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Students have little to gain, lots to lose from Act VSM Bill


August 17, 2011

Students have little to gain and lots to lose from Act’s VSM Bill

The PSA says students will lose their representation as well as services and facilities if a bill to end universal membership of students’ associations passes through Parliament.

Students currently choose whether membership of their association is universal or voluntary, but the Act party’s Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill will impose Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) on all students’ associations.

“On top of removing students’ freedom of choice over universal or voluntary membership, VSM will slash student associations’ funds and thus the vital services, clubs and recreational facilities they provide,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“Universities and polytechnics, which are already operating on stretched budgets, will have to try and pick up some of these services, but that means students will lose control of these affairs and undoubtedly some services will go altogether.

“The bill will also take away the representative voice of students in academic advocacy.

“As we said in our submission, it’s not Parliament’s job to interfere in the activities of independent, incorporated societies like students’ associations.

“We support the Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) in its call to both National and ACT to drop their support for this Bill.

“Students' associations are vital community institutions and play an important role in ensuring a fair deal for students and quality teaching. This, along with the services and facilities they provide help towards the richness to the student experience.

“Present and future students deserve to enjoy the benefits and services of students’ associations, just as their predecessors did,” says Brenda Pilott.


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