Execrable | Issue 22

Committee in the hole

A new, much needed assistant to the Executive, Projects Officer Annabelle Boelema, kicked off the meeting with general reminders for the Executive members. Annabelle presented the plans for the Election; with just over two weeks to go, OUSA have the RockEnrol with Generation Zero, Back Benches by Critic and something with Grant Robertson. There will also be a music event on 18 September.

Postgraduate Rep Kurt Purdon sent apologies for not attending the meeting.

Admin VP Ryan Edgar requested that he and Finance Officer Paul Hunt be given approval to seek further investment advice from Forsyth Barr on how to better invest OUSA funds in the future. They have already been looking into this but asked if we “can just carry on with what we’ve been doing.” The motion was carried.

Welfare Officer Payal Ramritu said she wants to be on the Finance and Expenditure Committee (FEC). This becomes a bizarre request when the rest of the meeting unfolds.

The Executive then went into discussion on the approval of $750 for Hannah Bailey to go to Hamburg to attend the Junior World Rowing Championships 2014. She only requested $500, but was granted $750. Recreation Officer Henri Faulkner said they were “rewarding for the fact it is a world championship.” However, Education Officer Laura Harris questioned why she was receiving more when she only asked for $500: “why would we just throw money at someone?” Ryan explained that it was policy to grant certain amounts for long distance travel and for such an “impressive” event, for which the action was agreed on.

Paul then pointed out that no-one had moved the meeting into committee of the whole, asking, “Should we be discussing someone’s private money matters in public?” No, Executive, probably not.

In regards to a decision on whether to grant the Rowing Club additional funds from the Grants budget, it was noted by Payal that OUSA Student Support Centre Manager Matt Tucker had opposed it. Henri explained that the reason Matt opposed the move was because he wanted to ensure there was someone who had rejected the move when it went against usual protocol. OUSA generally does not approve retrospective grants.

In more money talk, the Executive was supposed to approve the budget at this meeting, but they did not feel prepared. If the budget is not dealt with in time, there is a risk that OUSA will have to run off this year’s budget in 2015. Critic notes that the only reason the budget is being delayed is because the Executive is finally using their time to engage with students.

Ruby then moved the meeting into committee of the whole due to commercial sensitivity, to discuss Payal’s reasons for abstaining from the budget discussion. After discussion, Payal said she would abstain from passing it due to lack of financial background, “I’m feeling like the dumb one here.” Critic notes that few of the Executive members have a financial background, but it’s strange to request a seat on FEC if you are the least comfortable Executive member with finances.

Ruby tried to move that the Executive accept the budget immediately following the discussion about why Payal was abstaining. This was stopped because no discussion had actually been had over it. Then it was back into committee of the whole again to see what questions members had about it. Despite previous Executives spending several hours deliberating over the budget, the Executive were in discussion for no more than six minutes. It was then decided a proper discussion was needed.

Ruby decided to organise an alternative time within the next two weeks to pass it: “I’m not comfortable passing the budget without everyone here contributing.”

Ryan then moved on to talk about being on the Senate, the principal academic authority of the University. “I’ve been fizzing about the senate for a while,” he said. However, he received “a finger wag from the Clocktower. They wanted no part of me.” The Executive moved to rescind the motion that Ryan be nominated for the Senate.

As an overview of each member’s efforts over the last couple of weeks, Laura has been working on the puppy room with SOULS students and on the exam packs, “which cost a lot more than I thought they would.” She notes that Post It notes are expensive. No kidding.

President of Te Roopu Maori Mariana Te Pou has attended the Maori Students Conference and a political debate.

Payal went into committee of the whole AGAIN to discuss Environment Week. She is also organising “Disabled Week, Women’s Week and sorting the additional help Christchurch have asked for.” Student Health have also asked for a forum to be organised to discuss what students want – this comes after a recent meeting with Critic, showing a clear effort by Student Health with wanting to reach out to students.

Hamish is working on Mental Health Week to be held in October. He said that he has been helping to organise “exam stress” seminars – “you can sorta arrange meetings [with the staff.]” Critic notes that this service has been offered every year for the last few years and we struggle to see the additional time it would require. He is also organising a fun run on 12 October.

Paul has arranged a few memorandums of understanding with various groups. He has also been working on a submission on alcohol and biking regulations. He says the ban on biking on campus should be overturned, as it was a “reactionary response to one incident rather than a general fear of bikes.” He also says he has been working on various sponsorship deals.

Ryan continues to work on job descriptions, internal policies and changes to the OUSA Constitution. He said he does not believe these will need to go to referendum, saying: “I can’t imagine that any realistic students would want to argue with the points.”

Henri, with all his things, has been “going over things and policies and things.”

Colleges Officer Jess McLean has also been working on “election enrolment things and policies and things.”

Ruby’s focus has been working on the OUSA General Election Drive, which she says has received “interesting feedback from certain people.”
This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2014.
Posted 11:52pm Sunday 7th September 2014 by Josie Cochrane.