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Students mourn passing of Rosemary Barrington

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association

Students mourn passing of Rosemary Barrington

The student community at Victoria University of Wellington are today remembering the life of Ms Rosemary Barrington following her passing earlier this week.

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) President Rory McCourt said that VUWSA, together with past and present association presidents, executive members, and fellow students felt a great sadness in regards to the news of Ms Barrington’s passing.

“We pay tribute to, and honour Ms Barrington’s contribution as a champion for students throughout her life, and extend our sympathies to her family, colleagues, and friends. Ms Barrington will be dearly missed by all, especially by students, whom she worked so hard to ensure a quality education and experience during their studies at Victoria," said Mr McCourt.

Mr McCourt said that Ms Barrington dedicated a huge amount of her life to the students and staff at Victoria, and was well-regarded for her impressive work ethic and sharp mind.

“Ms Barrington was a strong supporter of students at Victoria and of quality tertiary education for all. Her guidance and leadership will be missed by many.

“During the 1960s Ms Barrington served as VUWSA’s International Affairs Officer in 1967, and then in 1968 as Women’s Vice President. Ms Barrington contributed considerably to student life at Victoria. A strong social conscience and sense of mission led Ms Barrington to dedicating herself to students throughout her time with VUWSA,” said Mr McCourt.

It was in 1967 Ms Barrington organised the legendary bulk importation of rice, subverting the era's strict import and price controls in an effort to feed hungry and disadvantaged students, and in 1968 Ms Barrington initiated the first discussions for a student crèche, a service that is now an integral part of Victoria’s student support network.

After her stint at VUWSA, Ms Barrington went on to an impressive career as an academic and public servant. Later, Ms Barrington returned to Victoria University as Chancellor, and as a University Council member. Throughout her career Ms Barrington was well-regarded for her impressive work ethic and sharp mind.

Mr McCourt said that Ms Barrington's strongest contribution was her work to lift student representation across Victoria, through her role as a foundational member of the 1968 joint committee on student representation, and then on her return to Victoria in 1999 as a University Council member, and as Chancellor during 2002-2004.

“Ms Barrington recognised the power and importance of partnership between Victoria’s students and the University, and it was her vision which ensured the voices of students have been, and continue to be, heard at the discussion table in their own right.

“Ms Barrington's reforms led to increased real student voice, ensuring improved University decision-making, which took student views into account, and strengthened student control of student affairs. Thanks to this work Victoria students would be eternally grateful,” said Mr McCourt.


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