INDEPENDENT NEWS

Compulsory membership behind WINTEC student probs

Published: Mon 16 Sep 2002 02:03 PM
COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP BEHIND WINTEC STUDENT PROBLEMS
Compulsory membership of the student association at the Waikato Institute of Technology is the underlying cause of the ongoing problems facing the student organisation, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.
Mr Heine said last week's rolling of the student executive is the latest in a long line of problems that have plagued the compulsory group, Students at the Waikato Institute of Technology (SAWIT). The Waikato Times has reported allegations of financial mismanagement and vote rigging at SAWIT, and the association has suffered numerous resignations. Heine said compulsory membership gave SAWIT exorbitant income and the infighting is about who controls all the money. "This money is derived from compulsory membership. If students weren't forced to pay compulsory fees to SAWIT, there wouldn't be a huge pool of money for people to fight over," Mr Heine said.
Mr Heine said three groups were responsible for the mess caused by compulsory membership. "First, the Labour-Alliance government which introduced pro-compulsory membership legislation. Second, the councils of the institutions which accepted questionable referenda and will not challenge the legitimacy of obviously unrepresentative student associations. Third, the student politicians who support compulsory membership and have used student money to advance their own agendas," Mr Heine said.
"The council of the Waikato Institute of Technology can no longer sit back and watch while students' money is wasted by the people running compulsory student groups," Mr Heine said.
Mr Heine said these problems will continue until compulsory membership of student groups is abolished. "Students should be free to decide on an individual basis whether or not they join an incorporated society," Mr Heine said.
Student Choice promotes freedom of association through voluntary membership of student associations.

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