Lack of Communication Saw AUTSA General Meeting Adjourned Early

By Justin Wong (he/him)

An AUTSA general meeting in July was forced to finish early after failing to retain the 30 students required to continue.


The July 26 meeting at Vesbar was delayed by more than 30 minutes as a quorum of 30 students was not present at the scheduled start time of 12.30pm.


It began after a quorum was achieved by in-person and online attendees around 1pm, but President Sisifa Lui broke off the meeting one hour in, as a headcount found an insufficient number of students were present.


The meeting intended to update the student association’s audited accounts, and discuss issues such as the 2021 elections, the Te Ara Poutama Representative vacancy and vote on the future of the Accommodation Officers role.


The adjournment meant the vote could not proceed and the item was deferred to the next Student Representation Council (SRC) meeting in August.


AUTSA’s Constitution said the student association must hold at least two Ordinary General Meetings during the academic year, and one “should be held before the end of May”.


It also ruled that written notice of the meeting’s time and place must be published “at least three weeks before the meeting date”, and posted on all notice boards “at least one week before the meeting date”.


However, the SRC only released the General Meeting’s agenda less than one week before the meeting date. AUTSA also did not post about the meeting on its Facebook page until 10 minutes before it was scheduled to start, with the post only containing a Microsoft Teams link with no mention of the meeting’s time and venue.


When questioned on why AUTSA did not notify students of the meeting in advance, Lui said the date needed to be suitable for the association’s operation staff and agreed by the Governance Board.


“We took it upon ourselves to push for a date that can just hurry up and go for it.


“There was a bit of a delay in that process and we do apologise that we weren’t there at the time to notify for this meeting.”


Lui has been contacted for comment on why the SRC did not call the meeting before the end of May as the Constitution required.


AUTSA also announced nominations for this year’s elections would run from July 28 to August 20.


Candidates would be announced on August 23, while voting would start on September 14 and close on October 1. Results would be released on October 6.


The timeline is much later than previous elections, with last year’s results being announced mid-September, while guidelines under AUTSA’s Constitution said nominations should open during week two of semester two, on the week starting 20 July.


The President’s position will be up for election, as current holder Sisifa Lui will be finishing her two-year term.


Other roles in the election include both Vice Presidents for Academic and Community, after attendees at the General Meeting voted 14-10 to reject having a Vice President responsible for incorporating tikanga Māori into AUTSA’s functions.


But representation from the university’s accommodation is yet to be finalised, as the General Meeting did not vote on whether to merge both Accommodation Officers for the North and City Campus into one role.


The same option also proposed having representatives nominated from each halls of residence to be non-voting members of the SRC.


AUTSA’s audited accounts for 2020 are still not being released at the General Meeting, with General Manager Simon Bell saying they are in “the final stages” and it would be “available in a couple of weeks.”


The Te Ara Poutama student representative still remains vacant after the meeting as no one volunteered to fill the role.

AUTSA also said four candidates have expressed interest in the still-empty North Campus Accommodation Officer role and the SRC would appoint a candidate at its next meeting.