by Toby Halligan
The ANU Union Board has gotten into hot water over the past week after deciding to refuse a lease renewal for the Acton Supermarket without giving public reasons or announcing what would replace it.
Reports from inside the Board room suggest that a Sanity and clothes shop were among the mooted replacements. Suggestions of another supermarket were unpopular with ANU Union General Manager, Rod Thomas, who has long lamented the competition the Supermarket offers to the mostly Union owned outlets in the refectory. By disposing of the Supermarket the Union will exert much greater control over drinks pricing on campus but the impact on students has led to an unprecedented backlash against the student representatives on the Board.
At present the Supermarket offers the best prices on campus for a variety of goods. It has products that are sold no where else, especially food for those with allergies to wheat and other widely used products. It also serves to concentrate business AT the ANU, has now students will be forced to walk for 10 minutes to the City West IGA to get their food and drink.
The Board has behaved, the Union Board AGM was scheduled for the 23rd of October at 12pm, only to be moved, to avoid the Supermarket backlash, to the 26th of November (when most students are off campus or on holidays) ONLY to move it back again to the 23rd after an even bigger backlash at the shifted meeting. With an intransigent board, hostile general manager all we have right now is public support and the knowledge that this decision was clearly not made with regard to the needs and lifestyles of the ANU’s students.
This is one of the few cases where letters and the expression of dissent may have an impact on changing the decision. Any help people on the Riot Act can offer would be awesome, especially through letters to the Vice Chancellor of the ANU, Ian Chubb (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). We’re trying to pressure the students of the Board through petitions, no confidence motions and letters but the VC may be the our last port of call if we can’t get any love out of the Board members!
Please, help us keep our Supermarket!