Edgar shits on rights abuse claims

Edgar shits on rights abuse claims

OUSA President Logan Edgar appeared in two hard-hitting interviews last week. The first took place on Breakfast on Tuesday March 20. Veteran journalist Corin Dann challenged Edgar on OUSA’s current student enrolment procedures, which allow the student association to skim cheekily above legal restrictions brought about by the Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) Act.

This was followed two days later by a more informal affair on an OUSA toilet. While Edgar acknowledged that giving an interview from such a location was “one of those things I’m not meant to do”, circumstances intervened – nature in the case of Edgar and a looming print deadline in the case of Critic – and the interview took place nonetheless. Edgar further subverted social norms by using the female toilets, a move unappreciated by female staff members given Edgar’s history of scabies. Edgar reasoned that, “somebody just done a poo in the other one and it stinks. This is going to be emotional enough for me as is.”

Asked whether he had been nervous to appear on national television for only the 10th time, Logan yelled from behind the half-closed door, “Not compared to this. I’m getting all teary. I’m not sure if this is right. In comparison, [the Breakfast interview] was really easy. It just all flowed out.”

On Breakfast, Dann grilled Edgar on whether automatically enrolling students in OUSA was a breach of the law, “just a little bit?” The President defended OUSA’s move. “Our legal advice says no and OUSA is very comfortable with that legal advice.” This is due in part to the fact that the membership is now “free” (although Critic is skeptical, suspecting the membership fee may be found somewhere in the increase in University fees this year) and in part due to OUSA’s “simple and well-advertised” opt-out procedures. “All you have to do is come talk to me, or my 11 Exec members, and say ‘I want to opt out’,” claims Logan. “We’ve had three students opt out, out of 20,000.”

Dann then questioned whether OUSA’s independence would be impaired by the University’s new-found control of the organisation’s purse strings. “As far as legitimacy goes for me, I got the most votes of any student in the 122-year history of OUSA and I’m never going to let a coin here or there stop me speaking out about student issues, [nor are] my student executive,” Logan responded. “That’s something I would be concerned about down the track, that execs get in that mindset … That was what our protests around VSM were about, but hey we’re just going to have to work with what we’ve got, and I think it is sustainable.”

Waiting tentatively outside the toilet door, Critic asked Logan why Breakfast had chosen him as the national authority on the legal status of enrolment procedures under the VSM Act. “I dunno. Clearly they need to move the NZ Union of Student Associations office down here. My mum was proud though. My grandma even saw me on TV and rang me up, which was pretty special. I think I’ve undone all that with doing this interview on the toilet though.”
This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2012.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 25th March 2012 by Charlotte Greenfield .