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Student Voices Demand to be Heard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Student Voices Demand to be Heard

Students have told the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) which issues they want energy focused on in this year’s general election. The annual referendum showed students are still feeling the financial pinch, and proved there is overwhelming support for student voices to be heard on the Otago University Council.

“It makes sense that we want our voices heard; students are the primary reason for tertiary education,” said Ruby Sycamore-Smith, OUSA President. “There is no stakeholder group with more incentive to speak up for education quality as well as efficient and effective universities to ensure the best possible outcomes for students.”

The results backed up previous years’ votes showing students overwhelmingly support a universal student allowance in response to harder times and greater hardship students are enduring to get an education.

“The OUSA has a fundamental concern with student welfare. Financial hardship creates constant stress for too many students, so it’s no surprise that our students have reaffirmed our existing policy of supporting a Universal Student Allowance,” said Sycamore-Smith.

But in a move that may surprise those who have been to a flat dinner in the past, there was overwhelming support for the removal of goods and services tax (gst) from fruit and vegetables.

“It’s not all mince pies and sausage pasta down here; the majority of students are health conscious group and actively take steps to try make their lives better,” said Sycamore-Smith. ”Supporting the removal of gst from fruit and vegetables would certainly make it easier to add these to the flat shopping list.”

The OUSA will campaign for all three positions this general election.

Student Bar
“Some might assume that investigating a student bar would be a slam dunk proposal to the student body, but we know opinion is mixed.” said Sycamore-Smith.

“It is generally accepted that it’s safer for students to be drinking on or closer to campus in a safer more controlled environment. The North Dunedin area has lost a number of historically famous pubs. This is not about buying The Cook; it is about responding to a genuine health and safety problem and taking good advice on appropriate responses.”

Legalising Marijuana
“What students believe should not be taken for granted or stereotyped,” said Ruby Sycamore-Smith. The OUSA supports the decriminalisation of marijuana from past votes but the OUSA wanted to see if the impact of legislation changes that made synthetic substances illegal had had an impact on the demand for legalising marijuana.

“The vote shows students aren’t strongly pro-legalising marijuana which goes against the typical media portrayal of students. It really is great to know student opinions on such contentious issues, it’s that student voice gives us direction in the areas we should be focusing our attention.”

“Overall the referendum results shows that voting matters. Our ambition for this coming election is that Every Student Votes. Nothing can be assumed; every vote counts.”


The results of the OUSA Referendum held on the 27-29 May 2014 are as follows:
Should the following be adopted as OUSA External Policy?
“That OUSA believes in guaranteed student representation on University governance boards and committees, and as such actively opposes the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), 2014”
Yes: 90%
No: 10%
Vote Count: 1340

Should the following be adopted as OUSA External Policy?
“That OUSA supports the removal of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from fruit and vegetables”.
Yes: 86%
No: 14 %
Vote Count: 1379

Should the following be adopted as OUSA External Policy?
“That OUSA support the move to a Universal Student Allowance.”
Yes: 78%
No: 22%
Vote Count: 1369

Should the OUSA Executive investigate the establishment of a student bar?
Yes: 71%
No: 29%
Vote Count: 1379

Should the following be adopted as OUSA External Policy?
“That OUSA supports the legalisation of Marijuana following the ban on all existing synthetic cannabis products.”
Yes: 48%
No: 52%
Vote Count: 1358

Should the Otago University Students’ Association Annual Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 be received and accepted?
Yes: 96%
No: 4%
Vote Count: 1337

Should the Otago University Students’ Association Annual Report for 2013 be received and accepted?
Yes: 94%
No: 6%
Vote Count: 1335

Should PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as Auditors for the Otago University Students’ Association for 2014?
Yes: 88%
No: 12%
Vote Count: 1324

Should Anderson Lloyd be appointed as Honorary Solicitors for the Otago University Students’ Association for 2014?
Yes: 91%
No: 9%
Vote Count: 1322

Should Donna Jones’s appointment as Secretary of the Association for a further four (4) years be ratified, pursuant to the executive resolution sc47/14?
Yes: 85%
No: 15%
Vote Count: 1323

OUSA Promotion of the 2014 Referendum:
The OUSA promoted the referendum via the mediums listed below.

Announcement of upcoming referendum:
Critic magazine
Social media where possible

Promotion of referendum:
Scarfie.com news item (emailed to all students)
Global student email to all students
Critic magazine advertising
Critic editorial from the President
Radio One 91fm coverage
Student General Meeting and forum
Facebook promotion including paid advertising
On campus posters

ENDS

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