Letters to the Editors
AOESA, who are they and what do they really do ? Recently, in April, I was in Armidale attending a residential school. On one day, while sitting in the courtyard enjoying a free sausage sandwich, I was approached by a gentleman named Colin Hargreaves. Colin was talking to us about AOESA, and extolling its virtues. I was very impressed, and delighted that the president of a national association would take the time out to talk to students. Being an external student at a few different campus’ now (I am in my 60’s) I was intrigued by the idea of a national external association to represent students. I was really happy to see UNESA formed and think they are doing a fine job at a campus level. But at national level, what a good idea.
Now for some reason Colin was berating UNESA, and I could not understand why. I asked him why he was doing this, and why would a national institute be interested in talking down a campus institute. He said it was up to him to keep all student associations on their feet. When I queried him about other universities and their student associations he quickly changed the subject.
Colin left me his card and I gave him my details as I am keen to be involved, and as mentioned I think a national association is a grand idea.
After three weeks I had not heard from AEOSA, so I decide to find them myself. All I found was an out-dated website and an out-dated facebook page. Then I noticed something else, a name on the executive list of AEOSA. A Mr John Drake.
Mr Drake, I do not know of him and I have never met. But I do have an opinion of him. Before the UNESA discussion page was closed Mr Drake was a reqular contributer. However it seemed to myself and many others that he had his own personal agenda. And this was to discredit UNESA at every turn. The forum got to such a bad stage that no one, including my self, would bother to post or ask questions in case this rude person would hijack the thread and turn it around to bag out UNESA, its board and its members. Many people ignored the forum and did not participate simply because of the actions of this person. I personally felt intimidated by him. The forum is still closed, but it can be read. Go and read it and you will see what I mean.
Now the title AEOSA, who are they and what do they really do?
Many topics on the forum by Mr Drake were demands that UNESA do things, and demands that minutes of meetings, financing and so on was posted publicly quickly. If this was not done within a couple of days he would start demanding that board members stand aside, and that UNESA is worthless and does nothing. A student association is meant to represent all students not just one single person, Mr Drake.
Well Mr Drake and Mr Hargreaves, I say that AEOSA is useless and does nothing. AEOSA obviously has some agenda on taking down an ACTIVE, WORKING student association. No matter how much I searched, I could find no minutes of their meetings, no dates of meetings, no finances, nothing at all. I, in the past, have found Mr Drake’s behaviour offensive and insulting, and had written to university about it. Mr Hargreaves gives a good talk, but there is no backup. Why talk to students about his association and then not bother getting back to them when they are interested?
One thing, Mr Hargreaves promoted himself as the proud person whom saved millions of dollars to externals and it was him personally that stopped us paying the SSAF at UNE. Yet on his AEOSA page he says he argued for more of a discount? Which is it? You cannot claim both.
AEOSA, a national student association for external students. What a wonderful idea in theory. Maybe one day such an association will exist that concentrates on students and itself, not personal agendas which are obvious to anyone that does a little digging.
If AEOSA, their president and their executive are to have any respect from others, they need to practice what they preach, and actually do something solid rather than claiming achievements on the back of someone else’s coat tails. I would be a proud member of a National External Student Association . I just do not believe that AEOSA is such, or ever will be, such an association.
Pam from Maroochydore