University Councils Need Students
“Auckland University has failed in its obligation to students by delaying elections for student representatives to the University Council” said Alliance Education Spokesperson Dr Liz Gordon.
“It has been six months since there was an official student rep on the council – that is far too long”.
The university has promoted election times and failed to meet them, and has neglected to contact the students who have been nominated to fill these positions. “It seems that there has been very poor organisation of the election process – even the student newspaper, Craccum, couldn’t find out who the nominees were until yesterday”.
“Voluntary student membership has made it harder for the University to make sure that there are students on council. But it is their responsibility under the Education Act to ballot students and this should have been done at the beginning of the year, not in June”
Of the two student representatives who were on the Council, Ms Sarah Lee resigned in late 1999 in protest over fee rises, and Mr Efeso Collins’ term as AUSA President ended at the end of December 1999. As he is now a University staff member, Mr Collins felt that it was no longer appropriate for him to attend council meetings.
Dr Gordon wants to see the University be more responsive when there are vacancies in the two student places on the governing body of the institution. “The Council makes many important decisions that affect students – not least of which is setting the tuition fees that students pay. Students have a right to have their say in the decision making of the Council. Auckland University should double their efforts to make sure that council elections are held promptly and fairly”.