Words by Stephen Smith
Administrative tensions between the University of Melbourne’s student organisations have come to a head, with organisations publically criticising each other.
The student-managed University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) and Graduate Student Association (GSA) have passed resolutions criticising the university-managed Melbourne University Student Union Ltd. (MUSUL).
The university set up MUSUL several years ago to provide services to other student organisations.
UMSU’s primary concern focuses largely on the process to sign a renewed Facilities and Services Agreement with MUSUL. The organisations have been engaged in ongoing discussions over it since early 2013.
MUSUL CEO Trevor White believes that the Facilities and Services Agreement will be signed off by mid-February.
He is also calling for “a greater understanding of urgency and expectations”.
“Historically the relationship between MUSUL and UMSU was as a partnership, with a lot of staff and the board still thinking of it as such,” Mr White said. He says that he is aware of some of the issues and thinks that a greater flow of information is needed.
Other concerns raised by UMSU include the provision of services to its VCA Department. VCA Campus Co-ordinator James Crafti revealed to Students’ Council that they were without a printer and photocopier up until December last year. He also said they were still waiting for a computer and telephone to be provided.
MUSUL receives around $700,000 from the Student Services and Amenities Fee, with the remainder of its money coming from commercial services. Its priorities for 2014 included improving the way that these services operate.
“People’s expectations need to be modified as to what’s available,” Mr White said.
Other priorities for MUSUL included undertaking some renovations to Union House and developing a long-term plan for the physical location of the Student Union.
UMSU President Declan McGonigle declined to comment.