This week’s meeting started off with latest round of grants being agreed upon. The Table Tennis Association was affiliated.
President Paul Hunt put forward an executive restructure proposal for discussion. The proposal was for extending the vice-president position, which is currently 20 hours, to full time. Discussion centred on the rationale behind the potential decision, and agreement for its usefulness was not unanimous.
The proposal explains that the recent decline in student representation, for example with NZUSA and the University Council, needs addressing. Hunt argued that research and lobbying are “time consuming”, but important for OUSA’s achievements. He said part-time executive members are often more “pocket based” and have limited hours to allocate to such tasks. This issue could be solved with another full-time position.
If the proposal were to pass, the full-time vice-president would take on the roles of the finance and campaigns officers, and these positions would be abolished.
A debate then began about whether a full-time position would be an executive or a general staff position. The majority of the executive were in favour of it being an executive role.
Education Officer Zachariah Al Alami asked who would take charge if a conflict were to occur between the president and the vice-president. Hunt agreed conflict was possible, but said “strong disagreement was part of democracy”. Hunt said the president would always be the head of executive and would take charge if such situations arose.
Welfare Officer Payal Ramritu argued that since a full-time vice-president role would replace two part-time roles, student representation would be lost. Instead, Ramritu argued that a new full-time position should be a staff member, not an executive. This was also due to a staff member having more continuity, accountability and professionalism.
Concern was also raised that candidates would not run for vice-president, as the full-time role of president has the same hours and a better title. Current vice-president, Isaac Yu, modestly said the role is “quite prestigious” and looks great on a CV.
The meeting drew to a close with no agreements made, and the VP role is still a hot-button issue. If, in future, the executive is to decide on the proposal, a referendum will be held.