Staff in tertiary institutions will be among those who suffer the practical consequences of the National Party’s decision to introduce voluntary student membership, says TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan.
“Students’ associations provide all sorts of services that support communities of students at polytechnics and universities. At the moment students decide amongst themselves what those services are, they organise them, and they pay for them. Under the new legislation those services will either disappear or university and polytechnic managers will decide what services to keep and then take money from their already tightly stretched budgets to pay for them. Then they will get already busy staff to organise them.”
“In other words students will still pay, this time through their compulsory student fees instead of their compulsory student association levy. Students will lose their control, and staff will gain extra workload that they don’t want. And yet this bill is supposedly about choice.”
Dr Ryan says it is ironic that in voting for this bill the National Party will be overturning legislation it previously introduced itself, so as to give a policy concession to their coalition partners the ACT Party.
“It’s disappointing that the National Party appears to be willing to overturn its own long standing and pragmatic student association membership legislation to pander to the ideologues of the ACT Party.”