Shooting yourself in the foot Vuwsa-style
Some of the people doing the most to increase support for voluntary membership at Victoria University are Vuwsa executive members and supporters of compulsory membership.
First we had Kerry Tankard’s destruction of a voluntary membership petition. Then a Vuwsa exec member went on what Salient described as “an alcohol –fuelled rampage around the Vuwsa office and stairwell with a permanent marker”. Now a Vuwsa executive member has been sprung using association phone lines to rack up $4000 worth of phone calls to a psychic hotline.
This sort of stuff is not new. Compulsory associations have always attracted people who want to force their views on others or use the organisations to play out their own power trips or personal issues.
Every time an association burns an effigy, blows money on some crazy scheme or generally acts like morons, support for voluntary membership increases. Since the late 1990s some student politicians have come to understand this and have become very risk averse and conservative. But there are always a few who think the power and proximity to large amounts of money entitles them to act like jerks.
Behaviour like this further devalues Vuwsa’s reputation and causes more and more students to ask why on earth they’re forced to fund and join the association. “Bring on vsm” will only be heard more often.
The only way to rescue Vuwsa is to remove its guaranteed funding. Vuwsa needs to demonstrate it can provide value to potential members; that means membership has to be voluntary.