Victoria University Student Union (VUSU) is the peak body representing and supporting all students at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. The stated objectives of VUSU are to provide a range of representation and general services to a student population of approximately 50,000 on all campuses of the university.
VUSU provides representation and advocacy to all students. Student representatives often provide support to students when they have to front up to show cause hearings, discipline hearings and also when students have complaints and grievances against Victoria University.
Held annually, the elections are fundamental to the democratic nature of the organisation. Participation rates in VUSU elections vary from year to year.
VUSU uses meetings to facilitate informed discussion with the aim of making decisions.
VUSU utilizes mobile info booths to facilitate the exchange of information between student representatives and the students that we represent.
Forums are another type of meeting that VUSU organizes. Forums are not formal meetings as such, but are used to collectively discuss student's views. The Student Forums are an opportunity for students to come and voice their views on any issues that they face. VUSU use these forums to remain reflective of the views of the student population.
VUSU is affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS). The NUS is the peak student representative body in Australia. It has over 600,000 members within Australian tertiary institutions. VUSU is a proud member of the NUS and values the contribution it can make to furthering the interests of students. Each year VUSU sends delegates to the National and State NUS Conferences. Those delegates take part in the democratic process of formulating NUS policy and electing NUS office bearers.
The peak representative body of the organisation is the Student Executive. Members of this committee include the President, Vice President and the General Secretary.
The Postgraduate Association (VUPA) and International Student Association (ISA) are affiliated bodies of the Executive and have representatives on the committee.
Each campus has a Campus Branch Council elected by students on that campus. These committees have a range of positions and meet to discuss issues of general interest to students on campus.
Before 1995, there were six different student organisations at Victoria University:
# Sunbury Student Union (SSU)
# Western Institute Student Union (WISU)
# Victoria University Union (VUU)
# Student Representative Council (SRC)
# International Student Association (ISA)
# Victoria University Postgraduate Association (VUPA)
The WISU was formed by the combined efforts of students from the St. Albans and Werribee campuses. This union provided services and was a source of political agitation. The VUU and the SRC were based at Footscray Park campus. The VUU ran the catering, the resource centers and sporting activities. The SRC was a politically active organisation. It was responsible for organising student groups, campus committees and advocating for students' rights.
Victoria University decided that it would be easier for the Vice Chancellor and Director of Student Affairs to deal with only one representative student body. With VSU threatening, it agreed by the various student council/associations/unions that unification of the representative student body and service providers would give student interests more weight. Therefore, the six student organisations took part in negotiations to amalgamate. In 1995, the amalgamation process was initiated and the organisation known as Victoria University Student Union (VUSU) was founded. The Victoria University Postgraduate Association (VUPA) came to the amalgamation process with a certain amount of autonomy and reluctance, as they had always received independent funding, and were highly regarded by Victoria University because of their research status. At the conclusion of 1996, the amalgamation process was complete.
In 1998, VUSU amalgamated with Western Institute of TAFE (WMIT). This amalgamation process took just over 12 months and by mid-1999 the two organisations became one.
In 2001, VUSU was incorporated and became Victoria University Student Union Incorporated. The change of name reflected the fact that VUSU was a 'union for students, run by students'. Thus as elected representatives it is our responsibility to ensure that Victoria University students receive the best service from their student union and that it is provided with openness, transparency & accountability.
Victoria University now has over 50,000 TAFE and Higher Education students on 11 campuses. VUSU has offices located on most campuses.
In 1999,the union executive was faced with mismanagement of its services provided which compelled the university to take away the catering and most of Bldg M (Union Bldg).
The relationship was on a decline since 2001 between the executive and the University Staff over funding objectives. The staff failed to respect the principle of Student Control of Student Affairs and constantly denied the executive to take decisions in relation to clubs and societies, sports, recreation and marketing of the union. This led to a hamstrung which left the union nearly non-existent.
In 2003 negotiations with the university to solve the outstanding problem of the distribution of the GSF and its expenditure led to stripping of clubs and societies, sport and recreation, Education and Welfare Services, Advocacy, resource centres, dental service, housing from the union to a university controlled administration still bearing the same title of VUSU, however since 2004 the staff of these departments had abandoned the name VUSU and thus called themselves the Student Leadership Branch. The union resulted in gaining only 13% of the total GSF of $295 colelcted every year from each student.
Since 2001, the union was never allowed or barred from maintaining reserves thus pumping back the remainder of funds to university accounts. Post VSU the union fought hard with the university council to secure a $500,000 funding agreement by the university which was in fact the portion of VUSU's share of GSF collected for 2006.This fund of $500k has been allocated for 4 years thus cutting down a massive number of representation based departments, staff and other student organisations.
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