VUW Council makes student debt worse
VUW Council makes student debt worse by raising fees.
Monday, 6 October 2008, 6:22 pm Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
Victoria University today raised fees by 5% for undergrads and $500 for postgrads. Students raised serious issues about the effects of a fee increase.
Marika Pratley, Music Student says “I feel that the university is taking from those who are already feeling the strain of $10 billion of debt. This is a systematic issue, VUW Council are fully aware of the poverty students face and yet they knowingly increased the burden today.”
In an environment of PBRF and increased competition for postgraduate research VUWSA President-elect Jasmine Freemantle feels that “[the] disproportionate increasing of postgrad fees is only going to lead to reduced retention and limit the access of those who are already experiencing severe barriers to study.”
“Victoria has already seen drops in the number of Maori and Pacific students, how is raising the cost of their education going to help improve anything?” Says VUW Student Council Rep Jordan King.
“Students each owe an average of $28,838 in public and private debt, we have over $10 billion in total debt and the University have given this issue lip service while actively making it worse.” Says Joel Cosgrove, VUWSA President. “This is a Council who have no interest in equity or access, they seem only to believe in a high cost institution that bears no resemblance to the New Zealand society who fund it” says Cosgrove.
Issues were raised in the way Council dealt with and responded to peaceful protest by students. As well as a menacing CCTV camera set up to intimidate, security guards were uninformed and hyped up on the possibility of assaulting students, lashing out and trying to bar the access of the two elected Council members.
“This meeting was anti-democratic, both myself and Jordan King, VUW Council Reps were manhandled and jostled by the security guards” states Cosgrove “this is the attitude of the university council, they are anti-student, anti-free speech and condone thuggish behaviour” he says.