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Whitireia to help student association recover

Aug 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

whitireia council meeting MAIN 1

HELP OFFERED: Whitireia Polytechnic Council chair Roger Sowry (left) and CEO Don Campbell at last night's council meeting, which considered the plight of the Whitireia independent student body.

THE insolvent students association at Whitireia will be helped back on its feet by the polytechnic, the polytechnic’s council decided last night.

Chief executive Don Campbell outlined his expectations for the Whitireia Independent Students Association (Wisa) to a polytechnic council meeting, which endorsed his actions.

New council chair Roger Sowry said Mr Campbell handled the student association situation properly and neither he nor the council was at fault for what happened.

Mr Campbell’s plan would help build a stronger relationship with the association.

Council member Aka Arthur said the behaviour of the association was wrong and asked what sort of controls would stop this happening again. He also asked if the matter could have been dealt with differently.

In a letter to acting association president Tim Manu – tabled at the meeting – Mr Campbell outlined the following suggestions to assist the association over the next financial year:

  • A new constitution, to be approved by the polytechnic prior to student ratification.
  • The constitution to include provision for elections involving all students for a new executive committee and president.
  • Clear governance and management arrangements with the appropriate systems, structure and accountabilities in place.
  • A contract with the polytechnic specifying the student services Wisa will provide.
  • Wisa services to be developed in consultation with the student body.
  • Wisa to provide monthly accounts and have monthly meetings with the polytechnic.
  • A detailed audit of the 2009 and 2010 Wisa accounts to be undertaken by an external expert and made available to the polytechnic.

Mr Manu has verbally agreed to the conditions, but has yet to sign, said Mr Campbell.

Wisa was a completely independent body over which the polytechnic had no legal control, but he said his regular meetings with Mr Manu over the past weeks had been constructive, and there was a real desire on both sides to move forward.

“I have provided names and contacts of people who may be able to help,” he said.

He said he had been talking to a team of media advisors about the way the media had covered the story so far and how media relations could be improved, especially with the Dominion Post.

The Dominion Post broke the story about the association’s problems without giving Mr Campbell a chance to comment, and carried several other stories, some of which contained errors, he said.

For example, the paper’s third front page story wrongly indicated he had handed over an additional $250,000 to the association after he had said no more funding would be provided until audited accounts were received.

He said Wisa was undertaking an information-gathering exercise for the police. If any charges were to be laid it would probably happen next month.

Chartered accountant Imran Kamal  completed an audit of the Wisa 2009 accounts earlier this month.

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  1. We chose to donate our student association fees to Life Flight Trust! We are still waiting for the money to be released to them! this has been a constant battle…This is unacceptable and the donation to Life Flight trust needs to be made promptly.
    Regards, Angry students

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