On The Right: Things The OUSA Gave To Me
Well hopefully by now the whole Employment Relations Bill saga is over, and we can get on with the business of repealing it. However I have other things on my mind this week, and chief among them is the activities of my Student Union in Otago.
Otago is now into the sixth week of the second semester, and the Otago University Students Association (named this as ‘Moscow Soviet’ was deemed just a tad too chilling) has been extremely busy. However, very little of this flurry of activity is actually relevant to the vast majority of the students who are forced to join it. So now I ask you, the esteemed Scoop reader, to drag yourself away from the Lord of the Rings webpage for a little while and join me in recapping the semester so far…
In the first week of semester OUSA gave to me…
Gay Pride Week. Yep, my beloved Union decided to kick off the second semester by highlighting the plight of Otago homosexuals. Apparently discrimination runs rife down these parts, so much so that student money is forked out to stop the masses of rednecks from running roughshod over them.
So how was this deeply serious issue highlighted? Well, OUSA hung a whole lot of pink male and female symbols from trees outside the Union building, and student paper Critic published a gay board game. Okaaaaaaaaaaay!
In the second week of semester, OUSA gave to me…
A week highlighting women’s issues. Women’s Week was something I had a little more sympathy for, but fortunately this quickly disappeared. I’ve had very little time for the feminist movement down here ever since early last year, when during a by-election for Women’s Rep I saw a poster saying: “there are 2,000 more women than men at University – it’s our University, not theirs!”
In celebration of women everywhere, Critic changed its name to “Clitic”. (I had heard the original title was going to be “Women’s Weekly”, but this is so far unconfirmed.) I had always wondered what the big deal with separate women’s rights was at University. Whenever I tried to ask a feminist friend of mine how women (or as she might write, ‘womyn’) were oppressed at Uni, she always somehow changed the subject. I have found in my own research that the only example of discrimination relating to women is the separate women’s room in the Union building. Well if that’s what they want abolished, then I will happily join them in their struggle.
(On a side note, the male/female symbols from Gay Pride week were still up, undoubtedly confusing passersbys as to the aims of the feminist movement.)
In the third week of semester, OUSA did to me…
Maori Week. You would think by now that the students
would take a break from all these theme weeks for at least a
This was a classic example of how OUSA can turn the student area into a Tame Iti shrine overnight. This week can be best summed up by this conversation I had with an Exec member during this time…
tell me that all these flags hanging around are not Maori
Exec Member: Oh no Tory, these are merely the flags used by the Confederation of United Tribes back in 1835, prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
MH: So in other words, Maori Independence flags.
EM: Um, yes.
In the fourth week of semester, OUSA dealt to me…
Healthy Lifestyles Week. Not much to complain about here to be honest. I did however miss the pizza eating competition, so to make up for it I had the works at Pizza Hut the following week. Delicious.
In the fifth week of semester, OUSA inflicted on me…
Before they could hold the Illegitimate
Daughters of Swiss Chimney Cleaners Week, OUSA realised that
they did not have the funds to support any more people,
minorities and majorities alike. So they decided to hold a
Student General Meeting in order to increase our Union fees.
In order to hold an SGM, at least 1% of the students have to be in attendance. This wasn’t a problem, as OUSA counted people having their lunch, people just passing through, anyone within a 60-kilometre radius, a guide dog and a family of picnicking ants.
With the motion to increase our fees successfully passed (owing to the fact only about a quarter of the people counted actually voted), OUSA now have the money to host all the crazy theme weeks they want.
Who knows what next year will bring? One thing we can be sure of is that it won’t benefit the vast majority of people who aren’t into extremist activities, do not care about all the political issues their representatives do and who may not even study on the main campus.
All in all, it has been a great semester for the apparently oppressed minorities and a vast waste of money for everyone else. I think I just might stay in bed this week.