The Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) is instrumental in providing support for students, advocating for students and making the university experience an enjoyable one. With AUSA elections coming up, Craccum spoke to three students about what they’d like to see from next year’s AUSA Executive.
“Before this year I didn’t really know what student associations could achieve. However, this year the AUSA have made some really valuable gains for students. The support that has been available from the AUSA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt made a difference to so many students, and I would say successfully advocating for the grade bump policy has been one of AUSA’s biggest successes this year.”
“I would like to see the awesome work the AUSA is doing continue with the new Executive. They need to keep the needs of students at the forefront of their decisions, something the current Executive has done an excellent job of. I am worried by some of the policies coming out from candidates that seem to focus on making superficial changes on campus that don’t address some of the underlying issues students experience at university. To be an effective student association, the fundamental needs of students need to be at the centre of your focus.”
“My link to AUSA started at the peak of reports of white supremacy on campus. I appreciated that AUSA was not afraid to defy the desires and statements of the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that a diverse student body was heard. This is something that I had not seen in other student representative bodies such as that of the Student Board of Trustees Rep at my high school or the Law Society Reps who I feel in the past had allowed staff to bulldoze without consultation, wishing to make some full year law papers closed book for example or allow some lecturers to cultivate a particularly competitive and nasty law culture. I felt that AUSA was a place of support, where they would see your point of view and uphold students no matter what.”
“My wish for the Executive is that they are responsive to pressing issues, including the rise of the far-right on campuses, solutions to bullying and harassment as well as continuing to define a student culture which is defiant and not afraid to speak up for the underdog. We are currently seeing trends around the world where Arts faculties are losing funding, and where staff infighting around climate change prevents university acknowledgement of climate change. These are issues I would hope AUSA is willing to represent student voices through as well.”
“If candidates want my vote in the AUSA elections, they’re gonna have to do better than making a Tik-Tok, or making promises they can’t follow through on. I want an Executive that is going to push the university to listen to us. I want strong, competent leaders. The COVID-19 experience taught us that we really need someone speaking up for us and being persistent in communicating our needs, so that we are taken seriously.”