Auckland University Student Association (AUSA) is planning to shrink its elected executive members to nine as part of its proposed constitutional changes.
Out of the 14-member AUSA Executive, 11 are publicly elected, including the President, three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer-Secretary, four officers representing international students, satellite campuses, women and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as the Design and Campaigns Officers responsible for communications and campaign initiatives respectively.
The remaining three members are the Pacific Island Students’ Officer appointed or elected by the Pacific Island Students Association (AUPISA), and both Tumuaki of Ngā Tauira Māori.
The current executive is proposing to create a new student officer for postgraduate students, but plans on disestablishing the Satellite Campus Representative and both Design and Campaigns Officers.
AUSA said the Satellite Campus Representative’s role is no longer required as the Student Council has representatives from all university faculties including those from satellite campuses. It also says the Design Officer’s duties are now carried out by professional staff, while the Engagement Vice-President is at “better places” to cover the Campaigns Officer’s responsibilities.
Despite the proposed changes, nominations for these positions are still accepted for the upcoming AUSA elections on September 4th. However, these nominations would be invalidated if the changes are adopted.
Other proposed changes to the constitution include allowing the executive to make appointments to fill a vacant executive role if there is less than six months left in the term of office. A similar system is used by AUT’s student association, AUTSA, to fill any vacancies within its executive.
Under AUSA’s current constitution, a by-election is required if a role is vacated more than three months before the term finishes.
Acting Treasurer-Secretary George Barton told Craccum before his resignation as President came into effect, that this proposal shows that AUSA is moving away from a model in which lots of people are needed on the executive.
He also said allowing the executive to directly appoint candidates to fill vacant positions could get students more engaged and involved.
These proposals are now under review before being voted on at a Special General Meeting.
AUSA said it intends for the changes to be adopted before the election.