VSU WARS Episode II: Revenge of the Hippies

I’m sorry, couldn’t help it. Only 19 sleeps left until Episode III! 😀 But anyway, in my previous post, I outlined why VSU will not destroy student unions as some doom-sayers would like you to believe. There are of course, several reasons why students may not wish to join a student union in the first place. 1.Freedom of choice. Article 20b of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘No one may be compelled to belong to an association’. Students should have the right to choose whether they wish to join, or not to join, their student unions. Just like the right to choose whether or not they wish to join a trade union, a political party, or a sporting club. Those who support compulsory student unionism will say that where there are collective benefits are to be gained from conformity, freedom of choice should be limited. Taxation is an example of this. Granted, but there are plenty of things you ‘should’ do which collectively benefits society. You may wish to donate to charity, clean up litter, or recycle, but you are not forced to do any of these things because have the right to choose. Society will not function without Government taxes. Universities will continue to educate students and conduct research without compulsory student union fees. 2.Student Unions are unrepresentative of students During the October Federal Election last year, the National Union of Students spent $250,000 of student’s money on anti-Coalition campaigns. A motion was even put forward at a UQ Union Council meeting last year to ban Liberals from the Union. How does this represent uni students half of them voted for the Coalition last year? Student Unions also run campaigns and organises protests on issues such as Troops out of Iraq, Free the refugees, or the Evils of capitalism. While sure, these may be perfectly legitimate causes for some, but they do not affect students in any way. People can protest all they want, that’s their right. But it’s not their right to force other people to pay for it. 3.Student Unions are wasteful Going on from the previous point, the amount of time and money student unions spend on trivial, ideologically-driven matters is ridiculous. Last year the UQ Union spent $300,000 on the Queer and Women’s Collectives, who between them have around 60 members. This was $50,000 more than they spent on all clubs and societies, to which there are around 15,000 members. Other highlights include $40,000 for a Queer conference at QUT (attended by 15 UQ students); paying a research to expore the Feminist Reclamation of the word ‘cunt’; sending busloads of protesters to Lake Cowal (somewhere in northern NSW apparently) etc; not to mention $300,000 just for NUS affiliation. All of which have nothing to do with the well-being of the ordinary student, who is more interested in the price of a sausage roll at the union-run refectory, or the maths assignment which is due next week. Aside from personal liberties, VSU’s greatest benefit for students is that it brings a level of accountability into Student Unions which was not possible under compulsory unionism. Without the guaranteed stream of money, Student Unions will now have to actually work for the interests of students above anything else in order to stay afloat. Have a nice day.

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