Auckland University Students’ Association anti-abortion referendum ‘unconstitutional’

Stuff 5 October 2017
Family First Comment: Not only unconstitutional but also desperate, flawed, and dangerous! Universities should promote free speech, not muzzle it.

Poor wording has forced a university students’ union to pull a U-turn on its stance towards an anti-abortion club.

A provisional decision to disaffiliate ProLife Auckland from the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) will not proceed after legal advice found the move to be “unconstitutional and void”.

In August, an online referendum was held asking the question: “Should AUSA disaffiliate the ProLife Club and ban any clubs with similar ideology from affiliating in the future?”

However, legal advice presented to AUSA found the referendum question could be considered biased or leading, as it was asking two questions under the umbrella of one question.

About 2700 association members participated in the referendum, with about 1600 students voting in favour of disaffiliation.

AUSA affiliation was largely a symbolic acknowledgement from the student community that it wishes to be associated with a particular organisation.

If the motion were to pass, ProLife Auckland would still be eligible to access university space and distribute information on campus, set up a club stall during orientation week, and receive funding.

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