OUSA President Resigns, Effective Tomorrow

OUSA President Resigns, Effective Tomorrow

At the Executive meeting held on the evening of Wednesday 5 November 2014, OUSA President Ruby Sycamore-Smith announced her resignation. Giving three days of notice, her resignation is effective from Friday 7 November 2014.

On Monday 3 November 2014, the OUSA Executive discussed Sycamore-Smith’s departure after, according to an Executive member, they were only notified last week “in any meaningful capacity” that she would be leaving her role early. According to members of the Executive, she wanted to remain the President and intended to work from abroad for the remainder of the year.

The Executive would not pay Sycamore-Smith the full honorarium, but agreed to pay her $1000 following her resignation. The payment is for the time required to complete the 2014 Election Campaign report, a SWOT analysis of the University Bookshop, the Presidential Handover Document, and the OUSA Student Engagement Plan. In a statement released today, Sycamore-Smith said, “the payment I am receiving is in part to pay for the work I will be doing after my resignation, but also as recognition of the work I have done this year and this was decided upon by the Executive.”

She added, “It should be noted that the last two Presidents have left at a similar time to me and claimed their full honoraria.” Indeed, the 2012 and 2013 Presidents both received their full honoraria. The 2013 OUSA President, Francisco Hernandez, left early to lobby for NZUSA Presidency. The potential benefit of having a former OUSA President as the NZUSA President fell apart after members of the 2013 Executive breached constitution and did not vote for Hernandez. The 2012 President, Logan Edgar, also frequently went away during the latter part of the year, but returned to Dunedin for Executive meetings and completed other required duties whilst away.

At the meeting, the Executive also thanked Ruby for her “exceptional service during 2014, as well as her role as welfare officer in 2013.” She then excused herself from the meeting, for “another appointment.” The other appointment was a meeting with the Planet Media Board, the governance board which oversees Critic and Radio One. With Admin Vice President Ryan Edgar and Finance Officer Paul Hunt absent, due to being at the Executive meeting, Sycamore-Smith resigned from the Planet Media Board and discussion was had over the future chairperson.

Sycamore-Smith explained, “the board collectively decided that it would be of benefit to both OUSA and PMDL to have an independent chair. This has been discussed with a number of executives and Paul also agreed that it would be better for both the association and the company.” Until a new chairperson is found, the Planet Media Board will nominate a new chairperson for each meeting.

Regarding her replacement, Sycamore-Smith said, “It is for the Executive to decide who will be acting president in my absence - constitutionally it will be the Admin Vice President, however I am leaving with only five weeks remaining so my vision was for Paul to gain experience.” She says, “All year I have been looking at various ways [OUSA] can increase support to the executive and empower them to take up leadership skills and to further their personal development.”

Ruby concluded, “I want to clarify that I have loved the job. It is a valuable opportunity that I will treasure. Something I was the most proud of was the election campaign; we had two music events [and] an incredible political picnic with food and politicians! We also had a number of debates, and the greatest reward was an increase in voter turnout!”
Posted 10:04pm Thursday 6th November 2014 by Josie Cochrane.