Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I wouldn't do that if I were you...



DPF has a whinge about the fact that the universities are now directly funding student associations, thus defeating the purpose of the VSM Act.

Thing is, anyone who actually knew anything about universities, including the universities themselves, pointed out beforehand that this is what would happen.  Universities are in competition with each other and "the student experience," ie the social activities that make being a student fun, is one of those areas of competition.  So, if a bunch of right-wing ideologues pass legislation threatening the current means of providing that student experience, the universities will fund it directly themselves and bill it back to the students - to the detriment of student representation, as the people running things will then effectively be employees of the university, not student representatives. 

Practical considerations mean nothing to ideologues, and of course the legislation was passed. But it's a bit rich for said ideologues to now complain that the result is exactly what was predicted. In fact, it's just plain stupid.  Even more stupid is suggesting the govt should use this as an example of how universities obviously have too much money - because who is it again that's requiring the competition between universities in the first place? Uh, duh-uh...

9 comments:

Clint H said...

What's more stupid is thinking that compulsion was necessary for a student "experience" in the first place.

If a University CHOOSES to give a million plus a year to a political society, then by all means it is proof that they have money to throw around. VUWSA is such an example of how ideologues ruined their own filthy little nest and helped bring in VSM, and I hope that Universities are careful with who gets their hands on their money otherwise taxpayers will start to question the cushy subsidies they already give students in NZ.

adamsmith1922 said...

Nonsense argument PM

Psycho Milt said...

It's not an argument, just pointing out that the consequences were entirely foreseeable and not at all surprising.

If a University CHOOSES to give a million plus a year to a political society, then by all means it is proof that they have money to throw around.

Likewise, if a university CHOOSES to spend huge sums on branding and marketing, it's proof that they have money to throw around. But the reason they're putting the money into that rather than something else is that govt policy dictates that they will compete with each other for students and research funding. It's ridiculous to incentivise particular behaviour and complain when that particular behaviour is the result.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether a top-down student union is funded directly from a compulsory tithe or indirectly through a clip-on to university fees the fact remains these outfits are complete waste of money.

If the student body feels it necessary to form a student union, let it be organised and funded at and from a grassroots level.

Blair said...

No, I figured this would happen, but I also figured that Universities would be a little bit stingier with their cash.

They will soon find out the hard way that simply giving money to a student union to do whatever they like with it will only end in tears. U of A has been voluntary for many years and has strict contracts. Universities themselves might find themselves in the shit if spending inevitably gets out of control.

Psycho Milt said...

The various VCs didn't get where they are today by giving people money and letting them do what they like with it. The ones getting the money might choose to call themselves "students' associations," but it's the universities calling the shots.

James said...

Reason 23424526 why the state should not be pissing about in education....

Blair said...

The various VCs didn't get where they are today by giving people money and letting them do what they like with it.

I thought that was what government bureaucrats did!

Psycho Milt said...

Reason 23424526 why the state should not be pissing about in education...

Right - because privately-run universities would never waste investors' money on competing with other institutions for students...