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More Evidence of Student Association Delusions of Grandeur

August 25th, 2009 by Madeleine

I just got this in my inbox:
AN OPPORTUNITY HAS ARISEN:
On Wednesday the 26th of August at the AUSA [Auckland University Students Association] Winter General Meeting there has been an opening to incorporate the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS into the AUSA constitution.

WE NEED 200 PEOPLE IN THE QUAD TO VOTE IN FAVOUR AT THE WINTER GENERAL MEETING!
WEDNESDAY 26th AUGUST at 1pm.

WHY IS THIS NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT?

The Universal Declaration is a common statement of mutual aspirations – a shared vision of a more equitable and just world. By incorporating this into its constitution, AUSA would commit itself to these human rights norms. If you care about people and their rights, make sure your voice is heard on this issue.

PLEASE COME ALONG! Don’t just assume that enough people will turn up without your effort – you REALLY will make a difference!

Now one wonders what AUSA think they will achieve by incorporating the UN Declaration into their association? The mind boggles. They wrote “By incorporating this into its constitution, AUSA would commit itself to these human rights norms.” What does this mean or rather what do they think it means?

Maybe they think that students won’t have human right protection without this move.
Maybe they think that they, a student association, are a body in the nature of a state or that they perform a public function that places them on par with a state but even if that were true they would be obligated to uphold Human Rights regardless of whether it was in their constitution or not.
Maybe they hope that incorporating it will make them into a state.
Maybe they think that by them incorporating it into their constitution that action will, like some kind of butterfly effect, improve the human rights of people in other countries.
Maybe they want to make a big gesture so they can feel all warm and fuzzy… it is raining in Auckland today so maybe that is it.

Either way it seems a fairly pointless way to spend an afternoon especially if they think they can achieve it with “200 people” turning up; they need 200 members to turn up if they want to amend their constitution. AUSA despite their compulsory funding is the only university students association in New Zealand with voluntary membership – I received the call to come and I am not a member. It is almost tempting to turn up and see if they intend to check those voting are in fact members or not.

I wonder if they know that the UN Declaration of Human Rights calls for Freedom of Association? Something that, if they had their way, they’d undermine in a heartbeat with a return to compulsory membership.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • Interesting, So AUSA need there constitution to include rules about wether to torture people, or to have arbitrary arrests, etc. Is there a danger of them arresting and torturing their members ????

  • I don't think they've thought that far into it. The whole thing is a joke that would be funnier if I was not paying for it…. but wait, it gets better. Stand by for the update!