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University Rejects Students’ Association Bailout

MEDIA RELEASE

20 February 2001

University Rejects Students’ Association Bailout


The University of Otago has rejected the Otago University Students’ Association’s (OUSA’s) offer of $20 000 to support its Student Health service, settling for a $5,000 donation instead.

“Financially OUSA is able to give $20, 000, but constitutionally cannot do so without some return in equity”, says OUSA President Ayesha Verrall.

“Our offer to the University outlined that we would be able to give $20, 000 and if they met us halfway there would be no constitutional bar”.

Ms Verrall believes that “The University’s request that OUSA contribute to Student Health was unreasonable to begin with. It came two months after students set the OUSA budget was set and effectively asked a student organization to give up to $80, 000 to an organisation that made a $8 million surplus. Under the circumstances I believe OUSA has been exceptionally generous.”

“The feedback the Executive received from students was that Student Health must be funded so that consultations remained at $5. We have achieved that but will not be drawn into bankrolling the University for no return.”

“In making the offer the Executive was aware that OUSA had a deficit of over $200, 000 in 1999 which had substantially reduced our reserves. We also are wary of the University dipping into OUSA’s funds whenever it wants to”.

“OUSA will be lobbying Government and the University to ensure that this situation is not repeated in 2002,” concluded Ms Verrall

ENDS

For Further Comment
Ayesha Verrall, OUSA President
Ph: 03 479 5332
Cell: 021 345 368

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