By Maurice Sibelle
MELBOURNE — Students at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE won a partial victory in their campaign to restore funding to their Student Union at an Institute Council meeting on October 28. The council, the governing body at NMIT, voted for a mediated process to settle the dispute between the management and the union.
The mediated process will include three students and three councillors; management will not be involved.
Earl Henderson, president of the Student Union told Green Left that director of the institute Brian Macdonald came to the Institute Council meeting with a motion to close down the Student Union and throw students out of the offices. Macdonald was eventually forced to put a motion for a mediated process, although this was opposed by senior management who claimed that the Student Union had been belligerent in documenting management's attempts to undermine the union.
"The management has cut our budget by 75%, blocked every attempt to involve our members, consistently mistreated student representatives and demonised us in an open letter to students. It is management that has been belligerent to students", explained Henderson.
"While we have won a minor victory in forcing the management to discuss the issues, we cannot be complacent. We have yet to win the complete restoration of union funding and the right to have an independent Student Union", Henderson said.