OUSA and NZUSA

Two interesting stories in the ODT. First:

Dozens rallied on the steps of the Clocktower Building yesterday pushing for student and staff representation on university councils.

Under the Education Amendment Act, which came into force last month, the size of university councils is decreased from 12 to 20 members to eight to 12 members and mandatory staff, student and union membership of councils is removed.

About 50 people joined New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations president Rory McCourt and Tertiary Education Union national president Sandra Grey in protesting the changes and pushing for student and staff representation. …

Otago University Students’ Association president Paul Hunt said the association could not join the rally as it was busy organising the Hyde St Keg Party.

Heh, focusing on what really matters to Otago students 🙂

Possibly related is the second story:

A stoush over $22,500 is brewing between Otago University Students’ Association and the national body it no longer wants to be a part of.

OUSA quit the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations last year, but agreed to pay this year’s $45,000 membership fee, as was required by the national body’s constitution.

However, OUSA president Paul Hunt this week announced the association’s intention to reallocate the $22,500 second instalment to ”projects that have greater benefits to Otago students”.

Umm, if the membership rules require you to work out a year’s notice, you can;t just decide not to.

president Rory McCourt said the constitution was ”very clear and it has been for many years” that OUSA had to pay a full year’s membership.

The national student body was seeking legal advice on whether OUSA had to pay the full $45,000 or a pro rata sum through to the 12-month anniversary of OUSA leaving NZUSA, he said.

”We aren’t interested in making OUSA pay any more than they need to pay,” Mr McCourt said.

But it was expected OUSA would pay what was owed.

”It’s up to the board to decide what action will be taken to recover those monies from OUSA.”

Mr Hunt felt the 12-month period of withdrawal was unreasonable and ”the only reason for that period is to allow backdoor lobbying to get associations to rejoin”.

It may be unreasonable, but they are the rules of the body OUSA joined.  You can change the rules, or quit (after the notice period in the rules) but you can’t ignore them.

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