Student body has Uni's support

Thursday, 31 March 2005

The University of Adelaide and the Adelaide University Union (AUU) today re-affirmed the role and importance of student organisations to the overall educational experience at the University.

This joint statement comes in the wake of proposed legislation that will make student union payments voluntary.

Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, said the University and the AUU have a strong working relationship in providing services to students.

"This has been practically demonstrated over the past few years with the following initiatives which may be threatened under the proposed Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU): Sports Hub facility established on campus; 24 hour computer suite in the Union Building; Thebarton sports training venue and Student Accident Insurance," he said.

"There are a number of opportunities for further synergies between the University and the AUU. These include consolidation of staffing for student services at remote campuses, establishment of a gym at Roseworthy and the provision of facilities and catering for external conferences.

"The University will continue to support the student body by minimising any negative impacts of the proposed legislation," Professor Mc Wha said.

Professor McWha said that there has been considerable strategic planning between the AUU and University.

"The University and AUU have commissioned research to determine the extent of student opinions with respect to services offered by both organisations.

"The AUU has been successfully reviewing its operations and structure over the last past three years, with a view to focusing on the core services offered, before VSU was even a threat. The University is also reviewing the core services it offers to students," he said.

Professor McWha said the University aims to ensure that it is regarded as the University of choice for students.

"A distinguishing mark of the University of Adelaide is the campus culture and it is this culture and the provision of services to students that has been achieved through a partnership between the University and the AUU," he said.

The University also acknowledges the contribution made by the AUU to the student experience. Founded in 1895, it is a separately incorporated body, which is enshrined in the University of Adelaide Act 1971.

Currently a number of the student services on campus are provided by the AUU. These include the provision of food outlets, meeting rooms, stationery and textbooks, a childcare subsidy for students in need, legal services, employment services and welfare services.

Also, the AUU supports a number of affiliated bodies, who deal with postgraduate students, international students, students on remote campuses, and other activities including many sporting clubs. They also provide students with advocacy and political representation provided by the Students Association.

AUU General Manager, Ms Carmel Noon, said its commercial operations are not subsidised by the Student Services Fee. The AUU provides food and beverage outlets across the three campuses of North Terrace, Waite and Roseworthy.

"Our operation returns profits to the students via upgrades to facilities, implementation of new services, and discounted textbooks via the UniBooks outlets," she said.

AUU President, Ms Jennifer Turner said the AUU has been extremely proactive since late 2004 on the issue of VSU.

"We formed a VSU Steering Committee with the University of Adelaide in order to co-operate with the University and have a communication link to the Vice-Chancellor on the issue of VSU. We have been preparing ourselves so that students are not disadvantaged if the legislation is implemented," she said.


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