Friday, October 27, 2006

Conscientious Objection - VUWSA VSM Option

A note to all the VSM supporters around Victoria: VUWSA provides a way for you to avoid being a member of it if you are opposed to the idea of compulsory membership. For people who have an objection to compulsory membership of students associations.

This is allowed under VUWSA's policy on membership that was approved in 2000.

The policy states that people may be granted exemption under the following grounds:
2. Any student may apply in writing to the President for exemption from membership on the following grounds:
2.1 Financial Hardship
2.2 Conscientious Objection
2.3 Short term enrolment of three months or less for the purposes of completing a post-graduate thesis

and when deciding on an application for exemption under 2.2:
6. In the case of application on the grounds of conscientious objection the application must state clearly the grounds on which the student has a conscientious objection and the application will need to demonstrate a deeply held philosophical conviction that compulsory association infringes the applicants rights in ways and for purposes that are demonstrably offensive to the applicant.
7. In line with past precedents set by the University when dealing with conscientious objection, the President shall work with a definition of “conscientious” which shall include moral, philosophical and religious grounds, but not dissatisfaction with policies (that can be affected democratically) nor dissatisfaction with VUWSA services.

But before any students think this is a great way to save on paying the $120 levy the policy says that anyone granted the exemption must:
8. Any student granted exemption on the grounds of conscientious objection shall be required to pay a sum equivalent to a charity which has been endorsed by the Executive. In addition to the charities approved in Appendix 1 of this policy, the President shall refer any other charities requested to the Executive for approval.

The approved charities are:
1. Rape Crisis
2. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
3. Women’s Refuge
4. The VUWSA Foodbank
5. Wellington City Mission
6. Wellington Life-Flight Charitable Trust
7. Wellington People’s Centre

This would seem to be the perfect option for those Student Choice and Act On Campus members who are so opposed to CSM.



Blogger Graeme Edgeler said...

Many supporters of freedom of association object not to be members but to being forced to give up $120 they don't want to.

Myself, I opposed not membership, but the forcing of others (done in my name) to be members without their free choice (I'd have voluntarily paid to join).

Conscientious objection is not an answer to many of the problems with forced membership of any organisation.

12:46 pm  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

Graeme is 100% right on this. Why should students be forced to part with $120 p/a?

Why do students need to go through a process, filling in application forms simply to be given the right to not be part of a compulsory union?

If membership is so important to students why doesn't VUWSA allow students to have the choice to make that decision on their own? If you think students won't join under VSM then surely VUWSA has itself to blame for providing bad service and not being able to identify themselves as being important for students to join.

VUWSA are too scared to put their money where their mouths are, and they know that the only reason why they support VSM is because many students will gladly walk away.

4:28 am  
Blogger chris said...

Hi Alexander
There's a response to your conscientious objection argument here:

I'd be interested in your response.

11:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I haven't posted earlier, as I hadn't seen your blog. I will believe you when you say that conscience objection is a satisfactory alternative to compulsory membership once you start advocating people being forced to join the National party, and given the option of applying to conscience objection from National party membership, with a amount of money equal to the National party membership fee being paid to one of the following charities: (enter some right wing groups here, but no left wing ones), the mens refuge, the group to help stop men being raped, the charitable wing of the Destiny church (note: if you look at their website the Wellington city mission is affiliated to the Anglican church), the National party foodbank, or the Wellington Life-Flight charitable trust. But before that you need to apply in writing to the National Party leader stating clearly the grounds for your conscience objection, based on a definition of conscientious that includes moral, philosphical or religous grounds, but does not include disaffection with policies (that can be affected democratically) nor dissatisfaction with the benefits of National party membership. This would ssem to be the perfect option for those left wingers who are so opposed to compulsory National party membership.

4:16 pm  
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