKinnon, both of whom were already on Council, and former VUWSA President and NZUSA Co-President Fleur Fitzsimons. Fitzsimons will replace Val Orchard who did not reapply for the position.
Nominations for the one vacant position for an academic staff representative on the Council closed with one entrant, Associate Professor Delores Janiewski, meaning there will be no election. Two nominations have been received for the one vacant general staff representative, resulting in an election between Pam Thoburn and Kevin Duggan.
Fitzsimons says that it is “really disappointing” that there will not be an election but does not see it as an indication of wider apathy, believing it is just a sign that the positions are not well understood.
VUWSA President Nick Kelly says it is “definitely” disappointing that there will not be a vote and believes that it is an indication that other members of the University community are also apathetic. He believes it is partly due to the unfairness of the system, but says there are other ways in which the Council is stacked against the interests of students, such as the ministerial appointments.
Kelly welcomes the inclusion of Fitzsimons in the council saying that “it is only one person” but given her previous record of being sympathetic to student issues “I’d know that she’d take that with her to council”.
Fitzsimons says that it will depend on the issue over whether she is closely aligned with VUWSA on the Council, but an important part of her role on the Council is to “support students and staff and understand issues from their position”. She says “I can’t imagine myself voting for fee increases.”