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Students fund skiing weekend

Thu, 26 Aug 2004

Compulsory membership forces students to fund skiing weekend

While student politicians complain about student poverty, most tertiary students are forced - through compulsory student association membership - to fund a weekend of skiing and snowboarding, Student Choice said today.

Next week two New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) representatives will complain about student poverty at an Auckland conference on equity in tertiary education. Yet at the same time most New Zealand tertiary students are forced to fund an elite winter sports tournament to be held from 28 August to 3 September.

The winter tournament is partially funded with $160,000 taken from the vast majority of New Zealand's tertiary through compulsory membership of regional student associations.

Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples described the situation as more hypocrisy from student politicians. NZUSA regularly complain about student poverty, but are happy for all students to fund sporting weekends for a select few. No student should be forced to fund the recreational activities of others in order to obtain a tertiary education Peoples said.

The winter tournament is a prime example of the inequities caused by compulsory membership. All students are forced to pay for activities they don't want or can't use. The money taken from students is captured by a handful of students who use it for their own benefit, usually to promote their personal political agendas.

Recognising this unfairness, the Massey Wellington Students Association has withdrawn from University Sport New Zealand, the organisers of the winter tournament, saying it was unreasonable for the association to spend seven percent of its income on an event attended by only one percent of Massey Wellington students.

Peoples said students should not be forced to join student associations or fund sporting events as a precondition of gaining a tertiary education. Membership of student associations and the funding of tertiary sport should be optional he said.

Student Choice upholds voluntary student association membership on the grounds of freedom of association.


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