Talk:Otago University Students' Association

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What's with the spelling? Univesity?


I've added the "{{prod}}" template to the article No notability., suggesting that it be deleted according to the proposed deletion process. All contributions are appreciated, but I don't believe it satisfies Wikipedia's criteria for inclusion, and I've explained why in the deletion notice (see also Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not and Wikipedia:Notability). Please either work to improve the article if the topic is worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia, or, if you disagree, discuss the issues raised at Talk:No notability.. If you remove the {{dated prod}} template, the article will not be deleted, but note that it may still be sent to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, where it may be deleted if consensus to delete is reached. Arbusto 03:27, 27 September 2006 (UTC) (moved from article page by --Midnighttonight remind to go do uni work! 04:40, 27 September 2006 (UTC))

The number of improving edits to this page has doubled since it was renamed less than 24 hours ago. Clearly in the process of being improved.--Limegreen 05:17, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
I should add that I agree completely with the removing of the prod (I put it up as a matter of following proper process, not in wanting to see the article be deleted). Hopefully the article gets some work on it. Maybe someone should actually inform OUSA about the article to see if they can provide information? --Midnighttonight remind to go do uni work! 07:21, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Moved from the OUSA disambig talk page[edit]

OUSA is the official Students' Association of the Univeristy of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Formed in 1890, it now represnts all of the University's more than 18 000 students.


OUSA was formed in 1890 by debating students at the University of Otago. It was not formed so much because students needed representation and advocacy, as now, but so some order and control could be imposed on the unruly students.

Things had gotten so bad that professors refused to attend graduation ceremonies as they were near riots of students cutting loose. For a few years in the 1890s, graduations were stopped altogether. People who complain about student behaviour today would have lived in a state of constant disgust in the 1880s!

Student levy in 1890 was a shilling.

Annual General Meetings meetings were, again, a little rowdier than equivalent Student General Meetings (SGMs) today. Here’s an excerpt from Sam Elworthy’s history of OUSA, Ritual Songs of Defiance:

“Noisy male students, and occasionally some of the women, packed out the chemistry room and created havoc. In 1903, for example, some students hurled currants and other food and shouted interjections from the back of the room, while the serious senior men attempted to move constitutional movements at the front. A group of law students then turned off the gas, plunging the room into darkness… The Review [the forerunner of Critic] reported ‘the evening’s proceedings… were never monotonous’.

In general, though, the Executive themselves were of the stuffy, more conservative sort.

While 1890s OUSA set about bringing order to students, there were also benefits to be had. In 1891, OUSA took over the Review and the Debating Society and subscriptions to/ membership of these was charged as part of the OUSA levy.

The small dingy room that was used as a student common room (where constant vandalism by students was a problem) was replaced by two larger more comfortable rooms – one for the ladies and one for the men. In 1904, this was replaced by the first ever Student Union building. The building had a large hall, an executive meeting room, men’s and women’s common rooms, dressing rooms and a buffet. It was called the Allen Hall. You may know it in its present incarnation, as a theatre.

Category: Trivia[edit]

The Problem of Women

Women were able to enter University from the start in 1871, but the first women did not do so until ten years later. Emily Siedeberg – the first female medical graduate – entered University in 1891 (despite six of the nine male staff opposing her application) and would have pieces of meat thrown at her by her fellow students.

The first female graduate was Caroline Freeman, graduating with a BA in 1885.

In OUSA, women were permitted to form a faculty in the same way as other faculties represented on the Executive – but they could only be represented by men. A Miss Polson had this overturned at an SGM in 1894, but the first woman didn’t make it onto the OUSA Executive until 1902.

In 1910, the Ladies Cloakroom was receiving the journal of the English suffragists and women were making their feelings on the subject known in debates – hissing at the male speakers and (on one occasion) giving “an unrequested performance on a pair of castanets”.

In 1914, the first woman elected by general ballot – Dorothea Tucker – was elected onto the Executive as a senior Vice President of the Association.

It wasn't until 1983 the first women OUSA President was elected - Phyllis Comerford.


  • In 1909 a motion was passed at an OUSA AGM by 110 votes to 72 that no liquor be permitted at any function controlled by OUSA or one of its affiliated clubs. Its affiliated clubs at that time included other student faculties – such as the medical, mining and dental faculties – were counted as affiliated clubs. Most of these faculties, such as the Med School, largely ignored this dictum from above, as did everybody associated with the annual Capping concert and the President himself. There was talk for a while of forming a second Students’ Association – one for men only (presumably so they could drink), but it didn’t eventuate. Essentially, the drinkers were the hooligans and the teetotallars were the thinking intellectuals.
  • World Wars One and Two had, as you might expect, a massive effect on the student body. In 1914, the Review encouraged students to join up, accusing those who didn't of cowardice. By 1917, in satisfaction, the Review noted that nobody was left at University who should be at the war. The largest effect of the second world war, entered by New Zealand in September 1939, was to quell the growing political radicalism that (one might argue) the first world war had set off. According to Sam Elworthy, in 1940 Critic "...asserted that the University should not be "a hide-out for shirkers and pacifists..." Political pages were replaced with social pages and drinking was once again the biggest student occupation bar none.
  • Capping Shows and the Capping Magazine were ongoing issues. In 1938, a motion was carried by the Student Council to allow women to take part in Capping Shows (it was all blokes, just like Shakespeare in its time...). However, nothing happened in practice. In 1946, 150 women signed a petition demanding their inclusion. The men wanted to protect the women from the riotous and drunken offstage behaviour of the actors. On the last night of the Capping Concert that year, they polled the audience on the concert format - 85% voted in favour of the all-male cast. In 1947, the women staged a 'revue' as part of Capping. They were in. The Capping Magazine became a major issue in the 1980s. In fact, it was standing on an anti-capping magazine platform that saw Phyllis Comerford elected to the OUSA Presidency. A particularly offensive cover depicted a cartoon of a miniature clocktower building between a woman's legs, under the title Thrust. Graffiti on its advertsing posters said "this is violent rape". A motion was put to the Student Representative Council to have the magazine disestablished. Instead it was heavily censored (to the point it eventually disappeared completely), and eyes were turned to the drunken loutish behaviour at Capping. To see how successful that particular campaign was, you'll have to help out with a capping concert and find out for yourself!


While every OUSA President has been memorable in some way and for some reason, some stood out more than others. Here's a quick roll call of the brightest and the best.

  • Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa) 1903 - Ngati Mutunga. A renowned anthropologist, doctor, politician, administrator, military leader.
  • Phillippe Sydney de Quetteville Cabot 1924, 1925, 1926 - known as Sid. Played rugby for New Zealand, was also founding President of the National Union of Students (the forerunner to NZUSA) in 1928. Died two years ago in Wales.
  • Douglas P. Kennedy 1937 - Socialist and Prankster. When the Executive banned an entire run of Critic because it depicted the University Senate as an ass, Kennedy stole the censored copies in the dead of night (after some alcoholic fortification) and distributed them around North Dunedin.
  • Ebraima Manneh 1971 - From Gambia, he is the only OUSA President to date to be also an International Student. He led the first occupation of the Registry Building, when the University refused to lift its ban on Mixed Flatting. (see Campaigns)
  • Paul MacDonald Gourlie 1979, 1980 - Known as The Governor after the cafe he established, ostensibly to put himself through University, he was known for his colourful personality and his dress sense - which included a winged collar and a cape. He argued against establishing a Women's Rights position on the grounds that "there are enough old hags on Exec already" and generally supported all sorts of male-bonding rugby-playing activities that saw him elected a second time.