Elderly Forget Children’s Names, Remember to Hate Edgar
The debate over whether students actually care about asset sales has continued, with NZUSA halfheartedly withdrawing its support from the Keep Our Assets Campaign, OUSA maintaining its neutrality, and Grey Power accusing OUSA of failing to properly communicate with its members.
In May the New Zealand Union of Students Associations (NZUSA) announced its support for the Keep Our Assets Campaign, which included the launch of a petition for a Citizens Initiated Referendum on the issue. Representatives of individual student associations, including OUSA President Logan Edgar, were quick to criticise NZUSA for taking a stance on a political issue with no mandate from its members.
NZUSA confirmed to Critic last Thursday that it has withdrawn its support for the Keep Our Assets Campaign in regard to its desired outcome of keeping our assets. However, NZUSA continues to support the Keep Our Assets’ referendum, saying it is “good for the political process.”
OUSA has maintained its refusal to take a stance on the issue, despite a media blunder last semester when it was reported that Logan Edgar said that OUSA wanted to invest in power company shares, implying that OUSA supported asset sales. Edgar has since clarified that his comments were taken out of context. “They were satire…We’re like a neutron on asset sales – neutral,” Edgar clarified to Critic after the media debacle.
Jo Millar, the President of Dunedin Grey Power, one of the major groups behind the Keep Our Assets Campaign, remains unimpressed by Edgar’s protestations of neutrality. “I’m disappointed that they [members of the OUSA executive] couldn’t see beyond personal beliefs. It’s like me [sic], they have to operate on majorities. Were [the student population] asked about it? I know of students who were not. OUSA should have employed better communication to find out whether students were interested.”
Edgar responded that OUSA generally waits for members to come to it to express strong opinions on any issues that aren’t directly related to education. “We use Critic and referendums and Facebook to communicate with members and there wasn’t really anything raised. On Facebook, whenever we ask something, it usually goes viral. It didn’t on asset sales.”
On 16 June 1000 – 2000 marchers participated in a Dunedin protest against asset sales organised by Grey Power. Jo Millar told Critic that, while many Polytech students were involved, “whether there were university students involved I just couldn’t say.” Edgar expressed similar uncertainty as to the level of student involvement in the protest. “I meant to check, but I got held up in Stilettos,”