New Councillors Cry for Change

Improvements needed: JCU Council member Edward Harridge looks to make numerous moves during his two year tenure.

JCU has elected three new students to the JCU Council Board.

 By Steven Ross

The appointment of three students to the 16th Council of James Cook University has given the student body further voice in JCU governance matters.

The biennial election for the Council of James Cook University took place last month with any enrolled student allowed to run for a position and/or vote.

Improvements needed: JCU Council member Edward Harridge looks to make numerous moves during his two year tenure.

CHANGE: JCU Council member Edward Harridge looks to make numerous moves during his two year tenure.

Of the 22 Council members, the university allocates three positions to be filled by students; one undergraduate, one postgraduate and a hybrid title which allows the candidate with the third highest ballot tally to be either an undergraduate or postgraduate student.

A key topic of the elections was the issue of vehicle parking around the university.

Parking is an ongoing issue for Townsville students due to high vehicle numbers, and is recognised by both Undergraduate Member Edward Harridge and Member Laura Walker.

“My number one priority is to improve the inadequate parking situation on campus,” Harridge says.

“This university is fortunate to have significant amounts of spare and underutilised space that can be allocated to parking.

“Much of this can be done immediately simply by reigning in the excesses of the parking fine regime,” he says.

Harridge suggests rezoning areas around the university such as the no-standing zone along the road that leads to the gym.

“Why should people who may have been looking for a park for twenty minutes or more be fined for parking in an area which endangers no one?” Harridge says.

The newly elected candidate is also campaigning to lift the constraints on Uni Club and adjust the distribution of SSA Fee funds.

“The restrictions on Uni Club operating hours imposed by the university should be eased,” he said.

“It’s not appropriate to punish everyone for the actions of a tiny minority.

“Much of the SSA Fee is wasted, for example $100,000 each year on providing GP services that the government, through Medicare already provides for free.

“$76,000 is spent on improving information and advice on university rules and procedures,” he says.

Laura Walker says the concept of a student’s say at the top level of university management is imperative towards the development of the university.

Students need say: Laura Walker says students need someone fighting for them.

OUR SAY: Laura Walker says students need someone fighting for them.

“It’s important that students have a say in governance matters at JCU as we are all directly affected by these decisions,” Walker says.

“We (as Council members) have just as much influence as anyone else if we put a strong case forward and represent the interests of the students.”

Holding the postgraduate position is Cairns-based Mark Dodge who is completing a Masters of Business Administration.

In light of recent reports that inflation is rising at a higher rate than wages, Dodge’s goal of financial stability for postgraduates is a timely one.

“I would like to provide a strong voice for the postgraduate community at JCU,” he says.

“The cost of study has increased above the cost of living over my time at university and I would like to see the growth in expenses slowed more to reflect a student’s ability to pay.”