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The UCSA successfully lured enough students into the AGM on 17 May 2016 with promises of free food and a money prize to reach a quorum. The exec shot through the agenda in a half-hour (had to hurry for the free pizza after all). They barely paused for questions or opposed/abstention votes, apparently assuming there wouldn’t be any. Few female or minority voices heard. Speeches by the president and auditor, motions, seconds, closing remarks, questions from the audience – a chorus of white male voices. When women make up the majority of UC students, why are there so few of them being heard at an event like this? After all, “The AGM is arguably the most important event the Students’ Association runs every year. If you’re a UC student… you should be there!” (UCSA website).

Things of potential interest in the reports (all available at the UCSA website):

New UCSA Building

Did you know the new UCSA building is only planning to have one café (UCSA website)? If you were hoping for more food and retail space to actually make you want to cross the bridge to visit, no deal. The new building will not have everything students need in one place. The Undercroft will continue to be the main hub. The new building is scheduled to open mid-2018.

The UCSA seems to be taking this approach “to ensure not only that the new UCSA building will always have a place on our campus but that we don’t saturate the campus with food outlets that may become a financial burden” (2015 Presidents AGM Report). The UCSA did lose $43,131 in 2014 after it took over many food and beverage outlets on campus, but it made $186,174 in 2015. Maybe someday a variety of food will be available after hours. Nothing was said about the toilet issue or any spaces for particular groups of students, just clubs in general.

The proposed new UCSA building will be substantially smaller than the ‘old’ UCSA Building. (2015 Presidents AGM Report)

Some great ideas came from these workshops including, gender neutral toilets, more club storage space, performing art space (a theatre), more social collaboration space and after hour food options. (2015 Presidents AGM Report)

Website

After the number of hits to the UCSA website fell, they invested $23,928 in a new website (UCSA Annual Report 2015). Worth it? http://www.ucsa.org.nz/

Canta

Why is the UCSA insisting on funding and supporting Canta magazine when its own research shows that it is the lowest rated service? Why is this a tough decision? Maybe it still needs an outlet to advertise events and liquor…

Canta changes: At the end of 2014 it was decided to reduce Canta editions from a weekly to fortnightly basis based on a financial decision and results from student surveys that 3,000 students responded to which rated Canta as the lowest rated service that the UCSA provides. The saving in expenses has enabled the Association to put these resources into other services. In light of the recent articles published in Canta that caused offence to some sectors of the student body, the UCSA is working on updating the editorial policy to prevent further offence or harm. Student consultation will be sought on this policy. (UCSA Annual General Meeting 2015 Confirmed Notes)

Canta: 2.21. Following extensive discussion and analysis it was decided at the end of 2014 to reduce the Canta publications from weekly to fortnightly.  This decision, though tough, was based on financial indicators and results from the annual student survey – to which 3,000 students responded. The answers of this survey, regarding to Canta, clearly showed that students rated Canta as the least important service that the UCSA provided. (2015 Presidents AGM Report)

Postgraduate Students

The Post Grad Students’ Association (PGSA) is actually working against having any space designed for postgraduate students in the new building, so hopefully the postgraduate students who aren’t part of PGSA feel that the PGSA is actually representing their interests. The PGSA believe that the current space (which it sounds like it may be taken away in the future) is adequate. They also believe that postgraduates do not need to have something like the Bentley’s Bar in the old building because now they have the privilege of paying $130 to the Staff Club to hang out there (no student deals there). [See article on the Staff Club.] Never mind the postgrads make up a sizeable portion of the student population and have to pay the same student services levy as all other students. From the club consultation notes:

The Post Grad Students’ Association (PGSA) currently have a space allocated to them by the University, where there is a heat & eat facility/kitchen and quiet space for the Post Grad students to work in.

The PGSA have indicated that there was no real need to have a dedicated space in the new UCSA Building as long as there was a permanent space on campus for Post Grad students. We will need to work closely with the University in order to ensure there will definitely be a space permanently allocated to them.

The Bentley’s Bar in the old UCSA Building was used quite heavily by Post Grad students, because it had a completely different feel to the Foundry and was a quieter place to have a drink and collaborate with other students. The PGSA mentioned that there was a push from the University to make the Staff Club more welcoming to Post Grad students, and indicated that this would work in future and there was no need to duplicate the space specifically for Post Grad students. (UCSA website)

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