On 24/05/21, PARSA President Eve Walker released an email update regarding a series of PARSA Board resignations and changes to the association’s constitutional amendments following its formal dissolution at the beginning of the academic year.
The email comes as a result of significant disruption to PARSA and its governance. It explained that as of the 30th of April all members of the Board had resigned except for Ms Walker, who remains the only ex officio member of the Board.
The ANU is now in control of PARSA’s governance structure, financial management and service delivery following the Special General Meeting (SGM) held on the 25th of March 2021, called by Ms Walker. The SGM highlighted major governance issues that threatened PARSA’s status as a not-for-profit student organisation under the Higher Education Support Act (2003), and the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) 2011.
Ms Walker, along with the Postgraduate Representative Committee (PRC) have been allowed to continue performing their duties whilst the ANU conducts a review and audit of the association’s governance structure. Walker’s email highlighted that PARSA’s status as a separate legal entity to the ANU means that no changes can be made to the organisation without the consent of PARSA. She explained that PARSA willingly accepted support from the ANU and will be complying throughout the review process that is anticipated to be completed within the next financial quarter. It is not expected to impact student’s access to postgraduate services. According to Ms Walker, the ANU has been providing PARSA with staffing support and has been responsible for approving all PARSA-affiliated communication.
An online SGM has been called for 6pm of the 15th of June to propose changes to the PARSA Constitution to ensure it is compliant to PARSA’s legal obligations. An AGM will be called the following day in order to provide the necessary two-weeks notice. Ms Walker’s email stated that she is “Incredibly apologetic for any concerns which may have been raised throughout this period. While there are no ‘winners’ in situations such as these, I wholeheartedly believe that PARSA is on track to becoming a more structurally sound organisation which reflects the needs of our broader membership. Enacting change is difficult, but I would like to believe that we are capable of achieving this together.”