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Compulsory WSU blows $60K of student money

Compulsory WSU blows $60K of student money on O week

The compulsory Waikato Students Union (WSU) this year spent $60,000 of students' money on Orientation Week events, a 200% increase over last year, Student Choice said today.

O Week has been a financial disaster for the compulsory students association in recent years. According to the Waikato Times WSU lost $60,000 on O Week events in 2002 and 2003. In 2004 WSU reduced its subsidy of O Week to $20,000 but has this year increased it to $60,000.

Membership of WSU is compulsory: the 20,000 students at Waikato University must first join the association and pay a compulsory fee. This year WSU has compulsory fee income of over half a million dollars.

Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples said it was hypocritical that student politicians who argue that all students should receive a benefit are willing to spend $60,000 of those same students' money on a week of parties.

Peoples said he didn't have a problem with O Week events but individual students should decide whether or not they pay for them. "Many students don't or can't attend O Week events so shouldn't have to subsidise those who do. Some students are struggling financially and shouldn't have money taken off them by WSU to pay for bands and parties," Peoples said.

Peoples also criticised the lack of information available to Waikato students so they can tell what WSU has done with their money. "WSU's accounts for 2003 were not made public until November 2004, and students won't know how the association performed in 2004 until late 2005. Students don't know if O Week lost money in 2004 but we can assume it losses were substantial as the association has increased its subsidy by 200%," Peoples said.

"Students won't know the financial performance of this month's O Week until late 2006. By that time the people who decided to sink $60,000 into O Week this month will be long gone," Peoples said.

Peoples said the inability of WSU to run profitable events is yet another reason why membership of the association should be voluntary.

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

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