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Impractical interpretation in implementation

Impractical interpretation influences implementation
Student Union slurs speech

Angela Mabey

Management of the policy governing alcohol advertising on the Victoria campus is being questioned by student organisations after apparent inconsistencies in its interpretation.

As organisers of Orientation 2010, The VBC (Victoria Broadcasting Club) were offered the free use of the Jägermeister stage and mobile van, which comes complete with a PA system.

Following this generous offer, The VBC's Creative Director Doug Tereu approached the Student Union, a business group of the university responsible for governing the implementation of the policy, for approval.

Tereu was told by Student Union Campus Services Manager Rainsforth Dix that the branded vehicle was against the Reduce Harm policy, and would not be welcome on campus.

Dix says the van breached the Management of the Promotion of Alcohol on Campus Procedure policy, which states its purpose is to exclude "promotions and advertising on campus which are intended or likely to encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol by students".

Dix says the decision was made with the support of VUWSA President Max Hardy.

"Last year all decisions were made in conjunction with the Director of Student Services, and this year the VUWSA president has been involved in discussions about VUWSA’s orientation week."

Hardy says this is incorrect.

"VUWSA agreed that this orientation was not going to be promoting binge drinking events, but students are able to make their own decisions.

"VUWSA approached the Student Union after The VBC told us of the decision. We supported the use of the van."

When questioned by Salient, Dix says that the decision was made as Jägermeister is "known as an alcoholic beverage that is excessively consumed".

However, the Jägermeister branding is displayed within the Student Union-managed Mount Street Bar.

When Salient questioned this apparent inconsistency, Dix said the bar is a "licensed premise and can advertise within the premise".

Last week, signage outside the premise, Mount Street Bar, advertised St Patrick's Day, a day traditionally associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Tereu is concerned by the "inconsistencies in interpretation" of the policy.

"It looks like they are enforcing this policy inconsistently between parties and favouring themselves, bending the rules."

Hardy agrees with Tereu and says VUWSA will follow the situation closely.

Tereu believes that the policy has gone beyond what was intended.

"The VBC supports a sensible use policy, however, they are treating students as babies."

Hardy agrees sensible interpretation is required.

"VUWSA is a committed partner to the Reduce Harm policy.

"However, we support a sensible interpretation of the policy."

Tereu says the issues with the policy have the potential to seriously harm the future of some student organisations.

"Not all groups have access to law firms or other corporate sponsorship. Who do we turn to if we can't get that funding or support?"

Tereu believes there are further implications for future orientation events.

"They are destroying orientation."

"Why can't the students' association obtain money from outside sponsors to make official orientation events cheaper for students?"

Tereu and Hardy are concerned about advertising allowed on campus, specifically Big Kumara and Medusa advertising drink specials.

The VBC's Chrisana Love agrees.

"This whole thing is negating all the hard work, effort and energy put in if our events are restricted, and bars in town can do what they like including calling their events O-week.

"The real war should be on the city bars."

Salient will be looking at more Victoria University Alcohol Policy in future issues.

This story was syndicated by the Aotearoa Student Press Association via Salient


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