Congratulations to everyone that graduated in Palmerston North two weeks ago. What a massive occasion and thank you to the city of Palmerston North for coming out in force to support the University and the graduands. As a graduate myself, it was an amazing feeling to be amongst people who are keen to celebrate success in a positive way. I was most honoured to be able to receive my tohu from Dr Russell Ballard, Chancellor of the University Council. Having worked alongside Dr Ballard for three years as a fellow Council member, he demonstrated leadership, inspiration and dedication to a job that can be challenging when faced with having to balance what is best for the University, alongside how the Government expects Universities to operate while producing some of the country’s most talented and highly sought after graduates.
In regards to progress at EXMSS, I recently had the opportunity to enter the EXMSS Office and obtain some background information in regards to Executive minutes and records, petty cash transactions, membership list, and sorting the inwards mail and creditors.
The next step for the Executive is to go through the previous minutes for 2013 and review the decisions made by the previous Executive.
Whilst the University respect the decision of the members at the SGM, and are willing to communicate with Mark and I in good faith, we are seeking finality to the process by way of obtaining a legal opinion. There has been one challenge only in the most general terms ‘that the meeting did not comply with the society’s rules, by the lawyer representing Jeannette Chapman, in a staff related matter. We’ve asked him to specify precisely what rules he believed were not complied with, so that we can demonstrate constitutional compliance. We are still awaiting his response.
Mark and I were also recently invited to participate in a teleconference with members of the Extramural Students’ Support Trust (ESST). This sub trust was set up by EXMSS in 2011 to hold funds for all extramural students, to be distributed annually by way of scholarships. This was the first notification where Mark and I were made aware that the previous president and member Lyn Harris-Hogan had initiated plans to wind down EXMSS and transfer all of EXMSS assets (including the ESST funds) and liabilities to the Massey Extramural Students’ Trust (MEST), a trust set up by Jeanette Chapman in October 2013. The Trustees of the MEST are Jeannette Chapman, Joseph Mwingira and Phillip Kennard and they cannot be removed by members. The ESST has contested the authority in which MEST purports to hold, and have sought further clarification from Mark and I in regards to the SGM processes and outcomes. We have been given some tasks to fulfil, namely to seek a legal opinion on the processes and outcomes and to also issue a statement to lawyers and accountants purporting to represent EXMSS, the Police and MEST.
Last week we met with the Executive Committee to discuss the outcome of the nomination for President 2014, objects of the society in 2014, membership in 2014, annual report for January 2014 AGM, NZUSA updates, objectives for each Executive Committee member for 2014 and most importantly, finalisation of the information to be sent to validate the SGM processes and decisions.
We are also happy to announce and welcome Joy Green to the Executive Committee. Joy brings her background experience with EXMSS in regards to convening to October SGM, as well as her ability to communicate well and articulately to a range of audiences.
Thank you all for your patience and please know we are working hard to resolve these issues as soon as we can.
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season