Leave us our compulsion

The Herald runs an op ed from some “student leaders” against . It is no surprise that those running student associations like the status quo where you can get elected by 5% of students, and receive funding from 100%.

What is interesting is not the student leaders that signed the op ed, but the ones who did not – no one from OUSA, UCSA, LUSA, VUWSA, MUSA or VUWSA. It was only NZUSA, AUSA, MESS and ASA.

Anyway they claim:

It will put students’ services, representation and their education at major risk. Should it be passed, Act’s Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill will jeopardise the quality of the education environment and the student experience by removing the very mechanism that exists to provide these services.

It will end accountable and effective representation and destroy the student support, independent advocacy and welfare standards that students have. Every student will bear the brunt of this. Our politicians don’t seem to care that there will be a huge reduction in services and a loss of a student voice in universities and polytechnics throughout the country.

This is unmitigated crap. Why? Because they never ever talk specifics. The reality is only a small small proportion of compulsory fees go on so called student services. The vast majority of student services are already funded by the institutions. I’ve gone through decades of student association accounts, and their spending on true essential services is minimal. In the odd case where they do, the institution may pick it up.

The next issue is the so called loss of voice. Student who choose to join will still have a voice. But what the Presidents do not realise is that many students resent their compulsory voice. They do not wish the student association to speak for them. They disagree profoundly with what the student association advocates.

The committee received 4837 submissions on the bill, with an overwhelming 98 per cent opposed.

The vast majority were form submissions promoted and gathered by those on the payroll of compulsory associations. In terms of individual submissions there were only 300 or so. Also the last independent poll of students on the issue of VSM, showed a majority of students supported it.

If it is a decision made on the principle of freedom of association, it is flawed. Students have less choice; they will no longer be able to come together as a universal collective.

Oh fuck off with your communism. What sort of Orwellian weasel word is “universal collective”. There are legitimate arguments against VSM, but arguing that students will have less choice as they will no longer have the choice of being in a universal collective is insulting. It’s like saying someone who installs a burglar alarm no longer has the choice of being robbed.

UPDATE: A reader writes in how the claim it is already voluntary:

Popped into XUSA yesterday as I was going past and thought I’d stir the pot during the current debate.

I asked about conscientious objection, since I might be studying next year. They told me how, then I asked how many were granted. “Not many” was the answer – apparently it’s hard to get if you’re applying on the grounds of “opposition to the associations objectives”.

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