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Loss of $102K on WSU orientation is no ‘service’

Loss of $102K on WSU orientation is no ‘service’

Student Choice is challenging the compulsory Waikato Students Union (WSU) to explain how the union’s loss of $102,000 on orientation events over three years can be described as a ‘service’ to students.

In an attempt to avoid accountability WSU has joined a campaign to protect the unearned income it takes from students through compulsory student union membership. As part of this campaign WSU claims it provides ‘services’—such as orientation events—to students.

However figures obtained by Student Choice show that WSU lost $51,517 on its 2008 orientation, bringing the total loss on orientation from 2006 to 2008 to $102,000.

Student Choice asks how losing $102,000 can be described as a ‘service’ to students?

Plummeting entry fee income also shows that many students are not interested in orientation. Entry fee income fell from $34,000 in 2007 to $5700 in 2008.

Individual students should have a choice about whether or not they pay for orientation events. Many students don’t or can’t attend orientation so shouldn’t have to subsidise those who do attend. Some students are struggling financially and shouldn’t be forced to subsidise bands and parties.

Membership of WSU is compulsory. The 20,000 students at Waikato University must join WSU before they can study. This year compulsory membership of WSU cost Waikato students over three quarters of a million dollars.

WSU’s orientation loss is another reason to abolish compulsory student union membership. Student Choice supports the Freedom of Association bill currently before select committee to make membership of student unions voluntary.


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