Act on Campus have blogged about a survey by Student Job Search which asks people to rate the most valuable “student association” services funded by your student levy, listing:
- Accom Services
- Career Development
- Student Counselling
- Disability Support
- Early childhood
- Financial Advice
- Student Health
- IT Services
- Learning Support
- New Student Orientation and Transition
- Rec and Social Services
- Cultural Mentoring
Now this is a great example of the many lies spread to defend compulsory membership. The vast majority of the above services have absolutely nothing to do with student associations. Student associations do not fund the careers services, student health, student counselling, IT services etc.
Even Student Job Search receives just a miniscule amount of money from student associations. 95% of its funding comes from the taxpayer.
My advice to MPs is to ignore all and every claim made by student associations about the so called services they fund, and instead just look at their financial accounts. That will expose how little they spend on services.
But we do have an example of one recent spending decision, in Otago:
A Student Association staffer received more than $40,000 funding to spend a year travelling the world researching student drinking habits – then delivered a four-and-a-half page report on her findings.
One of her key recommendations was that the university schedule more Friday morning lectures, to dissuade students from getting boozed on Thursdays.
Otago University Students Association events manager Vanessa Reddy spent most of 2009 on her tour of dozens of US universities, to develop a 40-point drinking plan.
A 40 point plan that took up four and a half pages? I guess there were not a lot of footnotes!
Prompted by high-profile problems with student drunkenness in Dunedin, the university, city council and students’ association all chipped in towards Reddy’s costs, according to student magazine Critic. The association also paid Reddy five hours’ wages a week so she could help her temporary replacement from afar.
What was the contribution from each I wonder,and did any of them bother to do a contract specifying what the deliverables should be in return for the funding?
I note all three funders were speending other people’s money, not their own.
Also back home, Salient reports on an amusing spat at VUWSA (of course) where an executive member has been sanctioned for slagging off Weir House residents as “rich kids” who see staying at Weir as a “status boost”.
Now this is a pretty silly issue, but it does raise a good example of why student associations will do better under VSM, due to the culture change.
Under VSM student associations will be focused on persuading students to join them, not slagging them off. If Weir House students had the ability to resign as members, or decline joining VUWSA, you can be damn sure an executive member won’t be slagging them off (unles they are exceptionally stupid).