Attempts At Saving the Student Voice

Attempts At Saving the Student Voice

Still Waiting for Saving our Vote

Vice Chancellor Harlene Hayne has announced she intends to create new ways for students to contribute to university governance. 

Hayne announced the proposal, which came after the number of student seats was halved earlier this year, in a University Council meeting on 8 September. 

According to Hayne, it is crucial for students to have “multiple places for input”.

A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed soon to formalise the new places for students to a have a voice. OUSA President Paul Hunt said he is “confident it will be signed before the end of the year”.

Hunt said the MOU will allow students “to have influence over decisions before they are sent to Council … Council is not the place to propose a new idea, and students have many great ideas which the MOU will allow to be presented to the University.”

Hayne also suggested a monthly meeting between herself, or future vice chancellors, and the OUSA president. The OUSA Executive will also be invited to present to the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Group on certain issues.

According to Hunt, the advisory group is where the “key” university decision makers are, and this will be one of the preferred methods of student input. 

Hunt said if students are to have real influence on university decisions, “we need access to the forums where the real grunt work behind decisions occurs”.

Hayne also announced the potential for an annual or twice yearly summit between the OUSA Executive and the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Group. 

Hunt said he believes the proposals will give students “real influence” and that “sitting back and waiting until an issue is at Council is a hopeless strategy”. 

Hunt said the vice chancellor currently passes on student views, concerns and inputs to the University Council and he has “no doubt” this will continue.

This article first appeared in Issue 23, 2015.
Posted 10:49am Sunday 13th September 2015 by Bridie Boyd.