Thursday, March 17, 2005

Voluntary Student Unionism


I have been a student for about 8 years, and have always opposed mandatory student unionism. This is not an objection in theory, but an objection in practise. Those who run the Melbourne University have a culture of gross incompetence, fraud, embezzlement, abuse of funds. They have been taken to court and found guilty. They have engaged in violence, property investment and political activism in the name of people they do not represent.

If they were in government, they would be voted out. If they were in court, they would (and have!) been found in contempt. If they were in business, they would never make it past the planning phase. A bigger example of a parasite on student life I cannot think of.

There is a very short list of things they do which are good. Those things are :
* Legal Services
* Medical Services
* Overseas Student Support.

There is a longer list of things they do which are bad. Those things are :
* Fund political activism
* Abuse their control over union funds with respect to student funding allocation
* Engage in property investments
* Fail to adequetly service the student body
* Fail to adequetly support student interest societies
* Fail to represent the students of the university

There are some things they claim are good, but are not. Those things are :
* Fund food outlets. This cannot be true. Food in Melbourne Uni costs more than it does outside Melbourne Uni. Capitalist competition regularly outperforms the value of the student union's "funding"
* The student magazine. Okay, this is a great idea in principle, but it's a pretty poor offering, and usually lands up as a vehicle for student activism. I wouldn't miss it. It's not a bad idea, but really it's of indifferent moral benefit. I'm sure it doesn't justify the three paid staff members that work on it.
* Student Politics. Sigh. The last time a student politician represented my views... oh wait... it's never happened!
* Support student interest societies. My arse. I founded one, without their support, built it up to a hundreds-strong group that flourishes to this day, without any help from them whatsoever. They were argumentative and unhelpful, regularly failing to achieve quorum at their meetings, and as of the start of this year, a full four years after inception, they have still not achieved affiliation. On the other hand, Microsoft, Apple and the department have been very supportive.

As far as I am concerned, far from paying to support these people, I would contribute money to its downfall. Of course they won't have enough funding under VSU. That's the point - this ridiculous organisation deserves to die. Hopefully VSU will get pushed through, and they will return to their core business of supporting students.



Anonymous Ben Hourigan said...

Oh, but it's a pleasure to read the writing of another student who supports VSU.

You may be interested in , as well as the ensuing discussion.

3/24/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Ben Hourigan said...

That comment didn't come out as I expected.

I meant to say:

You may be interested in as well as the ensuing discussion.

3/24/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Ben Hourigan said...

Again. Oh, I give up. Messed up as they look is, those links (which didn't come out as previewed) are to my own post on VSU, and the discussion that followed it.

3/24/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger MelbournePhilosopher said...

Way ahead of you buddy :). Good post. No real additional comments.


3/24/2005 11:16:00 AM  

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