OUSA First Quarter Reports

OUSA First Quarter Reports

Critic forced to keep promise of journalistic integrity

Every quarter, each OUSA exec member submits a report to prove they’ve actually been doing the job they were elected to do. The exec then meets to vote on whether each member should be paid their honorarium (like a salary for elected positions, paid only on the basis that members are actually doing their jobs). The TL;DR is it was all “aye” (me hearty) this time.

At the exec meeting discussing the reports, each exec member took turns leaving the office for the rest of them to give feedback (opportunity to bitch) in a quasi Wink Murder game. They were STRESSING. Keegan was cackling. Critic was on the edge of our seat for tea - only for the spiciest to be some exec accidentally including confidential information in their reports and repeated complaints about formatting errors. One thing about this year’s exec? They’re all just fucking lovely. It’s sickening.

As promised, Critic Te Ārohi read and summarised the OUSA quarterly reports so you don’t have to. If anything sounds fishy, you’re invited to go up to the exec bull-pen (upstairs in the main OUSA building next to the Link) and give them all a right rollicking. We don’t know what more could have been done, but goddammit we want action! 

Finance & Strategy Officer: Abby Clayton

Critic feels for Abby. It sounds as if she’s spent the first quarter of her tenure as Finance and Strategy Officer simply attending meetings. It’s hard to say how much she really achieved in doing so. She attends regular meetings with OUSA CEO Debbie Downs for guidance on the approval of the association's invoices as they come about. Though she hasn’t had a meeting with the exec yet explaining the budget to them (which we don’t believe yet exists) and how to use money, she did admit to being in “constant communication” with the crew, hopping on a “group chat in which we discuss business as well as a little bit of fun.” Wholesome. Abby had a bit of a blunder writing the report, and we had to delete the first copy (or did we) since it included confidential information. Between sips of a Monster energy drink, she admitted to being “confused” writing the report, and there were comments about “weird” and “whack” formatting. 

Clubs & Socs Rep: Emma Jackson

Emma gets to fuck around at OUSA club events, which is a pretty sick job to have if you ask us. She’s had time to do this as most of the meetings relevant to her role haven’t happened this quarter (either that or she’s telling us porkies). Nonetheless, Emma has done a bit by continuing the weekly newsletter sent out to all clubs and socs started by her predecessor. She intends to begin workshops for incoming executive members, seeking to ask how our clubs can be better. Emma has also been in cahoots with the OUSA marketing team about funnelling club TikToks into the mainstream, and has even endeavoured to “broaden the reach of this promotion to include the Critic, given its higher engagement rate with the student population.” We’re blushing (with rage at being called “the” Critic).

Admin Vice President: Emily Williams

Emily has been the face of OUSA over the summer, diligently attending each event with bells on. As you can probably tell, Emily is pretty keen — so much so that the most used word in her report was “yup” with one or two following exclamation points and left the comment on her own report: “Amazing, I’ve never seen a better one before.” Yet Emily failed to work her contracted 20 hours a week in the quarter!! She blamed this on a number of things but briefly mentioned “that it has been difficult to manage uni and AVP work.” Errr c’mon girl, you can do it. One of Emily’s goals for the year is improving OUSA’s “abysmal” student engagement record through exec drop-in sessions at the Link, social media, and (you guessed it) through Critic. She said that “Critic is such an important tool for student engagement, and I personally love the Critic myself so I hope that the exec can do some good things with them this year.” It’s almost like the exec knew we would be writing about them. 

Postgraduate Rep: Hanna Friedlander

Hanna’s report was a damn fine piece of writing, she will be copping her PhD in no time. She has been very active this quarter, clocking up 15 hours a week (5 hours over her contracted amount), stating that she feels like “Emily Blunt in that one scene from The Devil Wears Prada.” Her main initiative this quarter has been inaugurating the Society for Postgraduate students on February the 21st. In developing the wider postgrad community, Hanna looks to provide expert resources for writing, as well as establishing things like a podcast and ‘imposter hour’ so people can get things off their chests. Hanna may have also inadvertently created an infinite coffee glitch for students, ending the report stating, “On the real though, if there is any student that is reading this, please know that I exist and that I am here to represent and advocate for you and I am more than happy to have a chat over a coffee (my treat) about anything!” Catch us spamming this glitch daily at Auahi Ora.

International Rep: Ibuki Nishida

Ibuki’s boundless enthusiasm has not gone wasted in a role which has seen him advocate strongly for the international community here at Otago — and potentially a comedian judging by the round of chuckles that went around the table at the mention of his report. Chief amongst his goals is developing a lecture recordings policy that includes closed captions, rallying alongside Academic Officer Stella and Welfare Officer Tara to make this happen. Ibuki also wants to see more events catered for long-term international students, arguing that there is a bit of a divide between those in the community right now. Seems like Ibuki has been making mad moves and has even offered to sponsor the exec’s scheduled Beyblade tournament. Boy is putting in the yards. But he spelt Dwaine from Student Support’s name wrong, so boo him when you see him.

President: Keegan Wells

It’s pretty clear from these reports that while everyone else is playing checkers, Keegan’s playing chess (makes sense seeing as she at least doubles the amount of work of the other roles). Although she did argue that it was like “standing on the shoulders of giants,” admitting that she had called previous president Quintin Jane a few too many times for comfort. Her ability to have a yarn with pretty much everyone is astounding. It’s hard to say if these yarns are positive or negative though as she stated somewhat suspiciously, “I have a good working relationship with everyone! Right? Right! Right…?” 

Keegan’s main goal for the year is to install a comprehensive network of homing pigeons around campus, but she also hopes to make significant progress on developing a strong and supportive environment for international students. In terms of the old student bar chestnut, Keegan stated that “the progress is commercially sensitive. Progress is being made.” How mysterious! Generally, Keegan summarised her approach by stating, “I just try to bring maybe a bit of optimism and unseriousness that I hope is well received in the role.” Rest assured that your bona fide Big Chungus continues to work hard and not shy away from asking the hard questions (as a former Critic employee): regularly asking U-Bar if students can pretty please skip the pint night line. 

Academic Rep: Stella Lynch

In her report Stella admitted to reading the ODT, a move which has us questioning whether she’s actually a student. She’s kept up to date with all of her meetings and even proposed getting in contact with class reps! This is probably not the news class reps want to hear, as we would wager most are content on sending one email a semester in exchange for a pizza lunch. Stella has her gripes with the role though, proposing that “the hours I didn’t get paid for can be my voluntary service to the local community. I did read 500+ pages of academic proposals for free.” Cry us a river, Stella. Some exec members commented that they agreed she should be paid more, but aren’t willing to bank transfer her. She’s also starting up a “one-stop-shop” where students can go and easily see which of their papers are being cut by the University. Stella is making the most un-fun job on the executive even less fun. Be on your guard student reps and language students who want to remain willfully ignorant, Stella is coming for you. 

Political Rep: Liam White

Liam is the guy constantly sliding into your DMs, having sent letters to pretty much everyone with any vestige of political power in the country. He only reinforced this by admitting to being tempted to give the exec “puppy-dog eyes” from the other side of the glass door while they discussed his report. But Liam has been alert so far in his tenure, daring anyone who read his report to test his email response time. And we did: it came in at a cool seven minutes. Granted, it was the middle of the day and right before the OUSA exec meeting, but seven minutes means there’s no question that the kid’s good. In terms of his goals for the year, Liam has successfully advocated for student interests to wider political bodies, but said he had made limited progress on advocating for the students themselves — worrisome. But with that response time, you just know Liam would bring you straight to Parliament himself, even if it were to advocate for universal access to Nutella.

Residential Rep: Stella McCurdy

Stella’s report was curt and spoke of resistance to her cause, as she has battled against halls and wardens to find justice for the community. Keegan herself admitted that being Residential Rep is an “uphill battle”. Critic wouldn’t know why since she also apparently had to exclude confidential information from her report. Supposedly as a result of the battle being waged, her report was also the least fun to read. But who said politicians had to be fun? Stella has stepped up to protest the currently available flatting information for freshers, which in her view is simply “not good enough” as the second OUSA staff to stand up against the tyranny of wardens in 2024 (the other was us lol). Moving forward, Stella is attempting to give further support to the Locals programme, and advocate for an OUSA life membership newsletter. 

Te Rōpū Māori Tumuaki Takirua: Gemella Reynolds-Hatem

Gemella sadly couldn’t make the exec meeting, but she had the OUSA P.O. box in her report, so you know she’s serious. Her work this semester has mainly involved interacting with tauira at several meetings, with her key focus for the year being to develop strong relationships with tauira, providing a kainga rua for the student community, and revamping the current University whare. Basically: killing it. 

Welfare and Equity: Tara Shepherd

Tara brings a lot to the role, having seen the direct importance of welfare with the communities she has been involved in as a former Unicol subbie. Alongside Ibuki and Stella, Tara is looking to widen access to lecture recordings, as well as making the cogs turn speedily in the other key student services around campus. She is also looking at establishing a “look after your mates” programme aimed at taking some of the student welfare burden off subbies, and at providing more support for those battlers who may not be having the best time out on the piss. Though Tara’s report was generally pretty dry (and fucking long), she spoke directly to students at the end of her sermon (as if anyone else will read it, let alone make it that far), saying, “I am here for YOU, please send issues my way as I am willing to fight for YOU, (when legally permits, I do not want to get into a physical altercation please ).” Can’t wait to report on Tara’s brawls as the year goes on.

UOPISA: Telekalafi Likiliki

Telekalafi’s report was short and to the point – it’s probably all she had time to write given the insane workload of the girl. The report mainly outlined the meetings she had attended as head of UOPISA. Of interest were her key goals for the year, which mainly centred on establishing an office space for UOPISA and advocating for a Pacific student seat on the University of Otago council. Watch this space we reckon. At the exec meeting she described an entire week’s itinerary of UOPISA events that left Critic tired to even listen to. Props to Tele. The other exec members murmured shared agreement that she’s “busy as fuck.” Keep up the good mahi.

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2024.
Posted 3:30pm Saturday 23rd March 2024 by Hugh Askerud and Nina Brown.