After pressure from students, the Selwyn College Board of Governors has shut down a proposal to reduce the intake of returning second year students at the college for 2019 from over fifty to twenty-five.
The Selwyn College Students’ Association (SCSA) presented their opposition at a board meeting last Wednesday, backed up by a petition from ex-students and OUSA.
The petition that circulated on social media said that former Selwyn residents were “alarmed” to hear that returners could be lowered in 2019. “Returning students positively shape the college, and we believe that reducing their numbers would reduce the quality of the Selwyn community and experience,” it said.
“We acknowledge the need for Selwyn to continue to adapt in order to be reflective of modern society.” However, “it is the task of the whole Selwyn community to continue some traditions, while leaving some behind in favour of new ones. The role returners play in shaping this is crucial.”
The petition also highlighted the “incomparable pastoral care role and system of support” that returners provide.
Prior to the board meeting, the SCSA reached out to the OUSA exec for support in fighting the proposal. Education Officer James Heath brought a motion forward, saying “the processes and decision by the board of governors to me, seems wrong”.
The exec passed a unanimous motion that strongly disapproved of the lack of consultation about this matter and supported the college working with the SCSA and students going forward.
Te Roopū Māori Tumuaki Tiana Mihaere said, “they’re trying to change the whole culture of Selwyn, [but] the whole culture of Selwyn is the returning students”.
OUSA Vice President Cam Meads said, “if you want to change the culture you get people to buy into change not force it upon them”.
Critic was not able to get in touch with the Board of Governors for comment or to confirm why this proposal was being discussed. The SCSA President declined to comment on the record.