The President of the Wollongong University Students’ Association is standing by the organisation’s decision to split from the National Union of Students despite talk of legal action.
WUSA President Sam Tedeschi said the move, decided by a referendum, would benefit have financial benefits for UOW students.
“They charged us $110,000 this year to affiliate, we literally don’t have that much money,” Mr Tedeschi said. “In return, we receive no materials, no benefits.”
Mr Tedeschi said the money saved by disaffiliating with the NUS would go to WUSA student services.
“It’s going to go a long way in what we can provide; in terms of making the book bank better, providing the free printing for all students, not just members, and in running events,” he said.
The referendum, held by WUSA on 3 August, asked voters whether the union should remain a member of the National Union of Students Incorporated.
Eight-nine per cent of votes were against WUSA remaining in the NUS.
NUS National Small and Regional Officer Peter Munford said the NUS had no comment on the matter.
However, an anonymous source, close to the NUS, said the organisation was to launch legal proceedings.
“They aren’t commenting because of legal action being launched against WUSA,” the source told UOWTV Multimedia.
Mr Tedeschi said the referendum had complied with the organisation’s standards and any case would have no legal grounding.
“We followed all their rules to the letter, as well as our own regulations, on the conduct of the referendum,” he said.
WUSA received a letter from the NUS’s lawyers before the referendum that claimed the disaffiliation was against NUS regulations which prevent a vote being held at the same time as any other election or referendum run by the university.
Mr Tedeschi said the disaffiliation referendum was moved to ensure it did not overlap with an election at the UOW Sydney Business School.
“They said it would be considered invalid, we addressed their concerns, and said this is going to be legally valid,” Mr Tedeschi said.
The NUS has not contacted WUSA since the referendum.