Students Challenge Parliament to Protect Student Voice

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
22 July 2014

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) Academic Vice President Rāwinia Thompson warned the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), returned to Parliament from the Education and Science Select Committee today, would ‘silence the student voice’.

The Bill seeks to drastically cut the size of university and wānanga councils and removes the right for students and staff to be represented on the governing bodies of their institutions.

‘The proponents of these changes have consistently ignored the overwhelming volume of evidence against them from students, staff, and universities themselves, the very communities the Bill will silence’, Thompson said. ‘Over 1500 submissions against the proposals have been cast aside.’

‘Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce claims the changes will improve the performance of tertiary institutions by making their governing bodies smaller and more efficient, yet if you look at the world’s top-ranking universities like Harvard and MIT, most of them have more than 20 members on council, far more than the proposed maximum of 12.’

‘Students are key stakeholders in their institutions and have many unique insights to offer that result in better council decision making. Ignoring students not only hurts our rights, but is also bad for business.’

‘Our voice has been ignored by Steven Joyce. It has been ignored by the select committee’, Thompson said.

‘It’s time Parliament listens to the student voice, so that we will not be ignored by our tertiary institutions as well.’

Student representatives on Victoria University of Wellington Council. LEFT: Elected-at-large student representative David Alsop. RIGHT: VUWSA President Sonya Clark.

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