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AUSA attacks its members

AUSA attacks its members

Student Choice have expressed dismay that Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) president Scott Kelly has come out hitting against students for their decision to keep student association membership voluntary. Auckland University students recently voted yet again overwhelmingly in favour of voluntary student association membership. According to Kelly however, he as association president is disappointed that students have managed to bring this about. Today Student Choice raised the question of why a student association is condemning the views and wishes of its members when the function of that same association is to represent those very members' views and wishes.

"This tops it all off," said Student Choice spokesperson Glenn Peoples. "For a long time now supporters of voluntary membership have put up with a lot of attacks from pro-compulsory membership executives, as well as NZUSA, the national body behind much of the promotion of compulsory. We've had false allegations, threats, name calling and all kinds of nonsense, and to top it all off it is now more clear than ever that ideology rather than genuine student representation is at the heart of the pro-voluntary effort." Peoples said that the AUSA needs to be prepared to state clearly whether they see their role as representative or corrective. "Don't they realise that the whole point of a union is that it represents its members? Do they think that they have an obligation to represent what their members want, or do they actually think they should be in the business of telling students what they ought to think about this issue? In light of Kelly's disappointing comments, it appears the latter is the case." According to Peoples, the reason for such a negative reaction is clear. "It's about money, pure and simple. If all students could be forced to join AUSA, then the exec would have easy money - and lots of it - to use as it sees fit. Now they're actually going to have to persuade students that the expense is worth it, and accountability is a dirty word in some circles."

Student Choice supports voluntary student association membership on the grounds of freedom of association. http://www.studentchoice.org.nz

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