President's Column - The squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease
Last week I was rallying support for next weeks protest in the Quad, and Michael Gilchrist (organizer for the Association of University Staff) used the alliteration the squeaky wheel gets the grease to describe conflicting issues in an election year. Those causes which are the most vocal and best organized are the causes which influence what parties put in their manifestos, and who voters vote for on election day (whenever that might be).
This is particularly the case for student issues. Students are viewed by politicians and the general public as apathetic; a group that are either too busy or too lazy to care. This could be a determining factor in explaining why students have been effectively ignored by the government for so long. Other than a few small advances (thanks for the letter, Jim), students are in no better position now than they were ten years ago.
It is time to change this, and the time is next Tuesday. VUWSA (in conjunction with the Association of University Staff) will be marching from the Kelburn Quad and
The first of these is an end to fee increases. Labour pledged in 1999 to make tertiary education more affordable. Despite this, in 2003 Steve Maharey (then Minister of Tertiary Education) announced a system of fee maxima. This allowed institutions to raise fees to a set level at
The second category is a decent pay increase for university staff. If you dont think staff pay affects students, think again.
There is a perception that protesters are arrested and not allowed to leave the country (or deported). This couldnt be further from the truth.
I strongly encourage you to come along to Tuesdays protest. Classic kiwi muso Chris Knox will be playing in the Quad from 12 noon, and we will head to Parliament at about 12:30.
If you only take part in one political action while your at University, regardless of your political believes or allegiances, there will be no better opportunity than next Tuesday.
Come along and show the government that students arent going to take it any longer.