In a 4:15pm emergency executive meeting last Tuesday, the Executive realised that they had no memory of creating or agreeing to include one of the dozen referendum questions.
Weeks before each OUSA referendum, the Executive does a call out for student-submitted referendum questions. These submissions get vetted, and after including the questions that the Executive wants to ask, too, they are set. The Exec typically puts a lot of thought into these questions; how students answer them could drastically influence the way OUSA runs and what they lobby for.
This referendum initially asked students three questions about NZUSA, New Zealand’s national student union. However, one executive member pointed out the question “Should OUSA cancel its NZUSA membership and create a different structure for the national student voice,” and claimed they had no recollection of that being agreed on.
“In all honesty I don’t know how it ended up there,” said Josh M. Not to be confused with Josh S or Josh A. Welfare Rep Michaela said “we never discussed this,” and Academic Rep Emily agreed. There was a confused pause, and Michaela asked, “was that something we wanted to do?”
Georgia, the Admin VP, was the only exec member who seemed to know anything about the question. She said that it had been included in case OUSA members vote to leave NZUSA, and that it would give OUSA a mandate to not excuse itself from collaborating with other student unions entirely. Specifically, and ominously, Georgia said it “gives us the option so we can band together with UCSA”.
Other exec members tried to clarify what each other wanted: did they want to propose to create a whole different association? No one seemed convinced. President Jack M, not to be confused with Jack S, asked if the referendum question reflected the discussions they have had around NZUSA. Emily said “no”. As far as she was aware, the Executive had only talked about strengthening the national association that exists. Georgia suggested that it may have ended up as a question because of “the assumption that if we left [NZUSA] would probably fall down without our $45k”.
After a discussion about how much they want to work with NZUSA through a restructure, they decided to remove the question from the list of referendum questions. President Jack M went on to close the meeting, but had to make the obligatory call for “general business?”
“If you do [have general business], I will shoot you,” he joked. Then added, “kidding, kidding, unless?”