Students Choose Politics Over Equity

Also, anything that needs a ‘super majority’ to pass is never going to win

The week before mid-semester break, OUSA had a Student General Meeting (SGM). Critic, along with the 100-and-a-bit other students, went for the free pizza, dumplings, and hot goss.

Although the motion to tie SGM attendance to club grants was the real reason why so many people turned up, in the meantime there was a solid shit-fight between Welfare Officer Kerrin R-S and the rest of the Executive over whether or not they should establish an Equity Representaitve.

Kerrin and other pro-Equity speakers (including the Tumuaki of Te Roopu Māori, with the support of the President of the Pacific Island Students Association) argued that an Equity Rep would ensure issues of diversity will have a dedicated go-to person; they would essentially be a Deputy Welfare Officer.

Opponents of this motion included two other executive officers. Administrative Vice-President Georgia Mischefski-Gray challenged the “need” for a Deputy Welfare Officer. Education Officer William Dreyer, who has been scolded multiple times by his fellow execies for over-working, said that the Welfare Officer position is not the only position that could use assistance. Additionally, no one on the Executive could answer questions from students about where the $8,500 it would cost for a new 10-hour a week Exec member would come from.

Kerrin took to the stage a second time with citations to drill how necessary an Equity position was for the Executive. She said “OUSA doesn’t even have wheelchair access yet” despite having an Executive officer in 2018 who was in a wheelchair. James later corrected her saying that there was, in fact, wheelchair access.

65.7% of attendees voted in favour of establishing an Equity Representative. As this motion needed 66% to pass, the motion failed. Someone called for a recount, which resulted in 61% for, which again failed.

Afterwards, students voted on whether to have a Political Representative position. Almost everyone voted to keep it. Because the exec gamed the system, the vote needed 66% NOT to establish the position. The position was established.

In a later meeting, the Executive passed a motion to thank Will for his work faciliating the SGM Engagement Committee. Kerrin then commented that the posters were “only advertised to white people” and should have had more information about the Equity position. The postering session was open to the whole executive.

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2019.
Posted 11:45pm Thursday 29th August 2019 by Sinead Gill.