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Student Diversity Upheld at Otago

Student Diversity Upheld at Otago

Otago students today voted to uphold freedom of conscience for students on the government's proposed Civil Unions Bill. Radical student homosexual rights group UniQ had sought to have several motions passed at a special general meeting of OUSA (Otago University Students Association).

The motions would have committed the student association to using student funds to promote and defend the Civil Unions Bill, and to use its position as the representative of Otago students to educate the student body in favour of the Bill, a move that Student Choice Spokesperson Glenn peoples called "ironic."

"People need to realize that our elected representatives are not there to tell students what to think, but to represent what we actually do think."

Peoples said today that the fact that the motions were only narrowly defeated is evidence that student association membership must become voluntary. "Disturbingly, those behind today's motions don't see the hypocrisy.

All students must join the association: Muslims, Christian, left, right, or anything else, so they can't choose not to fund what the association does. UniQ will keep bringing these motions to general meetings, until they finally pass because students tire of having to attend and defend their freedom of conscience. That's just a communist re-trial. Even worse, if you disagree with this agenda you get nothing but abuse hurled at you. At today's meeting people who objected were attacked as bigots, being likened to racists who support apartheid; they were accused of hating gay people, despite the presence of some gay people who did not support the motions.

Yet the supporters of compulsory membership say we're the ones trying to rob students of strong and accurate representation by supporting voluntary membership. That's just incredible. If membership of OUSA were voluntary, this wouldn't be a debate. People who disagreed could simply choose to leave or not re-join." As a result of today's vote, OUSA has no policy on the proposed Bill. According to Peoples, "on issues that are so clearly divisive for students, that's exactly as it should be. But will it last?"

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