Last-Minute Motions Added to OUSA Ballot

Last-Minute Motions Added to OUSA Ballot

Just saying: you don't need many student voters for these motions to pass

The upcoming OUSA Annual General Meeting looks to be a serious and no-nonsense event, not to be missed by anyone passionate about student governance and bureaucratic procedure. Current proposals slated for inclusion include investigating the Taj Mahal fire, extending breaks for students, mandating mask wearing, and strengthening tenancy laws for students. 

While most of the proposals seem more sensible than sticking to a “one bottle between two” BYO limit, some more unhinged last-minute additions were snuck through. Some of these proposals include “that OUSA should hire a private investigator to investigate the fire at Taj Mahal,” and that “the University should replace the Clocktower’s chime with a drum and bass drop.” Also on the list were motions to make OUSA “lobby to reopen the Union Grill (Café)”, and that “Radio One should have an open-mic karaoke hour once per week.” Just to clarify, these are real motions, and will be legitimately voted on by students. 

One student, Cal, said the proposals were “great”, before suggesting two proposals of his own: that the default font in Blackboard be changed to Comic Sans, and that “Examplify [should] watch the lecturers instead of the students”. Unfortunately, OUSA did not take on many of Critic Te Ārohi’s suggestions, which included mandatory rabies tests exclusively for the Otago Uni Canoeing Club, and designating a “public urination safe space” on campus. We, for one, won’t forget the silencing of our democratic rights.

Perhaps the most interesting motion was the proposal that the OUSA President can call the “First Nice Day” of the spring semester. This would give her the power to cancel all classes for that day and bus students to the beach instead, which could give students steeped in the Otago tradition of seasonal depression the chance to enjoy a bit of sunshine instead. 

One professor, Nancy Longnecker of Science Communication, told Critic Te Ārohi that they’re “all for enjoying those rays of sunshine which are so special in Dunedin”. However, Nancy pointed out the “logistical challenge” of cancelling all classes in one day; for instance, how students will be able to catch up to what they’ve missed, and whose job that becomes. As well as that, they were concerned that certain papers which emphasise “hands-on learning” would find such a hands-off approach more difficult. 

Cal said a “bus [trip] to the beach would be great!”, adding they “could link up with the Sustainability Club to organise a biking group too”. Deborah was more sceptical of the proposal, though, saying: “It sounds nice in theory, but in reality people can just do that anyway without needing to cancel classes.”

The AGM is set to be held on Tuesday, August 23, at 1pm in the Main Common Room. OUSA encourages students to attend to fill the required quota of 105 people, and maybe also for democracy, or something. By the way: a majority voting in favour of these proposals means they have to be abided by OUSA. 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2022.
Posted 3:29pm Friday 19th August 2022 by Fox Meyer and Zak Rudin.