Waikato University Wrong On WSU Money
Waikato University Wrong On WSU Money For Student Building
Media Release From Student Choice, 28 July 2009
The University of Waikato has incorrectly claimed that the compulsory Waikato Students Union contributed $1 million to a new student centre to be built at the university.
In December last year the University of Waikato issued a media release stating that the university’s fundraising trust had accepted “$1 million donations from both the Waikato Student Union (WSU) and ULeisure, the management company jointly owned by the university and the WSU.” The release included a photo showing then WSU president Moira Neho and vice-chancellor Roy Crawford participating in a ceremony to mark the donations.
However information obtained by Student Choice under the Official Information Act shows the money did not come from the WSU. In reply to an OIA request the University of Waikato says the “Waikato Students’ Union (Inc) has not agreed to make any contribution to the cost of the student centre.” Instead the $1 million contribution came from the Student Campus Building Fund Trust, an entity entirely separate from WSU.
Student Choice says it’s inconceivable that the University doesn’t understand the difference between the WSU and the Student Campus Building Fund Trust. They are entirely different organisations with separate legal identities. The University should know this as they collect the levies for both the Trust and the compulsory WSU and send the funds to two different entities.
It’s important that this issue is clarified because compulsory student associations regularly claim credit for services they don’t provide. The University needs to set the record straight and tell students that the money for the building is coming from the money students pay to the Student Campus Building Fund Trust and not from the WSU.
Student Choice promotes voluntary membership of all student associations including the WSU. All University of Waikato students must fund WSU before they can study. In 2007 WSU took $749,000 from students in compulsory fees. WSU does not fund the health and counseling service, the recreation centre, bars or cafeterias or the construction of buildings for student use. Most WSU money is spent on wages and administration.