Student association membershipWith reference to ACT's bill on student membership some students who are supporting voluntary student union membership (VSM ) are annoyed that they have to join a student association and have to pay more than $100 in student association fees for a group they object to be made to join - but will happily utilise their services such as reading student newspapers like Salient and Chaff.
I went to a debate about this last week run by the Victoria University Debating society. Two things were clear. Supporters of VSM are not actually supporters of VSM at all - they are actually opponents of compulsory membership of student associations (CSM). Furthermore the thing they most object to is the fee - which at Massey University is up to $172 depending on courses - with a recreation and building levy n top of that amount.
If CSM opponents are really serious about their right to join associations voluntary, they'd do well to frame it in matters other than the fee they have to pay - and explain how students will be able to freely join if they have to pay this fee up front out of their own pockets, rather than through a student loan initially paid for by the state. As they won't do that, they must be concerned about the fee. If they opt out of student membership they wont have to pay the fee.
All supporters of VSM should have sent applications to opt out of membership.As far as I know, none have tried to opt out. But they will cite mismanagement of student associations as an excuse not to pay the fee, which is of course a different argument to freedom of association.
I have a solution. Why not study at an institution that cuts the fee dramatically. Study extramurally at Massey. You only pay $40 to the student union. It's a pity that some of the VSMers are not as focused on some of discrepancies surrounding fees structures- for example, the student services levy is $104 at Massey this year, but next year Victoria students will be paying $510 - which, unlike student association membership under VSM, will always be able to be paid through a student loan.
Labels: student union membership