Heather Roy on VSM

Heather Roy notes the latest ($175,000 stolen from CPSA) in a long line of thefts of student money and summarises recent cases:

December 1999 – Brendan McQuillan, president of Nelson Polytechnic Student Association, admitted stealing $8,004. November 2003 – Florence bailey, office manager of Massey Students Association, jailed for two years and three months after stealing $203,000. November 2005 – Victoria University Maori Student Association treasurer Wi Nepia jailed for stealing $161,000. 2005 – Otago University’s Te Roopu Maori, the Maori students’ association collapsed amid allegations of financial impropriety. Estimated fraud $21,000. April 2007 – Clelia Opie, officer of Victoria University Students’ Association, spends $6,000 on phone calls.’

Now there are not that many student associations in NZ. The fraud rate for them is hence staggeringly high. Heather notes:

The fact is that compulsory student association membership creates a pool of money and a lack of accountability on how that money is managed. Misuse of funds in a voluntary organisation would result in a loss of confidence by members in the executive. But in student organisations, despite frequent fraud and theft, students are still forced to pay union fees whether they want to or not. Student associations are also often plagued by accusations of advocating only the views of their executives rather than those of their wider memberships.

It’s a disgrace that National continues to force most students to belong to a students’ association.

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